Monday, November 19, 2012

Murray Dobbins Urges New Dems to Save Their Souls

The Tyee's Murray Dobbins says the New Dems are heading in the wrong direction and only the Libs and Tories will benefit from it.  Dobbins says Mulcair has it all wrong.

A couple of polls showing the federal NDP losing support to the Liberals pose some pretty fundamental questions for the party and its small 'l' liberal leader Thomas Mulcair. Does the party follow the narrow political path of the two big business parties or does it reinvent itself as a movement party and tap into the deep dissatisfaction of Canadians about the state of politics and governance in this country?

...Thomas Mulcair and the NDP decided listen to the polls showing the Liberals (read Justin "He doesn't really want the job" Trudeau) gaining ground at their expense. The result? A complete about-face on so-called "free trade" deals. Instead of highlighting three incredibly destructive investment agreements currently in the news they panicked -- ending their commitment to get out of NAFTA, calling on the WTO to re-launch global trade talks and urging Harper to sign deals with India, Brazil and South Africa.
Here was a chance for the NDP to stake out ground that distinguished them from all other parties. Mulcair (who unfortunately does support "free trade") could have used these deals (FIPA, CETA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership) to lambast their potential destructive impact on the country and argue against more such agreements. None of them have anything to do with trade -- they are all about corporate rights, just like NAFTA and the WTO

...That Mulcair would back off the NDP's historic position on these odious corporate rights deals demonstrates how vulnerable the party is to feeling obliged to move in the direction of being a second Liberal Party. Ironically, it is their historic 100 plus seats that has made them more cautious (reminiscent of their increased caution in 1988 when they were running second in the polls). But the more they back off from who they are, the more people will go to the real thing. And it's not mostly about policies, it's mostly about trust. Harper has managed to create a new political and government culture in which the default position of most citizens is distrust. If Mulcair wants Canadians to trust the NDP he has to take the party forward and not backward.

...The NDP's future success depends on increasing people's expectations of what is possible -- not further decreasing them.

Dobbins has nailed it on Mulcair's balding head.   Just as Ignatieff dragged the Liberals to a place where there was nothing for them, so too is Mulcair, even if he is carrying on Jack Layton's plan.   This obsessively centrist political compression is toxic for the New Democrats.   If Canadians want a liberal party, as Dobbins puts it, they'll go for the real thing, not the Layton/Mulcair Latter Day Liberals.


Troy said...

Thanks for the link. I probably woulda missed this article, otherwise.
I want to end NAFTA. It's a damned albatross around our necks, especially with the US economy tanking in the coming years. The NDP's now former position on NAFTA was a major draw to voting for them.
I've had grave misgivings about Mulcair for ages, and have been waiting for him to betray the NDP, but the NDP betrayed themselves voting him as party leader.
I'll be honest saying the NDP leadership contest had been super shallow. There'd been one candidate I had hope for, Paul Dewar, but he didn't make past the first vote. I'd then hoped for Nash, but she was out in the second round.
The rest I'd thought as too weak: Ashton, Cullen; or too opportunistic: Mulcair, Singh, Topp. I lost a great deal of hope and trust for the NDP with Mulcair's election.
Why didn't Angus run? He's a hell of an MP. I wish a person like him was my riding's MP. Or Libbie Davis, too. Someone whose morals and convictions ran deep to the bone marrow.
But Mulcair? I'm done with him, and the federal NDP.

The Mound of Sound said...

Troy, I share your disappointment. Now, more than ever, we need a resolute NDP anchoring the Left. They were always more than just the "Conscience of Parliament" but it seems the lure of a shot at power was irresistible even if it meant selling out what they had stood for over many decades.

Beijing York said...

Sven Robinson and Bill Siksay were my favourite NDP members in recent decades. They definitely understood human rights issues, domestic equality issues and foreign affair issues. I wasn't a big fan of Layton and I thought that Mulcair's election was even a further attack on the party's so-called socialist grounding.

The Mound of Sound said...

I hear that, B.Y. Mulcair seems to be the New Dems' Tony Blair. We already have two corporatist parties. Why the New Dems think Canada needs a third is a mystery to me.

Funny how they all fall mute when this subject is raised. Where is Buckdog, where is Jan from the Bruce, when we need them to address this? They're hectoring Liberals, that's where.