Saturday, November 19, 2011

No, Paul Dewar, the NDP Has the Most to Grow in Ontario

Paul Dewar, NDP leadership candidate and MP for Ottawa Centre, has a very silly quote attributed to him:

"The orange wave stopped in Manitoba..."

No, the orange wave really stopped in Ontario, where the NDP's small 7-point rise but failure to capitalize upon those gains to provide counterbalance to the Conservatives allowed that party to earn a majority government.

Now, don't get me wrong, as the NDP's numbers in the West are historically weak - 32% in BC (vs. 37% high), 16% in AB (vs. 17% high), 32% in Saskatchewan (vs. 44% high), and 25% in Manitoba (vs. 33% high), which is roughly 28% in the Prairies (vs. a 38ish% high). There's definitely room to grow, and Dewar is right that the NDP need something of a "Western agenda," just as the Liberals do.

Let's get one thing clear here, though: the Conservatives have a lock on this region, and the NDP are unlikely to overturn it any time soon. Especially lead by a left-of-centre Ontarian. But I digress - let's do the math.

If we assume that the next election sees the NDP target at least its highs in each region, and we assume that most of those voters are taken from the Conservatives (which would need to happen, since the Liberal vote is, well, lol), here's what we'd get:

BC - 19 Con, 14 NDP, 2 Lib, 1 Grn
AB - 27 Con, 1 NDP
SK - 7 NDP, 6 Con, 1 Lib
MB - 9 Con, 4 NDP, 1 Lib
(PR - 15 Con, 11 NDP, 2 Lib)

In total, add on to their current numbers and you get 117 New Democrats.

Not exactly a surge of support, is it?

And let's be clear here that while a take over of Saskatchewan is entirely possible by the NDP, takeovers of Manitoba and BC are a lot harder than they seem, while Alberta will be impossible (said that about Quebec too, didn't we? Don't kid yourselves though - Alberta is nothing like Quebec).You'd be going up against entrenched conservatism and Conservative adherence that is simply not friendly towards the NDP, not like Quebec, with its quasi-federalist/nationalist social democratic population, something the NDP appealed to.

Here's a hint, NDP leadership candidates - especially ones from Ontario, like Dewar - focus on your home province. Ontario offers your best chance of picking up seats and effectively taking away from the Conservatives with less effort than is required to tackle the Western Conservative juggernaut.

Plus, let's face it - any successful non-Conservative coalition has been made up of Quebec and Ontario, not Quebec and Western Canada.

The NDP could easily win over 50 seats in Ontario if they applied themselves. So far, they haven't, and they're consistently behind the Liberals in polls in Canada's largest province. Twenty-two seats is not enough, Dippers - you need to at least double that.

So, Western agenda? Maybe. But how about an Ontario agenda as well? It's the place to grow.


  1. Onario is heavily capitalist - honest, hardworking burgers who don't think dallying with socialists is wise if those socialists don't want to change and acknowledge that social democracy and capitalism can go hand in hand (as they do in most European states).

    So there is a definite ceiling on NDP growth in Ontario until such time (if?) wiser heads prevail in that party, face down the unions, push the party into the 21st century, and change their constitution and policies to more meaningful ones in a modern, industrialized democracy.

    The Orange Surge needs an internal surge towards social democracy for it to continue.

    And the chances of that happening under Brian Topp are nil, under Mulcair slender, and debatable under any other of the leaders, based on their total silence on reform of the party so far in the campaign.

    Where is the Canadian Blair and Gordon that the NDP so badly needs? Without them, there is very little chance of the NDP becoming a government with a majority of seats in the House.

  2. Tony Blair? Oh great! Another Bush best buddy and war mongerer! We already got one in the PMO, thanks.