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.


  • “And Jack Layton should have seen this coming.”

    Most seat projections showed a Conservative minority. There was an significant shift from Liberal to Conservative that the polls didn’t show.

    The correct response is vote splitting is proportional representation to give Canadians more choice, not merges to give Canadians less choice.

  • No one has said the words “child poverty in Canada”, or “racism against Canada’s Aboriginals” in years. You are right, it was a disaster. How do we oppose a government majority? I guess it’s time to bring on the opposition Madison-style. Should we all get a subscription to the Toronto Star as well, to support the one non-Conservative newspaper?

  • This is suppose to be sarcasm?

  • Rentier Fungicide

    Livesay has it correct. By straying constantly to the right, Layton blurred the distinction between the Liberals and NDP, facilitating vote splitting. By supporting the racist notion that Quebec is nation, Layton also drove many electors into the Conservatives’ arms.

    Of course, the larger responsibility for the failure of Canada lies with Paul Martin, not just his neo-Liberal policies, but especially his internal purge of left-Liberals in 2004-2006. It was Paul Martin’s guys who ousted Dion, and organized Ignatieff’s undemocratic seizure of the reigns of power within the Liberal party, which contributed to abandonment of the Liberal party.

    As various commentators here, and for instance James Laxer, pointed out two years ago, the best hope for progressive politics was to support Stéphane Dion wholeheartedly instead of the NDP.

    Canada is over.

    My prediction is a Quebec referendum, with a YES win in three to four years time, followed by partition in Quebec and political violence. (Three scenarios present themselves there: 1) progressive Canadians vote massively and put all their resources behind Jean Charest, to avoid a referendum; 2) after a yes vote, the Conservatives hatch a deal to ignore aboriginal title to the northern two-thirds of Quebec, and Quebec leaves while Canada is severed in two; 3) more likely, after a yes vote, there is a partition and extensive political violence, with Northern Quebec and the Isles de la Madeleine tortuously remaining part of what remains of confederation.)

    If, ultimately, Canada can survive the death of medicare, the Canadian Wheat Board, continuing climate change effects, the end of public funding of political parties, restriction of women’s control over their bodies, etc, it cannot survive the weakening of the spending power and the hollowing-out of the federal public service, which are surely to come.

  • no, it’s hopelessness.

  • Robert McClelland

    Relax, with official opposition status, the country will finally get to hear what the NDP has to offer. This is just the beginning of the orange crush. Sure Harper will do some damage, but he’ll be gone in 4 years.

  • ” hear what the NDP has to offer”. Tell that to the Missing and Murdered Women of western Canada (Sisters in spirit funding gone), and to kids needing extra help to stay out of jail. Funding cut, but here come the jails. 4 years is a long time. Safe injections sites – gone for good. These aren’t political theories. These are people’s lives. How far will you be willing to travel in order receive a therapeutic abortion? You can kiss that promising decrease in women’s deaths by domestic violence in the last decade goodbye once the Cons and the NDP get rid of the gun registry. I’m betting that is gone this time next year. Relax, my foot. What exactly are the NDP going to do about the census forms in the mail right now? In opposition to a Harper Majority? Sweet tweet. Dr. Dawg is right, the only effective opposition is going to have to come outside parliament. If we can get any coverage of that opposition in the media, which is highly unlikely. Let’s see how Jack can protect the funding for the CBC. He can’t. There is no point dancing about 100 NDP seats with a Harper majority. None at all.

  • The ironic thing is that as the NDP seat count has increased form 19 to 102 under Layton’s leadership, the situation for the very Canadians that the NDP has traditionally watched out for has only worsened. Layton had a lot more influence when he had 19 seats and was able to get a Liberal government to implement some of his ideas. He got less under a Harper majority, even though he had more seats, and now he will get even less, with many more seats. The losers, as always, will be less fortunate Canadians.

