THE U.S. ELECTION: A CAUTIONARY TALE FOR THE NDP

Sketch Me

Trump’s election in the U.S. doesn’t seem to be so much about Trump (except for the real hard cases). If you listened to on-the-street interviews in the U.S. over the past months, what most were saying is that they wanted the way things are done changed.

This feeling, in lesser form, was evident here in Canada in the last federal election as well. Canadians wanted a change from the Harper way of doing government. Unfortunately for the NDP, they dropped the ball by moving ever further toward the centre in hopes of being elected by being mainline. That left the Liberals as the party with both the greatest change and what the voters perceived to be the greatest chance to oust Harper, and they took it.

Of course, that’s not to discount Trudeau Jr.’s pedigree and seemingly inherited Trudeau charisma. The NDP likely would have done better had Jack Layton lived, but he didn’t and, whatever Mulcair’s strong points might be, charisma isn’t one of them.

Still, if the NDP had still been the party it was supposed to be, if they’d still had some guts, they might have seen more of the vote they were expecting. But the federal NDP had morphed into a second Liberal party and had become irrelevant except t o the most die-hard NDP’ers.

I spent the better part of my life working for the NDP in every election. Then, in the ‘nineties, the Ontario NDP elected a Liberal as their leader (Bob Rae), hoping he could get them elected. He did, but pretty soon showed they had turned into just another establishment party. They got one term before they were turfed.

At around the same time, when Ed Broadbent left the party, the federal party started to slide ever into more comfortable, uncontroversial policy until, by the last federal election, the NDP has ceased to exist in all but name. They had become the Liberal Mini-Me. In fact, by the last federal election, the Liberals had become more NDP than were the NDP.

Tommy Douglas used to tell a story where the mice consistently voted for cats to lead them, leading always to them being eaten until one day, the mice thought, “Why don’t we vote for mice?” Unfortunately, the NDP have become cats in striving to become “electable”, at a time when the world obviously wants the mice in charge.

Earlier this year, the NDP policy conference turned down any attempt at giving the party an actual platform that challenges the status quo. I beg the party to reconsider. The idea that you can’t accomplish anything if you can’t form the government is a display of ignorance of the NDP’s history. They’ve accomplished more as a third party than many parties have with a majority government and Justin is already showing himself for what he really is: a mainline politician.

New Democratic Party please reconsider your establishment stance and become an alternative once again. Please don’t make me vote Liberal in the next election, something I always swore I’d never do,  just to keep the Conservatives out of power.

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