May 1, 2013: Why I voted against the NDP climate motion Goodness knows, I wish the NDP had put forward a motion I could have voted for. We need a good debate on climate and we need a strong call for government action. But, I couldn't vote for that motion.
April 27, 2013: Our obsession with the political centre When I was little (which for historical purposes was back in the Diefenbaker-Pearson days) my dad used to say that he was 'middle of the road' politically. That seemed sensible to me and I didn't give it much thought. In its most exalted form the idea can be traced back to Aristotle's via media, the middle way, or if you like the Golden Mean -- the idea that virtue is to be found between the extremes. So, for example, on the spectrum from recklessness to cowardice, you find the virtue of courage nestled snugly in the middle.
April 19, 2013: NDP ditches socialist albatross just when it might be an asset It's richly ironic that New Democrats, who laboured for years to shed the albatross of 'socialism' so they could gambol like Liberals in the fields of electoral bliss, finally succeeded last weekend just when the word may no longer be cursed.
April 18, 2013, Bullet No. #807: The NDP Convention, Murray Cooke Like the federal Liberal Party leadership race, the NDP policy convention this past weekend proved to be rather anti-climactic. Any expectations (or hopes) for a divisive, soul-searching, battle royale over the identity of the NDP fell flat.
April 17, 2013: NDP Attacks the Left at Their Own Peril As many activists on the Left have already pointed out, the new preamble approved at the NDP convention over the weekend is probably a more accurate reflection of the party than the old preamble, ideologically speaking. I don't think anybody believes the NDP has been a socialist party for a long time, so there's no sense in bemoaning the death of socialism in the NDP.
April 16, 2013: NDP Leader Adrian Dix bears no resemblance to B.C. Liberals' caricature British Columbia's Opposition leader, Adrian Dix, isn't surprised that the budget tabled by the B.C. Liberal government plagiarized major features of NDP policy. What genuinely astonishes Dix is the unconcealed cynicism of the B.C. Liberals. 'The public deserves better than a government that sees the budget as an exercise in game theory,' Dix told me this week.
April 15, 2013: The NDP stumbles over the 'S' word: Strategy This weekend the NDP is meeting in Montréal. The party's intentions are clear: they want to show Canadians that they're ready to govern. This, despite the fact that most Canadians have lived under a social democratic government at some point and know that the NDP can govern.
April 15, 2013: NDP takes moderate line in updated preamble to party constitution The New Democratic Party is reaching out to centrist Canadians after severing some of its socialist tethers. A large majority of delegates at the party's biannual policy convention approved revisions to the preamble to the NDP constitution Sunday that replaced strident anti-capitalist doctrine with more moderate language.
April 12, 2013: Federal NDP meets in Montréal -- another missed opportunity?, Richard Fidler The federal convention of the New Democratic Party, the Official Opposition in Canada's parliament, opens on Friday, April 12, in Montréal. Although a majority of the party's MPs represent Quebec constituencies, its leader Thomas Mulcair is from Quebec, and the convention is meeting in Quebec's metropolis, the draft Agenda indicates that little time has been set aside for debating the party's approach to Quebec.
April 12, 2013, Bullet No. #803: The Weakness Unto Death, Jeff Noonan On March 30th, Peter Kormos, as close to a socialist as the NDP had left in its ranks of former elected members, died. His death was perhaps an omen foretelling the extinction of the NDP as a party defined by principled commitment to building an alternative to a failed capitalist society. One week after Kormos' death Thomas Walkom reported that the NDP is debating a constitutional amendment to replace the party's historic goal with a new aim: championing "a rules-based economy."
April 11, 2013: Requiem for a preamble: A lament for a socialist ideal The New Democratic Party believes that the social, economic and political progress of Canada can be assured only by the application of democratic socialist principles to government and the administration of public affairs.
April 4, 2013: NDP ponders deleting socialism from its guiding statement NDP brass are taking a second shot at jettisoning some of the socialist baggage that many -- including Leader Tom Mulcair -- feel might hold them back in the next federal election. A committee of senior NDP members is recommending the party modernize its guiding statement by making it less ideological and dropping most of its many references to socialism.
March 22, 2013: The perils of populism History is ripe with irony, though the irony is generally lost on those in the midst of it. Today we have the irony of an Ontario New Democratic Party (ONDP) running on a 'pocketbook'-driven right-wing populist platform that is antithetical to the founding principles of their own movement, and doing so with seemingly no sense that they are, in reality, engaging in the final sacrifice of these principles on the alter of the moral false god of power.