    For those who think this is just a start, a decade is a long time for decline and it is not easy to rebuild after programs and institutions have been dismantled. Typically, some are lost forever. Also, while the NDP will make use of their OO status, one can be sure that Harper will make good use of his PM status to build an even stronger, richer CPC. Pegging all your hopes on 4 years from now is naive. Harper is not stupid and the CPC will likely be even more difficult to defeat than it has been over the last 5 years.

  • that should be “he got less under a Harper minority,…”

  • This has to be one of the most hyperbolic, nonsensical “progressive” attacks on the NDP I have ever read. The idea that the NDP should not court Liberal voters is patently absurd–it’s been the party’s mission since its inception. But it’s typical of mainstream thinking about Canadian politics that the NDP should be less left, less partisan, less like themselves, more centrist–you know, more Liberal. But after last night’s historic vote, isn’t that argument just a tad obsolete?

    The NDP, whatever you might think of their politics, provide a clear alternative to the Conservatives–and we will finally, after decades of mushy centrist/rightist nonsense, have a parliament of actual opponents, and the potential for real debate.

    A merger with the Liberals would only soften the edges–which, to my mind, has been the problem with the Conservative/Liberal hegemony of the last 40 years. Yes, vote-splitting is problematic, but I would much rather see the dissolution of the Liberal party than the gradual extinction of the NDP–which, make no mistake, is what would happen should the two join forces.

  • Had some of the 2,783,175 persons who voted LIBERAL, joined with the 4,508,474 who voted NEW DEMOCRAT, the 5,832,401 people who voted Conservative would not have elected a CONSERVATIVE administration. Your logic is flawed. Surely this was written by a bitter, bitter Liberal supporter. Removing the ‘bookmark’ I had on this site.

  • Blaming the Conservative majority on the NDP implies that if Dippers had had the decency to run a lousy campaign, the outcome would have been different. But I thought the Cons were headed for a majority in the first place so I don’t buy the premise. You can cite the polling and I can point out that the Cons with Harper at the helm have historically managed to bring in a bit more of the vote than the polling at the beginning of the campaign suggested so this election ran true to form.

    The Cons won because 40% of the population voted for them and in our system, if your vote happens to be efficient that’s all it takes. The responsibility for a Con victory lies with those voters. And the ultimate responsibility for a Liberal collapse lies with the Liberals’ inability to hold their vote share. They’ve never won back a lot of the support they once had and a great deal of what they’d managed to keep was soft. Why is that anyone else’s fault? And what does it accomplish by trying to make it someone else’s fault.

  • Rentier Fungicide

    Pogge: it is not true that 40% of the population supported the Conservatives. 39% of voters, out of 57% (I think) of the potential electorate, which must make it soemthing over 20 % of the population, surely the majority government with the smallest amount of public support in history.

  • I would agree that this article put too large a portion of the blame for the Liberal’s loss on the NDP. The liberal party lost largely because of their weak politicking.

    The NDP did however, as the article stated, shift their policy largely to the centre. They once had great progressive ideas. This election they had a centrist platform that echoed the Liberals, adding only voter friendly, but horribly constructed policy (such as the credit card cap).

    It was rare to hear the NDP attack the Liberal platform, only Ignatieff. Meanwhile, the Liberals focused only on Harper.

  • While I agree with your conclusion that a deal needs to be done, I disagree with the whole vote-spliting argument. Was there vote splitting? Sure.

    But look at what happened to Liberal stars and stalwarts-Dryden, Dallah, and even Volpe. These folks would have needed everyone who didn’t vote Conservative to have voted Liberal-and these are established people.

    But the real story is in Etobicoke-Lakeshore where the leader of the Libs is dumped by a neophyte-a TOTAL newbie. Sure you can point to vote splitting here, but the reality is that this was a rejection of the party a la Duceppe in Quebec.

    The analysis pre-election was that if the NDP got 30% of the vote then they needed to get over 100 seats to avoid a Tory majority. The analyst hadn’t counted on a Lib implosion. The NDP held up their end, the Libs didn’t and that’s why we’ll have the Bloc Alberta for 4 years.

