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Ye Olde Ideas


 

The Globe dismisses the faithful’s efforts.

Jack Layton says he is offering Canadians a new way of thinking. But the policies approved at the NDP conference in Halifax this weekend are not new to New Democrats.

The more than 1,000 delegates endorsed action to prevent violence against aboriginal women. They endorsed enshrining childcare into law. They endorsed investment in environmentally friendly jobs. They endorsed ending rules that prevent homosexuals from donating organs. In the end, there were more than 50 policies approved. But there was little to raise the eyebrows of the party’s socialist founders.


 

Ye Olde Ideas

  1. I' m shocked, shocked, that the Globe didn't endorse the NDP.

    • I'm shocked that the NDP really seems to have thought that the corporate media was actually going to let them kick the football this time.

      • And which policy endorsement would actually have made contact with the ball?

        And speaking of those: where, by the way, is there a list of the NDP policies endorsed by this convention?

        I suppose we could look at the NDP website where it — ummmmmmmmm, nope, sorry, doesn't seem to exist as of 09:12 EDT this morning. (I suppose it could be up later in the day, but the NDP have a history of being behind the curve when it comes to using the web.)

    • Generally speaking, newspapers don't "endorse" parties based on policy conventions. Can you provide an example where one did?

      • The National Post and the Conservatives?

        Well, okay, that’s a bit of a gimme. The Post only ever criticizes conservatives for not going far enough. A bit like the National Review, except with more readers.

        (Well, okay. Not that many more. But a few, at least.)

  2. And which policy endorsement would actually have made contact with the ball?

    None, because the corporate media have no intention of ever letting the NDP make contact with the ball.

    And speaking of those: where, by the way, is there a list of the NDP policies endorsed by this convention?

    From what I've seen, the NDP doesn't simply make a list of policies that are endorsed, they incorporate them into their platform. You can find that here. Scroll down past Layton's message to find all sorts of linky goodness to what the NDP stands for and wants to do.

    • You know, I watched tpretty much every minute of the convention, as covered, including all of the policy debates that took place on the floor, and I don't disagree with the Globe's assessment that not one of the resolutions adopted would have "raised the eyebrows of the party's socialist founders." Could you — or anyone else — cite one that would? Also, why do you necessarily take that as a criticism of the process? Surely staying true to the NDP's principles is a good thing, in the eyes of many — even most — party members.

      • I think the Globe's position arises from an implicit assumption and Layton's position wrt influence versus governance. Layton has made it clear that he would like to be the breakthrough NDP PM and prefers to talk about forming a government rather than influencing the policy of the major parties. The Globe assumption is that the NDP socialist heritage is too much baggage to lug into Sussex Drive. So according to the Globe Layton's ambitions are incompatible with staying true to their principles.
        Actually, the propensity of the G&M to call for less principled behaviour from our political leaders is a little unnerving.

        • But it wasn't the Globe that was pushing the idea that this convention was all about a new direction for the NDP, it was the party and its leader, which makes it perfectly reasonable to judge the outcome based on that assertion. If the theme had been that the party has always been ahead of its time, and the rest of the world is only now starting to catch up, your criticism of the reporting would be valid, but if you watched the closing scrum with Layton, he was given several opportunities to explain just what was new in his speech, and at the convention itself, and was unable to do so. The only example was the resolution to cut taxes for small business, and that didn't even make it to the floor, although if it had, it would have been interesting to see if it would have resulted in an actual debate.

          • I'm not sure where you got the idea that the NDP claimed it was moving in a new direction.

          • If you read the pre-Halifax interviews with Layton and other NDPers, as well as the coverage of the pre-convention briefing by Brad Lavigne, that was definitely the impression that was being put out, from the focus on the possible name change to that tax cut proposal that Layton and others touted during the leadup to the meeting, it's clear that was the message that they wanted to send out to the media, at the very least, most likely because they realized that, with limited budgets, most outlets wouldn't bother sending someone to cover a same-old-same-old convention — and no, that's not exclusive to the NDP, there were far fewer reporters at the most recent Liberal and Conservative conventions for the very same reason. It was a smart strategy, because it probably did result in more coverage than would otherwise have been the case, particularly the name change possibility, but it's all but inevitable that, if nothing new does emerge from either the speeches or the policy debates, that's going to come up in the summing-up coverage. It's not evidence of a sinister corporate media plot against the NDP, which actually got more attention than either the Liberals or the Conservatives did during their last conventions.

          • I did read the pre-convention coverage. <a href="http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/embarks+long+road+power/1881489/story.html">This CanWest article was the best I came across.

