“The True Alternative”?

As reported in the Globe & Mail the other day, “Jack Layton says he’s not interested in discussing the prospect of a merger between the NDP and the Liberals, contending the election result shows his party is now the ‘true alternative’ to the Conservatives.”

Well, isn’t that special?

Jack’s hubris must certainly come as welcome news for all Liberals concerned about premature talk of a possible merger between the two parties in the wake of their catastrophic defeat at the polls. And maybe now that the Liberals are free to vote their conscience rather than being forced to effectively help prop up a minority Harper regime, we’ll get to see more clearly what sort of role they can play in this new parliament.

The NDP on the other hand must not only presume to be the “true alternative” to the Conservatives, but more importantly, a credible one. With nonsensical economic policies and half its caucus rife with separatists, it should be interesting to see how that works out for them in the months and years to come.

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29 Comments

Filed under Jack Layton, Liberal Party of Canada, NDP

29 responses to ““The True Alternative”?

  1. An undignified and factually incorrect attack here. First of all it can hardly be considered “hubris” for a party leader who just won such a historical victory to be reluctant to talk merger with another party. Secondly, the so-called “nonsensical” economic policies were the only ones of the parties that were independently examined by an economist. But putting this aside since I myself don’t put that much stock in economics as a study, many of the economic policies of the NDP are pretty straightforward social democratic policies of many similar European polices. Many of them are very close to the Liberal Party. Really the social democratic approach is just a shift in emphasis away from the non-sensical corporatist approach of the Cons and right-leaning Liberals that is simply resulting in a growing income gap and the gradual destruction of meaningful prosperity for all but the richest. In fact I spent years in the so-called ‘third world’ and the economic policies that Canada has been pursuing for the past decades is leading us right into that kind of economy. Third, your claims about the party being “rife with separatists” is just wrong and buys into the spin of right-wing media. YES – right-wing media which was nicely exposed by all the papers in the country but one endorsing the Conservatives.

    No, Red Tory, this sloppy nonsense just will not do.

  2. sapphireandsteel

    Uh oh Red, sounds like you’ve been chastised by the royal court of HMH Kirbycairo.

  3. sapphireandsteel

    or Doctor Smith from Lost in Space.

  4. Kirby: I think you will find that many of the NDPs newly minted MPs from Quebec have made statements indicating that they are not unsympathetic with the separatist cause. But then, perhaps it’s unfair to take them at the word just now, as they’ve already said a lot of silly things, in some notable cases, indicating their profound unfamiliarity with their own ridings that unexpectedly swept them into office… I understand however they’re presently being “schooled” by Mr. Mulcair in how to behave more like politicians and not answer questions directly.

    As for the NDPs economic policies, they are a sham that would have either run up unfunded liabilities or hiked taxes to the tune of $18 billion per year… A move that would have crippled the fragile recovery in its tracks. Not to mention their gimmicky “kitchen table” promises to cap interest rates on credit cards and other loopy nonsense that could likely not have been implemented even had they been absolutely serious about doing so.

    Having lived in B.C. where the NDP horribly mismanaged the economy for years — not creating any sort of “meaningful prosperity” for the middle and working class, but just recklessly squandering money on harebrained schemes and inefficient government programs — I’m not terribly enamored by the promises they make when not in power.

  5. I’m not sure if I don’t agree with Kirby on the economic point, and agree with Red on the Separatist one ….

  6. The problem with the BC Economy is that it always was based on extraction of resources for the most part. Wealth is created in added value which is the manufacture and distribution of hard goods.

  7. Oh, and by the way, Kirby, Jack wasn’t just “reluctant to talk merger with another party” as you so craftily parsed it — he flatly rejected the notion outright and claimed he and his party alone were the one “true alternative”… To me that smacks of hubris.

  8. ATY: I think you’ll find that true of most western provinces that are all heavily dependent on commodities of one sort or another. Even so, 80% of workers in B.C. these days are involved in the service sector and only 8% workers have jobs in resource harvesting, extracting and related processing industries. Actually, the biggest “industry” in the province at the moment is construction.

  9. Agreed. But the wealth of BC is in its resources. However, little has been added to this wealth. It is extracted and exported whole – in the main.

    The Construction Boom is BC is a House of Cards – enabled only by low interest rates. The next Mortgage Crisis will likely be in British Columbia.

    By-the-way, I have no illusions about Alberta in this regard, at all.