  • Some of these comments are inanely one-sided. The correct response is that BOTH THE LIBERALS AND THE NDP are to blame for the Conservative Majority. Liberals didn’t run a competent campaign against the Tories and failed to respond to years of Harper attacks on Iggy, the NDP didn’t campaign strong enough in Western Ridings where they could have unseated the Conservatives (i.e. Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar), and both parties failed to cooperate through “strategic campaigning” (NDP won’t focus on southern Ontario, Liberals don’t focus on Northern Saskatchewan, stuff like that). The correct solution, if Canada is ever blessed with a minority parliament bearing numerous small parties, is to pass electoral reform – until then, individual electors should consider vote pairing.

  • “horribly constructed policy (such as the credit card cap)”

    While the credit card cap seems like a blatant populist ploy, the fact is giving credit to people unable to pay and make big money on high interest and fees is a major cause of poverty. Putting a cap on credit card interest would prevent banks from destroying people’s lives that way because they wouldn’t make money from giving people credit for things they can’t afford.

  • Why would you blame the NDP, rather than the widespread stupidity and ignorance of Canadians? Now we can have more prisons, even if they’re ineffective and more expensive. And we can be in lock step with the most bellicose, trigger-happy country on the planet. We can demonstrate to the world that we care nothing for beleaguered peoples. Or the environment. We can let the PMO and the PCO run the country for us. Any Canadian who knows nothing about these and many other issues either doesn’t read, or can’t. Do we have to get them all remedial lessons and library cards?

  • The NDP is certainly not to blame for an ineffective Liberal Party. Without the NDP surge, the Conservatives likely would have won a larger majority.

    The NDP did criticize Iggy’s attendance record, which reflected his typical acquiescence to Harper’s government. Having the NDP replace the Liberals as the main opposition and alternative to the Conservatives is a massive improvement.

    The NDP and Liberals signed a coalition agreement in 2008, but Iggy pulled out. Complaining about “NDP sectarianism” is way off base.

  • “Complaining about “NDP sectarianism” is way off base.”

    It is also the wrong word.

  • There are two issues here. One is that one might take a more “Marxist” view of the whole thing. Within this context one would obviously see the NDP as another party of the late-capitalist bourgeoise and as such they will play their part in globalization and neo-liberal economics. I think that there is a very real and convincing argument to be made here.

    On the other hand, if one puts aside this wider historical argument, the NDP is a party that is basically social democratic and is fighting the very worst aspects of modern capitalism. Surely in this context one cannot rationally “blame” the NDP for what has happened, per se. Yes, they have moved right and used some of the techniques we despise, but there is a catch 22 in such a critique. Blaming the NDP is absurd. The voters who voted for the Conservatives are to blame pure and simple. And surely the most problematic of them are the Liberals who went to the Cons in Ontario because of some misplaced fear of a “socialist” NDP. Criticizing Ignatieff’s attendance record was wrong and misplaced but probably had very little impact on the election.

    The right used to say you can have Capitalism with a human face, while the left demurred. Since globalization and the end of the long post-war boom we have changed places and it is the left who say you can have capitalism with a human face and the right that has demurred. The NDP is another typical slightly left party that is suggesting we can have a human face to late-capitalism. It is the Liberals who have to come along and and move away from the right of neo-liberalism. The reason that the Liberals have collapsed is very simply, they were perceived by many to be just a light version of the Cons. You simply can’t ‘blame’ the NDP for this.

  • Denise Freedman

    Blame seems to me to be a strange word, as if we can ascribe some sort of personality to the political economy.

    Having said that, I reflect on the nearly 20 years I spent active in the NDP, not as anywhere near the leadership, but in the trenches of ridings and campaigns. And as a delegate to provincial councils in Ontario, provincial conventions, and federal conventions.

    The most salient point in my memory is always being in the 1/3 of these bodies trying to keep the Party true to its principles against the technocrats, and the economists, who declared the way to get the votes is to move to the ‘centre.’

