Category Archives: NDP

When will Ontarians tire of cynical, sophomoric, and disingenuous politics?

Perhaps, I’m an anomaly.  Perhaps I’m just too naive and insist on clinging to fundamental ideals of democracy (e.g. the electorate should be as well and truly informed in its political engagements, such as during elections).  Perhaps it’s just unrealistic to expect to be able to vote for something, rather than against something, and thereby reinforcing and rewarding cynical, negative politics.

Two things I’ve seen in the last couple of days have spurred (pardon the pun) this.

First, the wanton name calling, and personal insults directed at Tim Hudak, complete with a puerile photo of Hudak posing next to the weasel that he apparently is. For the record, I’m as anti-Conservative as it gets, but I need to look no further than Conservative policy to know that such a platform is not the vision I have for Ontario. Period.

Second, as a constituent of what must be one of Ontario’s most progressive ridings, Parkdale High Park, I was dismayed and disappointed by the first piece of Liberal campaign literature that showed up in my mailbox. In a riding where the Conservative candidate, by all accounts very worthy, is an extreme long shot to get elected, I get that the Liberals will be attacking the NDP. It will be interesting to see if the Liberals will once again engage in the same personal smears on NDP incumbent, Cheri DiNovo- one of the strongest and most outspoken MPP’s at Queens Park. It devastatingly backfired before, I don’t think they’ll do it again.

For some inexplicable reason the Liberals have decided to attack the NDP on its environmental platform . Personally, I think it’s a big mistake. The NDP is now rolling out very solid environmental policy. The NDP has long been recognized for its strong advocacy of  the environment. And the NDP has in its caucus one of the strongest minds and advocates for the environment, former Greenpeace Canada Director, Peter Tabuns.

Regardless, in my mailbox arrives a dead tree -I mean a glossy multi-ink cardboard card- with a picture of a baby on one side and on the other side “Fact: Doctors agree, harmful pesticides pose serious health risks”.  Below we are told that PCs and the NDP both voted against the pesticide ban. This must mean that PCs and the NDP hate babies.

But there’s more. Apparently the “PCs side with pesticide lobby”  while “NDP sides with PC’s”- perhaps they mean personal computers and not progressive conservatives.  Of course the only reason why someone would vote against the proposed legislation would be because one hates babies, and in the case of the NDP because Andrea Horwath is the second coming of Mike Harris and therefore the NDP simply do what the PCs do.

First, this is reminiscent of  Harper’s attacks during the recent federal election; one that particularly irked my was the federal Conservatives insinuation that because Ignatieff and the Liberals voted against the budget, Ignatieff must be against seniors and students.  I guess the Ontario Liberals figure that if it worked for Harper, it might work for McGuinty. Thus, if the ONDP voted against the provincial pesticide ban, it must be because its against babies.

Second, as is patently obvious this attack is founded on faulty logic. Just because pesticides may be harmful  and pose serious health risks doesn’t mean any proposed legislation around a pesticide ban must be supported. Moreover, Just because the ONDP voted against the pesticide ban, doesn’t mean they did so for the same reasons as the PCs.

Anyway, should anyone want to confirm that Andrea Horwath is not Mike Harris, or that the ONDP does not in fact hate babies, nor hopes to foreclose our future by destroying our environment, go to Stop the Smears.

It’s sad that McGuinty would prefer to wage a negative campaign, forcing parties like the ONDP to expend great effort just to counteract these smears. It’s sad that this distracts from real debate and discussion on very serious and critical issues. It’s sad that McGuinty would rather have people vote against his opponents than vote for his vision and record.

Say No to Negative Politics, Help Stop the Smears

It’s now a commonplace the incredible gains made by the NDP  in the recent federal election had to do with its unrelentingly positive approach and unwillingness to engage in the kinds of negative attacks now entrenched in the Conservative and Liberal approach to political campaigning.

I’m glad the ONDP has decided to follow suit, and moreover, isn’t going to take its opponents’ smears lying down. Today, the ONDP launched an anti-smear website.

“Andrea Horwath is putting forward a positive plan for affordable change and that scares our opponents,” NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo said in a media release. “This website will tackle the smears and start getting the facts out to Ontario families.”

From the website:

“People tell me they’re tired of US-style smear campaigns and negative advertising. But they keep happening because high-priced political consultants think they work. They spend millions of dollars every election trying to fool us. It doesn’t have to be this way. We’ve set up this website to help you fight back against smears and misinformation. Together, we can make change that puts people first.”
Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Ontario NDP

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Update: Speaking of  doing politics differently, the new NDP radio ad is refreshingly positive. Have a listen:

Dr Dawg, one of Canada’s best bloggers, officially endorses the NDP

I know it’s not a shocker, but do link over there for some very compelling reasons to vote for Jack Layton and the NDP.

