Two things happened at the NDP convention over the weekend in Redmonton that demonstrate NDP voters don’t want to be a party that contends for governing the country and instead want to go back to being a principled rump.
The New Democrats all but adopted the Leap Manifesto meaning their policy now calls for killing large chunks of the Canadian economy. They also voted to turf Tom Mulcair, partly because the same people that wanted to adopt the radical manifesto, believe they lost the last election because they weren’t left wing enough.
Watch as I lay out out some facts you won’t hear anywhere else that disprove this.
They didn’t fail because they weren’t socialist enough or because Mulcair dragged the party to the centre. These fallacies are peddled by people who haven’t taken the time to analyze facts, trends and data.
Think about it: Can you recall a federal election where people spoke seriously about the prospect of the NDP winning? To even hear people say ‘the NDP lost the last election’ is remarkable enough. Why were they even thought of as contenders?
Mulcair came as close to winning as any NDP leader ever has. He did moderate the NDP to a left wing party that could still be fiscally responsible enough to attract swing voters. But, around September 17th, NDP fortunes started falling. Why? What happened? Did voters suddenly realize that Mulcair was not a woolly socialist?
No, this was the point where the niqab issue entered the debate with a September 15 ruling saying Zunera Ishaq could take the oath of citizenship wearing a niqab. Mulcair championed the ruling.
Until this point, Trudeau’s Liberals didn’t lead in a single poll. One week after the ruling, progressive voters across the country who wanted Harper’s Conservatives out, threw their lot in with the Liberals.
Media in English Canada downplayed the niqab issue trying to shame and guilt Canadians who opposed the ruling but in Quebec, opposition was widespread and debate constant. It was his stance on the niqab that lost the party the election.
For bringing the NDP closer than they ever got to winning, for building a base in Quebec where until he came along, they’d never elected an MP, and for building a national election machine capable of contesting for the highest office, his thanks is to be turfed and for the party to adopt the type of policies that used to get them 6% in elections.
I disagree with the NDP on pretty much anything but I think Mulcair got a raw deal. He’s being blamed for losing the election for the wrong reason.
By turfing Mulcair and adopting the Leap Manifesto’s rejection of capitalism, rejection of the oil industry and its push for cradle to grave socialism, the NDP is saying they would rather sit on the far left as the so-called conscience of Parliament.
Welcome to the new NDP, welcome back to obscurity.