I’m reminded in studying peterderemigisnet stats of the importance of the impoverishment theme to many. Somewhat sensitive of my own subjective lack of political experience I imagine that this account of my television viewing of the 2012 NDP leadership race may reflect a consequence of increasing impoverishment and societal separation ignored by most politicians and journalists.
NDP 2012 Leadership Race
Yesterday, and today, March 24,2012 I saw some of the CBC and CTV coverage of the New Democrat Party leadership convention. The party began as the CCF under Tommy Douglas, a Baptist minister/boxer, who inspired the establishment of Canada’s public health system, in order to alleviate the suffering of those unable to afford medical services. As Canada’s socialist party, its supporters were often labelled communist by Liberal and Conservative party sympathizers, an epithet that as a child I had to endure because my parents had a CCF sign on our front lawn.
All that has changed since the CCF became the NDP, for the NDP has become socially acceptable to those more affluent than the poor Canadians of the 1930’s and 1940’s. The once denigrated socialist CCF, now the NDP has become Canada’s powerful official federal opposition thanks to Quebec’s Bloc Québécois supporters switching to the NDP during the 2011 Federal election. And those leading the party no longer seem to be represented by the kinds of principled intellectuals and working people who believed they represented an alternative to the power wielding Liberals and Conservatives. These New Democrats some of whom appear as descendants of Canada’s old business elite, seem more like well paid professionals, or “knowledge workers” struggling to ensure their own social benefits, and influence in an age when good incomes are increasingly funded by governments.
Some years ago my father and I were discussing Canada’s political situation when he, a former CCF activist and working man, remarked that his party was no longer the party that it had been when he’d worked for David Lewis under Tommy Douglas. Yesterday a pharmacist, Martin Singh, son of a former Liberal politician spoke to win the leadership of the NDP. And today I learned that Canada’s NDP had hired a Spanish firm to run its electronic voting system surprising even one of the NDP’s members who could not understand why this (nationalist ?)Canadian political party was unable to give these jobs to unemployed Canadians; and saw a former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister become NDP leader; my father’s words echoed: “It’s not the same party.”