Advice and Caution for NDP Leadership Candidates

Julian Wolfe
January 21st, 2012

The NDP leadership race is soon coming to a close and they will crown one of  8 people as their new leader. The media has claimed a two-way race between Thomas Mulcair and Brian Topp for leader but this speculation is useless as it will be the card-carrying NDP members that will make the final verdict. Based on Liberal failures in the past 6 years, here are some pieces of advice and caution:

  1. Hide or get rid of multi-citizenship. Thomas Mulcair, having a French and Canadian citizenship may be destined to the same route as Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff who were attacked by both the NDP and Conservatives on their commitment to Canada. The Conservatives have an efficient machine and be warned, your past attack on the same issue can be brought back to haunt you.
  2. Avoid tax hikes. Brian Topp has made them the forefront of his economic policy. Michael Ignatieff got labeled a tax and spender with one attack ad which portrayed him in a restaurant saying that a GST hike was “not off the table.” Taxes are widely seen as a repressive way of getting revenue and in tough economic times, Canadians would rather see Harper’s waste – there is a lot of it – be shaved off than have their taxes hiked. Polls even suggest that “big bad corporations” aren’t as bad as you try to make them out to be. As a word of caution, taxes are a tool of wealth distribution and the problem in Canada is a lack of creation of wealth. The rich will leave if you raise their taxes. As you raise taxes and lose revenue as markets saturate and dry up, you will see those spending projects become a burden to Canada’s debt and fiscal health. It’s a bit late for Brian Topp, but perhaps the other candidates can learn from his mistake. Families are barely making ends meet and tax hikes are the last thing they want to hear – look at Quebec!
  3. Don’t use petty attacks! The attendance issue and the new politics issue has come back to haunt you and made you look like liars who only care about power. Focus on the real issues.
  4. Don’t become arrogant. Ignore the media when they claim a party is a natural government or a natural opposition, it failed the Liberals big time.
  5. Be pragmatic. A vision is important but pragmatism is the only way you can fulfill your dream. Tax hikes and big spending projects and the notion of big government won’t work well here – it hasn’t worked in Europe either. While it may pain some of the more philosophical of the group, the only way forward is the way to the center. Ditch the more radical left-wing ideas and move to the uniting and rational center.

We will soon find out who will become the NDP leader. As we speak their numbers are slipping and people are leaving the honeymoon in droves. Perhaps, if they can realize these 5 tips, they can make use of their gains and work toward making Canada a better place.

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