Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why I Can no Longer Vote NDP. At Least Not for Now.

After the party of Sir John A. MacDonald folded in 2003, I began voting NDP. I had read somewhere that Flora MacDonald was, so I figured what was good enough for Flora was good enough for me.

But after watching the horrendous attacks on President Obama for the past two years, with cries of his being a 'Socialist' and even a 'Communist' , I realized that if the NDP ever formed a government, corporate Canada and their myriad of think tanks, would never allow them to govern.

One of my favourite columnists, Gerald Kaplan, wrote a piece recently, The hidden history of Bob Rae’s government in Ontario. I had covered this in another posting, outlining how the National Citizens Coalition and their spin-off Ontarians for Responsible Government, spent enormous amounts of money, running constant attack ads, that included the NCC classic billboards.

But Kaplan reveals that the assault on Rae and the NDP in Ontario, went much deeper.
... within months Mr. Rae's government faced an unrelenting, brutal four-year onslaught that was unprecedented in Canadian history. The attacks came from all sides. It is no exaggeration to say hysterical fear-mongering and sabotage was the order of the day. Launched within the very first year of the new government, the attackers included every manner of business big and small, both Canadian and American-owned, almost all private media, the police (especially in Toronto), landlords and lobbying/government relations firms. Their goal was clear, and they had the money and power to achieve it.

They were determined to undermine the government every step of the way, to frustrate the implementation of its plans and to assure its ultimate defeat. In all three goals they were successful. The considerable achievements of the government – often forgotten or dismissed –were wrought in the face of a deep recession and ferocious obstruction.
In Thomas Walkom's book Rae Days, he suggests that the story is one of political naivete and broken promises, and calls Rae "lazy" and "inconsistent". The only critique I would agree with is the naivete. Bob Rae did a good job during a double dip recession, but he was forced to continually play defense. He naively thought he was running the province.

But if he gave business concessions, the left were enraged. If he gave the left concessions, business was enraged. And unfortunately, business had all the money necessary to manipulate public opinion.

President Obama has recently accused the Republicans of using foreign money to fund their attack ads against him in the run-up to the mid-term elections.
"It could be the oil industry" funding the ads, Obama told a Democratic rally today in Philadelphia. "It could be the insurance industry, it could even be foreign-owned corporations. You don't know because they don't have to disclose."
He's probably right. Canadians were responsible for some of the ads against Obama's healthcare plan, and Americans funded Stephen Harper's anti same-sex marriage campaign, that helped him get him elected in 2006.

It's sad because Obama is a good president with a genuine concern for his country. But the Republicans and Fox News have poisoned the well to the extent that there may no longer be any hope of restoring sanity to American politics.

And Harper's neocons are determined to do the same here. They will create their own tea party, and stop at nothing to make sure sure that multinational corporations are still running our country. They would view the NDP as their biggest obstacle and it would be guerrilla warfare.

It's sad really, because the NDP are more social democrat that socialist. But it won't matter. I can see the placards now.

I'm not really anti-corporation, and believe that we need a healthy business community, but at present they are getting the most, while contributing the least, and that has to stop.

We need to get our country back so that I no longer have to decide on what party I support, based of which one will be the least likely to be destroyed by the corporate sector and their neoconservative puppets.

Tommy Douglas deserves better.


  1. I know this is also naive, Emily, but it has always been my belief that equal taxes across the board would result in plenty of revenue for federal and provincial governments. Say 10%, because it's easy to figure out. If pensioners paid 10%, it wouldn't kill them, and if big business paid 10% instead of receiving tax concessions, it wouldn't kill them, either. Of course it would mean less work for Revenue Canada employees, because even I can figure out 10% of just about any number.
    In the meantime, you're right, the NDP are more social democrat than socialist, but one's vote for them might be a wasted vote in the Liberals are the only party capable of standing up to the reform-alliance-cons.

  2. Tommy Douglas expected crapalooza. He and his contemporaries carved out things the 'no way but up from this bottom' way, in the face of hardliner talk and balking. He had the advantage of being witty enough the media would report what he said, and activists and voters close enough to disaster to strive enmasse for something radically different from what was benefiting a small, already privileged sector of society.

    Obama is not the NDP. He represents the fact that rightwingers with deep pockets and a renewed respect for outright lying will go after *any* party/person that does not cleave to the accepted authoritarian purity of the moment.

    In Canada, that means every time anyone -- Liberal, NDP, Green, whistleblower, union, activist, author, scientist, bureaucrat, etc, gets media attention that is not part of the accepted message, the rightwinger authoritarians are going for blood at full fang.

    In the end, what I'm saying is, vote for who pleases you because it won't matter who gets into power. The past five years in North America, proves in spades that so long as they're not the authoritarian zombie party, they will be savaged as whatever will make voters abandon them.

    When the voters themselves aren't disenfranchised somehow.

  3. I like the NDP and what they stand for. But the corporate sector have such an "in" now that it would be a nightmare for this country. Not because the NDP can't govern but becasue they would not be allowed to. It would be Ontario all over again. I hate it.

    I still won't campaign against people like Libby Davies, Pat Martin or Charlie Angus. I so hoped we could have a coalition government and that those people would end up in cabinet. Such a waste.

    But Harper's poisoned that too.

  4. You're right Niles. And it's very sad. Tommy Douglas and the CCF/NDP started out as a western protest party but they gained support because they had more to offer than simply western protest. Like Tommy Douglas, Ed Broadbent was one of the best prime ministers who never was.

    I'm still optomistic that we can change things. I haven't thrown in the towel yet.