    Well, it ‘worked.’

    Nevertheless, the silver lining I see in this is now, finally, the NDP can vote what is left of its principles without fear of precipitating an election before it is ready, putting them before the electorate. The delay until 2015, or thereabouts, for the next election, will also allow for the organizing needed to prepare for the battle in Ontario.

    BTW, the electorate is ‘stupid’ as commented above, because that is the way it has been ‘educated.’

    In the strangest way, we become the thing we behold.

    The NDP became the technocratic organism it so wanted to be and in the process gave up the vision that once moved the likes of Tommy Douglas. There is serious doubt in my mind such a person could survive in the NDP of today, or his vision of single-payer.

    Early in the campaign, I first heard mention of “voter suppression” and thought of the Republicans in the United States in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004.

    But what happens in Canada, most capably practiced by the Conservatives, is the complete lack of vision, but with micro-targeting of small interest groups identified by its sophisticated campaign software, to shift the votes in targeted ridings.

    In my time in the NDP, a while ago now, there were beginnings of this.

    I like the bonhomie of Jack and I voted for the NDP incumbent in my riding (who was re-elected) but I wondered where the NDP vision was.

    This trend to technocratic electioneering has long been applied to the fabric of politics in Canada and elsewhere, inexorably by the economic ‘vision.’

    This is the way to win.

    I think the NDP, as much, possibly even more than the Liberals, must ask itself what is the purpose of winning.

  • “Without the NDP surge, the Conservatives likely would have won a larger majority.”

    How so? the NDP won a grand total of 4 seats from the Conservatives. Compare that with over 20 seats the Conservatives took from the Liberals by less than 5%

  • If the Bloc had collapsed without the NDP cleaning up in Quebec, the Conservatives probably would have gained seats there.

  • The Bloc would not have collapsed but for the NDP. This was a bad post and is now a silly conversation. The election is what it is. I am happy we have an NDP opposition and Con Gov which is better than a Lib opposition and a Con Gov. If the Cons had come from where the NDP came from the would be asking themselves how to form government in 5 years time. I suggest the NDP do the same.

  • Christopher Albertyn

    The challenge, I think, is how to build a broad social movement, with the NDP as the base, that represents the working class interest. That challenge involves extra parliamentary coordination of progressive groups, in collaboration with the NDP, and careful alliance building with progressive elements within the Liberals and the Greens. To have progressive parties competing with each other in an election when we have only the first-past-the-post system is a fruitless dispersal of progressive resources. Only once some elements of proportional representation are included (preferably not pure proportionality, but multi-member or some such variant) can progressive people afford the luxury of competing in an election against each other. Until then the battle is to combine until the social democratic party is in power.

  • Denise Freedman

    A broad social movement with the NDP as its base, that represents the interests of all those marginalized, is certainly something I support, Christopher Albertyn.

    In the late 80’s, I was part of something called the Campaign for an Activist Party, CAP for short, in the Ontario NDP: CAP in the NDP. It may even have been about the time Rae was elected, a time a bit like now.

    I met, and for a time worked, with Judy Rebick.

    I remember we had initialed caps. CAP caps, I guess.

    The idea was to have, among other things, an organizing department as part of the party apparatus to reach out, to do “extra parliamentary coordination of progressive groups” I suppose. Like most other leftish things in the NDP of that time, it was not adopted by the powers that were; it may not have been “fiscally responsible.”

    Maybe it will be different now.

    Maybe Rae will rejoin the party.

  • Elliott Anderson

    Almost every assertion made here is provably wrong.

    This post doesn’t meet the standards of Toronto Sun’s comments section, much less the PEF. Critique of the NDP is welcome but it should be based on something that’s accurate. This is a work of fiction.

  • Why don’t we blame the progressives for not campaigning and educating the public? Or joining/taking over traditional political parties?

    The left could merely fake being conservative and take over the conservative party from the inside out… FAKE RIGHT GO LEFT! The left doesn’t get that class war is a real thing and you have to play dirty and ‘fake it till you make it’.