  10. I concur with RT on this one. I think the NDP may have a hard time being taken seriously in the House. The Liberals may stand to gain credibility in these 4 years, now that the spectre of an election to further wash them out to sea does not exist. If they can hold together and steer clear of veering left, the NDP may find no room up the middle to grow. This is all speculation of course, but with right-wing CPC private members’ bills sure to surface, I feel this the centre ground is the
    real-estate the
    Liberals need to cement themselves into.

  11. Ed

    As well, The NDP is the only party in memory (history?) to come out during an election campaign and say part of its earlier-released platform (signed off on by the same Dipper-friendly economist who signs off on all their platforms) is unaffordable and could not be paid for. But NDP voters had their priorities straight. They ignored that nugget and voted for the man remembered in Toronto as a opportunistic city councillor who never found a homeless person he couldn’t turn into a photo-op over the guy who headed a Centre dedicated to Human Rights at one of the most prestigious universities in the world because “he didn’t come back for you”. What a bunch of claptrap.

  12. As well, we don’t really practice Capitalism anymore. We are directly or indirectly subject to the decisions taken by the Men and Women who run the large Trans-National Corporations, Banks, and Funds.

    And we don’t have the courage the late-Victorians had when it came to “Trust-Busting” …

  13. All this hand-wringing over the LPCs recent election performance misses the point; how do we maintain the integrity and communal-benefits of the nation-state in light of the new realities of “Proxy-Government by the Trans-National Corporation”?

    I believe the real story of the latest election was the revelation of the dichotomy that exists in this Country between the wealthy centre(s) and the less well-off periphery.

    Does everyone have to live in Greater Vancouver, Greater Toronto, and the Edmonton-Calgary and Ottawa-Montreal corridors? Is this possible? Is it desirable? Is it healthy to allow such over-concentration of wealth?

  14. ATY: Not to worry, this is just a bit of post-election moping/navel-gazing about the fate of the LPC on my part. I would certainly agree that it totally misses the larger point of the real challenges that we face in terms of our economic fundamentals and direction this country intends to take we want to achieve a relatively high standard of living that’s broadly enjoyed and sustainable over the long term. Presumably all parties share that objective, but of course there are serious differences about the best means of achieving it.

  15. Whatever Jack

    This NDP result is likely a blip. More than 50% of their seats came from a flukey outcome in ONE province. They did not have significant incremental seat take in the other provinces. I am willing to bet that many of this new and “enthusiastic” crew will lose their interest even with the “set for life pay”. Drop by your local health food store and watch these types in action!!! I roar every time – total disconnect from reality. I am looking forward to the entertainment value they will bring. I say next election the growth will NOT continue for the NDP!

  16. Dippers are funny. This will be the first time that a Governing Majority party helps prop up the Opposition in the hopes of keeping the 3rd party down….that in itself should tell you something.

  17. …we’ll get to see more clearly what sort of role they can play in this new parliament.

    My guess is that they will do what every Opposition party does in a majority Parliament. They will eat heaping plates of shit. Every day. For four years.

    With nonsensical economic policies and half its caucus rife with separatists…

    Mulroney ran a government that way, so running an Opposition in like manner need not prove unfeasible.

  18. CWTF

    As has been written elsewhere, the NDP are vermin.

    As far as I’m concerned, Jack attacked the left, dividing the vote, instead of keeping the focus on Harper. This “victory” is his as much as Harper’s.

    So what do we have here?
    – Blame the media
    – deny reality
    – and tell us about unicorns and other nonsense….

    – The NDP are control freaks over their cabinet…
    Maybe the NDP can comment some more on Brosseau…

  19. dupmar

    What’s with the Quebec NDP ” rife with separatists” taunts, Red, is this some Liberal reflex to tag any Quebecer who doesn’t embrace Trudeau’s centralist vision of federalism as a “separatist”? If the so-called “separatists” voted for the NDP, who voted for the Bloc, and the Bloc still did receive significant support, coming in second in many Quebec ridings. It’s not like the Bloc were reduced to 2 or 3 percent of the popular vote. This is the type of characterization you find more often in the blogging tory blogs, or in the comments section of the Globe, National Post
    by such anglo-chauvinist worthies as “knifer”, “winch”, “joe beer belly” et al.
    You may disagree with the electoral choice of a majority of Quebec voters, but don’t misinterpret the intent, theirs was not a vote for separation, dialogue perhaps, a desire to try something other than the Bloc perspective, but this Quebec NDP caucus is no more “separatist” than Mulroney’s 1984 caucus was. It embarked down that path after frustration and failure, lumpen shoe wipers on the Quebec flag and Trudeau’s taunts, but the “beau risque” attempt at constitutional renewal was genuine.