March 5, 2013: How Can the NDP Get Back on Track? As everyone knows, the New Democratic Party (NDP) is no longer Saskatchewan's 'natural governing party.' In the 2011 election they won only 32% of the vote and today Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party government, in its second term, has an approval rating of around 70%. All four of the young men who have been seeking the leadership of the NDP have stressed the need for a serious renewal and revitalization.
January 31, 2013: NDP took a right turn into the wilderness The Saskatchewan NDP is in the process of selecting a new leader. While the party is holding a number of debates across the province, there has been scant media coverage and little public interest. Murray Mandryk has noted that the debates have been very 'polite'. There is no surge of new members. There has been no effort to reach outside the party.
January 17, 2013: NDP may revisit proposal to rewrite pro-socialist preamble this spring Are federal New Democrats about to find themselves in the midst of a constitutional crisis? A party constitutional crisis, that is -- specifically, one sparked by the as yet unresolved question of whether to strip the decades-old document of all references to 'socialism,' 'socialist principles' and the party's 'proud' association with 'democratic socialist parties around the world,' which could be on the table at the upcoming convention in April.
December 13, 2012: The Canadian Left Needs a New Party The Canadian left needs a new party because although the NDP has done many beneficial things for Canadian society, the NDP is no longer a party of the left. The party's transformation is largely due to its repudiation of two salient values of the left, namely, economic equality and a predominant role for the state in economic affairs.
December 12, 2012: Mulcair's NDP Part I: The New Liberal Party Tom Mulcair has been the leader of the federal New Democratic Party for more than eight months now. His leadership has largely been as expected: solid, competent and moderate. Mulcair has continued Jack Layton's strategy of trying to supplant the Liberals as the middle-of-the-road alternative to the Harper Conservatives.
November 20, 2012: Note to NDP: Where are you going? A couple of polls showing the NDP losing support to the Liberals pose some pretty fundamental questions for the party and its small 'l' liberal leader Thomas Mulcair. Does the party follow the narrow political path of the two big business parties or does it reinvent itself as a movement party and tap into the deep dissatisfaction of Canadians about the state of politics and governance in this country?
October 14, 2012: Left Turn in Canada?, Murray Cooke and Dennis Pilon In the last Canadian federal election, the New Democratic Party (NDP) won more than 30 per cent of the popular vote. For the first time in the party's fifty-year existence, it now forms the Official Opposition in the national Parliament in Ottawa. Because of this remarkable showing, the question of whether this election represents a historic national breakthrough for the Canadian left has been put on the agenda.
October 3, 2012: Erin on the Nexen Takeover Last week, Erin Weir emerged as the only progressive voice addressing the proposed Chinese takeover of Nexen from a Saskatchewan perspective.
July 31, 2012, Bullet No. #672: Remembering Sask Oil: It Can Be Done!, John W. Warnock This past week it was revealed that one of China's state-owned oil corporations has made a bid to take over Nexen, one of the remaining four large oil corporations operating in this country that are deemed to be Canadian owned and controlled. Nexen is based in Calgary, but it is known that around 65 per cent of its stock ownership is foreign.
July 27, 2012: Pallister left with no right Former MP and MLA Brian Pallister is about to become the next leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba. It's a difficult time to be Conservative leader since the NDP haven't left much political room on the right.
June 30, 2012: On the 40th anniversary of the expulsion of the Waffle This past weekend, June 24, marked the 40th anniversary of the expulsion of the Waffle from the NDP. The Waffle, (actually the Movement for an Independent Socialist Canada), for those who do not know it, was a grouping of socialists, nationalists, feminists and activists that was formed in 1969 within the NDP. It was, broadly speaking, led by James Laxer and Mel Watkins.
April 11, 2012: The eternal leavening of the Canadian left In the wake of the NDP leadership convention, party unity problems were anticipated. There would be a gulf between party traditionalists, those echoing Ed Broadbent's sentiments, and those supporting the perceived move to the centre of Thomas Mulcair. Thus far, it's quiet.
April 6, 2012: Tony Blair's 'New Labour' offers blueprint for Thomas Mulcair Imagine an unreconstructed social democratic political party that had toiled in the opposition wilderness for many years. Its leader takes some tentative steps to modernize it to increase the chances of winning government. He then dies suddenly in his prime.
April 6, 2012, Bullet No. #613: Mulcair's Victory: What Does It Mean?, Matt Fodor On March 24, the membership of the Federal New Democratic Party elected Thomas Mulcair to succeed the late Jack Layton as their national leader, who tragically died of cancer in August 2011. With about 65,000 of the party's 130,000 members participating in the leadership election, Mulcair prevailed over runner-up Brian Topp on the fourth ballot.
