Monday, September 14, 2009

Why the NDP Should Go Now

It seems the NDP is between a rock and a hard place. While I don't feel so much for Jack Layton who helped to put Harper in office in the first place, I do have some sympathy for many NDP supporters who's hearts are often in the right place. So let me just give 10 sincere reasons why it's not in the NDP's interest OR Canada's interest for the NDP to be propping up the Harper government. I hope they are taking these things into consideration before making up their mind.

1) You prop up Harper now, he will pull the plug on himself right after the Olympics with a poll-tested budget with a poison pill or two (elimination of public financing perhaps) anyways. Don't believe me? Harper's strategists let that cat out of the bag months ago, and when Con House Leader Jay Hill's newsletter says: "History has demonstrated that voters are less likely to vote for change and against an incumbent government when feeling patriotic and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics in February will undoubtedly inflame a greater sense of patriotism and excitement across the country", you can rest assured they will do all they can to ensure that's when they get their election. Do you really want to go at the preferred time of the guy you voted against 79 times?

2) A six month reprieve is hardly much new time to fundraise and if opposing the Harper government constantly for almost 4 years didn't bring in new money, you really think propping up this guy your supporters hate will?

3) Playing into Harper's hands increases the risk your party will be killed by the end of public financing. The Liberals have shown they can survive without public financing. Your party clearly can't. If Harper wins the next election, public financing is gone. He'd rather go in March than now. The Liberals could still likely win then too, but why would you help Harper's chances even in the slightest when you know him winning would be the end of your party?

4) You've said yourself again and again, Harper can't be trusted. You will get nothing from him in return for your support he wasn't going to do anyway, because you know even moving an inch towards your real stated priorities would be toxic to his base. If he did give you something that looked like a past NDP priority, it's pretty likely it would die on the order paper when he pulls the plug in March. What would you run on then? "We tried to get results for people, but Stephen Harper fooled us and gave us nothing for the support we gave him." Not really a winner I'd say.

5) Copenhagen. The environment has been a major issue for the NDP for years now. Propping up Stephen Harper means HE will be OUR representative at the most important Climate Change Conference in history this December in Copenhagen. Michael Ignatieff has pledged his support for a REAL cap-and-trade system with absolute caps and a 1990 baseline for emissions targets. He will propose more of what I'm sure the NDP would agree with in the campaign. Isn't it obvious, Ignatieff would bring to Denmark a position that's much more in line with the interests of Canada, not to mention your party as well? The main obstructionists at Bali were Japan, the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. and Japan now take climate change seriously, so that leaves just one hold-out left. One can be enough to significantly undermine whatever consensus based agreement comes out of the conference. Wouldn't the NDP want to see Copenhagen succeed?

6) Putting Your BC Seats at risk. You know all those seats you hold in B.C. where the Conservatives have traditionally finished second? Well just where might Harper's Conservatives' see its greatest boost in support in a post-Olympics election?

7) You throw away your entire message of the last 4 years. So you were the "only party that can truly be counted on to oppose Stephen Harper" and now your message would be "we opposed Stephen Harper until that would actually have consequences and then we folded like a cheap suit". Not sure that would sell. You think after you called Liberals supporting a Conservative budget a "Liberal-Conservative coalition" (which it wasn't) wouldn't make it difficult for you to explain how you haven't just formed a "NDP-Conservative coalition"? Well I don't envy who would ever be left to do the explaining.

8) It doesn't pass the smell test for you to claim now all of a sudden you want to "make Parliament work." You've been voting constantly for new elections for the past 4 years. You think the public has that short of memories or that Stephen Harper won't mock you for it at every turn?

9) The proposed Con EI Reforms are nowhere near what you claimed would be essential needed EI Reforms. As Jeff and Steve note, they do not address eligibility, regional differences or access, and it's very hard to square why would you support these but so vehemently opposed the Conservative budget. You would take EI off the able entirely with a proposal that's nowhere near as comprehensive it should be and doesn't truly help the people you said you were fighting for. That's not the results for people you've been promising. By supporting these reforms WITHOUT asking for SIGNIFICANTLY MORE beyond them, you surrender all credibility on an issue you've fought on for years.

