Sunday, November 16, 2014

Why I will NOT vote NDP in the next Election. . .

If the NDP was looking to create reasons for us not for vote for them then their past year has been a resounding success both provincially here in Ontario and Federally. If you want to know what is wrong with the contemporary NDP you need look no further than this weekend's Ontario NDP convention. Despite Andrea Horwath's miserable failure as NDP leader, yesterday at their convention she underwent an obligatory leadership review and received more support than she did last year. If you are having trouble letting that sink in, I will repeat it for you. She received more support than she did last year. Andrea Horwath is an embarrassment to the NDP that extends well beyond Ontario's borders and a poster-girl for hypocrisy. As you will recall, after supporting the minority Liberal Government for years, in their last budget round she suddenly decided to pull that support and force Ontario into an election. This election held serious problems beyond Ms. Horwath's crass and crude style. The plain truth is that the Liberal budget was arguably left of any budget that Horwath herself would have presented if she had been premier and at the very least if an NDP government had presented this budget Horwath would have been the first to champion it as a great leap forward. This is just hypocrisy. There is no other word for it.

But aside from this act of unabashed hypocrisy, it was the political style of the Horwath campaign that progressives should find most troubling. Whether or not Horwath has taken the party to the right is something many people have argued about. But regardless of the veracity of the claim, many traditional NDP supporters were concerned during the election and this concern prompted 34 NDP heavyweights to write an open letter to Horwath saying that they she was "rushing to the centre." The people who wrote this letter, like Judy Rebbick for example, surely did not take this step lightly and the very fact that it emerged demonstrated that there was a serious breach taking place in the Party's core. Did Horwath or her team take these issues seriously the way anyone committed to democracy should do? Of course not. Instead they accused thee NDP 34 of being "hacks" and "has-beens" and NDP strategist Kathleen Monk even went so far as to suggest that they were working for the another political party and intentionally sabotaging the Horwath campaign. That accusation in and of itself is reason enough to never vote NDP again.

This Karl Rove/Stephen Harper strategy-style has not only infected the Ontario NDP, it has become the stock-in-trade of the federal NDP under the leadership of Tom Mulcair. Let's take two important events in recent NDP history. First, the NDP's prevention of the nomination of Paul Manley. The NDP clearly blocked Mr. Manley's nomination because of his (and his father's) stance on Israel, particularly on the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. Not only did the NDP deny that this was the reason for blocking Manley's nomination (a denial that is universally suspected to be false) but, more importantly they  adopted the Harper political strategy and proceeded to smear him publicly. Manley claims that in private the NDP admitted that Palestine was the reason that they denied him a nomination. The NDP denied that claim, but when Manley asked for a written reason for the blocking of his nomination, the NDP, in true UN-Democratic style flatly refused. But the wording of this refusal was deeply problematic. Andrew Mitrovica wrote about it on ipolitics in an article well-titled, "Is Mulcair just another Harper with a Beard?" Mitrovica wrote -

"To blunt the blowback, McGrath (The NDP's National Director) wrote concerned and outraged NDP supporters, telling them "I can assure you the issue being cited in stories and social media about Manely's rejected application is not accurate. The rejection is not related to the NDP's position on the Middle East." That just poured gasoline on an already out of control fire. Not surprisingly, Paul Manley saw this as a "smear" because it leaves open the possibility that he was guilty of some immoral, illegal, or unethical act."

Mr. Manley rightly pointed out that this was not a job application but was supposed to be part of a democratic process. It is one thing for a Party to block nominations, but to fail to give reasons for that is an entirely different matter and is blatantly untransparent and smells distinctly undemocratic. Mr. Manley is correct to see what Anne McGrath said as a blatant smear because the vocal refusal to explain the blocking of the nomination coupled with a denial that it is Manley's stance on Gaza suggests to anyone who is paying attention that the nomination prevention is rooted in something nefarious of which Mr. Manley is guilty.

But worse than their treatment of Paul Manley was the NDP's treatment of MP Sana Hassainia. Ms. Hassainia ostensibly quit the NDP over their overt support of Israel and their failure to defend the rights of Palestinians. Though the Party did attempt to defend its position in the days following Ms. Hassainia's resignation,  (a defence which in my opinion was sorely wanting) they quickly reverted to their Harperesque default position which was to attack and smear Mr. Hassainia. Party spokespersons quickly suggested that Ms. Hassainia had a terrible attendance record in the House and that she was too busy being a new mother to be an effective MP. The entire affair was nauseatingly reminiscent of  the Harper regime's attitude toward anyone who disagrees with them.