    If you care about this country the left should be running as many candidates AS CONSERVATIVES as possible since the media has STIGMATIZED THE LEFT.

    You can’t compete with corporate media so if the left and progressives really care they should INVADE THE RIGHT WING, learn to talk the talk… FAKE RIGHT GO LEFT!

    That is the fundamental problem with progressives they won’t do whatever it takes to win because they don’t get in real life people don’t work on intellectual principles, they work on biology.

    You should understand why canadians are so ignorant here:


  • Be careful for what you wish for!

    A merger of the Liberals and NDP will cause a rapid Americanisation and “dedemocratisation” of Canada by turning us into a one and a half party state like the United States.

    A merger by the NDP and Liberals is precisely what Harper wants (I’m not prepared to make the blanket statement that all Conservatives are like minded!). Yes, the Conservatives will have to relinquish power but it will be exactly what his goal has been all along–to turn Canada into totalitarian regime modeled after the United State.

    A two-party US-style state is not a democracy as we can see “election” after “election” down there. It polarises politics but it also homogenizes it. Dissenting voices are no longer heard on the left and it becomes much easier for the extreme right-wing element to wrest control.

    Even under Canada’s anti-democratic first-past-the-post electoral system the right wing can only wrest control over the country when the center and left parties are ALL strong.

    This is the weakest “majority” government in living memory. 39% of the vote does not constitute a “mandate”.

    As for gratuitous Liberal bashing by commentators–give it a rest. What are you? Five years old? Grow up. Gratuitous NDP bashing is what caused Liberal voters to shift to the Conservatives.

    PS I find it interesting that the NDP is accused of splitting the vote but the Liberals aren’t! I’m no fan of the NDP (I would only consider voting NDP if I had to choose between a Conservative and an NDPer) but that’s an inaccurate characterisation of the situation.

    Elections are about wresting control and having a voice. Canada’s electoral system is fundamentally anti-democratic but it still does resemble a democratic system in that there are multiple competitive parties.

  • Bruce Livesey

    From today’s Toronto Star:

    “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.

    Or, to put it another way, Harper owes his majority to the voters of the GTA. His gains elsewhere were minimal. In fact, the Conservatives lost seats in both Quebec and British Columbia.

    The second notable fact is that most of these GTA gains resulted from vote splitting between Liberals and New Democrats — vote splitting that, ironically, was fuelled by a last minute surge of support toward Jack Layton’s NDP.”

    In other words, no vote-splitting, no Tory majority and we would have a coalition government led by Jack Layton.

  • It’s pretty funny that you blame the Ndp, when the Liberals could just as easily be blamed for splitting the vote. Given that the Liberals are a pathetic leaderless rump party with no principles, I think the sectarian charge applies more easily to them if anything

  • Bruce,

    You act as though anyone could tell what the results were going to be so that they could have voted strategically.

    Let me give you an example. In my riding in 2008 it was something like

    Cons 62%
    Bloc 25%
    NDP 10%

    In 2011:

    Con 44
    NDP 34
    Bloc 15

    Had I voted strategically based on the last election results I would have voted for Harper by voting for the Bloc.

    The other thing you are missing, which is in the article you quote, is that what made the NDP a possible contender for a minority government was the surge. In short, no surge no possibility of an NDP minority.

    Moreover, it was the liberals who ruled out a coalition government which meant that any pre-election agreement was off.

    Lastly, it was the Libs who decided to try and run a classic fake left campaign in the hopes of picking off soft NDP support rather than going right and picking off soft Con support.

  • Elliott Anderson

    And who is responsible for “vote splitting”?

    The Leader that tried to form a coalition government or the one that walked away from it?

    The Leader that said he was open to working together or the Leader that told everyone to shut up and get in the “big red tent”?

    In ridings around the 905 (Bramalea, Oshawa, Whitby) the NDP placed ahead of the Liberal. Should Layton have ordered his candidates to stand down?

