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R.I.P., Jack [Aug. 22nd, 2011|09:58 pm]
New Democratic Party of Canada

Jack Layton Remembered as Courageous
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Congratulations to Adrian Dix [Apr. 17th, 2011|11:01 pm]
New Democratic Party of Canada

Congratulations to Adrian Dix on his election as the new leader of the B.C. NDP and hopefully the next Premier of B.C.!
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Parties expecting an election before year is out [Jan. 7th, 2009|09:44 am]
New Democratic Party of Canada

[Current Location |There]
[mood |calmcalm]

quick straw poll of political insiders reveals that every federal party is quietly preparing for another election. Within parliamentary circles the notion that Canadians will head back to the polls for a fourth time in five years before the end of 2009 is widely treated as a foregone conclusion.

Significantly, the feeling that the 40th Parliament could be history before it has had a real chance to make history runs just as rampant within the government as it does within the ranks of the opposition parties.

Yet the odds that Stephen Harper's Conservatives will produce a budget later this month that the Liberals will not be able to support have also been going down with every passing day.

The government can't afford to earn a second consecutive failing grade on the budget front. Lost in the shuffle of the year-end parliamentary crisis is the fact that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's November fiscal update was panned by the bulk of the economic community.

The disconnect between the severity of the ongoing economic storm and the levity of the Conservative fiscal message went a long way to embolden the opposition parties into seeking to replace the government with a coalition of their own.

A governing party that risks going to the electorate with its flank open to accusations of dereliction on the economic front would have to be suicidal these days.

In the same spirit, the Liberals would have every reason to find grounds to support a constructive budget, especially one endorsed by a blue-ribbon advisory panel that includes some of their own.

Ironically, the prospect of a popular Conservative budget only acts as an accelerant on the election flames.

That's because the opposition suspects the Conservatives are preparing for war even as they overtly seek peace, by crafting a budget designed to become the stepping stone to a spring campaign. Having consolidated their advantage in public opinion with a well-received budget, they would be free to engineer their defeat on an issue of their own choosing later in the session.

The parliamentary dysfunction that the government has recreated in the early days of its second mandate would go a long way toward that particular objective. Although they have not said so in so many words, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP have essentially reverted to their pre-election mantra that under virtually no circumstance will they prop up Harper's minority government.

If there is a community of interest between the Conservatives, the NDP and the Bloc at this point, it is in bringing the Liberals to an election battle before the party has had time to regroup under a new leader.

Gilles Duceppe, in particular, has no cause to give Michael Ignatieff time to find his footing. Many Quebecers readily supported the notion of an opposition coalition last month – not for the influential support role it afforded the Bloc, but because it would have paved the way to the replacement of a Conservative government they have grown to dislike by a more progressive one.

There is mounting anecdotal evidence that Ignatieff has a potential audience in Quebec, as long as he can rebuild a party infrastructure in time for the next campaign.

Of all the volatile elements in the federal mix, the Conservative lead in the polls has become the main reason why a 2009 federal election seems preordained. Should that lead evaporate, Canadians could yet be spared a return to the polls this year.

Chantal Hébert is a national affairs writer. Her column appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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Epic Fail! [Jan. 6th, 2009|09:35 pm]
New Democratic Party of Canada

[Current Location |Here]
[mood |blahblah]


Layton the biggest loser in coalition folly

By Lorne Gunter, For The Calgary HeraldJanuary 6, 2009 10:17 AM

The Tory-versus-coalition flap defined Canadian politics this past year. Even though it came late in the year and despite the fact there was also an election, the constitutional crisis caused by the Tories' overreaching attempt to defund their opponents and the Liberal-NDPBloc attempt to overturn the results of an election less than two months after it was held will be the political event longest remembered from 2008.

And the more I reflect on it, the more I am convinced Jack Layton was the crisis's biggest loser.

If we assume the coalition is dead (and it 99.9 per cent is), then the party and leader who have fallen the farthest back as a result of the power play are the NDP and Layton.

New Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is keeping the possibility of a coalition alive rhetorically because without the threat of the coalition toppling the Tories at the end of this month, the Liberals' bargaining position would be greatly weakened.

