This fall, NDP delegates are set to descend upon the historic city of Quebec for their next policy convention. There, the Dippers will figure out what the NDP stands for and what policies will set them forward to fight in opposition, or as the most optimistic may dream, in government.
As with most parties, policy comes from the grassroots. I remember that prior to the conservative convention in 2004, local conservative EDAs formed draft policy to submit to national party headquarters so that it may be assembled into a number of proposals to be voted upon at the convention.
The NDP, it appears, is following much of the same process. Draft policy comes from local EDAs accross the country, however, unions and youth associations are also welcome to take a part in the policy formation process.
I’ve obtained a significant section of the NDP draft policy document. I’m told that it was available on the NDP website briefly before it was pulled. As mentioned, this document was largely assembled by local NDP EDAs. A lot of the document is troubling.
As we know, the NDP is no supporter of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan. In fact, in one of its policy proposals, the Peterborough NDP EDA doesn’t mince words:
“BE IT RESOLVED that Canada remove its troops from Afghanistan.” — Peterborough NDP
Other Electoral District Associations voice their opposition to the Afghan mission with a bit more gusto:
“THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the NDP demand that Canadian Forces disengage from any support role for the U.S. and its puppet regime in Iraq, including the training of Iraqi soldiers in Jordan, policing the Persian Gulf, and participating in the occupation of Afghanistan.” — Oakville NDP
The Haldimand-Norfolk NDP takes their distrust of America and global security one step further:
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Government of Canada will withdraw from its participation in NORAD.” — Haldimand-Norfolk NDP
The Nanaimo-Cowichan NDP spells it out for anyone still unsure of the NDP position:
“Peter Stoffer, a NDP MP said during the debate “I support the mission and the troops in Afghanistan and so does our Party.” This is not an acceptable position when world peace hangs in the balance. A combat role in Afghanistan is a no-win situation both for Canada and for the Afghani people. Its only dubious value is to curry favour with the militarist government of George W. Bush. No matter how noble our intentions, such as “bringing democracy” or “enabling peaceful development”, these goals cannot be achieved by violence when the “enemy” cannot be distinguished from ordinary citizens. In such a situation Canadian troops end up acting like terrorists, destroying communities, killing and maiming innocent people. In turn our troops become easy targets for others.”
The Hamilton and District Labour Council (apparently a contributor to NDP policy) gives us insight behind the NDP rationale against Canadian involvement in Afghanistan:
“WHEREAS Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to pursue deeper integration of Canada’s military and diplomatic structures in line with U.S. goals,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this Convention endorse the Federal NDP Caucus vote against extending the mission of the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan;” — The Hamilton and District Labour Council
On the topic of the Americans and war, there is no short supply of NDP draft policy on these issues. Trinity-Spadina NDP proposes:
“WHEREAS Canadian Forces in Afghanistan are engaged in combat to seek and destroy insurgents, and to prop up a U.S.-puppet government of human rights abusers, drug traffickers and warlords, and to justify aggressive militarism increasingly allied to Washington’s global corporate agenda,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the NDP demand that the U.S. get out of Iraq
Mr. President? The NDP is on line 4 and they’re demanding that you “get out of Iraq immediately.”
What do our NDP friends in Trinity-Spadina propose the party do if the Canadian government refuse to withdraw the military from Afghanistan?
“THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the NDP will call on the Canadian government to withdraw its military forces from Afghanistan immediately and failing a complete withdrawal, the NDP will seek redress in the appropriate court to have our illegal occupation of Afghanistan cease.”
Let’s move on. The NDP grassroots has a lot of interesting things to say about free-trade as well:
“WHEREAS the corporate agenda is a serious threat to social programmes; the environment, human and labour rights, and the goals of democratic socialism,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the New Democratic Party undertake to explore the means to effect the abrogation and withdrawal of Canada from NAFTA, FTA, GATS, and the WTO;” — Toronto-Danforth NDP
The Ottawa-Centre NDP proposes:
“The Federal NDP should begin immediately to take steps to extricate Canada from the free trade agreements, which have moved us into the American empire.” — Ottawa-Centre NDP
But what about globalization? Here you go:
“WHEREAS the NDP has always been opposed to neo-liberal globalization; and
WHEREAS the NDP is the Party that most criticizes neo-liberal globalization; and
WHEREAS negative impacts on globalization are still being felt (non-compliance with NAFTA, relocation of businesses, job losses, job insecurity, widening gaps in the distribution of riches, endangered social programmes, etc.); and
WHEREAS these negative impacts affect millions of Canadians,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that neo-liberal globalization and alterglobalization become priorities in the initiatives and declarations of the Federal NDP.” — Quebec section NDP
If this NDP draft policy document is any indication, our Canadian socialist friends won’t miss an opportunity to show their solidarity with Hugo Chavez’ government in Venezuela:
“THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the NDP urge the Canadian government to denounce all interference in the sovereign affairs of Venezuelan democratic process; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in the event that such interference is pursued in Venezuela by any nation or international organization, the NDP urge the Canadian government to vocally oppose that interference and provide no Canadian military or Canadian industrial support to aid in that interference; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NDP urge the Canadian government to immediately cease all liaisons or cooperation with members of the Venezuelan opposition, who are engaged in various illegal activities including receiving money from external sources, and who have no base of support amongst the vast majority of Venezuelan people.” — ONDY
The Sault Ste. Marie NDP elaborates:
“BE IT RESOLVED that the NDP endorse and support the “Hands off Venezuela” campaign. The “Hands off Venezuela” is a worldwide solidarity campaign to oppose U.S. intervention and serve as a counterweight to get the truth to the people. It is supported by trade unions, students, indigenous peoples and progressive people worldwide.” — Sault Ste. Marie NDP
It would seem that the NDP is proposing a policy of non-interference into the domestic affairs of other countries. You might think that, however, consider what the New Westminster-Coquitlam NDP proposes:
“THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the New Democratic Party demand the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the New Democratic Party support progressive political forces in the United States to that end.”
