Socialist or merely social - Macleans.ca

Socialist or merely social

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Joanna Smith previews this weekend’s existential crisis.

New Democrats are preparing to cast off the shackles of the socialist label by eliminating the word from the federal party constitution at a policy convention this weekend. “The New Democratic Party is dedicated to the application of social democratic principles to government,” reads part of a proposed new preamble to the party constitution, which will be voted on at the 50th anniversary convention in downtown Vancouver. “These principles include an unwavering commitment to economic and social equality, individual freedom and responsibility, and democratic rights of citizens to shape the future of their communities.”

That language is much different from what exists in the current version of the constitution, where the principles of “democratic socialism” are described as being against making profits and for social ownership.

In full, the new preamble would read as follows.

The New Democratic Party believes that social justice, equality, and environmental sustainability are vital to achieving a strong, united and prosperous Canada for all. To that end, the New Democratic Party is dedicated to the application of social democratic principles to government.

These principles include an unwavering commitment to economic and social equality, individual freedom and responsibility, and democratic rights of citizens to shape the future of their communities. New Democrats hold firm to the belief that individual freedom and dignity are basic rights that find the fullest expression in healthy and prosperous communities, where individuals can realize their full potential and contribute to a stronger Canada.

Established in partnership with the Labour movement in 1961, the New Democratic Party is the voice of working people in the Parliament of Canada, advocating and implementing laws that advance their collective and individual interests. New Democrats are proud to stand in solidarity with its allies around the world working for international peace and justice, ending discrimination and exploitation, eliminating poverty and ensuring that wealth and power are in the hands of the many and not the few.

For the sake of comparison, the Conservative party’s “founding principles” are listed here.