Monday, April 22, 2013

Scrutinizing the NDP

I am well past the age where I expect very much from our politicians, especially given the current level of disengagement among the Canadian electorate; because of that disengagement, the notion of electoral accountability has become merely a quaint and rather remote ideal. While I hate to admit it, for me the practice of voting, which I shall never abandon as long as I have both my faculties and my life, has become an exercise in trying to choose the party that will do the least damage to the country.

It is from this perspective that I look skeptically at all of the parties, not the least of which is the NDP, which I shall likely vote for in the next federal election, despite grave misgivings over its drift toward the centre (perhaps even the centre-right?)

This morning's Star editorial cartoon is worth pondering:

Also worth consideration is this letter from Michael Dale, of Stratford Ontario:

NDP removes socialist language in its constitution, April 15

The recent choice by the NDP to discard the word socialism from its constitution comes as no surprise to those of us who genuinely strive for a better, more equitable system.

The NDP was born an opportunistic party and now it has openly shed any pretense of principle. I applaud this move. Now perhaps socialists within the party who have long made excuses for its behaviour will come to their senses and leave.

Some issue was made of the appearance of U.S. Democratic party functionaries at the recent NDP convention. This should not have been a surprise. The NDP derived its very name from that American institution as it opportunistically attempted to catch the wake of another flashy young U.S. president who lacked substance. History does repeat itself.

I ask only one thing of the NDP. Please stop claiming a lineage from the CCF. That historic party was a socialist party. The NDP in no way shares its goals or ideals.

It shows a lack of respect for the women and men who risked all to stand up against the established political and financial power of Canada. Let the CCF remain a noble historic symbol of working class determination. And may its torch someday be raised again by socialists across the country.


  1. When power is the objective, Lorne, it's interesting to see who and what gets thrown under the bus.

    1. Principle seems to be one of its earliest and most consistent victims, Owen.

  2. I read somewhere that Tommy Douglas' worst nightmare had come true in that a Liberal was now running the NDP.

    I've been singularly unimpressed with Mulcair since he became the Party's leader. He strikes me as a just another Suit who's willing to do whatever it takes to gain power - which, Mr Mulcair, is NOT the same thing as offering Canada a vibrant, viable and unambiguously clear alternative to the Harper neo-cons/christofascists and the post-Trudeau neo-liberal Liberals. If the NDP cognescenti see a problem with offering up socialism as that alternative, then the problem lies with them and not socialism itself. despite the corporate media's ravings and the blatherings of right wing think tanks, socialism will always have its roots in the people and true democracy, whereas capitalism will always be the province of the monied, the privileged, and their restles hunger for more for its own sake.

    As much as I admired Jack Layton - even with his idolized biopic in mind - I fear he laid much of the groundwork for Mulcair's takeover and the Party's rightist moves. Not so much in direct word or deed, but by being willing to entertain a drift to the comfortable middle than staying close to values that most working and middle class folk can relate to and identify with. Despite all of their lip service to job creation and good stewardship of the economy even a cursory examination of the results of Harpercon policies shows who the true beneficiaries are; corporations, the already obscenely wealthy, and foreign powers that any other day would be called hostile to our national interests. I think it would have been better for Jack and Olivia to have taken a much stronger role in finding ga replacement for Jack with the time he had left, to have identified a more progressive successor than the one the have now. With Mulcair, neo-liberalism is gaining a stronger grip on Canadian politics and the lives of Canadians, and I doubt very much that's what Tommy had in mind...

  3. It seems to have become axiomatic, Neil, that the closer a party comes to power, the more it compromises/prostitutes its principles. Until voters themselves are willing and able to become far more engaged with the issues and in the political process, I expect things will continue that way.