10) You know the only way to get real "results for people" is with a Liberal government. Facts are facts, Jack Layton has more in common with Michael Ignatieff in his views that he does Stephen Harper. You will NOT get a coalition with the Liberals, but at least you could have a government who actually listens to all parties and won't reject a good idea just because it came from a party who Stephen Harper's base calls "crazy socialists". On education, health care, the environment and foreign policy, the NDP can find far more common ground with Liberals than Conservatives.

So you want to actually make a real difference in the lives of Canadians? Let's help give Canadians the government they deserve now. You may worry about losing seats now, but you'd be likely to lose more in March, at least now you can hold on to your credibility and still have a good expectation of influencing policy with a Liberal minority government (something that really boosted your profile the last time).

The NDP deludes itself if they think they'd ever have any clout with a Conservative government.
I and so many others have already stated why it is in Canada's interests to have an election. I know in their heart of hearts, many NDP supporters agree with those same reasons. It's narrow considerations that are getting in the way - the party is broke, Jack Layton wants to keep his leadership position awhile longer, Tom Mulcair wants to keep his seat awhile longer, maybe some others want to save their pensions.

Well that's not good enough for Canadians and I would hope that's not good enough for the grassroots of the NDP either.

Now NDP supporters could flood this post with comments talking about how Liberals were propping up the Conservatives in the past (which I've said before was justifiable) as if that somehow absolves the NDP, but really how does that discussion help us forward?

Let's focus on the future now before any decisions are made: what is in the best long-term interests of your party and your country NDP?

Here's hoping they come to realize that theirs and the country's interests lie with ending Stephen Harper's reign in power now.

UPDATE 10:55 PM: If there was ever any doubt that Harper doesn't intend to embarrass the NDP with each new confidence measure, the actual wording of Friday's Ways and Means Motion should make his intentions pretty clear. You still think you can trust this man NDP? This is your ticket to filling your coffers? To vote for things you've given fiery speeches opposing before? Well get ready, Stephen Harper is just getting started with you.

UPDATE 2 Sept. 15 @ 1:45 PM: "the NDP says an email sent last week to Mr. Giorno by NDP Leader Jack Layton's chief of staff, Anne McGrath, has so far been ignored.
'It is telling. It is their modus operandi,' NDP spokesman Karl Belanger said. 'They don't want to work with other parties and they're trying to minimize the contact with other parties. That's been the case with the Prime Minister and his team since they got into power.' "

But yet seems like you will be supporting them anyway. I'm guessing at this point, Harper could come out and say "I will not speak to the NDP and I will offer them no concessions" and it wouldn't make a bit of difference.


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20 comments:

Robert McClelland said...

Now can you give me one reason why the NDP should trust the Liberals.

CanadianSense said...

As a Liberal supporter advising the NDP to self destruct probably makes a lot of sense.

Again why go now? Why not wait for a valid reason the Toronto Star (Editorial) MSM punditry don't see any valid reason.

Beside a few insiders in the Iggy circle, what Liberal MP is calling for an election?

The NDP will lose many seats, potenially 50% and that would result in a leadership convention for Jack.

So explain why not wait, let Harper do all the dirty work in destroying the Liberals?

The NDP and Bloc are independent of the Liberals and their survival insticnts are finey tuned.

What party has trials this fall in Quebec?

Jack and Gilles are no longer being ignored by the MSM as they have the ball. Trust me they won't be returning it back ANY time soon.

kirbycairo said...

I would generally support the NDP over any other party and I think you are right. The argument is very clear and NDP will ignore these facts at their peril. If the NDP is willing even once to support the Conservatives they will loose a great deal of support.

So it goes. . .

Danielle Takacs said...

Robert:
It really shouldn't matter who the source of this message is. Why don't you paste those reasons to pass them on to some of your NDP friends without telling them who wrote them. I'd be honestly curious to see what they'd say. I do believe the NDP would fare better in an election now than one Harper would engineer in March. I think it's really tough to see how the NDP would do better on Harper's preffered timeline.