Ignatieff would have little chance of convincing the Tories to include his stimuli in the upcoming budget stimuli if he announced today that, no matter what, the Liberals will not pull down the government over the budget.

But it is not even in Ignatieff's interests over the next three to six months to keep the coalition alive.

For his predecessor, Stephane Dion, the coalition was the only hope he would ever become prime minister.

Yet, for Ignatieff, the coalition is the biggest impediment to him becoming prime minister and staying in the job.

Can you imagine a new, energetic Liberal leader being saddled with running a government in co-operation with the NDP? One-quarter of his ministers would be under the control of another leader and Ignatieff would have a great interest in keeping them in the dark about Liberal strategy and in keeping them from snatching the credit for popular moves.

In the end, the hodgepodge government would almost certainly fall apart far sooner than the 21/2 years its component parties agree to and it would also surely dissolve in petty bickering and finger-pointing, giving the Tories a running start in the election that would follow.

It's true Ignatieff has other big impediments in his path to 24 Sussex, such as his old New York Times columns championing an American empire and referring to "we" Americans.

And he is also going to have to live down his signature on the coalition agreement that in its first line talks about the coalition being in the best interests of "Canada and Quebec," as if the two were separate nations already.

But Ignatieff will be aided by the infinite malleability of the Liberal conscience. Anything a Liberal does can be forgotten by all other Liberals (and the vast majority of the parliamentary press gallery), if shoving it down the memory hole is in the best interest of the Liberal party.

For instance, in Saturday's Toronto Star, senior Liberal strategist Tom Axworthy wrote that Ignatieff's selection gives the Liberals their best chance in a generation of "democratic renewal of the party," even while admitting that Ignatieff's selection marked the first time since the 19th century that the Liberal rank-and-file played no direct part in choosing the party boss.

Nonetheless, I think the Liberals will turn out to be winners if they back away from the coalition idea, as I suspect they already have. This crisis enabled them to dump an awful leader in Dion and replace him with someone who, no matter his political warts, is instantly a more attractive leader. And it has made the Tories more reluctant to yank the other parties' chains (especially the Liberals') in the Commons.

Stephen Harper and his Tories have slipped as a result of the crisis and the way they provoked it. If nothing else, their shenanigans indirectly led to the early resignation of Dion, who was so bad he had been the Tories' ace in the hole.

Moreover, Harper could, before, with just a glance, send the opposition parties (especially the Liberals) scurrying into a corner of the Commons cowering in fear.

Now they no longer fear him. And it will take a long time, if ever, before he has the full command of the House he enjoyed before the crisis.

Still, it was Layton who suffered most.

First, he had a chance to do in the Liberals and replace them as the default selection on the left had he gone along with the Tories' plan to end public funding to parties. Next to the Tories, the NDP has the best chance of replacing public handouts with private donations. Layton could have crippled the Liberals; instead, he tried to vault himself into cabinet by riding into power as the Liberals' shotgun.

With the revealing of the coalition, Layton was also exposed as a self-serving opportunist with no compunction about making a deal with separatists, even weeks before the Tories lit the match on the crisis. And with the coalition's demise, Layton is now even further from power than he was before.

The Tories and Harper were undeniably scathed, but Layton and the NDP were hurt the worst.

Lorne Gunter can be reached at:


© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

I'm really at a loss as to how to defend against the fact that the way that Ignatieff is using the coalition is basically giving the media a chance to revert to their old ways of bashing the NDP.  Not that I would expect much else from them, but I digress.

I was thinking that perhaps one of the best ways of coping with the backlash against the coalition might have been to push Ignatieff's position on the current political situation into the limelight by feeding talking points to the media which are basically along the following lines: "Ignatieff is really sweating bullets right now.  He's put himself in a situation where he's more or less decided that the coalition is secondary to his primary goal of making some sort of deal with the Conservatives."

