Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Why Vote NDP?

This comes from the Ottawa Sun.

Fri, February 29, 2008

There's always another option

Stephane Dion, recently U-Boated on YouTube, can be trusted on one point: To secure victory he is always ready to retreat.

Rick Mercer notwithstanding, what is the average non-comedian to make of Captain Collapse's latest battle whimper? -- "We'll find a way to not defeat the government and to express our disagreement with this budget."

So just how does one suck while also attempting to blow? By having a handful of Liberals vote against the budget while the rest abstain or stay in bed.

If a confidence vote is at one level the invitation to step outside and settle it in the parking lot, the Grits have signalled time after time that there is nothing on the political landscape worth fighting for, including the Afghanistan mission, the environment, the omnibus crime bill or the economic direction of the country.

I have a suggestion for giving the gutless Grits what they deserve. Who says they are the only government in waiting? There has been another party around since 1961 that has never been trusted to be the government of this country or even the Opposition, though in 1988 the NDP did win 43 seats. My proposal is this: Those hordes of urban voters who just can't stand the Conservatives should try a new option -- the NDP.

I have to laugh when callers to my program inveigh against the very possibility of giving the NDP some real power in Parliament. Most of them want to talk about the disastrous economic consequences of what the "socialists" would do. Without noting the party's commitment to balanced budgets, they talk about the mountains of debt that would pile up.

But wait? Wasn't it the Liberals under Pierre Trudeau who spent the numbers off the national credit card and attempted to breast-feed the nation from cradle to grave? Wasn't it the Conservatives under Brian Mulroney who pushed Canada toward fiscal meltdown in two terms of drop-dead financial profligacy? Never mind what the NDP might do. Think about what the traditional parties have done. By the latest calculations, Canadians are coughing up $18 million a day, every day, to pay the interest on the mountains of debt the so-called "responsible" parties have racked up.

Then there is the "Remember Ontario" refrain, a dour reference to Bob Rae's dubious stewardship of Confederation's former Big Kahuna. Surely because of what Bob Rae did to Ontario, surely the NDP must never be trusted to govern again. People who argue like that almost never want to talk about Roy Romanow, living proof that an NDP government can be every bit as fiscally responsible as anyone else, while still promoting the party's policies and values.

It bears remembering: Those enemies of the Common Sense Revolution may not have liked Mike Harris, but no one suggests that a Conservative must never again run the show at Queen's Park. Quebecers booted out Robert Bourassa with great gusto, then brought him back, and now have another Liberal calling the shots in Quebec City. A poor job rating does not bring eternal banishment to the traditional parties, so why should it to the NDP?

The list of NDP politicians that didn't ruin their provinces by winning power is long and not without some distinction: Dave Barrett, Mike Harcourt, Glen Clark, Alan Blakeney, Roy Romanow and Lorne Calvert. Gazooks, even Albertans once voted in the NDP as the official Opposition!

I ask you, is it really that scary to think of Jack Layton where Stephane Dion now sits showing the white feather? After all, at least the guy has a forward gear.

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