To leap or not to leap: that is the question for the delegates attending the upcoming NDP convention in Edmonton. They must decide whether to endorse the LEAP manifesto, a hard-left document calling for radical global economic change in the name of preserving the environment, and whether to enter into a leadership race by refusing to give NDP Leader Tom Mulcair more than 70 per cent support in this weekend’s leadership review.
Both acts would represent a sharp change of course for a party that has pursued its own version of Tony Blair’s Third Way for the past 13 years. Under the late Jack Layton, and then Mulcair, the party veered to the centre, repositioning itself as a party that espouses socialism with a brain instead of a heart. It promised balanced budgets and lower taxes on small business. And while it still offered up national daycare, military disengagement and bigger pensions, it shied away from the type of talk that used to be its calling card: tax the wealthy, nationalize the banks, etc. Harsh cries to “eat the rich” were replaced with soothing calls to “end income inequality,” a bureaucratic-sounding term that has the sex appeal of a hemp scarf.
Meanwhile, other left-of-centre parties were taking a hard-left turn. Under Jeremy Corbyn, the U.K. Labour Party is once again touting the benefits of socialism for the working class, as it fights the Conservatives’ Trade Unions Bill. In the United States, presidential aspirant Bernie Sanders is hell-bent on taking Democrats further to the left than many ever imagined possible. And with the recent release of the Panama Papers — which revealed the extent of tax evasion practised by the wealthy, including political leaders and celebrities — both men have a new soapbox on which to cry: we were right, capitalism is screwing over the masses and needs to be regulated.
Read the full article in the National Post here: To LEAP or not to LEAP — that is the NDP’s question