The Spectator’s View: The NDP has misplaced its humanitarian side

Opinion Apr 12, 2016 Hamilton Spectator

In its search for political and social relevance, it appears the federal New Democratic Party may have misplaced its heart.

A harsh assessment, undoubtedly. But consider how delegates to the party's convention in Edmonton this weekend summarily dismissed Tom Mulcair. It's been obvious for some time that he didn't have adequate support, particularly from Ontario NDP members and leaders. But delegates didn't even make a pretence of being interested in Mulcair on the weekend.

His speech, which admittedly was platitude-heavy and substance-short, was given a lukewarm reception. And at the end of it all, only 48 per cent of delegates voted to support his leadership. Fifty-two per cent voted instead to toss him on the trash pile and find a new leader. He gets to stay on for up to two years to watch.

Politics is a tough game, and Mulcair is no one's delicate flower. But this was nothing more than a weekend-long professional execution. That's harsh.

Here's another example of how the NDP seems to be developing a seriously hard edge that cuts through things like compassion. Consider the Leap Manifesto, which got a mixed reception from the convention overall but eventually passed with agreement it would be studied at the riding level. This is a nasty piece of work, and that's coming from an editorial board that strongly believes in the need to decarbonize our economy. Leap proposes Canada shifts away from fossil fuels to electricity and renewables — over 20 years. It would have the oilsands shut down by 2050.

Leap would tolerate no new infrastructure projects that would increase extraction of non-renewable resources. That would mean no new pipelines, full stop. Not reduced reliance, not scaled back, not limited development with tough and thorough environmental oversight. Just no. It's little wonder that this particular aspect of Leap felt like a knife in the back to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. Her province has lost hundreds of thousands of oil jobs. Desperate economic and social times have hit Alberta. Instead of evidencing an iota of compassion and understanding, the NDP passes a manifesto that basically gives the middle finger to all those victims of the oil-price crisis.

Ending private ownership of all resources. Ending trade deals. Ending all fossil fuel subsidies, taxing financial transactions, cutting military spending and raising corporate taxes.

Central to the manifesto is the belief that Canada has to uncouple from the carbon economy. That's true. But if we have to get there by donning steel-toed boots and walking over anyone and everyone who is in the way, innocent victim or not, we will have sacrificed more than we gained. There has to be a way to balance fair and humane economic management with sustainability. We have to get there, but this is not the way to do it.

Howard Elliott

The Spectator’s View: The NDP has misplaced its humanitarian side

Opinion Apr 12, 2016 Hamilton Spectator

In its search for political and social relevance, it appears the federal New Democratic Party may have misplaced its heart.

A harsh assessment, undoubtedly. But consider how delegates to the party's convention in Edmonton this weekend summarily dismissed Tom Mulcair. It's been obvious for some time that he didn't have adequate support, particularly from Ontario NDP members and leaders. But delegates didn't even make a pretence of being interested in Mulcair on the weekend.

His speech, which admittedly was platitude-heavy and substance-short, was given a lukewarm reception. And at the end of it all, only 48 per cent of delegates voted to support his leadership. Fifty-two per cent voted instead to toss him on the trash pile and find a new leader. He gets to stay on for up to two years to watch.

Politics is a tough game, and Mulcair is no one's delicate flower. But this was nothing more than a weekend-long professional execution. That's harsh.

Here's another example of how the NDP seems to be developing a seriously hard edge that cuts through things like compassion. Consider the Leap Manifesto, which got a mixed reception from the convention overall but eventually passed with agreement it would be studied at the riding level. This is a nasty piece of work, and that's coming from an editorial board that strongly believes in the need to decarbonize our economy. Leap proposes Canada shifts away from fossil fuels to electricity and renewables — over 20 years. It would have the oilsands shut down by 2050.

Leap would tolerate no new infrastructure projects that would increase extraction of non-renewable resources. That would mean no new pipelines, full stop. Not reduced reliance, not scaled back, not limited development with tough and thorough environmental oversight. Just no. It's little wonder that this particular aspect of Leap felt like a knife in the back to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. Her province has lost hundreds of thousands of oil jobs. Desperate economic and social times have hit Alberta. Instead of evidencing an iota of compassion and understanding, the NDP passes a manifesto that basically gives the middle finger to all those victims of the oil-price crisis.

Ending private ownership of all resources. Ending trade deals. Ending all fossil fuel subsidies, taxing financial transactions, cutting military spending and raising corporate taxes.

Central to the manifesto is the belief that Canada has to uncouple from the carbon economy. That's true. But if we have to get there by donning steel-toed boots and walking over anyone and everyone who is in the way, innocent victim or not, we will have sacrificed more than we gained. There has to be a way to balance fair and humane economic management with sustainability. We have to get there, but this is not the way to do it.

Howard Elliott

The Spectator’s View: The NDP has misplaced its humanitarian side

Opinion Apr 12, 2016 Hamilton Spectator

In its search for political and social relevance, it appears the federal New Democratic Party may have misplaced its heart.

A harsh assessment, undoubtedly. But consider how delegates to the party's convention in Edmonton this weekend summarily dismissed Tom Mulcair. It's been obvious for some time that he didn't have adequate support, particularly from Ontario NDP members and leaders. But delegates didn't even make a pretence of being interested in Mulcair on the weekend.

His speech, which admittedly was platitude-heavy and substance-short, was given a lukewarm reception. And at the end of it all, only 48 per cent of delegates voted to support his leadership. Fifty-two per cent voted instead to toss him on the trash pile and find a new leader. He gets to stay on for up to two years to watch.

Politics is a tough game, and Mulcair is no one's delicate flower. But this was nothing more than a weekend-long professional execution. That's harsh.

Here's another example of how the NDP seems to be developing a seriously hard edge that cuts through things like compassion. Consider the Leap Manifesto, which got a mixed reception from the convention overall but eventually passed with agreement it would be studied at the riding level. This is a nasty piece of work, and that's coming from an editorial board that strongly believes in the need to decarbonize our economy. Leap proposes Canada shifts away from fossil fuels to electricity and renewables — over 20 years. It would have the oilsands shut down by 2050.

Leap would tolerate no new infrastructure projects that would increase extraction of non-renewable resources. That would mean no new pipelines, full stop. Not reduced reliance, not scaled back, not limited development with tough and thorough environmental oversight. Just no. It's little wonder that this particular aspect of Leap felt like a knife in the back to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. Her province has lost hundreds of thousands of oil jobs. Desperate economic and social times have hit Alberta. Instead of evidencing an iota of compassion and understanding, the NDP passes a manifesto that basically gives the middle finger to all those victims of the oil-price crisis.

Ending private ownership of all resources. Ending trade deals. Ending all fossil fuel subsidies, taxing financial transactions, cutting military spending and raising corporate taxes.

Central to the manifesto is the belief that Canada has to uncouple from the carbon economy. That's true. But if we have to get there by donning steel-toed boots and walking over anyone and everyone who is in the way, innocent victim or not, we will have sacrificed more than we gained. There has to be a way to balance fair and humane economic management with sustainability. We have to get there, but this is not the way to do it.

Howard Elliott