CanadianSense:
I believe the NDP would be likely to do better now than later, so they're not self-destructing by helping pull the plug, only doing what's best in their party and their country's long-term interests. The media will never be kind to the NDP or the Bloc (except for maybe a week of "thank you NDP for saving us from covering a campaign"), so taking the MSM into consideration in their decision wouldn't be that wise.

Steve V said...

Number 5 is the big one for me. Fast forward a few weeks, if they prop up the government, they're faced with this glaring chasm that starts to shake at their core.

Robert McClelland said...

So you don't have one. Thought not.

Robert McClelland said...

Have you ever said anything that turned out to be right, Steve. Good gawd, you libfloggers and your fantasies that supporting the Cons will DOOM! the NDP.

Danielle Takacs said...

If you don't want to take me at my word so be it, but why don't you just tell me which of those reasons I provided are wrong and why?

Again, it's now or Harper pulling the plug post-Olypmics and seeing everything he gave the NDP (if anything, he's offered nothing new so far) die on the order paper. Tell me how Harper's scenario is better for you again?

Danielle Takacs said...

And it's interesting that you shrugged off Copenhagen so easily (reason 5 Steve was referring to).

devinjohnston said...

You raise some valid points here, but, then again, I really doubt the NDP is actually going to prop up the Tories for any significant amount of time. If the Conservative EI bill comes in separate from anything else (no poison pills, no omnibus bills), then there's no reason for the NDP (or the Liberals, for that matter) to oppose it since it is at least an improvement. But the EI won't be enough to entice the NDP to support the Conservatives on an ongoing basis, so the government will just fall anyway as soon as the Liberals introduce a non-confidence motion or the Conservatives table an economic update.

Danielle Takacs said...

As for the NDP propping up Harper short-term, there will likely be a confidence motion Oct. 1st or soon after. If the NDP support Harper then, he will surely rejig the calendar to move all opposition days/confidence motions to Noveember - meaning voting down the government means a Christmas election. If the NDP oppose a fall election, what are the odds they'd support a Christmas one?

Then the House rises till January and then bringing down Harper would mean an election during the Olympics, another unlikely possibility.

So it's go this Friday, go Oct. 1 or when Harper orchestrates his own defeat post-Olympics in March. Anything else I would say is very unlikely.

Robert McClelland said...

but why don't you just tell me which of those reasons I provided are wrong and why?

I barely glanced at your reasons. The day the NDP starts taking advice from liberals is they day they should just throw in the towel. You'd feel the same way if I posted advice for the Liberals. You still haven't answered my question though. Why should the NDP trust the Liberals?

And I shrugged off Steve, not Copenhagen because he's an imbecile. That you would fashion such a strawman demonstrates why we dippers don't trust and have no use for liberals these days.

Steve V said...

Robert

I so don't care. Always look at the source. LOL.

Lizt. said...

I do not think we should go for an eletion right now, or in a few months, unless something drastic happens.
Nanos was very cruel to Ignatieff tonight..almost as bad as he was, with Dion.

Wheatsheaf said...

1) please don't speak of my heart of hearts - because you don't capture the harden sentiments toward liberals that lies within.

2) you have hit it right on why my hearts of hearts cannot support the Liberals. It is because of Liberals arrogance, sense of righteousness and entitlement. All your reasons for getting ride of the NDP can be summed up as "NDP steal Liberal votes". Well we don't. I cannot support a party whose track record is based on longevity and not action.

3) Stop telling me why me and my bunch of want-to-be do-gooders should role over, and start telling me why I should even consider voting for your guys.

Danielle Takacs said...

Litz: Now is better than March and those are the only options in my eyes. I think we will have a strong campaign which will change the poll dynamic in our favour.

Robert/Wheatsheaf:
Believe or me or not, I do happen to believe there are times where the NDP and Liberals share a common interest. I think there are enough reasons to believe that an election this fall is in BOTH our parties interests this fall. It's now or March though - don't fall into the trap Dion did of thinking Harper wouldn't trigger an election himself when it suits him. Harper is already trying to embarass you this Friday by forcing you to vote in favour of a trade deal Layton has strongly opposed. That's just the beginning.

