Liberals and NDP use weekend for housekeeping

Julian Wolfe
April 13th, 2013

This weekend the Liberals and NDP are doing housekeeping in preparation for a showdown in the polls. With recent polls showing Liberal momentum and a strong possibility that Justin Trudeau will win the leadership, the NDP prepares to take a massive hit. The NDP are meeting to discuss policy and give their leader Thomas Mulcair a new image.

As Liberal members and supporters vote for their new leader, a new Nanos poll released yesterday gives the Liberals the lead for the first time since 2009. The poll gives them 35.4% support followed by the Conservatives in steady decline with 31.3% and the NDP who dropped to 23.6%. One can expect that if the trend continues, the NDP will be in major trouble. The results of the vote will be announced tomorrow evening. So far, the Liberals have received 91,894 of the eligible 127,259 votes, surpassing the number of votes cast at the NDP leadership convention, 65,108, in 2012 and creeping towards the Conservative leadership convention, 97,397, in 2004.

This weekend, the NDP are working on policy and image. While Mulcair hopes to take his socialist-leaning party to the center, some of the proposals tend to carry his party even further to the left. These proposals haven’t yet been passed and may not even make it to the floor, but given these ideas still float around, one can imagine how difficult it will be for Mulcair to convert this historically left-wing party into a centrist one to try to mirror the Liberals who are already centrist.

Take the proposal to centralize the Canadian banking system. Canada’s banking system is one of the few that survived the recession thanks to two factors: proper regulation, and the fact they were private.

#86 – Role of the Bank of Canada
Submitted by Saanich-Gulf Islands

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the New Democratic Party as government take steps as quickly as possible to revive the role of the Bank of Canada for the purpose intended, in the spirit of the 1935 terms, to enable all levels of government to borrow money, essentially interest free, for the benefit of Canada and Canadians;

and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Canadian governments cease to borrow from private banks or other private lending agencies as soon as this Bank of Canada legislation is in place.

Take this other proposal to force Canadians to vote – so much for rights and freedoms. Forcing Canadians to vote won’t improve matters, they just bring in this “big government knows all” mentality and infrastructure which infringes on people’s right not to vote, especially in a time when most political parties only care about power and Canadians would prefer nothing over their options.

#43 Compulsory Voting in Canada
Submitted by Elmwood-Transcona

WHEREAS the duty to vote is required to maintain our democratic system and the benefits that go with it, and

WHEREAS countries like Australia, and 29 other countries, including Belgium and Austria, successfully employ Compulsory Voting in a congenial system that employs weekend voting, simple registration procedures, and the creation of a centralized, professional bureaucracy concerned with all aspects of election administration,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the New Democratic Party endorse Compulsory Voting as a democratic ‘Best Practice’ with view to having an NDP Government passing national legislation making it law.

Another happens to go after our government system. The Queen hasn’t imposed on Canada, and her representative has offered neutral oversight over our electoral system. Change for the sake of changing has been the mantra of the left for a while and the NDP appear to have the same view here.

#55 Resolution on a Parliamentary Republic of Canada
Submitted by Chicoutimi-Le Fjord

WHEREAS the NDP aims to create a more equitable and democratic society, with equal rights for all Canadians and a government held accountable to the democratic process;

WHEREAS Canada’s current head of state can only be a protestant descended from Sophia of Hanover, and a member of the Church of England;

We hereby move:

That an NDP government would pursue the objective of establishing a parliamentary republic upon the death of the current sovereign.

That an NDP government would form a Commission to recommend a method for choosing a head of state for Canada based on consultation with Canadian experts and citizens.

Senior NDP Officials want to rebrand the NDP and gut the term “socialist” which is active in their constitution and mentality. In the place of a statement which acted to be anti-business and prop up big government, the NDP are proposing the following as a guiding statement for their party.

“New Democrats affirm a role for government in helping to create the conditions for sustainable prosperity.”

“We believe in a rules-based economy, nationally and globally, in which governments have the power to address the limitations of the market in addressing the common good, by having the power to act in the public interest, for social and economic justice, and for the integrity of the environment.”

It will be interesting to watch Canada’s opposition parties restructure in preparation for an inevitable showdown against each other and against Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. As Mulcair tries to give himself a friendlier image and move his party to the center to appeal to more voters, the Liberals appear to be shifting back to their traditional center with Trudeau. While the NDP try to ditch the anti-business stance they’ve had for years, the business community is suggesting Trudeau to be better for business than Harper.

It is one thing for the opposition parties to speak and organize themselves, it’s another for them to be prepared to form a government one day. While many grow tired of the Conservative government, it should be the primary focus of both opposition parties to prove not only that they are ready to form a realistic government, but that they stand for principle and not for a power grab. What do you think of their housekeeping? Will the changes coming this weekend have a strong impact on the Canadian political scene? Will the NDP or Liberals emerge as a government in waiting?

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On Monday, the longest campaign in modern history will come to a close and if current polls are any indication, Canada may be seeing a change in government after 9 years of Conservative rule under the leadership of Stephen Harper. Accountability was his calling card in 2006 and today, accountability may very well be one of the defining reasons for his departure.

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