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The Progressive Economics Forum

Did NDP Sectarianism Screw Canada?

While NDP supporters might be celebrating last night’s election results, the reality is that it was an umitigated disaster for Canada.

The Tory majority will mean more tax breaks for corporations, the gutting of social services and cultural institutions, the widening of the already cavernous income gap, the public defunding of political parties, and the continual sell off of Canada’s resources and companies. Let alone the decline of democratic debate and venues. We will see more G-20 crackdowns on activists and a growing Americanization of the political culture.

And the NDP has played their role in all of this. If you look at the results, they profited from the demise of the Liberal Party and Bloc. When the NDP saw they could take seats from the Liberals, they began attacking Michael Ignatieff over, of all things, his attendance in Parliament. The NDP did not make gains at the expense of the Tories. As a result, what we saw was a predictable splitting of the vote. And Jack Layton should have seen this coming. He can feel happy about his party’s historic win, but the Canada we all know will not exist by the time the Tories are chased from power, whenever that is (and don’t count on that happening in four years time).

This election reflected the utter bankruptcy of bourgeois politics. While the Tories used their stewardship of the economy as their selling card, the NDP and Liberals did not challenge this record. The NDP and Liberals failed to make hay over the fact that Canadians are worse off economically than ever before, with the average Canadian family burdened by  $100,000 in personal debt (overall consumer debt is $1.5-trillion and growing). We have lost 400,000 manufacturing jobs since 2002. We have sold off most of our major corporations. Even high tech companies like RIM are in deep trouble, while Nortel was broken up and handed over to foreign competitors. We no longer have a nationally-owned steel industry. The income gap has grown worse.

But where were these issues being discussed? Not by the opposition parties.

The NDP was, in the end, sectarian. And we will all pay a horrendous cost for their political expediency.

The NDP and Liberals have to stop splitting the vote. They have to merge or cut a deal. The NDP might be rejoicing, but they have their fair share of blood on their hands.

Enjoy and share:


Comment from Paul
Time: May 7, 2011, 2:27 pm

This is such bull. I’m so tired of these old guard leftists who are so comfortable they don’t want to change our bourgeois lifestyle.

Comment from Chris
Time: May 7, 2011, 2:43 pm

There is one and only one failure on the NDP’s part in this election that can fairly be laid at their door — and it is hardly a new failure or the NDP’s alone. The NDP failed to persuade enough voters that a vote for the Conservatives was a vote to make themselves poorer, a vote to make their natural environment less livable, a vote to make their social environment more vile, a vote to destroy their and their children’s futures, a vote to make sure that the filthy rich need never trouble themselves with the people ever again.

In some ways, it should have easier than ever this time around. On the economic side, Harper has been in the forefront of global efforts to ensure that working people pay for the global recession, rather than the investment bankers who caused it. On the social side, the Conservatives made misogyny and homophobia the core of their appeal to “ethnic voters” (while making racism and xenophobia their appeal to whites). And, above all, Harper’s great pitch this election was that it be “an election to end elections”. Uh, say what?!? At this rate, we’ll probably be lucky if there is a next election.

It is fair to lay this failure at the NDP’s door, but the whole country must share the blame.

Comment from Elliott Anderson
Time: May 7, 2011, 8:16 pm

Layton spent the last week of the campaign in BC, Manitoba and Saskatchewan targeting Harper Conservative seats. He did it by talking about issues like the HST which is an issue the Conservatives (not the Liberals) are vulnerable. It is absolutely untrue to argue that he “went after” Liberal seats. (I’d argue that he SHOULD have and that if Layton had spent more time in ridings like Bramalea we’d have some strong MPs in the House and fewer Tories.)

I disagree with your point but I find it deeply offensive that you’re literally making things up. I’m not sure whether you just haven’t done any research and have decided to pretend that you have or whether you’re being deliberately misleading for some reason.

As an aside, the comparison of Harper to Hitler is not only deeply offensive, it’s the sort of thing that makes it easy to dismiss the Left as a bunch of crackpots. Making up things falls into that category as well.

Comment from Jordan Berger
Time: May 9, 2011, 2:14 pm

If I remember correctly, the Liberal ballot question and ad tag line from the beginning was: “The stakes are too high, vote Liberal” They had nothing but the strategic voting canard on which to lean and it collapsed spectacularly.

Even though they’ve run on this theme for a generation now, I’ve heard few Liberals willing to suggest that the NDP is to blame. They are correctly focusing on their own internal challenges.

Looks like it will take some progressives a bit longer to let go of electoral-manipulation fantasies.

Comment from Madeline Bruce
Time: May 15, 2011, 7:02 am

I am glad that B. C. Provincial NDP Leader Adrian Dix, for one, does address the huge income inequality between the rich and poor in Canada….It has been tiresome to hear politicians talking of non-issues such as “families”. Obiously everyone is in or from some kind of family, no matter what party they belong to.

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