    For years I disagreed with advocates of “strategic voting” but assumed that, at the very least, their hearts were somewhere close to the right space. But partisan affiliations are pretty clear when people attack Layton because he successfully rallied Canadians around an alternative taking out Cabinet Ministers and CPC MPs all – it has to be said – while the Liberal Party threw their resources into advertising that echoed Harper’s critique of the NDP.

    Bruce adds to this by spinning pure fiction about the issues that the NDP “didn’t address” which include a laundry list of issues the NDP actually DID address – relentlessly – during the campaign.

    Again, I don’t think this post meets the standards the PEF has set for itself.

  • Bruce, are you arguing that Layton could somehow have fine-tuned the NDP surge on a riding-by-riding basis to elect enough Liberals to stop a Conservative majority? Are you blaming Layton for choosing not to work this magic?

  • look at the numbers- the blue liberals are the one to blame, they are the ones that voted Tory and you can blame the media for ensuring every blue lib knew that JAck was a lot more scary than a Steven Harper Majority,

    I could easily make a case using the numbers. Look at the tory vote counts compared to 2008. THey are way up, and the libs are way down. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure it out.

    Blue libs destroyed the liberal party, not the NDP surge, come on Bruce.

  • Thomas Bergbusch

    Denise Freedman:

    Let us remember that Bob Rae was driven out of the party — he did not leave voluntarily — although he was and remains considerably more radical than either Layton or Mulcair (whose main claim to fame seems to have been supporting Charest’s privatization of healthcare as a provincial Liberal).

  • “although he was and remains considerably more radical”

    I am just going to call that brain fart.

  • Bruce Livesey

    I think people are missing a number of points.

    There is no question the first-past-the-post electoral system is responsible for us having a Tory majority: That splitting the vote occurred. Otherwise we would have a very different government today.

    Moreover, unless you’re dumber than a sack of stones, as a politician in Canada you know that splitting the vote is going to happen. Jack Layton and the NDP can’t contend they didn’t know there was a very good chance that splitting the vote could allow the Tories to get their coveted majority. Only a fool would suggest otherwise.

    Knowing that, what do you do? What the NDP decided to do once they saw the Liberals looked vulnerable was to go after Liberal voters. And Bloc voters. In doing so, they took their eye off the bigger picture, which was allowing the Tories to use the failings of the Canadian electoral system to get their majority.

    The thrust of my post was this: the working and middle classes are economically fucked right now and the Tories will continue to exacerbate this reality. We are doing badly and it will only get worse. And yet the NDP didn’t care enough about that reality to focus their efforts on ensuring the Tories didn’t get their majority. The Liberals, as bad as they are, are not as bad as the Tories when it comes to impoverishing the working and middle classes. Even during the Chretien years our tax system was better than the US system when it came to taxing the wealthy and corporate sector. Now the Tories are bringing us in line with the Republicans in this respect.

    Back in the early 1930s, Stalin ordered the German Communist Party to stop working with the Social Democrats in an alliance against the Nazis. He labelled the Social Democrats “social fascists”. The lack of unity of the left and liberal forces in Germany allowed the Nazis to come to power. The results, as we know, were disastrous.

    While I am not suggesting the Tories are Nazis, my point is that by splitting the progressive vote and not focusing on the really nasty enemy ( the Tories), the NDP have made matters worse for Canadians as a whole. Both the Liberals and NDP allowed themselves to be demonized by the Tories over the possibility of a coalition government.

    I am not dismissing the Liberals for their weak and anemic leadership and campaign as a factor in what happened. But the reason I say the NDP was sectarian is because in the heat of the fight they turned on the Liberals for reasons of political expediency, instead of focusing on the Tories and the horrors that would await us if a Tory majority was won.

    People in the NDP, I fear, are celebrating the fact they landed the best seats on the ship at the very moment the boat hits an iceberg and is heading underwater.

  • Do you also criticize the Liberals for attacking the NDP rather than exclusively focusing against the Conservatives?

