Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Progressive-centrist NDP best for everyone

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.

Progressive-centrist NDP

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.

Wynne balance-of-power

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.”

Incremental progress

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

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.


  1. The NDP is only centerists if we agree that the centre has shifted far to the right. More importantly, milquetoast solutions will, in the final analysis, not actually solve anything. It is like the train is headed over the cliff and the NDP wants to improve service in the dining car. By all means, improve service in the dining car but the train is still going to go off the cliff.

    Most of all your comparison is problematic. Yes Wynne failed to institute a number of NDP sponsored issues. However, in both the Wynne case and the Martin case the issues have been fundamental (one might say, once in a lifetime) issues. The national childcare - once instituted - would have been difficult if not impossible to rescind. Similarly, the provincial pension plan would have significantly changed lives. If an opportunity like that presents itself, it seems clear that the gamble that is will happen if you support the governing party is a much saver bet than the results of going to the polls. Much has been made historically of the Left's inability to unite in the 1936 German election. The far left said that the centre left wasn't left enough so their disunity led to . . . well we know what it led to. You might argue that the NDP is the best option and the most leftwing party in the running and I might agree with you. You might argue that Layton wasn't responsible for a Harper government but the voters were. And I might agree with you. You might argue that the ONtario NDP is better than the Ontario Liberal Party and I still might agree with you. However, I also believe that if Layton had done everything in his power to keep the Martin Government alive and it had brought in National Childcare we would probably still have national childcare and literally thousands of lives would have been immeasurably improved. You roll your dice and you take your chances either way, but if the gamble promises NO payoff then it is folly to roll in the first place.

    1. Have you looked at Andrea's platform? There's nothing in it to suggest's she's right-leaning in the slightest. She's a Keynesian, not a neo-conservative or neo-liberal.

      She advocates fiscal prudence. That is not conservative at all. The Chretien-Martin government was fiscal conservative (ran massive surpluses to rapidly pay down the debt burden, which is most often paid down with GDP growth.) Neo-cons are fiscally irresponsible making a mess of the books with reckless tax cuts. Fact is Tommy Douglas ran balanced budgets.

      The Chretien-Martin government broke their national day care promise 4 elections in a row: 3 majorities + 1 minority. Ran $10-billion surpluses. So obviously had the funds. Paul Martin also ran on decriminalizing marijuana in 2004. Won the election and ditched the promise. So it's absurd to blame all this on Jack Latyon. Are NDP leaders supposed to be naive fools? That would only further enable Liberal flakiness on promises.

      Wynne is jumping the gun on a half-baked pension plan. According to Maclean's, it will make low-income earners pay for benefits they won't receive: pay $2 get $1 in benefits. Andrea, like the other provinces, is waiting until the 2015 election before proceeding on the pension file.

      It's also a fallacy to blame Jack Latyon for Stephen Harper. If Paul Martin had been up in majority territory he would've called an election. That's the way our primitive, 19th-century voting system works.

      But let's face the facts. The Liberals are not entitled to power they didn't earn. They are not entitled to support they didn't earn. They can't use fear-mongering every time to distract from their scandals, failures and broken promises by claiming if you don't vote for us, the neo-cons will come to power.

      Fact is the Liberal party has been an enabler of the neo-con 'starve the beast' agenda over the past 30 years. The neo-cons bring in the reckless tax cuts. The Liberals cement them in place.

      Another fact is that the Liberals LOST the elections. Martin lost to Harper. Dion lost more ground to Harper. Ignatieff led the Liberals to their biggest defeat in history. Are Liberal leaders not responsible for any of this? All Iggy had to do was hold on to the 2% of the "blue Liberal" vote, like a hapless Dion managed to do, to stop Harper. But he ran a foolish campaign and handed Harper the economy on a silver platter. And the Liberals were responsible for Canada's relative resilience:

      "Much of the country's resilience stems from policies—such as bank regulation and sound public finances—which predate Mr Harper." (The Economist 2010)

      The fact is Harper ran an ad bragging about his management of the economy and actually quoted this article "Canada is an economic star." But Iggy did not realize the entire election was about the economy.

      The Liberals and NDP also saved the economy from Harper's ruinous austerity agenda in 2008. Of course, Iggy rejected the coalition that would've ousted Harper in 2008. Instead he decided to prop up the Harper Government, force a stimulus package, and let Harper take all the credit for saving the Canadian economy from the worst.

      If we really want to improve our democracy, and eliminate opportunism, (aside from voting reform that would make Canada an actual democracy,) we should promote the idea of coalition government that commits to serving out a full election term (in a similar agreement they have in the UK.) So if the Liberals or NDP form a minority or can form a majority, they commit to 4 years and govern instead of jockeying for power.

      Andrea's platform highlights + link

      Wynne pension plan bad for low-income earners: Maclean’s

  2. My response to Kirby is that the Liberals had 13 years to bring in an National Childcare program and were in majority prior and chose not to do so. Corporate taxcuts were a priority.
    As Paul Martin said which tells it all: "Don't tell me what's in the Red Book. I wrote the goddamned thing. & I know that it's a lot of crap." So the Liberals purposely misled Cnds to believe they were progressive and would bring in National Childcare but it was "crap".
    The other problem Kirby with the believe that if only the Layton NDP had supported the Martin Liberals we would have a national childcare program today. Outside of the fact that the Martin said he would call an election in 6 weeks, promised, 6 wks would not have changed the institutionalization of the program. It takes much longer than 6 wks to put a national program in place so to suggest that 6 wks would have made the difference is to not understand how difficult it is in getting programs up and running.

    But more importantly is this fact: Math on Jack Layton NDP bring down Martin Liberals. Simple math was not on the side of the Martin Liberals and Paul Martin knew that so it is a revisionist history that if only Layton supported the Liberals we would have this program.

    The votes in the Commons in voting non confidence on Martin Liberals
    Cons 98, BQ 53, Ind voting against 3-- Liberals 133, NDP 18 plus 1 ind. If NDP voted with Martin gov. would have fallen 154-152

    That is the official record of parliament.

    Because the majority were bringing down Martin no matter how the NDP voted.

    The only time the NDP and Liberals had the numbers to have worked together was when the Liberals walked away in early 2009 from the coalition.

    Layton tried to negotiate but when it was clear there was no point as he did not have numbers he joined to vote down the gov.

    One can't make up new facts as the NDP did not have the votes. The independents turned the numbers.

    The other is pure Liberal spin where if something is said often enough, it must be true.

  3. The other thing from 2006 which also pops up is that we would have had the Kelowna Accord which professed to be the best thing ever. Well not according to Russ Diabo!

    Paul Martin's Hypocrisy - The Truth About the 2005 Kelowna Accord

    Published by Russell Diabo
    The Transition from Liberal to Conservative Rule.
    See More



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.