You may not like the Conservatives, Tom Walkom writes. But they know who they are. In the last election, Canadians decided that they didn't like the New Democrats, either -- but for a different reason: the Dippers didn't know who they were:
By comparison, the New Democrats are fuzzy. Party insiders might be able to decipher the amalgam of prairie populism, left-liberalism and Swedish-style social democracy that informs the NDP.
But most voters can’t. Indeed, as New Democrat stalwart Tom Parkin wrote for the Postmedia chain this week, too many “promiscuous progressives” think the Liberals and NDP are interchangeable.Ironically, the NDP itself is to a large extent responsible for this confusion. In an effort to attract voters, it has downplayed its historical connections to democratic socialism and its ties to unions.
Instead, it has deliberately embraced policies — such as balanced budgets and low taxes for small business — that it thought would appeal to centrists.
In their quest for power, the New Democrats sold theirs souls. Tom Mulcair didn't begin the sellout. That started under Jack Layton. Layton's sunny disposition allowed him to get away with it. But people realized what was going on when Angry Tom took over. Angry Tom was perfectly suited for opposition. Canadians just couldn't imagine him as prime minister.
The Dippers will have to take a good look at themselves. And they can only do that under another leader.