April 2, 2012, Bullet No. #611: Mulcair's Victory: A New Direction for the NDP?, Richard Fidler There is a lot of speculation going the rounds about whether or to what degree Thomas Mulcair will change the direction of the federal New Democratic Party (NDP). Mulcair, as everyone who pays attention to Canadian politics knows by now, emerged the winner in the NDP's contest to replace deceased leader Jack Layton.
April 1, 2012: Recycling neo-liberalism in austerity budgets At what point does something that was once new, turn into old, and make way for something newer? Twenty years? 30? 40? I ask in light of the CBC's Terry Milewski's question to NDP Leader Tom Mulcair at his first news conference. How do you expect to appeal to voters, he prodded, with a program so 'antiquated'?
March 31, 2012: Maybe a new world really is possible under Mulcair It's been a rough month for those of us on the pessimistic left. Faithful readers will know that I've spent my adult life trying to get the NDP to be realistic about its modest status in Canadian life.
March 25, 2012: Broadbent's broadside hints at short shelf life for a Mulcair-led Opposition Soon, the New Democratic Party will have a new leader. Whether it will have any meaningful political future is another matter. I've already shown that a Thomas Mulcair victory would formally complete the Israelization of Canada's national political parties, thereby depriving voters of their last Canadian electoral option.
March 23, 2012: The NDP: New wine in an old jar?, Richard Fidler Iimmediate item of note is the federal NDP leadership race, which will come to a close on March 24 at a convention in Toronto. There, the postal votes of the pan-Canadian membership will be tallied and the new leader will be selected by delegates, probably after more than one elimination ballot since it appears that none of the seven remaining candidates enjoys clear majority support.
March 21, 2012: Where did Jack Layton stand? In addition to a lack of specific policy debates with which to frame the discussion, the debate over the future direction of the NDP is complicated by the most recent point of reference: Jack Layton. What kind of party was the NDP under his leadership?
March 19, 2012: NDP leadership race: nobody to endorse In the midst of austerity and war, and the potential for united resistance across Canada and Quebec, there is no candidate that opens up space for movements outside Parliament.
March 13, 2012: Horwath lays out NDP's budget priorities NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the goal of the upcoming provincial budget must ensure the financial well-being of families who make our province work and laid out her priorities for the upcoming budget in an open letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty.
February 25, 2012: Is Bay Street backing Thomas Mulcair? Anthony Munk is not your typical donor to the New Democratic Party. He serves as a director of Barrick Gold Corporation, the Canadian mining giant founded by his father, Peter Munk.
February 18, 2012: NDP Leadership Candidates Debate Foreign Policy, Or Not, Roger Annis In Quebec City, the seven remaining candidates for the leadership of the New Democratic Party engaged in their third all-candidates debate. The theme was to be 'Canada on the world stage', and it was the first of two debates to be held in the French language.
February 17, 2012: Alert Radio - Episode 203 Who will make the best leader of the NDP and does it matter? Some surprising answers from Murray Dobbin, Corvin Russell, Simon Tremblay Pepin, Josh Brandon, Herman Rosenfeld, Stefan Christoff.
February 10, 2012, Bullet No. #596: The NDP Leadership Race: Sleepwalking Toward the Centre?, Murray Cooke For the first time, the New Democratic Party (NDP) is holding a leadership race that involves picking the leader of the Official Opposition and someone that can, with some credibility, claim a decent shot at becoming the next Prime Minister of Canada.
February 9, 2012: Is There a Future for the Saskatchewan NDP?, John Warnock From 1944 through 2007 Saskatchewan politics was dominated by the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) and its successor the New Democratic Party (NDP). But then it was soundly defeated by the Saskatchewan Party in 2007 and routed in 2011.
January 18, 2012: Remember the NDP Leadership Race? As the Occupy movement outpaces the political process, I wonder if any of these candidates can turn anger into hope.
December 3, 2011: NDP hopefuls gingerly approach the economic crisis For years, the New Democrats have avoided talking seriously about the economy, relying instead on bromides like 'helping working families' or 'putting people ahead of profits.' With the world in crisis, they no longer have that luxury.
December 2, 2011, Bullet No. #576: Social Democracy and the Economic Crisis: The Saskatchewan Case, John W. Warnock In the Spanish general election, the Socialist Party government was soundly defeated. The rightist Peoples Party won the election but only increased their vote by a very small margin. The Indignados, the people who staged mass street mobilizations, asked the voters to stay home, spoil their ballot or vote for the numerous smaller parties.