Hands-off Venezuela? Hands-on USA?
Hands on Israel! (of course):
“BE IT RESOLVED that Canada support the complete withdrawal of Israel from Palestinian Territories it occupied in the 1976 War.” — Peterborough NDP
“WHEREAS there can be no lasting peace in Palestine/Israel, or the surrounding region, without social justice,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the NDP supports the Right of Return for all refugees, an end to the Israeli settlements and Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, a halt to the armed aggression, the bulldozing of homes, destruction of olive groves and farms, and the assassination of political leaders and activists by the Israeli state, and the NDP demands the removal of the barrier, still under construction across the West Bank; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NDP calls for restoration of aid to the Palestinian Authority, demands a halt to military aid and economic trade with Israel until all the above demands are met, and that the NDP campaign for an end to the rule of apartheid laws that make Palestinians and Israeli Arabs second and third class citizens under occupation;” — Trinity-Spadina NDP
Apartheid? It’s language that the Peterborough, Kingston and the Islands, Durham, London-Fanshawe, and London North-Centre NDP EDAs use as well. Consider this from the Quebec section NDP:
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NDP ask the Canadian Government to: fulfil its obligations as party to the Geneva Conventions and UN member-country; lobby Israel to abide by the international law, demolish the Apartheid wall and end any action causing the suffering and humiliation of the Palestinian People, including the demolition of homes, targeted murders and collective punishment against the Palestinian civil population;”
and this juxtaposition is too shocking to pass up:
“WHEREAS everyone has been silently witnessing the suffering and humiliation of the Palestinian people for over 60 years; and
WHEREAS Israel continues to violate International Law and UN Resolutions condemning the illegal occupation of Palestinian land;” — Quebec section NDP
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NDP calls for restoration of aid to the Palestinian Authority, demands a halt to military aid and economic trade with Israel until all the above demands are met, and that the NDP campaign for an end to the rule of apartheid laws that make Palestinians and Israeli Arabs second and third class citizens under occupation;” — Trinity-Spadina NDP
How about Cuba? The Durham NDP writes:
“WHEREAS the United States government continues to enforce its war-like economic embargo of Cuba, causing increased suffering to the population; and
WHEREAS Cuba’s socialized economy, extensive social equity achievements, and quality social services ensure that human needs are put first, in stark contrast to rapacious global capitalism; and
WHEREAS the loss of the Cuban socialist project would constitute an historic setback for working people everywhere,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the NDP express its solidarity with Cuba, encourage Party members to visit the island, demand the immediate release of the anti-terrorist Cuban five framed and imprisoned in the U.S., demand an end to the U.S. embargo, and demand an end to U.S.-backed efforts to destabilize and sabotage Cuba’s socialist gains and national sovereignty.” — Durham NDP
Let’s move on to George W. Bush and Iraq (saving the best for last). No NDP draft policy document would be worthy of quotation without some hate for W.
Let’s start with the money quote of the entire document. The Ontario New Democratic Youth pen this into this official NDP document concerning the US President and the war in Iraq:
“WHEREAS President Bush’s military invasions, the “supreme war crime” (cf. Nuremberg Tribunal), have increased tensions worldwide and led to the murder of tens of thousands of innocent civilians;“
According to these people, as they propose to be included as official NDP policy, the invasion of Iraq constitutes a “supreme war crime” akin to those investigated by the Nuremberg Tribunal. For those without the benefit of a historical perspective, the Nuremberg trials investigated Nazi atrocities during the Holocaust and WWII. How about that eh? That’s actually written in the official NDP draft policy document.
What about war in general? The Afghanistan war, the Iraq war, World War I, World War II? How does the NDP feel about war?
“WHEREAS no war is a “just war…” — Toronto Centre NDP
Excuse me, NDP? Our veterans may want to have a word.
UPDATE: Just did a spot on Charles Adler’s show (Roy Green is subbing) about this controversy. Will have audio soon.
UPDATE: CP just wrote about this story. Appeared in a variety of Quebec newspapers today (September 2nd).