Thursday, September 12, 2013

They've Come A Long Way, Baby

Tommy Douglas and David Lewis wouldn't recognize today's New Democratic Party. If you want to take the measure of how much the party has changed, start with economic policy. On that score, Tom Walkom writes, Thomas Mulcair and Stephen Harper aren't that different:

So how would a Mulcair government act? If the NDP leader’s comments are any indication, the answer to that question is: very, very cautiously.
First, he has rejected most tax increases. As he told the Bloomberg news service in March, an NDP government would not raise income taxes on the rich. Nor would it boost the federal portion of the HST.

Marginal tax rates on the well-to-do, he said are already too high.

However, Mulcair has left open the possibility of hiking corporate taxes. He says he would use any money raised there to fight poverty and bring back down to 65 the age at which Canadians can receive Old Age Security pensions.

But, perhaps most tellingly, Mulcair has bought into the austerity myth:

As part of its effort to appear fiscally responsible, the NDP has been promoting balanced budgets since Jack Layton was leader. What isn’t clear is the time frame involved. Harper has pledged to balance the books by 2015. Mulcair hasn’t yet committed himself to a zero-deficit date.
But at the same time, he hasn’t attacked the Conservatives for being too hasty in eliminating the fiscal shortfall. Rather, he criticizes them for bad management — for spending too much on the wrong things.

And, like Mr. Harper, Mulcair  wants to do big oil's bidding:

When he first became NDP leader, the former Quebec environment minister talked a lot about sustainable development. In particular, he talked of the need for Alberta tarsands operators to pay for the damage they are wreaking on the environment.
It was a reasonable position, but one that Mulcair doesn’t raise quite as much any more. Rather he talks of enforcing existing environmental standards. And he has promised the oil industry that an NDP government would be a reliable “partner” in developing the energy sector.

Under Mr. Mulcair, the New Democratic Party has ceased to be Canada's conscience and become a player:

Trade. Oil. Fiscal probity. If this sounds like a fairly conservative economic platform, that’s because it is.

 Mr. Douglas and Mr. Lewis would not be happy.


CK said...

Funny, Mulcair was a member of the Quebec Liberal Party under Jean Charest, and the party, under Charest, had veered to the right.

It has also been said that Mulcair oringinally wanted to join the Conservatives before moving to the NDP.

It must be added that even under Jack Layton, the NDP did support much of Harper's tough on crime bills, including the omnibus bill.

Many of my NDP friends who were members are no longer so because they feel that neither Jack nor Mulcair spoke out enough in support of universal health care.

Owen Gray said...

I can't imagine that the party's die hard supporters are happy, CK. The closer a party gets to power, the more it abandons what it calls its "principles."

Anonymous said...

Canadians have been abandoned by all the mainstream political parties for corporate largess. Well just have to stand up for ourselves, I guess.

Owen Gray said...

But to be effective, we'll have to be organized, Anon. That's what political parties are supposed to do for us.

We'll have to take back one of the parties.

The Mound of Sound said...

When will 'true believers' in the NDP realize their party has been commandeered and slipped its moorings under Layton/Mulcair? They have become what for decades they despised in other parties. We now see that they held their noble values cheaply. Their hypocrisy is breathtaking.
Mulcair has now served notice that he'll continue Layton's tactic of helping Harper by campaigning against the Liberals instead of against the Conservatives.

Layton was instrumental in bringing Harper to power by attacking Paul Martin. Layton was instrumental in Harper's ascendancy to majority by attacking Ignatieff. Mulcair seems intent on bolstering Harper's chance of a second majority by attacking Trudeau.

Together with the Liberals in their shift to the right, the NDP, as Latter Day Liberals, have greatly assisted Harper achieve his prime objective to shift Canada's political centre well and permanently to the right. For that they deserve to be cursed.

Owen Gray said...

The NDP is not the first party to sell its soul, Mound.

But let's have no illusions. They have joined the corporate crowd.

Dana said...

It's very interesting to me that now, in 2013, the people who attacked and ridiculed me for saying essentially the same thing in 2006 are utterly silent.

Owen Gray said...

It takes some people a long time to catch up, Dana -- and that embarrasses them.