The fact is that there are many significant policy reasons for progressives to stop supporting the NDP. But increasingly there are also many other reasons to reject the poison politics of the NDP and the provincial and federal levels alike. There is no question that the Harper regime has poisoned Canadian politics. But the NDP can choose to follow the Harper example or to operate with integrity, transparency, and honesty. It is increasingly clear that they have rejected the path of good and opted for the path of poison.


Anonymous said...

Yep, that they clearly have,especially under Mulcair even more so than under Layton. One of the arguments I used to make for stopping the rise of Harper was that we needed to make him and his approach fail to avoid exactly this kind of corruption of our political system, because if his methods were seen to work, or worse, the only way to win, then perforce the other parties would be forced to adopt it to the detriment of us all.

Watching how the NDP jumped all of Trudeau last week for his actions was another indication of this in action IMHO, that was one of the most disgusting things I've seen in a looooooong time. Once Trudeau was put in that position he had no choice, and one of the most irksome things for me was Mulcairs pious act about how he placed the needs of the victim first before all else. Easy enough for him to do since only the victims were under his authority, not so for Trudeau. Not to mention that the leader of a political party has literally the legal/fiduciary responsibility to be looking out for the protection and best interests of the party he leads, which meant once Trudeau was placed in this position by MPs of a party which clearly has him and his party in their sights he was left with no choice but to do something, and given the dearth of actual options open to him he did what really was about his only choice.

For that he got excoriated by Mulcair, Leslie, and their Whip (can't remember how to spell her name), who argued he could have done things differently yet never actually said how, and claimed Mulcair and Trudeau could have worked ot a process quietly that protected the victims. Well, when the Whips were talking to each other about this we are supposed to believe the NDP Whip left her boss ignorant of what was going on? Really? Worse, if that was true demonstrates some serious leadership issues within the top rank of the NDP caucus, and if false (as I believe it to be) shows just what kind of political hay they are trying to manufacture here.

As you noted part of the problem with the modern NDP is that they are learning, and worse, implementing, all the worst lessons from how Harper took his brand of ideological government from unelectable to the PMO. They have shown that their principles where democratic responsible government are concerned to be secondary to their lust for power. They have shown that no longer are they the party of principles first but just another party of expediency wrapped in the cloak of their history when they were such a principled party. Me, I've been waiting over the past decade to see how long it took for the true believer Dippers in the voting public to realize that this NDP is not the NDP of old, that it lies to them as much as any other party does looking for their vote, and takes their rock solid support for granted thinking where else can they go, much the same as the CPC has with the socons.

to be concluded...

Anonymous said...


As I noted at Cathie's place the other week to you I have my own issues with the NDP and I explained them there, so I will not do so at the moment here. I will say that I find your reasons both valid and significant, and I wonder how many others like you are out these these days that the NDP are assuming are in their camp but have quietly been moved into the disgust you feel. I suspect you may well be one of many, there does seem to be a mood in the wider Canadian public these days that seems to have little sympathy/trust in the NDP despite being the Official Opposition, especially since Trudeau showed up. These days it is almost as if the NDP never became the OO, and Mulcair the LOO given the way the wider public seems to be looking at their vote, and even many progressives appear to be either afraid of vote splitting aiding Harper again, or that and/or have become disenchanted with the NDP for becoming too much like the mirror of the Harper CPC in how it acts.

I've got to say though, the Horwath thing truly baffles me, she cost them influence and power in her decisions and in her campaigning. Six months prior to that election she and her party were seen as a real contender for government, yet in the end she ended up with the same number of seats and a bare 1% increase in voter support? How in any sane persons mind is this a record to be confident in?


Kirby Evans said...

THanks for the comment Scotian. We seem to read the NDP in very similar ways. I agree that the spectacle of the NDP attracting Trudeau was one of the most blatant political 'set-ups' I have ever seen. I don't know what the future holds but it looks dim. I think if all the parties keep representing nothing but the corporate agenda then they will eventually face total social breakdown and potential revolution. If the human race endures then history will read our political leaders in the same ways that we now see the corrupt Roman Senators and other such groups.

Marie Snyder said...

I completely agree. I remember about 4 years ago talking to my MPP about the shift to the right, and she just denied that anything of the sort was happening. I fear that some party members get so loyal to the party that they miss these serious problems, and then the problems just get worse. They might get more votes sitting closer to centre, but they're no longer the NDP of Stephen Lewis' day.

Ron Waller said...

The flaky left who think the Wynne Liberals are progressive never learned to think for themselves. They get all their information from the Toronto Star which is blatantly Liberal partisan.

Anyone who knows anything about what progressive means, knows that privatization, billions in spending cuts, billions in corporate tax cuts are not progressive or even centrist policies.

As Churchill said, the best case against democracy is to spend 5 minutes talking with the average person about the issues. This includes dingbat activists with their heads up their pretty little asses.