Friday, April 08, 2016

The NDP - What'll It Be, Rut or Renaissance?

With the New Dem's convention underway in Edmonton, it's a good time to revisit Murray Dobbin's musings on his party's perilous path forward first published last week in The Tyee. Dobbin sees the future of the NDP in a bleak, sink or swim context, the outcome hanging on whether Tom Mulcair gets to stay on as leader, a millstone round the party's neck.

The chances that the party can find its way out of this crisis are slim. Getting rid of Mulcair is just one step. The party would still have to find a new leader who embodies the social democratic values of the founders of the CCF/NDP. That will be hard, because the process requires a politically engaged membership who actually own their own party.

And that's a problem, one that goes back to when the CCF -- the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation -- joined with the labour movement to form the NDP in 1961.

That's when the party embraced professionals to run what had been a genuine movement. For the last 55 years, members have become increasingly marginalized, called upon only to donate and knock on doors during election campaigns. That approach reached its apex under Jack Layton and Tom Mulcair.

...the federal budget day delivered a fatal blow to the notion the party could survive with Mulcair as leader. Trudeau brought down what Armine Yalnizyan of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives called"the most progressive budget in 40 years."

...Trudeau moved the Canadian political centre a huge step to the left, leaving the NDP completely stranded. The NDP cannot craft a credible response to this budget given its platform and Mulcair's deeply conservative politics. It can't come back from where it is today.

...The response is cynical and misleading. "The Liberals' budget was long on rhetoric but short on dollars when it came to keeping their promises to Canadians," the NDP claimed.

How a leader whose platform promised a balanced budget (which was not party policy) could pen this line with a straight face is beyond me. Should the Liberals have racked up a $50-billion deficit so they could keep all their promises? The NDP -- which should support virtually every Liberal expenditure -- would have had zero dollars for new programs.

Dobbin's take is that Mulcair, to borrow a Harper line, "is in it for himself." He's the guy who can bring down the NDP, leave it mortally wounded, irrelevant and slowly bleeding out.


Toby said...

In his interviews he continually talks about himself, himself, himself . . .

It really gets boring. Mulcair has to go.

The Mound of Sound said...

Yes he does, Toby. But, as Dobbin claims, the NDP may be a cult and every cult needs a Messiah.

Anonymous said...

Mulcair is a Mulroney Liberal like Chretien, Martin, Wynne and Junior. So I'm hoping the NDP ditches him.

Not for the same reason partisan Liberals want him gone: to pave the way for Liberal majorities like Chretien got, who won half the NDP vote only to move the party right-of-center. (Liberals feel entitled to the center-left vote without having to represent it.)

Canadians need an NDP leader to bring Bernie Sanders to Canada. Someone who actually believes in centrist Keynesian and social democratic values. Someone who will oppose Prince Charming's shallow progressive measures that have escaped scrutiny from the establishment news media. (The establishment has no problem with Real Change as long as it's business as usual.)

Or in other words, I'm hoping the corrupt attempts from the corporate news media and empty Liberal partisans to manipulate the NDP leadership issue blows up in all their faces.

Anonymous said...

NDP could be what it wants to be if the moronic strategic voting is gone and replaced with a low threshold, full PR.
Anyone not supporting the low threshold, full PR is either a moron or a member of 0.1% club currently governing Canada.

Kyle H. said...

@ Anonymous 12:07pm

Blogger comments have yet to implement GIFs, but here you go, from an empty Liberal partisan to you:

Anonymous said...

Anything that comes from a Liberal partisan is an empty gesture. I don't have to click a link to discover that. These people believe in nothing but entitlement to meaningless power.

The Liberal politicians get paid in speaking fees, consulting fees and token board positions to do what they do. What on Earth the followers of these bribe takers are in it for is beyond me.

When Harper brought in $15-billion in corporate tax cuts, it was an outrage. When Trudeau said they create middle class jobs, they called it evidence-based policy.

When Harper opposed federal carbon pricing he was an enemy of humanity. When Trudeau opposed federal carbon pricing last election, he was taking the balanced approach to climate change.

I could go on. But then again I would have to be talking to someone who believes that words have meaning.

Kyle H. said...

You're so cute, I could pinch your cheeks you little disenfranchised radical you!