Federal NDP must change

Party needs to more firmly establish its place in Canadian politics

ader, and the fact that one sixth  of all MPs in Parliament are now Quebec NDP, raise profound issues which are going to have to be dragged out from under the mat where they have been swept for years.

The party above all has to come out with distinct and major alternatives to the other parties, which it has so far signally failed to do. I speak as a reluctant ex-member.

As a direct result, it has languished in distant third position, managing small increases across the country last May — until the Quebec results rolled in, and we found the Bloc had disappeared and almost all their support had transferred to the NDP.

Explanations for this phenomenon are scarce and iffy, and it is unlikely to be repeated as it seemed heavily dependent on Jack Layton’s unique touch.

So to prevent its dissipation in provincial rivalries and internecine squabbles, the party must offer distinctly different ideas, not marginal variations, and concentrate on them at all costs.

Some things are certain — the ludicrous distortions in our electoral system; the massive private donations which buy party policies; above all the unquestioned commitment to privatized debt funding for governments at stupendous and rising cost to the country — these are unsustainable, and it is increasingly obvious.

Such predominantly Liberal/Conservative policies have not changed in 30 years and show no sign of changing now.

To pull meaning from Mr. Layton’s loss, this is a golden chance to put right our desperately bent funding processes for parties and governments, and give real meaning to the words “electoral choice” which is simply absent today.

Russ Vinden





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