Monday, July 28, 2014

Democratic Dipper Values In Action

Oh, this is brilliant:
Long-time Progressive Conservative MLA Bev Harrison invoked the memory of former British prime minister Winston Churchill as he confirmed on Friday that he will run for the NDP in the next provincial election.

Harrison appeared with NDP Leader Dominic Cardy at a news conference on Friday to confirm that he will run for the NDP in the Sept. 22 election.

... The NDP’s riding of Hampton is in tumult with resignations, allegations of heavy-handed politics and party switching.

Pat Hanratty, the riding association’s president and a former president of the provincial party, resigned this week and posted on Facebook that he was quitting the "Un democratic party", adding, "I'll be back when the reign of terror is over."

And the riding’s previously announced candidate for nomination, Chris Rendell, has had his approval revoked suddenly.

Rendell said the party is pushing him aside in favour of Harrison.
"What's really going on is a cut-throat vicious group of people in Fredericton who are willing to do whatever it takes to clear the way,” he said.

I've heard a lot of stories out of the New Brunswick NDP recently, some good and some, like above, obviously bad. This is clearly a sign of the times, as NDPers around the country are attempting to turn into Harper-lite groups in their attempts to win elections.

Now I'm not saying getting this sitting MLA to run for you is a bad idea, nor that my own party doesn't have its kinks and questionable practices here and there. As far as I'm aware though, we've yet to shunt aside a nominated candidate in favour of an incumbent aisle-crosser this year, and even if we have somehow, we don't ride high horses into town on a regular basis to begin with. The NDP, from coast to coast, do.

Its also confirming the trend of the NDP moving to a hazily defined "right," which is either characterized by crass populism, legitimate policy shifts, or bold-faced retreating from its traditional roots

I'm not a personal fan of this attempt to schmooze up the electorate from the NDP. Yes, its a good idea to moderate your policy positions in order to cast your appeal to the widest possible pool of voters.... but its not helpful to alienate voters at the same time. 

The recent Ontario election is a good example of what happens when, in an attempt to gain voters, you then start to lose them. Yes, Horwath gained new voters in Southwestern Ontario's smaller cities - areas where the population isn't growing, the voters are fickle, and your in competition with the Conservatives and thus need to modulate your appeal to Conservative voters. Meanwhile, she loses supporters in Toronto where the Liberals can pick up voters, take old strongholds, and help pad their own margins against Conservative competition in this fast-growing area.

Now, to point out that may be the right strategy to pursue for the NB NDP, considering their small stature and nowhere-to-go-but-up position in the province's political spectrum. So, who knows, maybe sacrificing their values that they tended to hold so high was worth it - or... well, maybe not. 

Either way, damn shame. Hopefully Mr. Rendell will find another party to join soon enough.


  1. I don't find an ex-Tory running as a Dipper to be a problem. The NDP could always claim that they are attracting candidates who were previously attracted to other parties - signalling growth. The only exception is if the Tory was an extreme-right winger, then that would be just opportunistic, confusing and weird.

    My only issue is that the party revoked the nomination of the previous candidate for silly reasons. Moreover, this has happened with the federal NDP recently in BC. Where they barred a pro-Palestine candidate from seeking nomination. Ironically, the individual was the son of a former NDP MP!

    I feel post-2011, the NDP (federally and all provincial counterparts) has lost its way. Sure under Layton there were some shameless populist policies (for a while it seemed like the federal NDP only cared about taking the HST off home heating), but things have really gone south post-Layton.

    I do not understand who these NDP strategists and organizers are. They make one terrible decision after another. As a result, they have a frustrated base and they are pushing swing voters away into the arms of their opposition.

    Federal - The NDP is now essentially a small-L Liberal Party. Why vote NDP when the Liberals offer most of the same policy and they are more likely to be elected?

    What's the NDP strategy against Trudeau? Seems like they are just waiting for him to implode. Sometimes they attack the current Liberals by linking them to the Chretien era or that they aren't much different from the Tories (like the NDP would be any different). These attacks won't stick against Trudeau.

    It seems as if the NDP was not prepared to face a resurgent Liberal Party. Did these guys think the Liberals would be finished for good after the Ignatieff disaster.

    Mulcair does well in the HoC. He is a competent guy. He has a strong front bench with the likes of Charlie Angus, Peter Julian, Nathan Cullen, Meghan Leslie, Paul Dewar, Peggy Nash, Craig Scott, David Christopherson, Jack Harris, Brian Masse etc. To use a sports metaphor - this "golden generation" of NDP MPs will not be seeing power.

    Provincially, things have been worse. Horwath ran a terrible campaign in the last election. She alienated downtown supporters and didnt actually win any new seats in the Southwest. She held on to the ridings she won in by elections and gained seats in places the NDP won before - big whoop! Her party's seat count remained the same. Horwath supporters like to claim how the party's popular support went up - yeah it went up by 1%. That is disappointing considered Horwath was at nearly 30% support for over a year, plus her opponents were the scandal plagued Liberals and unpopular PCs.

    In BC, the NDP squandered a 20 point lead and lost what was should have been the most easy-to-win election for the party, anywhere in the country, in decades. The party failed to inspire the base and pushed moderates to Christy Clark.

    In NS, Dexter didn't learn from the mistakes of a Rae and squandered a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the party. In Manitoba, Selinger is running a tired government that is bleeding support to the third party Liberals. In NFLD, they squandered their good polling numbers and then there was a caucus revolt. Their leader in Alberta resigned. In Saskatchewan they have to wait till Brad Wall resigns before even thinking about power.

    Yeah... not looking good for this party.