No 1350 Posted by fw, May 30, 2015
“The New Democratic Party’s (NDP’s) unanticipated victory in Alberta’s May 5 provincial election has contributed to a significant jump in its poll ratings nationally, triggering media speculation that the social democrats could form Canada’s government following the October federal election….In reality, if the NDP forms the next government, it will act to defend the interests of the Canadian capitalist class no less ruthlessly than the Conservatives or Liberals. Whenever it has held power at the provincial level, the NDP has come into headlong conflict with the working class, imposing Trudeau’s wage controls in the 1970s and over the last quarter-century actively participating in the dismantling of the public services and social-welfare measures that it once held up as proof capitalism could be ‘humanized.’” —Roger Jordan and Keith Jones
Jordan and Jones take a sobering look at the record of the NDP and leader Tom Mulcair. Readers may be surprised by what they found.
To read their complete article, click on the following linked title. Alternatively, below is a reposted abridged version with added subheadings. Deleted is a section covering the latest news on Alberta’s NDP victory.
NDP’s federal fortunes bolstered by stunning victory in Alberta and perception of Trudeau’s Liberals as Tory Lite
The New Democratic Party’s (NDP’s) unanticipated victory in Alberta’s May 5 provincial election has contributed to a significant jump in its poll ratings nationally, triggering media speculation that the social democrats could form Canada’s government following the October federal election.
The spike in the NDP’s national poll ratings, with one survey even putting it in first place ahead of the Conservatives and Liberals with 29 percent support, is not due just to the Alberta elections. The Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau, are rightly increasingly perceived by the public as “Conservatives lite.”
Trudeau tripped up by his wishy-washy vote for Harper’s so called “anti-terrorism” bill
Opposition to the Liberals has crystalized over their stance on the Conservative government’s draconian Bill C-51. Presented as an anti-terrorist measure, the bill grants sweeping new powers to the national-security apparatus, including authorizing the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to break virtually any law when “disrupting” groups deemed to threaten Canada’s economic or national security.
While the Liberals claim to oppose many parts of Bill C-51, they have voted for it. They claim the security agencies urgently need new powers to deal with terrorism and that the problems in the legislation can be fixed later.
Canadians increasingly saw Harper’s terror hype Bill C-51 as attack on democratic rights
This reactionary and cowardly position has found little resonance. Many recognize that the Conservatives are incessantly hyping the “terror” threat to stampede the public into accepting sweeping attacks on democratic rights and Canada’s participation in the US-led war in the Middle East. Moreover, many recall that when they last formed the government, the Liberals presided over a massive assault on basic democratic rights. This included adopting a draconian Anti-Terrorism Law, with a sweeping catch-all definition of terrorism, and authorizing the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) to systematically spy on Canadians’ electronic communications.
This has not stopped the NDP from continuing to explore the possibility of reviving the 2008 coalition after the upcoming federal election. Under the guise of doing everything to throw out the Tories, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has repeatedly made overtures to Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, a party which implemented the largest social spending cuts in Canadian history when it last held power.
NDP leader Tom Mulcair has criticized Trudeau for slamming door shut on coalition option as way to finally get rid of Harper
Speaking at a press conference in Montreal in March, Mulcair criticized the Liberals for their apparent unwillingness to discuss such a prospect. “Whenever we have opened that door, Justin Trudeau slams it shut…. My first priority is to get rid of Stephen Harper,” Mulcair declared.
Based on this argument, the trade unions and their pseudo-left apologists are preparing to campaign for a “strategic” vote against Conservative candidates in the fall election—that is, for Harper to be replaced by a Liberal or a Liberal-NDP coalition government.
Public opposition to Harper and Trudeau could lead to NDP government in October election
However, the high level of opposition to both of the traditional governing parties is leading some press commentators to speculate that the surge in support for the NDP could sweep it to power in October. Toronto Star columnist Tim Harper claimed that recent weeks had shown Mulcair to be the true “agent of change” rather than Trudeau. “[I]t is the NDP that offers the clean break from a tired government in its 10th year,” wrote Harper. “Trudeau and his Liberals are offering tentative change, a lurch to the middle with little daylight between them and the Conservatives.”
But, if elected, might NDP be as ruthless as Cons or Libs have been in defending capitalist interests?
In reality, if the NDP forms the next government, it will act to defend the interests of the Canadian capitalist class no less ruthlessly than the Conservatives or Liberals. Whenever it has held power at the provincial level, the NDP has come into headlong conflict with the working class, imposing Trudeau’s wage controls in the 1970s and over the last quarter-century actively participating in the dismantling of the public services and social-welfare measures that it once held up as proof capitalism could be “humanized.”
Mulcair has pledged not to hike taxes on the rich and super-rich
In an interview published last week in the Montreal daily La Presse, the co-president of the party’s national campaign, Alexandre Boulerice, insisted that a federal NDP government would have balanced budgets. Mulcair, for his part, has pledged that the NDP will not hike taxes on the rich and super-rich—this after Liberal and Conservative governments have lavished tax cuts on them and the rich have for years appropriated the lion’s share of gains in real income.
And NDP refused to even nominally support Quebec’s striking students in their 2012 action
The NDP’s opposition to any genuine challenge to the ruling elite’s austerity agenda was demonstrated by its attitude to the 2012 Quebec student strike. Although the majority of the NDP’s MPs are from Quebec, the NDP refused to even nominally support the striking students or to condemn Quebec’s Liberal government when it adopted Bill 78, legislation that effectively criminalized the strike.
And NDP has supported Canada’s past participation in NATO military adventures
Since Canada’s participation in the NATO air war on Yugoslavia in 1999, the NDP has lent its support to one Canadian military intervention after another, including the 2011 war for “regime change” in Libya.
And Mulcair supported Israel’s war on Gaza last summer
Mulcair and the NDP leadership supported Israel’s war on Gaza last summer.
And the NDP backed Harper’s support of the 2014 US-orchestrated coup in Ukraine
They also fully backed the Harper government in its support of the 2014 US-orchestrated coup in Ukraine and its deployment of Canadian troops in provocative NATO maneuvers on Russia’s borders.
And Mulcair’s opposition to latest Mideast war is for tactical, not principled reasons
Mulcair and the NDP’s opposition to Canada’s participation in the latest Mideast war is for tactical, not principled reasons. The social democrats support the US-led coalition’s aim of toppling the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and favor using the Canadian Armed Forces to supply weapons to the Iraqi army and Kurdish militias.
And growing public opposition to Bill C-51 appears to have stiffened Mulcair’s opposition, with prospect of electoral dividends
The NDP is now trying to present its opposition to Bill C-51 as a courageous stand in defense of democratic principles. In fact, Mulcair took nearly a month to reveal the party’s position on the bill and only came out against it after the Globe and Mail had done so, signaling thereby that it was opposed by important sections of the Canadian elite. Moreover, in opposing Bill C-51, the NDP has stressed its fealty to the national security apparatus and centered its objections on the lack of parliamentary oversight. Mulcair even placed on record that an NDP government would not repeal the measure, merely amend it—a position not very different from that of Trudeau and his Liberals.
However, with polls now showing that a majority of Canadians oppose Bill C-51, Mulcair has changed tack. Earlier this month, when speaking at an NDP rally in British Columbia, he pledged that an NDP government would repeal Bill C-51. This has nothing to do with a principled defense of democratic rights. The social democrats have simply concluded that a more emphatic oppositional stance will bring electoral dividends, especially in helping them distinguish themselves from the Liberals and posing as the “real” alternative to Harper and his Conservatives.
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