If we go in March, I still think the Libs will win, but I think you'll do even worse tha now, so well it's your party's choice, I just like to see Harper replaced sooner rather than later for reasons I said in the post before this one (which contained plenty of good reasons to vote for the Liberals by the way Wheatsheaf).

Though it might be nice for you guys in the future to stop seeing all Liberals as one monolithic group (just as one example, I've been a longtime supporter of electoral reform).

And keeping the tone a little more civil wouldn't be so bad either :).

That's it for me this evening...

northwestern_lad said...

Lost me right here:

"who helped to put Harper in office in the first place"

Such arrogance. The people have had the chance to send your party back into power each of the last two elections and what did they choose to do? They elected fewer and fewer of your party each time. The people make their choice and it is up to us to convince them to vote otherwise with actual ideas, platforms and alike. That's why they haven't chosen your party and until you can accept basic facts like those, then we have nothing to take from your party at all.

Wheatsheaf said...

Sorry Danielle, I am still not buying your Big-L vision of the world.

As NW Lad points out, your post drips of self-entitlement. Liberals have decided to not support Harper, not because of any altruistic motives, but because they realize that their supporters are loosing confidence. You could have voted against Harper any number of time in the last few years, but you did not. Heck you could not even be accountable on non-non-confidence bills. Now, want voters are screaming no to an election, you want the NDP to roll over and die.

As to your comment of there being "plenty of good reasons to vote for the Liberals" in your previous post. Maybe you should read it again. It reads like a stump speech that was never read. It states why Harper is bad, and why Canada needs to protect the status quo. It is high on rhetoric and low on suggestions. This is not say that I did not think it was well written. Simply that it does not stand for what you suggest. The only reason it gives me to vote Liberal is, somehow, Ignatieff is better than Harper. There needs to be a better reason than that or else your party is in trouble.

Danielle Takacs said...

Northwestern_lad:
The NDP have helped get Harper into office, by giving him a free ride in the 06 campaign, and parotting his false spin about the Green Shift in the 08 one. The bottom line is that Liberals DO have to accept responsibility for their past two elections losses. There is no doubt about that. As do the NDP for campaigning for government while spending the max and coming away with the result they did. But that doesn't mean the NDP didn't help the Conservatives do as well a they did. Even Tom Flanagan has noted how the NDP help get Harper more seats.

It's not arrogant to point that out or to note that the NDP have more in common with Liberals than Conservatives. Throughout Canadian history, the NDP have always had more accomplishments with Liberal minorities than Conservative. Whatever meagre conessions you get this time (which so far are none), won't compare to the 2005 Budget. The fiscal update last fall should have proven to you you can't work with Harper, instead he's just going to embarass you as much as he can until the campaign and then when it comes, he will mock your claims that you tried to make Parliament work.

Danielle Takacs said...

Wheatsheaf, I could give you 10 simple reasons (in no particular order) why people should vote Liberal this time:
1) Real leadership at Copenhagen on the environment in December (Ignatieff has endorsed many of the same principles as the NDP)
2) Finally carrying out the Kelowna Accords to help Aboriginals
3) A real child care plan
4) Investments in research and innovation to compete with the U.S., India and China
5) An independent foreign policy
6) A team of qualified and capable ministers (compare that to the current batch)
7) Ignatieff would bring in a collobarative working spirit to Parliament (wouldn't that be refreshing!)
8) A renewed post-secondary education plan to help students and strengthen our universities and colleges.
9) Liberals would always be looking 5-10 years into the future with their policies instead of the next election.
10) More prudent management of the deficit.

Those by themselves are not sufficient to win an election (and there would be much more in campaign), it's a starting point, but I think we both know Canada is better off with a Liberal instead of Conservative government (of course you'd like an NDP government, but that doesn't mean it's impossible for you to realize that Liberals are closer to NDP values). Jack Layton admitted as much by his actions last fall.