That's when you throw in something like: " I mean think about it.  We in the NDP have certain minimal standards which we need to stand by in order for us to get behind a major thing in the parliament like a budget.  We're not ruling anything out at this point, but I find it hard to believe that the Conservatives are going to bend to anywhere close to where they need to be in order to get our support.  That leaves the Bloc and the Liberals.  As far as the Bloc goes, I find it hard to believe that they'd be interested in working with the Conservatives given the fact that they just fought an election with a slogan that goes something like "we're not the Conservatives."  To make matters worse, the Conservatives just greatly offended the people of Quebec in the way that Harper rashly started playing off the east against the west and the english speaking part of the country with the french speaking part of the country.

This leaves us with the Liberals.  The fact of the matter is that the Liberals are the closest in ideology to the Conservatives and they have been the ones who have been propping them up for the past while.  I can't see a weakened Liberal Party to be in a position where they're going to take on a strengthened Conservative Party.  I think what we'll see is a whole lot of political brinkmanship followed by a bending over backwards to defend their lending support to pass the budget.

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NDP offers no meaningful help to Palestinians in Gaza [Dec. 30th, 2008|07:17 pm]
New Democratic Party of Canada

New Democrat statement on the situation in the Middle East

Canada's New Democrats condemn the unacceptable escalation of violence in the Middle East causing death and injury to so many civilians in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

This statement seems to put the casualities on the Gaza Strip and in Israel on the same footing. As far as I know, there are over 370 dead and over 1500 injured on the Palestinian side; meanwhile, there are 2 or 3 casualities on the Israeli side, two of which happened after Israel started bombing Gaza, and injuries in the low double-digits. Yes, Hamas is launching rockets, but the "even-handed" policy has to stop... To its credit, the NDP has long called for the end of the blockade against Gaza, but this blockade is a genocide in slow-motion, and the NDP must condemn Israel's acts in a stronger manner.
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A bit of a rant, if you'll allow it. [Dec. 5th, 2008|06:59 am]
New Democratic Party of Canada


I've never been a fan of the monarchy, but I've always before been able to shrug it off as a quaint and faintly embarrassing relic; an irrelevant anachronism and nothing more. Today, though, I am angry about it as I never have been before.

The Governor-General - an unelected figure who is unanswerable to anyone or anything save for an elderly foreign aristocrat - has decided that she has the right to stand in the way of the lawful operations of the parliament and suspend the workings of our elected government. And as disgusted as I am by the fact that this appendix in the anatomy of our government has decided to become inflamed and in need of removal, I am no less disgusted by Harper's decision to incite her to do so.

And Harper himself. I am paralyzed by indecision. Such a wealth of invectives I could aim at him. Where does one begin?

They say that all bullies are at their core cowards, and Harper has definitely demonstrated that where he is concerned, this is true. Not merely a bully, but also an idiot, he decided to pick a fight with a group who over-powered and out-numbered him. And then, when to his utter shock and horror, they decided to fight back, he ran screaming to mommy, begging her to make the bad democracy go away and leave him alone.

It has been said before by wiser and more well-informed people than I that Harper rules as a tyrant when given the opportunity, and certainly he has proven this true this past week. While his surrogates are out there scare mongering and shouting his hateful, partisan talking points from the rooftops, accusing the other parties of attempting to make a power grab born entirely out of greed, Harper himself has decided that if he cannot lead the country, then nobody can. He would rather shut down the parliament for TWO MONTHS in a time of crisis than see somebody else lead it. The stench of projection hanging about these conservatives bleating about the leaders of the other parties being desperate for power is thick and suffocating.

Short weeks ago, I was actually DEFENDING the man as a necessary evil. "The pendulum needs to swing both left and right in order for a democracy to function healthily. At the moment, it's swung somewhat rightwards. All things in their time", I said. But now, upon seeing the pendulum begin its leftward swing, he seized it in his hands and broke it off entirely, preventing the flow of power from taking its natural course, thus demonstrating his fundamental contempt for the democratic practices of our country.

