Friday, May 16, 2014

In League With The Elite



Carol Goar believes that the NDP has forsaken its traditional role as the champion of the poor. That is the case with Tom Mulcair's federal party. And it certainly is the case with Andrea Horwath's provincial party. Goar writes:

Horwath is following a well-worn path as Star columnist Rick Salutin pointed out last week. Like Tony Blair’s “new” Labour Party, Fran├žois Hollande’s Socialist Party and Thomas Mulcair’s centrist federal NDP, she is seeking to transform her party into a mainstream alternative. She is not interested in being the conscience of the legislature or the standard-bearer for the principles of J.S. Woodsworth, Tommy Douglas and Stephen Lewis. 

Those who hoped that Horwath would push Kathleen Wynne to move further left have been bitterly disappointed:

So far, the NDP leader has promised to reduce government spending by $600 million a year; cut Ontario’s small business tax to 3 per cent (it is now 4.5 per cent); downsize the provincial cabinet by a third; remove the provincial portion of the HST from hydro bills and hand out $100 per household rebates; stabilize the child care system with a one-time infusion of $100 million; offer companies wage subsidies of up to $5,000 to hire a new worker; raise the minimum wage by 50 cents a year until 2016; increase Ontario’s corporate tax rate by an unspecified amount and balance the budget by 2017-18.

And Horwath rejected a budget that moved Ontario as far to the left as it has been in decades:

She triggered the election by rejecting the most progressive provincial budget in decades, one that would have raised the minimum wage, increased the Ontario Child Benefit, improved welfare rates, and provided more support to people with disabilities. She parted ways with the Ontario Federation of Labour and Unifor, the province’s largest private-sector union.

In its quest for power, any political party has to get close to the big money. The NDP is now firmly aligned with the financial elite.


10 comments:

Rural said...

Elizabeth May of the federal greens seems to be one of the few who is the 'conscience of the legislature'. It remains to be seen if the Ontario Greens will get a chance to show if they have the same dedication to democratic process.

Owen Gray said...

My hunch is that, if J.S. Woodsworth, Tommy Douglas and David Lewis were looking for a political home these days, Rural, they'd join the Green Party.

Kirby Evans said...

I don't think any socialist worth their salt would join the Greens in their present incarnation. Their policies favour what are de facto market solutions to problems created by the market.

Having said that I don't know that if Woodsworth, Douglas, and Lewis (et al) were looking for a political home that would find one at all. We live in dark times for those that reject wholesale capitalism. There are some promising movements on the margins and in academia but these ideas are only entering the mainstream very slowly.

Owen Gray said...

I agree that the Greens care more about saving the planet than they do about saving the poor, Kirby.

But, if the planet is to be saved, the economic model we are living with has to change. In that sense, Woodsworth et al. might feel more comfortable with the Greens than with the present NDP.

Kirby Evans said...

While I agree that the NDP is going nowhere fast, the choice between the poor and the planet is an entirely false one. Instead of looking to market forces to solve the environmental problem (and the entire Green plan essentially consists of putting a price on carbon so that the market will make the adjustment), we need an extensive and profound reallocation of resources to create alternatives that will not only help the environment but will create greater equality.

Owen Gray said...

And there's the rub, Kirby. Do we need a new party to work toward that goal? Or do we change one of the existing parties from the inside?

liberalandlovingit said...

I never imagined the NDP would go that way.
We had a New Dem in Ottawa from our riding for a long time.

Dana said...

Try and enjoy life. There's nothing can be done now.

Owen Gray said...

The corporate elite marches on, Dana.

Owen Gray said...

They're adrift from their moorings, Loving It. In their quest for the brass ring, they've jettisoned their collective conscience.