November 20, 2011: How the NDP can win With the NDP leadership debates soon to get underway, I thought I would post some thoughts on what themes and issues the party should be emphasizing.
October 30, 2011: The NDP After Jack The federal New Democratic Party (NDP) has achieved its cherished dream of replacing the Liberals as the Official Opposition in Ottawa. Now, the party faces some big, important decisions.
October 30, 2011: Occupy the NDP There's nothing quite like a global social movement to knock other stuff off the front pages and the Occupy movement has done just that.
October 29, 2011: Peggy Nash pitches a pragmatic radicalism to her NDP Peggy Nash is the practical radical. The Toronto MP didn't use those words when she formally announced her bid for the New Democratic Party leadership Friday at a trendy Parkdale hotel. But that's what she meant.
September 28, 2011: The Ontario NDP Platform Pollsters tell us that Ontario's New Democrats may double their seat total in next month's provincial election. It's also entirely conceivable that they could be part of a coalition government at Queen's Park. But what's actually in the party's election platform? One central feature of the NDP's proposals is to implement a tax credit for companies that hire new workers.
September 22, 2011, Bullet No. #546: Layton's Legacy and the NDP Leadership Race, Murray Cooke With the death of Jack Layton, the federal New Democratic Party (NDP) has been thrust into an unexpected leadership race, its future in question. Layton led the NDP to a historic breakthrough in Quebec and brought the NDP to Official Opposition status for the first time.
September 11, 2011: Can the NDP thrive after Jack Layton? And save the country? Canadians who maintain the dream of a more equal, democratic and civilized society may no longer be reeling from the August 22 death of Jack Layton, leader of the NDP and of the formal opposition to Stephen Harper's government.
September 7, 2011: What's next for the NDP? Jack Layton has had a profound impact on us all and on politics in Canada -- across the political spectrum. Anyone unwilling to acknowledge that could not have been paying attention to the response of Canadians across the country, from every walk of life.
September 5, 2011: CAW: Which Way Ahead for Ontario? On October 6, the people of Ontario will go to the polls to choose their next provincial government. Ontarians will be making a choice that could set our province on a starkly different economic and social path for years, even decades, to come.
August 22, 2011: Jack Layton's Winning Spirit You don't really get to know some people until you know them when they're down. That's a problem for anyone who wants to write about Jack Layton, the leader of Canada's New Democratic Party, who's taking a medical leave while he deals with some health setbacks.
August 22, 2011: Jack Layton dead at 61 Jack Layton, the New Democratic Party leader who led his party to Official Opposition status in this year's federal election, has died after a battle with cancer.
August 1, 2011, Bullet No. #530: Making Sense of the Federal Election in Canada, Herman Rosenfeld Making sense of the surprising outcome of the May 2nd federal election in Canada is a major challenge for everyone on the Left, especially among those who are engaged in efforts to create a political space to the left of social democracy.
July 28, 2011: Understanding Quebec's Orange Wave From an outsider's point of view, the last federal election may give the impression that a majority of Quebecois(es) has converted to social democracy and asymmetrical federalism.
July 14, 2011: NDP Votes For War After the sweetness of victory comes the agony of betrayal.
July 1, 2011: The Left and the end of Harper I have a dream about the end of Harper, in which he is driven from office, a reviled figure. His will be a name invoked by parents to scare their little children.
June 27, 2011, Bullet No. #521: Could Election Reform Make a Difference?, Harold Lavender In the May Federal election, Stephen Harper won a majority government without winning a majority of the vote. Only 39.6 per cent of the population voted Conservative while 60 per cent voted against. Much discussion has focused on the election results and what to do about the Harper majority.
June 24, 2011: Canada's NDP stampedes to the right Having been catapulted into the role of Official Opposition, the trade union-based New Democratic Party (NDP) is now seeking to convince the Canadian ruling class that it can be trusted to rule on their behalf, supplanting the Liberal Party as the bourgeoisie's 'left' party of government.
June 20, 2011: NDP will remain socialists for now New Democrats will remain socialists for now as delegates voted to send a controversial change to the language in the party constitution back to the drawing table to avoid a divisive debate.
June 19, 2011: Bulletin from the NDP: Socialism, 1796-2011, Is Dead. RIP., James Laxer The NDP leadership has announced that Socialism, aged 215, is dead. "Nobody uses the word 'democratic socialism' in contemporary terms. It is very rare," an unnamed senior party official told the press on the eve of the NDP convention in Vancouver.
