Where’s the urgency in the NDP’s politics?

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath. Photo: Ontario NDP/Flickr
Photo: Ontario NDP/Flickr

How do you know it’s effectively over for a political institution like the NDP, despite lingering vital signs? The critical point is the emergence of a plausible replacement, in this case the Greens under Elizabeth May. They’re a presence in Ottawa and now rival the NDP in polls.

Till then you don’t want to imagine it. It’s like the CBC: you may not like it but it’s needed. With someone else filling that slot, even in a sharply different way, their departure becomes thinkable.

You start noticing what they’re not, and haven’t been for a while. At their start, in the Depression of the ’30s, as the CCF, they knew they had the answer to the questions the country was asking: How did we get into this mess and how do we get out? The answer was something like socialism or co-operation.

In recent years they don’t show that confidence — never mind what the specific answers might be. They’re more like: “We’re a grown-up party too and dammit, we deserve our turn.”

…But forget the past. What youth are most serious about is the present, in which they’re starting to drown. Urgency may be the socialism of today.

The Liberals speak well on, say, democratic reform, but did nothing about it when they had the chance. Same with climate catastrophe or ongoing water disaster in Attawapiskat, which roared back this week. A Liberal mouthpiece said they’d “be travelling up to the community as early as next week.'”

That’s their idea of speed — except when SNC-Lavalin’s involved. Then they become The Flash.

If there’s any future for the NDP (versus ENDP) it might be as the UDP: the Urgent Democratic Party. MORE

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