The New Democratic Party is meeting in Halifax this weekend for their federal convention where they will discuss policy, hand out literature and hit up Pizza Corner at 3am.
The NDP is looking to, among other things, rebrand itself as a more palatable alternative to the Liberal Party on the left. It’s going to be a tough slog for the dippers (we’ll still be able to call them that if they rename themselves as the Democratic Party) and many observers note that this will be Jack’s last chance if he doesn’t deliver tangible gains during the next election. They’ve been given a gift in that the Liberals have the most right-wing leader in recent memory, so some re-configuration may be on order along with seafood this weekend. However, are they selling out in order to make their policies easier for Canadians to swallow?
First, let’s look at Jack Layton’s obvious flip-flop on sweaters.
Jack’s party has been particularly guarded on releasing draft policy resolutions from his party’s EDAs this time around. This is likely a result of what happened last time the NDP had a convention. But, it allows us to ask if there’s some platform sweater stuffing going on here.
Next, we can’t help but notice that the NDP is leaving those hard-working families behind and showing a strong nod towards those that sit around boardroom tables rather than kitchen tables as the rich fat cats in Jack’s party can pay $300 for a chance to sit in the “winner’s circle” and attend an “exclusive” (read: exclusionary) reception with Betsy Myers, the COO for Obama for America. According to her agency, Betsy’s fee is between $15-$20k per gig. Let’s hope that enough NDP “suits” fill the Bluenose room at the Delta (my, oh my) to pay her fee. It is unknown why the NDP is cozying up to an American political party that is currently pushing for two-tier healthcare in the US, and one that supports increasing troops in Afghanistan. For those outside of the “winner’s circle” (read: drum circle) there’s an alternative event for $10 where they’re be some traditional Maritime music.
If you’re thinking about lighting up some of the green stuff while you listen to another rendition of Barrett’s Privateers at the Lower Deck, think again. Word from the convention this weekend is that the NDP has barred Dana Larsen from attending Dipperfest this year. Some will remember that Larsen was the NDP pro-drug candidate that was dumped during the last election.
But more seriously, is the NDP shifting the the centre-left to fill a perceived vacuum left there by Michael Ignatieff? Remember, if Ignatieff supported Bush, it might as well be safe to embrace for the NDP to embrace Obama (as a majority of Canadians still do).