I freely acknowledge that a majority of Canadians object to the notion of a coalition government as it is currently being proposed, but I also know that nearly two thirds of Canadians entrusted members of Parliament of parties other than the Conservatives to make the choices they thought best for the country, and so they were doing before the agent of a foreign power prevented them from doing so. I feel it is necessary to point out that given the constant stream of invectives and scary language that Harper and his cronies have been delivering from their bully pulpit, I wonder how much of that objection on the part of the Canadian people is born out of an informed opinion and how much out of the irrational fear which our esteemed leader has worked so hard to inculcate in his program of gutter politics this past week.

If I take any comfort in this prorogation of parliament, it's that the leaders of the parties who the majority of the population voted for will have this time to inform the population of the facts of the situation and perhaps beat back the flames of fear which the Conservatives are and will be so frantically fanning in the mean time.

Cross-posted to my own journal.

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optimism! [Nov. 28th, 2008|11:07 am]
New Democratic Party of Canada

ed boradbent and jean chretien are in talks to form an ndp-liberal coalition government! i'm excited to see how this plays out.

any thoughts?
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Winnipeg Rally with Jack Layton [Oct. 7th, 2008|09:04 pm]
New Democratic Party of Canada

Join Jack Layton, Leader of Canada’s New Democrats, your Winnipeg NDP candidates for an exciting rally!

Date: Wednesday October 8, 2008
Time: 7:30pm
Location: Canad Inns Club Regent Hotel, 1415 Regent Ave W, Transcona

This is a crucial election for Canadians. Are you ready for a Prime Minister who stands up for you and your family? Together we can defeat Stephen Harper!

It is time for real change in Canada and we want you to be a part of it.

With your energy and support we can make this an electrifying event!

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Voting ABC is as easy as 1-2-3 [Oct. 7th, 2008|08:05 am]
New Democratic Party of Canada

Here are some basic ABC guidelines that will work wonders if we're all on the same page:

1. If you live in a riding that went Liberal, NDP or Bloc in the last election, vote for that party.
2. If you live in a riding that elected a Conservative, vote for the party that came second.
3. Vote for Elizabeth May if you live in her riding.

Now get your family and 10 friends to do the same. Let's vote out the Regressive Conservatives!
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Layton broaches idea of political alliance [Sep. 22nd, 2008|08:55 pm]
New Democratic Party of Canada

[Current Location |Chatham, Ontario]
[mood |optimisticoptimistic]
[music |The Offspring - Want You Bad]


HAMILTON, Ont. -- NDP Leader Jack Layton says he's good at working with other people to solve problems -- and the problem right now is Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

For the first time in this election campaign, Layton has broached the idea of a political alliance to prevent Harper from leading again.

"I've worked with any other party. I think people have seen that. Maybe it goes back to my days on municipal council -- you roll up your sleeves and you try to solve a problem," Layton said in an interview with CTV.

"I think right now the problem we have is Stephen Harper and his Conservatives."

But Layton didn't mention the Liberals, and carefully excluded Liberal Leader Stephane Dion from his campaign speech in Hamilton.

He told a crowd of about 150 supporters their choice was between two different visions of Canada.

"A choice between Stephen Harper's vision and our vision. Stephen Harper or Jack Layton will be in charge at the end of the day," he said.

Layton's answers to reporters later about a possible political alliance were more careful.

"I will work with the Parliament that Canadians propose to deliver on that agenda."

His suggestions come on the same day the Liberal party released its full party platform.

The Liberals say their Green Shift proposal would cost $90 million in lost revenue over four years and the 40 billion raised in new carbon taxes would go back to Canadians in the form of tax breaks.

Layton focused much of his day attacking the Harper government and mostly ignored the Liberals, except to say it was common to see a Liberal government break promises once the party was elected to office.

"What's new about this election is they make a promise and then mid-election they'll say it's no longer their promise," he said referring to the Liberal Green Shift.

"I don't think people can have a lot of confidence in the kind of commitments that we're seeing laid out by the Liberal party."

With a new president coming in the U.S., Layton also said the time was ripe to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Layton told the crowd he wants to renegotiate NAFTA to save Canadian jobs, to regain more control over Canadian energy resources, and rework the "flawed" dispute resolution process.

He said NAFTA's Chapter 11, which allows foreign investors to challenge Canada's right to make laws, also needs revision.

--The Canadian Press

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