06.21.2011 05:10 AM

In today’s Sun: the NDP leaves the door open

What would Tommy Douglas do?

The Saskatchewan socialist icon was, among other things, the founding father of the movement that would ultimately become the NDP. Prior to his death in 1986, the Baptist preacher — and former leader of both the NDP and its predecessor, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation — was a giant on the Canadian political landscape.

He was also a socialist, and no big fan of Liberals. So what would the prairie Goliath make of his part’s doings in Vancouver over the weekend?

You may have heard: At their confab in B.C., hundreds of the party faithful surprised everyone — me, included — by doing the unexpected. Instead of passing a resolution removing the word “socialist” from the preamble to the NDP’s constitution, they let it stand. And, most surprising of all, the NDP declined to reject future discussions about a merger with the Liberal Party of Canada, too.

14 Comments

  1. Rick T. says:

    The NDP is a Blip on the radar for the next four years. After the next election the Libs will be the Offical Opposition and the NDP will be back to their Third Party status. So I guess for the next four years the press will humour them with lots of coverage.

    As for Tommy Douglas a Socialist to the end. I will thank him for Health Care, the only good thing to ever come out of that party.

    • George in Richmond BC (the other Geoge) says:

      I agree with Rick T.

      O.K. We got spanked in the last election. So, what do we do? Give up? A merger with the NDP is giving up. You say it worked for the Reform/Alliance/Crapper/PC? Tell me if todays Cons can be recognized as the party of John A. Their merger killed the Progressive Conservatives, a loss to Canadians.

      Let’s get with the programme folks. If you want the easy way, then feel free to quite the Liberals and join the Dippers. At least then you folks won’t be peeing in the swimming pool and the rest of us can enjoy the swim.

      As for those that bemoan the loss of seats and how hard it is going to be to claw back. Look at Liz May. Given the amount of hill climbing she and her party has to do, she seems to have a bigger pair than most of us around here.

    • Simon says:

      The NDP a blip on the radar? Maybe. But a whole lot of Grits said the same thing about the results the first time they got spanked by Harper. They showed no respect for their opponent. Do not underestimate the NDP. That sort of thinking helped get you into third place. Do not assume that you will magically be returned to Official Opposition status because it is your natural right. You thought that about government, too, and look where it got you. If I remember right the Larry Grossman era Tories in Ontario thought much the same thing about David Peterson’s first governemnt.

      Warren has the right idea. He is already sizing up the next election as a fight for second place. The key word: “fight.” You may overcome the good guys, but you will have to work for it. You will have to prove yourselves to the electorate. And if you are successful, you may overhaul the Tories as well, just as Mike Harris vaulted over both the Dippers AND the Libs in an election the Libs believed would be theirs in a cakewalk when the writs were dropped (whatever that means. Must look it up someday.)

  2. Michael Behiels says:

    If the Layton team, and it is a good one, can consolidate it’s unforeseen gains in MPs then it will be able to forge a merger on the centre-left of the political spectrum.
    Blue Grits have gone over to the Reformatories and will not return to the Rae Liberals since their are simply too many perks and corporate goodies to walk away from.
    Progressive Liberals have a tough decision to make over the next three yrs in preparing for the next election.
    If they delude themselves onto believing they can return as the official opposition in 2014, they will lose the opportunity to replace the Harper gov’t. This will ensure Harper’s irreversible destruction of the role of the national state in health, social, and post- secondary education programs.
    If progressive Liberals and clear thinking NDP strategists really understand their main challenge they will, behind closed doors as was the case for those who created Harper’s coalition, set the stage for the creation of a big tent centre-left party.
    Only with a dynamic new centre-left party will liberals and social-democrats (not socialists who are too few) be able to win a majority gov’t in 2018!

  3. DL says:

    I have to correct a couple of misconceptions in the article. First of all, it is dead wrong to say that the NDP “leadership” wanted the resolution barring any merger or non-compete agreement with the Liberals to pass. I was there. I think that the leadership initially didn’t really care one way or the other and probably would have preferred not to talk about the Liberals at all. In the end the speakers in favour of the “anti-merger” resolution were all crackpots from the Socialist Caucus (who make up about 1% of the party) who made inflammatory, alienating speeches (i.e. “Liberals are a bourgeois capitalist party of evil-doers etc…”. The people speaking against the “anti-merger” resolution were all respected MPs who made the case that it would be gratuitously alienating to Liberal supporters to slam the door at them and that it would be better to trust the party leadership on this issue and to give them a free hand. The whole NDP message in the election was about being willing to work with other parties – so why blow up that image with a lot of inflammatory anti-Liberal invective. That argument won the day. In the end we all know that a merger will never happen because the Liberals will never go for it – so why not let them be the ones to slam the door and look obstructionist. Bob Rae’s hatred of the NDP verges on being pathological (dare we say “self-hate”)

  4. Cath says:

    I think the NDP left the door open in case they fall and fall hard, which, by all accounts and listening to the “experts” will happen sooner or later. While that happens the Liberals try to do what’s necessary to improve themselves and on their way back UP the downward dog NDP meet somewhere along the way and try another hook-up.

    For the moment that the NDP’s left the door open by all accounts the official word from the LPOC is no merger/coalition….whatever you want to call it.

  5. DL says:

    The “experts” all told us that there was NO POSSIBLE WAY that the NDP could get through election 2011 without losing seats. Instead they gained 67 seats. Remind me why we should pay any attention at all to what “experts” tell us is going to happen in Canadian politics. Over the last 7 or 8 years the only certainty seems to be that the self-styled “experts” are dead wrong almost 100% of time!

    • Michael Behiels says:

      Everyone from experts to layperson’s were blindsided by the Quebec nationalists & secessionists’s decision to highjack the NDP.
      I wrote that if the Quebec Francophone voters decide to move to another Party they would move like the proverbial herd of Caribou! They believed they would obtain a NDP-Lib coalition gov’t that would give Qurbec constitutional special status. Their gamble backfired big time.
      Layton is now in a box. He has to placate his Qc caucus while keeping his RoC MPs support and loyalty.
      The Qc unpredictable political tsunami has altered both Quebec and national politics in ways that are not yet fully clear.

  6. DL says:

    Despite rumours to the contrary, the vast majority of Quebec NDP MPs are people who care about progressive economic and social policies and see the world in right/left terms not those old 1980s style federalist vs. separatist debates. While the NDP took some soft nationalist votes away from the BQ, they also took a large number of federalist votes from the Liberals and the Tories in Quebec.

  7. Never liked the vilification if the word “socialist.”. Do you ask police for a bill when they respond to a 911 call? Do you ask your garbageman, doctor, or highway lane line painter to invoice you directly? Guess you’re a “socialist.”

    Socialism isn’t an absolute, or an inherently bad (or good) thing. Neither is capitalism. Or picking Phoenix at a Marvel vs. Capcom 3 tournament.

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