At their 50th anniversary celebrations on the weekend, the New Democrats began in earnest the process of trying to prove to Canadians that their second-place status is more than a freak accident.
To be taken seriously in their quest for governance, they have to do three things. They have to come across as a moderate party that isn’t tied to the hard left. They have to show themselves to be a party of fiscal rectitude as opposed to recklessness. And given the numerical dominance of Quebec MPs in their caucus, they must guard against being seen in the rest of Canada as beholden to Quebec nationalists.
At their Vancouver convention, the danger of being stereotyped confronted them in the form of a resolution that asked: Should the word “socialism” be deleted from the party’s constitution? The harder-line element argued that it would be an insult to the legacy of Tommy Douglas to abandon the label, while others such as Manitoba’s Pat Martin said the dated labelling would hold the party back. The question threatened to split the convention, but the party brass came up with a dodge: They referred the debate to the executive council for further study. It was the right move, and they’d be wise to let that study go on forever.
On the matter of fiscal responsibility, party leader Jack Layton, whose state of health remains a significant question, has long emphasized the record of provincial NDP governments in balancing budgets. The exception, he said at the convention, was Bob Rae’s Ontario government in the early 1990s. And Mr. Rae, he smugly noted, “is now leading the Liberal Party.”
On Quebec, the New Democrats will have to walk a fine line. To maintain anything near the 59 seats they won there in last month’s election, they must be responsive to the province’s special-status demands. But after decades of seeing Quebec grievances dominate the national agenda, the country wants to move on. The NDP was fortunate its conclave was held in British Columbia, as far away from Quebec as it could get. The party’s Quebec wing stole few headlines.
On strategy, it was Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter who offered sound advice, saying the priority is now the pursuit of soft Liberals and soft Conservatives. That and the matter of discipline. “The fundamental challenge for the party and for Jack and for the caucus,” said Mr. Dexter, “is to remember that every word that we say will be weighed and measured and examined in a way that has never happened before.”
The NDP has to learn from how Reform made its way from third party on the right to the governing table. Reform and later the Canadian Alliance faced problems of locked-in ideology and discipline, but eventually overcame both.
At their convention, the New Democrats wisely left the door open for merger talks with Liberals, defeating a motion that called for the rejection of any such possibility. That motion, as long-time MP Peter Stoffer noted, would have sent a message of exclusion. “We don’t get them to vote for us by saying, ‘We refuse to have talks with you.’ ”
While the Dippers were facing a first test and passing it, the Liberals were holding their own confab, this one being a money-saving virtual convention featuring 2,000 cyber-linked delegates. The Grits decided to hold off a leadership vote for a couple of years to give the party time to rebuild. To rebuild without a leader, of course, is a difficult thing, but, in this case, patience is a good idea. There’s no leader in waiting (interestingly, Mr. Rae, the interim chief, is keeping Justin Trudeau on the back benches in a minor critic’s role), and they need time to find one.
Mr. Rae, who commands respect in the party and in much of the country, is well-suited to the task of trying to keep the Liberals credible, while the NDP tries to prove it’s ready for the big leagues.
commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
The NDP success came from the Harper government adopting a Republican
Mushroom approach to publicity. The NDP unfortunately has an ever worse
reputation and habit for engaging in the even worse Cargo Cult mentality towards
winning political ideas whose stupidity in policy makes the Conservatives look
sane by comparison.
The most insane political leaders and dictators in history have obtained success by telling the population what they wanted to hear even when it is absolutely impossible to deliver in reality.
What Canadians need to remember is, Jack, aka JOHN Layton, never was and absent becoming a c-perm donour for a lesbian couple, he never will be even a biological father.
Jack, "the John" Layton as a pubic officer, ripped off the tax payers, the underprivileged by residing in a subsidized rental home while he and his equally corrupt wife raked in six figures.
Jack the JOHN Layton, used his savings to visit a Triad run (Chinese Criminal Gang) BROTHEL called the "Velvet Touch" that employed illegal female sex slaves, one "mainland Chinese Woman was found over Jack the John Layton while Jack, the john laid naked on the table, as the cops burst in, she threw a clump of wet Kleenex in the trash and denied giving him a hand job.
Jack the John Layton has been an extreme feminist promoter of hatred towards men and as such, he opposes any reforms of Family Law and in particular any legal presumption of Equal Parenting.
Its that chronic and habitual promotion of hatred by Jack "the John" Layton that hopefully Canadian Fathers will learn about and vote for anyone else.
It's unfortunate that the idealistic NDP supporters fail to see the negatives
of Jack Layton and all the prejudices that he brings with him.
Other countries have a party that is more "socialist" in ideology than others, that does not make those parties the Marxist party, the Socialist Party or the Communist Party , a divisive practice that comes from the Republican zealots who paint anyone who does not agree with them as black.
From time to time, the NDP have winning ideas and policy but their lack of reality results in putting forth insane proposals that show that their leaders just don't have any academic ability and what brains they had must have shriveled up long ago.
Jack "the John" Layton is a professional Flake, its no Fluke that he was able to Fake his way to being the leader of the opposition with Fraudulent policies that he knew or ought to have known were utterly false.
Dictators have come and gone using the same approach. Even Mr. Harper rides in Power from having given the public, politically winning ideas that make poor policy, a fact that he frequently admits.
The difference between Harper and Layton is that Harper will occasionally admit his moves are bad policy and good politics while Harper refuses to utter anything other than his own apparently delusional propaganda that will fool some people some of the time but cannot and never will fool everyone all the time, especially in Quebec where some evidence of intelligence will be required and which Jack Layton and his team will be totally incapable of showing.