The NDP has always been a socialist party. But they often tempered their ideology with an understanding of how government power could be used to hurt working class people. Now, that understanding is gone.
Many things were said about Jack Layton during his time in politics.
But one thing that even his supporters and detractors could have agreed on was that he was a champion of those who were unheard and who felt themselves to be on the margins of society.
Even when it wasn’t politically popular, Layton built his brand around helping the ‘little guy.’
Layton was pro civil-liberties, even when there was a political cost.
Here is an excerpt from the Stephen Lewis’s Eulogy for Jack Layton:
“He was fearless in his positions once embraced. Thus, when he argued for negotiations with the Taliban to bring the carnage in Afghanistan to an end he was ridiculed but stood firm. And now it’s conventional wisdom. I move to recall that Jack came to the New Democratic Party at the time of the imposition of the War Measures Act, when tanks rolled into the streets of Montreal and civil liberties were shredded, and when the NDP’s brave opposition brought us to our nadir in public opinion.”
Now, it’s important to note that when someone has passed away they can no longer speak for themselves. So, I am not at all claiming to know what Layton would have thought of the Convoy.
With that said, I share the quote from the Eulogy above because it speaks to how dramatically the NDP appears to have changed under Jagmeet Singh.
Is the NDP an anti-war party?
Is the NDP a pro-civil liberties party?
Is the NDP a pro-workers party?
At this point, we would have to say no.
A significant shift
Let’s go even further, and consider the following questions.
Between the NDP & Conservatives, which party is more pro-working class?
Which party is more pro-civil liberties?
10 years ago, the answer would have been obvious.
The NDP regularly argued against Conservative efforts to expand government security powers.
The NDP had many working-class MPs, and spoke in favour of the working class. The NDP often even made criticisms of trade deals and supra-national institutions, criticisms that would now be denounced as ‘Trumpian’ by the establishment press.
But now, the NDP supports the trade deals passed by the Liberals.
The NDP supported endless lockdowns and restrictions that spared government workers while crushing the working class.
The NDP has supported carbon taxes and tax hikes on working class Canadians.
And now, the NDP is supporting the Emergencies Act imposed by Justin Trudeau.
Across the nation civil liberties associations have denounced Trudeau’s move, but despite all that criticism, and despite the fact that both the border blockades and the convoy in Ottawa have been ended, the Liberals are still pushing ahead with their overreach.
Trudeau’s actions aren’t a surprise. He has long been someone who praised dictators and authoritarian states, and he has repeatedly sought to further inflame and divide the nation in order to give himself a pretext for expanding state power.
But it is a big surprise to see the NDP supporting it.
By doing so, they are abandoning their own history and their own values.
The NDP now finds itself siding with Justin Trudeau, rather than with with the many civil liberties groups and civil liberties activists who have been speaking out against Trudeau’s move.
For example, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association continues opposing Trudeau’s measures, in language that was once often-used by the NDP:
“The government’s own proclamation of emergency was clear: they claimed that they needed to invoke the extraordinary Emergencies Act to deal with the blockades. Those blockades are now dismantled. The sweeping national emergency powers they enacted should be dismantled as well,” said Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, Executive Director and General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
“Whether the Emergencies Act should have been invoked in the first place is a fundamentally important question that will continued to be discussed, both in the legislature and in the courts. The question that is relevant to parliamentarians today, however, is not whether the government was justified in issuing a proclamation of emergency a week ago. It is whether that proclamation continues to be justified today. The clear answer, in our view, is no.”
“At this time, the proper course of action for the government is to revoke the declaration of emergency. If they fail to do so, members of parliament will be required to attend a vote in the House of Commons to decide if the emergency proclamation should stand. We would urge them to vote against the proclamation and are asking all parties to allow a free vote so that every elected representative is able to vote their conscience.”
“Let’s be clear; every Canadian is currently subject to the emergency orders. The orders limit peaceful assembly across the country and require financial institutions to freeze bank accounts without judicial oversight. The federal government does not control how and when these laws are used. These legal powers have been placed in the hands of police officers across the country. As with all broad grants of power, the risk of abuse is significant.”
“The declaration of emergency should be revoked. And if the government continues to insist it is in the right, it should at a minimum give a free vote to all government MPs and let them vote their conscience. We would ask all other parties to do the same,” finished Mendelsohn Aviv.”
So what is Jagmeet Singh’s response?
He’s supporting Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act:
“NDP will “reluctantly support” Emergencies Act vote”
NDP will “reluctantly support” Emergencies Act vote pic.twitter.com/DKz4JoEM4z
— Roberto Wakerell-Cruz ✝️ (@Robertopedia) February 21, 2022
As we’ve seen over and over again, Singh constantly criticizes Trudeau but then supports everything Trudeau is doing:
“Every Jagmeet Singh speech:
“Trudeau has failed. Trudeau can’t lead. We can’t trust Trudeau. I’m going to support everything Trudeau is doing.””
And once again, that’s what Singh has done.
He’s chosen to stand with Justin Trudeau, rather than with Canadian workers and civil liberties activists.
Will the CPC become the party of civil liberties & workers?
With the NDP choosing to stand with the elitist managerial class and powerful politicians, the Conservatives have the opportunity to become the party of civil liberties and Canadian workers.
This will require them to be consistent however, meaning they need to speak out in favour of the civil liberties of all Canadians, including Indigenous People.
Further, Conservatives have in the past been in favour of a massive expansion of the security state in response to concerns about Islamic extremism, and this demonstrates how leaders of all stripes have used fear in order to expand their power.
Yet, if the CPC can acknowledge this history, and then take a strong stance in favour of civil liberties for all, they could win many new supporters.
Justin Trudeau’s massive assault on the rights and freedoms of Canadians, and the anti-freedom, draconian restrictions imposed over the past two years, have awakened many Canadians to the threat of government power, and have moved many people of all backgrounds and all political stripes into a more libertarian direction.
There is growing support for a ‘don’t tell me what to do,’ ‘leave me alone,’ and ‘let people be free’ kind of governance, governance that is based on the government stepping back and doing as little as possible. In particular, younger Canadians are moving more and more in that direction. Many working class Canadians are also seeing how less government means more freedom, more opportunity, and more wealth.
If the CPC chooses a leader like Pierre Poilievre, they can become the party of civil liberties and workers, and help realign the political spectrum to push the statist, anti-freedom Liberals & NDP out of power.
Photo – YouTube