            New Democratic Party delegates will hear the phrase "incremental growth" over and over again at the party's national gathering in Halifax this weekend, at what officials are calling a springboard convention into a possible fall election.

            Those words define the NDP's new strategy — winning power eventually, but not necessarily in the upcoming federal election.

            The NDP never talked about a new direction for the party, they talked about a new strategy. That's why the convention was chalked full of strategists from Obama's team and why a lot of the speeches spoke about strategy instead of policy.

          • I did read the pre-convention coverage. <a href="http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/embarks+long+road+power/1881489/story.html">This CanWest article was the best I came across.

            New Democratic Party delegates will hear the phrase "incremental growth" over and over again at the party's national gathering in Halifax this weekend, at what officials are calling a springboard convention into a possible fall election.

            Those words define the NDP's new strategy — winning power eventually, but not necessarily in the upcoming federal election.

            The NDP never talked about a new direction for the party, they talked about a new strategy. That's why the convention was chalked full of strategists from Obama's team and why a lot of the speeches spoke about strategy instead of policy.

          • I did read the pre-convention coverage. This CanWest article was the best I came across.

            New Democratic Party delegates will hear the phrase "incremental growth" over and over again at the party's national gathering in Halifax this weekend, at what officials are calling a springboard convention into a possible fall election.

            Those words define the NDP's new strategy — winning power eventually, but not necessarily in the upcoming federal election.

            The NDP never talked about a new direction for the party, they talked about a new strategy. That's why the convention was chalked full of strategists from Obama's team and why a lot of the speeches spoke about strategy instead of policy.

          • And that's pretty much how the ensuing coverage described it, so I'm not sure why you would have a problem with that — that isif, indeed, you do. It is tough to bill yourself as the party of change and new ideas without either a) a new leader or b) new ideas — new to your party, that is — which was why, I think, party officials were, for the most part, pleased by the flurry of interest generated by the possibility of a name change, right up until it became clear that delegates weren't even going to get to debate it, which – predictably – then became the story. But I doubt that it's going to hurt the NDP terribly much, in the short or long term — they may not get much of a post-convention bounce as far as the polls go, but they're unlikely to go down, and I'm sure most of the membership is entirely satisfied with how things turned out.

          • I am not sure you are giving Jack enough credit. I believe when he tells Canadians that the NDP has a new way to govern, he is using new as in resale or "new to you". Since the NDP have never formed a national government, they can technically bill all of their old ideas about governing as "new" to Canadians with the old NDP ideas guiding us to our own Canadian Obamatopia.

          • How can they be new ideas if they have been thoroughly rejected in every national election campaign? You mean Layton is saying, "No, really, really, just trust us this time?"

          • that’s pretty much how the ensuing coverage described it, so I’m not sure why you would have a problem with that — that isif, indeed, you do.

            I suspect that his problem is with the tenor of the comments, as much as anything else. The coverage of the NDP convention from conservative media (like the Globe, at least on economic issues) has featured continual needling of the NDP for advocating “old ideas” like social democracy, and calling for them to accept the Brave New World of Free Markets and International Trade or Bigger Pies or some such nonsense. All those ideas are even older than the NDP’s—and considering recent events, the social democrats might well have a point.

            Anything akin to social democracy in Canada, instead of a sort of bland deference to the least offensive corporations, would be an enormously novel idea. And one the Globe et al are not going to be overly fond of—hence the needling.

          • They were going to discuss strategy in an open, media-aplenty national convention? Well, I would have to admire that strict adherence to transparency, but strategy is quickly foiled if you let your opponents in on the formulation.

            So, what strategy did they come up with?

          • The policies themselves wouldn’t have raised eyebrows, perhaps, but the policies that weren’t there might. Unless I missed something, there is no call for International Socialism, no policy of nationalizing all the industries, no policy of dismantling the banks…nothing that you might see out of a hard-left Socialist party.

            The policies prescribed, for the most part, would be more at home among the modern Democratic base than the Communist Internationale.

    • You know, I watched pretty much every minute of the convention, including all of the policy debates that took place on the floor, and I don't disagree with the Globe's assessment that not one of the resolutions adopted would have "raised the eyebrows of the party's socialist founders." Could you — or anyone else — cite one that would? Also, why do you necessarily take that as a criticism of the process? Surely staying true to the NDP's principles is a good thing, in the eyes of many — even most — party members.

  3. The Globe and Mail rejects the policies of a social democratic party? Shurely not!

    Does Aaron also await, with bated breath, the latest Washington Times’ evaluation of UHC?

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