Naming the Party

Here’s my modest contribution to the debate on re-naming the NDP.

Ed Broadbent and others have made the excellent point that “NDP” is a solid brand that stands for something – namely belief in social democracy,  a revitalized, new democracy.

However, I don’t buy the argument that “New” qualifies “Democratic” in the same way that “New” qualifies “York” in New York, as Ed has argued.  The current name implies a new party, as it was meant to do back in 1961 when it replaced “New Party.”

My conclusion – rename the party as the New Democracy Party, or the NDP for short, or New Democrats as needed.


  • How about the “Gnu Democratic Party”?

  • The French version of the name «Nouveau Parti Democratique» supports your interpretation that “new” qualifies the party rather than the democracy. Your proposal, as it stands, would indeed necessitate a change to the French name of the party.

  • I have written the incoming party president Peggy Nash suggesting a new name in French. It follows logically on the observation made by Devin. Indeed it also anticipates Andrews idea of the party being about new democracy. Here is a portion of the letter:

    ” In French, the party name “Nouveau parti démocratique” reflects rather well the intentions of the party founders, who were creating a “new” party and referred to it as such, thus “Nouveau” parti. However, as well its unfortunate connotation, the existing rendering of the party name in French does not do proper justice to the sense in English of “New Democratic Party”, the name eventually preferred to “New Party” by the founding convention,

    In the English language version, the name signifies the party is about New Democrats being in favour of a new democracy, not only a new party. While the orientation of this democracy is a matter for party policy, largely speaking, the New Democratic name adopted in 1961 was about allowing democratic practices to go beyond ballot boxes, elections, and important civic rights associated with the political process, to include economic, social and cultural rights: social and economic democracy. This is what it means to be a New Democrat in the minds of many party members. No other party is willing to address these issues, though other parties support democracy, albeit in a limited version that until recently included corporate funding of their activities.

    I propose the Council change the French rendering of New Democratic Party to read Le Parti neodémocrate. Members would be referred to as Les Néodémocrates, which is in fact what is now used by Francophone party members.

    This new rendering has three distinct advantages over NPD. First, it is more like the English name. Second, it eliminates the unfortunate “pédé” connotation. And third, Les Néodémocrates is widely used within the party, and by Francophone media.
    What is at issue here is a better expression of the existing name in French, so as to attract more supporters.”

    In English I would like the party to drop the P and just be New Democrats. Instead of the visual identity being NDP/NPD it would be:
    New Democrats/Les Néodémocrats

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