“Sensible?” Surely you jest


Doug Bell over at the Other Place sends two emails to Brian Topp, who sure doesn’t look 48, and gets two fascinating answers in reply.

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“Sensible?” Surely you jest

  1. It’s a new kind of sensible.

  2. Do I sense an impending head-on collision at Canada’s political centre?

  3. That would be nice.

  4. Mr. Topp says: “We’re going to need to take a look at how our successful sister parties in other countries moved forward.”

    If the NDP stuck to issues that don’t go against the economic consensus, they could really get the Liberals running scared. But I don’t see how they can do this with the current Leader, who I would have thought was now permanently tied, in the public consciousness, to anti-corporate demagoguery. The magic ingredient lacking in the NDP platform is Fiscal Prudence. As long as they can make the right noises for the base on fiscally cheap issues, maybe they can retain their core support while moving to the centre on the economy; but does Jack Layton have the power to do that? Quaeritur.

  5. Depends on where the centre is. It seems to be a movable feast.

  6. I see the natural governing party in one of those cartoon prison cells where the walls keep moving in, and it ending very badly for them.

  7. Jack Mitchell claims the NDP goes against the “economic consensus”. But what is that exactly?

    At this time last month, the “economic consensus” was that governments must never run deficits – ever. This week most of the western world seems to think it’s okay. Even a good idea.

    At this time last year, the “economic consensus” was that Canadian banks needed to expand into the global marketplace. This week most people seem to think Canada was visionary for making it harder to do that.


    The NDP earned the contempt of some pundits in this most recent campaign with their promise to cancel a substantial corporate tax cut. One could argue, and many did, that this amounted to a massive tax hike and was proof of the NDP’s desire to destroy corporate Canada. However, Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals ran on a very similar commitment in Ontario in 2003 – an election McGuinty won handily. The man who is likely to be elected President of the United States is denouncing corporate tax “giveaways” as aggressively as Jack Layton ever did.

    I don’t think New Democrats are outside the “economic consensus” as much as they are outside the “economic establishment”. Ideas that would be tolerated coming from Dalton McGuinty or Danny Williams or (for that matter) Gary Doer are viewed as socialist extremism when they come from the mouth of Jack Layton.

    The NDP’s biggest challenge is maintaining their economic populist edge that convinces middle-class people that the NDP will stand up for them while at the same time convincing those people that their bosses won’t close up shop in the process.


  8. If the NDP becomes the Liberals, what is the point of the NDP? They are the mainstream commie party. Strip that away and what are they?

  9. When the Socialists and the Corporatists start to look good together its time to check your wallet and count your children.

  10. Geiseric,

    Isn’t that interesting, when you consider that Big Labour and Big Business constitute the Democratic coalition in the US, vs. the Repubs and their middle class voters

  11. sorry

    marketing has never been my strong point

  12. However much the talking point “economic” consensus has changed over the years, ever since the Mulroney years, the actual practice is that tax cuts for corporations are good, but tax cuts for individuals are really, really bad.


    I’d have liked a little bit of those tax reductions. I was in the bottom tax bracket a year & a half ago, & HARPER RAISED MY TAXES BY $1,400 PER YEAR. The GST cut of 2% saved me about $75 a year.

    At the same time corporate tax rates went down, government revenue went up, but program spending went down.


    I realize all this involves numbers & graphs & must just be pandering to those latte-sipping elites, but in my little imaginary little elitist world this stuff makes a big difference to my quality of life. I don’t seem to recall the CPC, Libs, Bloc or Greens addressing any of this stuff.

    Just ask yourself this question: When was the last time a Conservative or Liberal government reduced YOUR income taxes?

    Okay, rant off.

  13. At this time last month, the “economic consensus” was that governments must never run deficits – ever.

    What? I can’t imagine that you’re referring to the consensus among economists, most of whom have always accepted that it’s reasonable for governments to run occasional annual deficits as part of a balanced budget over the course of an economic cycle (just as it’s okay to run monthly deficits as part of a balanced annual budget), so it must be the consensus among politicians you’re talking about, which I believe would be more of a “political consensus”.

  14. First off, Paul the pundit was very good on RDI this AM.

    I know Brian Topp for many years. He has always impressed me as a thoughtful person.

    He doesn’t look at politics as an us versus them game, but more of how to advance with honour. That contrasts with the “winning” styles of the right wing in the US and Harper of negative campaigning, constant criticism of what the other guy says or does.

    It takes longer, but with steadfast and constant leadership, this approach should pay off incrementally and then as people get fed up with their interests not been served by leaps and bounds.

  15. Excellent point, Rudy.

    I think in retrospect it would have been nice if some of your material had made it into the NDP’s publicity and advertising during the election.

    I wonder if Brian Topp is one of those people at the NDP victory party on election nite who told Rosemary Barton of the CBC that the party would win from 45 to 57 or so seats? And is now telling disgruntled supporters that, really, 37 is about what could reasonably have been hoped for, and that star candidates like Michael Byers and Tom King were never expected to win in the first place, they were just being used as attractants to get educated people to contribute.

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