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 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.