May-Dion Deal is Scurrilous and Layton’s Refusal Principled

>The Dion-May deal is unscrupulous because it is completely cynical and disingenuous in the sense that it pretends to be:
1. not a “back-room deal”
2. genuine and desperate non-partisan concern for the planet (read the Green Party’s open letter to the NDP-plleease!), and
3. mutually beneficial. Green Party candidates and members were sold out by their Leader and have nothing to gain and everything to lose by this.

This was so transparently a dirty back-room deal intended to bleed the NDP and I wouldn’t have had any issues with the improprieties of the deal had it been presented as a united front against the NDP. I still would have thought it a dumb move and a good sign for the NDP, but not a scurrilous one. The corrupt heart of this deal was its deception and disingenuousness. I should say I am not in principle against backroom deals, nor do I think is any politician. I am against dirty, deceitful backroom deals.

So was Layton’s denouncing of and refusal to come to the table on this particular deal truly unprincipled? Obviously to the extent that the May-Dion pact was corrupt, then Layton’s refusal to participate was ethical and principled. I’ve desperately tried to understand the indignation over Layton’s refusal to deal with May, but I can’t. I think his rebuffing Elizabeth May and indirectly Stephane Dion was both pragmatic and principled. Perhaps he saw that he was being ambushed and chose not to be a willing participant! Perhaps he is sincere when he says “New Democrats don’t think that Peter MacKay or any Conservative deserves to go unchallenged. The Conservatives have a lot to answer for.” Since his party is in the best position to challenge that seat, why should he forfeit competing for it? I mean the charge that the NDP is not anti-Conservative is preposterous. The NDP is not only the sole voice of leftist party politics, but also the sole hope for any “progressives”.

Stephen LaFrenie, nominated Green Party candidate in Trinity-Spadina well enough understands what the May-Dion deal means and why Layton rejected it, why can’t the Liberals? Stephen is worth quoting in full:

“Jack Layton is an honourable man. Stephane Dion is NOT. Stephane Dion voted in line with liberal policy that has strangled Haiti. Joined in the liberal denial of human rights abuses and propped up a murderous temporary Government there. Stephane Dion voted against labour rights by not supporting the anti-scab labour bill to please the corporate power structure rather than actually thinking about what it meant. The Greens would have supported the bill. Stephane Dion did what he was told to do. Which is nothing but shut up and vote the way you are told when he was in cabinet and as leader has stated that he will impose the same rule of discipline. Vote his way or end your career. Stephane Dion was a willing participant in the liberal government of Paul Martin which did nothing but cater to big corporations and did nothing for the environment. The liberals with Stephane Dion’s support would have voted to extend the mission in Afghanistan if they had maintained a second minority government.

For the record it was Paul Martin who stopped cooperating with the NDP in the last minority government. It was Paul Martin who said he would call an election in March. It was Paul Martin who decided to continue the liberal policies of doing nothing for social justice, labour justice, working against everything the Green Party stands for. The NDP joined in defeating the liberal government because the liberals were simply going to use the spring budget to bribe Canadians with empty promises which was the liberal tradition for over a century.
Stephane Dion was elected leader by only a few thousand liberals who could afford to attend the convention. Even then he was elected by Rae supporters who wanted more to stop Ignatieff than support Dion. The liberals don’t even have the awareness to respect their own membership.

Jack Layton has a clear history of fighting for social and labour justice. Stephane Dion does not.Why should Jack Layton show Ms. May and ourselves courtesy when she has done nothing but insult him since becoming leader. She comes from a conservative mind set and has done nothing in her leadership to build the kind of cooperation she now claims to be trying. She has been a liberal sympathizer for many months with little consideration for the NDP. She has continued to praise the liberal record through her misguided support of Dion, a record that pales in comparison to the NDP record which is mind boggling considering they had the power and the NDP does not. Stephane Dion does not believe in electoral reform nor parliamentary reform. Like Stephen Harper he will ignore any and all reform that threatens the dictatorial power of the PMO.You guys are living in a delusion spun by both Ms. May and Mr. Dion that may yet prove fatal for the Greens. Stephane Dion will cast aside any cooperation with the Greens or the environment issues if he gets a majority government.

I continue to find the Layton bashing, partisan nonsense of many Greens on this site to be unacceptable. You are kidding yourself if you think the NDP is going vanish from the political landscape. If we continue to justify failed politicians and political parties like Stephane Dion and the liberals then we will only be seen as liberals and not an alternative.Either we stand for something or we don’t.”

(Stephen LaFrenie, nominated Green Party candidate)