June 19, 2011: Reflections on the NDP at 50, Murray Cooke The New Democratic Party is celebrating its 50th anniversary at its federal convention, this weekend in Vancouver. This comes in the aftermath of their historic election results in the May 2011 election. It's a useful time to reflect on the history of the NDP. So here are nine theses on the NDP at 50.
June 19, 2011: Jack Layton Kicks Off NDP Convention Jack Layton kicked off the NDP convention Friday with a bold prediction that the one-time protest party is on its way to becoming the next government of Canada.
June 14, 2011: The New Democrats turn the big 5-0 June 17th marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the NDP. Looking forward and reflecting back will be the themes on the agenda of the federal party meeting in Vancouver at its June 17-19 convention.
June 6, 2011: Le peuple québécois change le destin du NPD En élisant 59 députés québécois du NPD, le peuple québécois a jeté les bases permettant au NPD de sortir de son statut de tiers parti auquel il était réduit depuis plusieurs décennies.
May 26, 2011: Why Harper's majority is good news for the left Canada's left-wing advocacy groups should be thanking their lucky stars. For them, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's recent majority victory is going to mean four years of more money, more relevance and more support.
May 25, 2011: NDP gains widen space for social struggles The incumbent Conservative Party sailed to victory in Canada's federal election on May 2 with the first majority government in the federal parliament since the 2000 election.
May 20, 2011: What the Conservative majority means for progressive organizing Anti-war activist Derrick O'Keefe talks about what the election results mean for the future of progressive organizing. He also shares his thoughts on why the Liberal party collapsed and what that means for the future of electoral politics in Canada.
May 16, 2011: Canadian elections: Another failed intervention After decades abroad as a TV host, academic and public intellectual in Britain and the United States, Michael Ignatieff's Canadian political homecoming has ended in disaster.
May 12, 2011: Understanding the NDP sweep in Quebec Before the May 2 election, the NDP had only ever won 2 seats in Quebec. Now they hold 58 out of 75 seats in the province. Roger Rashi is a founding member of the progressive party Quebec Solidaire. He explains what he thinks led to this remarkable turn of events.
May 12, 2011, Bullet No. #502: After the Election 2011: Building Our Movements on Shifting Ground, Alan Sears and James Cairns The federal election of 2011 drastically shifted the terrain of parliamentary politics in Canada. With 39.6% of the vote, Stephen Harper's Conservatives won 167 of 308 seats in Parliament, meaning that they will now rule with all the power that comes with a majority government.
May 11, 2011: NDP campaign platform analysis NDP Leader Jack Layton said he would deliver on several key social policy priorities for low and middle-income families during the first 100 days of taking office. [Interviews with Akaash Maharaj and Greg Albo were conducted early April.]
May 8, 2011: What the Election Outcome Means for Québec There are many things I could say about this nation-changing election, but since I'm a Québecer talking to an English Canadian audience, I want to stress that the routing of the Bloc Québécois should in no way be read as a sign of the waning of national aspirations in Québec...
May 8, 2011: How Would A Tory Majority Govern? Once more into the breach; well, at least, into the polling booth. The Harper Conservatives begin their quest to gain a majority government sporting numerous attributes, including money, organization, and five years in office.
May 6, 2011: Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Left in the Canadian Elections, Herman Rosenfeld The Activist caught up with Herman Rosenfeld, a member of the Socialist Project and the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly, in a wide ranging interview about Canada's recent elections and the prospects for the Left in Canada.
May 4, 2011: NDP, Liberals must eventually work it out For Canadians unnerved about a Stephen Harper majority government, two facts about Monday's election stand out. The first is that virtually all of the Conservative gains occurred in and around Toronto. Of the 24 new seats Harper won across Canada, 18 came from the Greater Toronto Area -- including nine from Toronto itself.
May 4, 2011: NDP Breaks Through But Tories Win Big NDP wins historic number of seats, creates conditions for Conservative Majority Government. Leo Panitch is interviewed by Paul Jay of the Real News Network.
May 3, 2011: Le NPD, outil de résistance? Propulsé par des libéraux en chute libre, les Conservateurs vont maintenant et pour les prochaines années imposer leur agenda de mesures annoncées dans le dernier budget Flaherty.
April 30, 2011, Bullet No. #496: Anti-Austerity Struggles and the Canadian Election The economic crisis that whipped across the advanced capitalist countries in 2007-09 has now moved into a phase of unprecedented government austerity. Rather than spelling the end of neoliberalism, the response to the crisis is intensifying its primary distributional and administrative norms.