For decades, the NDP has sat on the sidelines watching Conservative and Liberal governments tear down a Just Society.
The neo-cons come in with reckless tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich: Mulroney, Harris and Harper. Then “Liberals” get power and cement them in place: Chretien, Martin, McGuinty, Wynne and now Trudeau.
This “starve the beast” see-saw ratchets the pendulum further and further right.
It causes soaring inequality, dwindling economy growth, rising government debt and the hollowing out of the middle class. In short, it’s destroying the strong economy we built up in the post-WW2 era using centrist mixed-market economics.
The only hope Canada has to stop this course of self-destruction is if the NDP forms the government. But the only way they can do that is if they appeal to a broad range of voters. That’s how democracy works.
Pocket-book populism is the key. These measures benefit all members of society, but they benefit low-income earners the most.
This is the opposite of right-wing populism like across-the-board tax cuts — or even worse, corporate tax cuts — that primarily benefit the rich.
Splitting the right vote
With our primitive voting system, First-Past-the-Post, the neo-con party gets absolute power on 40% of the vote due to vote splitting. (In a real democracy, which 31 of 34 developed countries have, 50% is required for an absolute majority.)
To keep the neo-con party away from government, the right-leaning vote must be split.
The Liberals typically split the right vote by appealing to red Tory voters. They adopt a moderate form of neo-liberal ideology. Unfortunately, they become the red Tory party in the process.
The NDP’s pocket-book populism is in the self-interest of all voters, including right-leaning ones. This will help the Liberals split the right vote and keep neo-cons from power.
Being a protest party is doing no one any good. Proposing lofty social benefits Liberal and Con majority governments simply ignore does no good.
It’s time for progressives and centrists to join forces to save Canada from this neo-liberal plague of the past 30 years. It’s not only tearing down the Just Society built up in the post-war era, it’s destroying the economy in the process.