  • When it looked like the NDP might be able to form government, I was thinking, “Then it’ll be time for genuine leftists to start switching to a new party, to build a left alternative to the NDP.” With a Harper majority, I’m with SM: we need to make this country ungovernable. And start working seriously on our French …

  • I am sorry to say this Bruce but I think you are missing what happened in the last few days.

    To me, this had nothing to do with the NDP, except that the rise within quebec, basically put them in a space as a contender, and that created a surge across the nation on two fronts.

    And the corp media played its role by very much over dramatizing the rise of the orange, and they did it to paint the picture for the blue liberals, that they had two choices- move to the tories, or suffer a worse fate, be the junior partner in a coalition with the NDP.

    It was very clear to me – even Harper’s last days were very much focused on sending liberals this message of the orange menace rising in Quebec. They even were calling for a NDP minority government. So to me, it was nothing to do with the NDP.

    It was the tories and the media that produced strategic voting within the Liberal party as everybody abandoned ship. Some went NDP but most went tory.

    This is a far different story from vote splitting initiated by the NDP. And hey the last days what would you expect a party to do when you know many of the liberals were being swayed to Harper instead of the NDP.

    Sorry I just do not buy your take on the election.

    THose last days were scaring the shit out of the corporate world and I am sure ever media outlet in the country was given marching orders to raise the socialist specter of Layton’s rise to power. Harper and crew knew they needed but a few more votes to get over the hump.

    Now it would take a bit of analysis to show such events.

    I am not saying vote splitting did not occur but my feeling is it was less vote splitting and more of the liberals moving to the tories.

  • just heard word that Frank Graves at ekos
    is now stating that similar to my point, it was blue liberals making a move at the last minute that won the tories their majority

  • “politician in Canada you know that splitting the vote is going to happen.”

    Most of the seat projections showed the Conservatives would get a minority. If the showed a majority I suspect that Layton would have used a somewhat different strategy.

  • At a certain point in the campaign, it became clear that if the Conservatives won a minority, the opposition would be NDP. That’s when the blue Liberals became in play.

    Obviously, it would have been massively in the NDP’s interest to do anything possible to save Liberal ridings where NDP candidates were weak.

    But it is not easy to see how that type of fine-tuning could have been pulled off at that point, even if Layton had tried. Nor is it obvious that the objective would be gained.

  • “I am not dismissing the Liberals for their weak and anemic leadership and campaign as a factor in what happened.”

    No but your post did not blame the Liberals for splitting the vote. The liberals could have downed tools and told their supporters to go NDP when it was clear that the NDP was at the very least going to form the OP. But of course it is the NDPs job to carry the water for their superiors.

  • Erin Wells stole that from me:

    “The other thing you [Bruce] are missing, which is in the article you quote, is that what made the NDP a possible contender for a minority government was the surge. In short, no surge no possibility of an NDP minority.”

  • Denise Freedman

    Throughout the campaign I remember Liberals, and others, declaring that the only way to stop the Conservatives was to vote Liberal because, after all, the NDP could never form a government. Ignatieef argued this himself quite loudly.

    I was at a demonstration organized by the Voices-Voix Coalition in Ottawa Centre with local candidates Jen Hunter, Green, Paul Dewar, NDP (incumbent and re-elected easily), and Mauril Belanger, Liberal, from Ottawa-East/Vanier. (Conservatives has not shown up to all-candidate events in Ottawa Centre for many years.) Belanger made, in this supposedly ‘non-partisan’ event, a bald appeal for strategic voting, i.e. Vote Liberal.

    In the closing days of the campaign when it was clear the ‘strategic’ choice was the NDP, did the Liberals change their appeal and declare for the NDP?

    I don’t think so.

    Did the NDP call for ‘strategic voting’ for them in the last days?

    I don’t remember hearing this.

  • And it’s unclear what Liberals now hope to accomplish by trying to overturn NDP victories in ridings where Liberals finished third or fourth.

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