Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The (not so) New Democratic Party

There's been a lot of animosity in Liberal blogging circles towards the NDP lately. The Liberal leadership candidates (some of them at least) are starting to display a little of their own:

"As Liberals, we know those guys all the way down: high moral principles, and they fight like alley cats,” says Iggy of the NDP's hypocritical pomposity. He continues, "I mean it's the worst combination. We have to go out and say, this high moral principle stuff – give me a break, here. You fight elections in the dirtiest way anybody's ever seen in Canada. Number two is we have to say that we are the progressive social conscience of this country, always have been, always will."

From Ken Dryden: "I would love to get at the NDP. All of those things that are essentially the central components and themes of the NDP beliefs, whether it is Kelowna, or child care, or the environment, all of those things absolutely essential – now we have a government that believes in none of them. Well, thanks a lot, Jack." (Thanks indeed!) He didn't stop there. "And in terms of the next election, when it's clear that one party or the other, the Liberals or the Conservatives, are going to win – how do you explain to a potential NDP voter, how do you persuade one to vote for the NDP when all of those things are central to your beliefs and it's only going to move you in the opposite direction."

I for one got sick of the NDP long ago. Who are these people kidding? They're never going to win power - that's for the Liberals to do. The NDP's purpose has always been forcing the Liberals (and occassionally the Conservatives) to implement at least part of their agenda. And they were enormously successful in this regard. But then they got power-hungry. The much-lauded Ed Broadbent, whom so many lionize as some sort of do-no-wrong saint (Jack Layton most prominently among them), was the most popular leader in 1988. But he blew his chances when he arrogantly stated, flat-out, that his goal was to replace the Liberal Party as the left-of-centre party in Canadian politics. That has been the NDP's raison d'etre ever since. Of course, they haven't come close to this goal since the 80's, and in particular since 1984, when they came within ten seats of surpassing the Liberals in the House of Commons (only because of the Liberals' extraordinarily bad campaign that year.) With their seat count of 29 this past election, (or 74 less than the Liberals) the NDP brass were celebrating... in conjunction with the election of a government that is diametrically opposed to everything they believe. Good work, guys!

The NDP will never surpass the Liberals as Canada's main left-of-centre party, barring some sort of catastrophic blunder by the Liberals (and no, that quite obviously doesn't include some criminals laundering money to themselves.) So it's quite unsurprising to see the kind of sour grapes routinely displayed by, oh, say, Pat Martin. Martin, who has seemingly made it his goal to hammer the Liberals (while never taking similar shots at the Tories - curious, when you consider they are the party most opposed to what his party stands for) has earned my ire, and that of the Liberals, for his Tory-friendly behaviour before.

Reports the Post today, "NDP MP Pat Martin sided with the Conservatives." There's a surprise:

"The Liberals are famous for trying to impregnate every aspect of the country with Liberal brand reminders. I've just about had it with the beatification of Pierre Elliott Trudeau." This coming from the party of Ed "The Second Coming" Broadbent.

Martin is a perfect embodiment of what the official NDP stands for - they have no interest in passing a progressive agenda anymore, they just want to replace the Liberals and gain their own glory. And they don't care how many Conservative governments have to be elected in their vainglorious crusade.


At 8/22/2006 7:46 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm still not over the fact you're now supporting Dion over Brison, if you ever have a chance of speaking with your new man, ask him what he really thinks of same sex marriage.
I heard him privately a few weeks after the vote and if you understood french, i promised you it would have made you sick. sorry to be anonymous, my position at that time forces me to be discrete now....

At 8/22/2006 7:47 p.m., Anonymous Luke said...

There are a lot of people who don't see the Liberals as a left-of-centre party. They see it as a right-of-centre party that will use a lot of talk and a little action to appear more left than they are.

If you don't believe me, look at any of Paul Martin's budgets.

Trudeau is the Liberal's Ed Broadbent (as in revered by the party followers), yet if you look at his record he wasn't all that popular in his time. He did more action than talk. Since then, you've had weak leaders who talk a big game. I'm hoping this leadership run will yield something different.

At 8/22/2006 9:16 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon(@746pm), you're full of it. I speak French...and you're full of it. I'll protect myself too and end by saying, nice try.

At 8/23/2006 1:51 a.m., Blogger wilson61 said...

Clear Grit
If you look at it from a Dippers point of view, Libs are the competition, not the Cons.

They want to prove that they can make a minority government work, if they are to get anywhere on their proportional representation file.

I think Cons & Dippers make a good team of head & heart.
There seems to be some give and take going on behind the scenes.

Will the Cons aid the Dippers in replacing the Libs as the #2 party?

A political party will do what it has to, to survive and grow.

At 8/23/2006 3:45 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dion must be starting to get the other camps nervous.

Anon(@746pm) must be a mud-slinger from another camp.


At 8/25/2006 1:36 a.m., Anonymous imspartacus said...

Agree with you 98.9%. There is a place for NdP, but as you mentioned its lost its raison d' etre by selling out some of its ideas, not for ideals as usual, but for the smell of power. Now, you should point out also that a lot of the responsibility for this NOT to happen remains on the shoulders of us, Liberals. We must learn lessons from the past, we must pay more attention and not just lip service, on progressive ideas when called for, while remaining and reestablishing a respect for economic growth.
Sharing the pie also means baking it, first, as my choice has said.
By the way, i totally agree that Pat Martin is a weasel in pretty snazzy suits. I think he inherited not only ex-Tory hitman John Reynolds' wardrobe, but his ethics too.

At 9/09/2006 8:41 p.m., Blogger Miles Lunn said...

I think we are best to ignore the NDP. Trying to mimick them won't help us return to power as Canadians are centrists, not leftists. Most Canadians believe in the market economy, but that its excesses should be tempered by some government intervention. Most are socially progressive, but believe in moving slowly, not rapidly. These ideas are not supported by either the NDP who want excessive government intervention in the economy, or the Conservatives who want almost no government intervention, while on social issues the NDP wants to go much faster than most Canadians are comfortable with, while the Conservatives want to rollback our social progress. This is where the Liberal party comes in as one who believes in the free market, but understands government needs to intervene where it fails and that we are socially progressive but going cautiously ensures those changes are permanent rather than risking a backlash.


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