The Liberal and conservative parties put corporations and wealthy people first.
For example in Ontario, Kathleen Wynne is borrowing $2.4-billion every year for corporate tax cuts whose entire function is to fatten the stock portfolios of the well-off. Tim Hudak promises to raise these tax cuts to $6-billion a year.
Justin Trudeau supports Harper’s $14-billion a year in corporate tax cuts, even though Canada has the lowest corporate tax rate among all major economies.
Liberals to neo-liberals
The Liberal party was not always this way. In the post-WW2 era, they were Keynesian centrists.
But in 1993, when Canadians were sick and tired of Brian Mulroney, the Chretien Liberals came to power with big promises — jettisoned them all — and became the Brian Mulroney party.
They dumped John Keynes for Milton Friedman to become the Neo-Liberals.
Over the past decade, NDP leaders like Jack Layton, Tom Mulcair and Andrea Horwath have decided to expand the NDP tent to include centrist voters the Liberal party abandoned.
Although some NDP hard-liners are upset, the fact is — in a democracy — the NDP has to compromise one way or another.
If they represent social democrats only, the best they can hope for is to be the balance of power in some short-lived minority government.
But how did things work out for the NDP working with the Wynne government?
She legislated three NDP policies in her 2013 budget, but later ditched them all.
Now she’s trying to out-left the NDP — with dozens of promises she has no means to pay for — to steal left-leaning votes and win a fake majority (her party missed by one seat in 2011.)
Wynne is using Chretien’s strategy which pundits call, “campaign from the left and govern from the right.”
If the NDP takes control of what compromises they are willing to make, however, they can form the government and actually get something accomplished.
Hard-line social democrats are waiting for a revolution to come. But considering the pendulum is so far out on the right side, their policy ideas are considered too extreme to get democratic support.
The NDP’s goal, therefore, should be to compromise and achieve whatever is possible in the current political climate — and then change the political climate!
We need to move the pendulum back to the left. But it will take a lot more than wishful thinking. It will take strategy and a lot of hard work.
Tommy Douglas knew all about hard work. He was fiscally responsible, running balanced budgets while premier of Saskatchewan.
Although he was the first premier to bring heath care to Canada in 1946, he had to compromise and settle for limited coverage. It took him 20 years of dedicated effort to bring universal health care to all Canadians.
In Canada (and the US,) the neo-con party comes to power and puts us in a deep hole with reckless tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich. Then the “liberal” party comes to power and cements them all in place.
This “starve the beast” see-saw is not only making life hard for average people, it's destroying the economy in the process.
The progressive-centrist NDP offers Canadians the only hope of real change from our current course of self-destruction.
But it won’t come easy. Like Tommy Douglas, it will take years of hard work to build a better country for ourselves and future generations.