Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Canadian political update - NDP Leap, Trudeau pipelines, CPC Race, and more!

There's so much going on it's difficult to clear away the mud.

The NDP party had their convention just down the street from me and there were big splashes made by the members.

1.  Adoption of the Leap Manifesto, which wants to move Canada from carbon-based energy toward alternatives

2.  The sacking of Tom Mulcair as leader

I believe the two go hand-in-hand.  There was an obvious concerted effort to move the NDP back to the left from where Angry Friendly Tom took them toward the bigger centre during the last federal election, although that's not really why they lost.  The Leap Manifesto which is the brain-child of author Naomi Klein, and Stephen Lewis' son, Avi "calls for an overhaul of the capitalist economy to wean the country quickly off fossil fuels. Among other things, it calls for no new pipelines, which Notley told delegates are crucial to revive Alberta’s resource-based economy." (source).

So here we have an NDP party in Alberta that moved to the middle with populist anti-PC policies and won big time and now a premier who is defending the need to build pipelines as they realize resource and corporate tax revenue from this industry "ARE CRUCIAL" to building the economy, providing jobs, and spending on social programs like, you know, free health care.

Of course, we knew this all along.

But by "we", I don't mean the federal NDP members who voted for this manifesto.

So with this huge rift in probably the most major policy direction a party can decide on, Alberta, including the NDP here (or maybe just the premier and finance minister) are isolated from most of the country once again.

Why did Tom lose but Rachel won?

Back on the point why Tom lost and Rachel won.  Despite there being similar disdain for the status quo between the Alberta PCs and Harper's CPC, and despite both Tom and Rachel taking their party campaign promises toward the mushy-middle, there are two points that differ:

1.  In Alberta, the usual middle occupied by the Liberals and also the Alberta Party were no where near to a capable political threat to anyone, allowing the NDP to grab centrist voters.  Where federally, the strong Trudeau Liberal campaign engulfed the increasing vacuum from the left (see next point), and tired blue liberals who'd been voting Harper instead of Ignatieff and Dion previously.

2.  The Notley NDP campaign was flawless, where the Mulcair campaign was flawed and it bled support to Trudeau.

With debate zingers from Notley to Prentice like "math is hard", that feisty Albertan character is well liked by all.

Federally, the NDP war room was non-existent and eventually took a beating from both sides without response.  There were no feisty zingers from Tom, just awkward smiles.  Thomas (as he was formally known) Mulcair became NDP leader because of his Quebec pedigree, his respect as a tactful parliamentarian, and because of his angry moniker.   At his core though, Tom is a Charest Liberal, not a socialist and even Dippers know it.  

Many early soft NDP supporters were hoping Tom would continue to ride the coattails of the lovable, late, great Jack Layton, who, EQUALLY took the party toward the promise-land of the policy centre, but Tom's campaign didn't seem genuine, nor was it effective, unlike Jack's triumph to Official Opposition for first time in party history.

In this sense, Rachel successfully pulled from the Book of Layton and won huge, whereas Tom didn't execute and the NDP were reduced back to where they traditionally were known for--third party socialists.

Because of that, it left the door open for the actual socialists (or anti-capitalists as they like to negatively call themselves sometimes) to retake the party, which they did last weekend in Edmonton of all places.

Weak NDP = Conservatives remain in opposition

For Conservatives, this just sucks.  Having a stronger NDP ensured competition with the Liberals in order for CPC candidates to "shoot up the middle" in a pile of ridings to take the crown.  And because of that, this will further ensure the reestablishment of the long-standing Liberal hegemony as the seemingly most successful political party in the history of democracy.

And further to that, prime minister Justin Trudeau, in true Liberal form, is successfully playing both sides on this great debate.  Sustainable environment populist selfies on one-hand, and back room handshakes on Energy East pipelines on the other.  Politically, it's a novel, diplomatic approach, but time will tell if it plays out successfully, or if it continues to be bashed back and forth like a shuttlecock.

Conservative Leadership Race

Now moving from the centre to the right, the Conservative leadership "race" got an injection of libertarianism with the expected announcement from former cabinet minister and current Quebec MP Maxime Bernier that he's seeking the leadership.

Meanwhile, more popular candidates like former PC leader and CPC justice/defense minister Peter Mackay and Trump-Canada's Kevin O'Leary continue to remain in the mainstream spotlight, while Calgary MP Michelle Rempel continues her social media journey in the wilderness gaining interest with her Calgary-ghost town jobs fair.

All that said, very very few folks I know are talking about the CPC race, likely because their immediate attention and desperation is on Notley and Trudeau to make nice and let Energy East happen...

not on great leap backward rainbow manifestos.

1 comment:

Josh said...

I agree that their manifesto is at some points incorrect. But you have to admit that the global warming issues are something we have to take seriously.