    As for the Trudeau legacy of confrontation and peculiar methods of challenging “separatist” aspirations, does this involve continuity in such G. Gordon Liddyesque practices as having the RCMP steal the membership lists from PQ offices and planting moles and RCMP operatives , such as Claude Morin reporting directly to the PMO through the RCMP, in the leadership bodies of your political rivals.

    There is a long history of misdeeds , way before the sponsorship scandal, leading to the current dismal electoral fortunes of the Liberal Party in Quebec. From the NDP’s perspective, it might seem to be the kiss of death to embrace this heritage.

  20. Dumpmar: The expression “rife with separatists” wasn’t the most thoughtful, I’ll admit. But who really knows what’s in that mysterious bag of cats elected in the name of the NDP? I’m betting that up to now, not even the NDP executive could answer that question!

    To be honest, my point in making that offhand statement was prompted by the fact the mainstream media immediately celebrated the fact that the Bloc had been trounced and interpreted the “orange surge” as a vote for federalism, whereas I felt this simplistic take on the result was dead wrong. More likely, there’s probably a melange of diverse opinions within the NDP’s new Quebec caucus (which now forms half their party in parliament!) than might have first been supposed. And, I’ll come back to my original assertion that a good number of them are not unsympathetic with the the separatist cause.

  21. CWTF: As has been written elsewhere, the NDP are vermin.

    I think that’s a pretty extreme opinion. I’ve got a lot of friends/relatives who are Dippers and I’m not averse to supporting them from time to time.

    As far as I’m concerned, Jack attacked the left, dividing the vote, instead of keeping the focus on Harper.

    In fairness, the Liberals did the same thing, attempting to knock them down at the outset (that effort failed) and then returning towards the end of the campaign to attack them just as much, if not more so, than the Conservatives.

  22. SF: Mulroney ran a government that way, so running an Opposition in like manner need not prove unfeasible.

    I didn’t say that it infeasible, just that it would be interesting to watch. We all know that getting “progressives” to march in the same direction at the same time is like shepherding cats…

  23. CWTF

    Red, I have nothing but contempt for the NDP – vermin is not extreme but apt given the hypocrisy that they have exhibited of late…

  24. They’ll be subject to a lot more scrutiny than was formerly the case, so I guess we’ll see how they stand up to that. I thought it was funny that today Layton claimed that the Harper government will be facing the “most unified opposition in 31 years”… Really? Has he seriously looked under the hood of his new caucus?

  25. “I feel this the centre ground is the
    real-estate the
    Liberals need to cement themselves into.”

    Awkwardly phrased, but I’d love to see the Liberals encased in cement as well.

  26. LOL

    Not nice, Moebius.

    Scott Brison put it better today (while taking a cue from MSNBC it would seem), saying the party must stake out its position as a moderate alternative to left-wing New Democrats and right-wing Conservatives.

    “We see a polarization now of Canadian politics,” Brison said. “In some ways, the role of a centrist Liberal party has never been more important. And so we must be careful not to lean left, or lean right, we need to lean forward…”

  27. Tomm

    There will likely be a lot more focus placed on their sub-groups and policy areas. Some of it will engender support and admiration (policy of peace), some of it derision (open support for Palestinian politics). Have you seen the “manifesto” from their socialist caucus?

    I think they will have to tuck in their corners and become less wild eyed. But I expect they will do it over the next four years.

  28. There’s certainly a lot of fractional elements within the party that are perhaps unhelpful to a party seeking to redefine itself as a moderately progressive, centrist alternative to the more extreme polarities of left and right.

    I remember being on a conference call a few years ago with Ujjal Dosanjh and other big-wigs in B.C. when the Libs rolled out their platform for the province that was full of stuff about social justice initiatives, needle exchange programs, bolstering the anti-gang “task force” and various things aimed at immigrant communities… and felt compelled to point out to them that speaking as an average sort of guy living in Victoria, there was absolutely nothing in their policy proposals that spoke directly to me. Needless to say, my admittedly selfish “Yeah, that’s all nice, but what’s in it for me?” query was not well received.

    For too long the Liberals have been trying to be more like the NDP and that strategy just isn’t going to work. And, I suspect, that the NDP’s efforts to become the Liberals will flop with their core base of voters too.

  29. benalbanach

    CWTF Is your contempt reserved solely for the NDP ? The current Conservative party and Liberals escape this condemnation ?

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