Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: The NDP's Death-Wish

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: The NDP's Death-Wish

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: The NDP's death-wish

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An editorial from the Waterloo Region Record, published April 12:

If you were startled by the sound of a big bang coming from the west Sunday afternoon, don't worry. It was just the federal NDP blowing itself up.

Not only did the party's explosive convention in Edmonton leave the New Democrats bereft of a leader, it left them without either purpose, platform or identify.

Today, thanks to that gathering of political demolitions experts, the only thing this party can agree upon is that poor Thomas Mulcair is no longer fit to lead it. Never before had the head of a federal party failed to surpass the 50-per-cent support threshold in a leadership review. But then New Democrats unsheathed their knives in Edmonton and a stunning 52 per cent of delegates performed the political equivalent of a mugging on their hapless leader.

That single act of brutality was about as far as party unity went, with both the NDP's far left from Ontario and its more centrist, pragmatic, western-based wing concurring Mulcair had to go. For those in the former camp, especially the supporters of the radical Leap Manifesto, Mulcair had committed the unforgivable sin of nudging the party to the political centre in last fall's federal election and promising -- heaven forbid -- balanced budgets.

In contrast, those aligned with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, one of those increasingly rare NDPers who actually governs, turfed Mulcair precisely because he was open to the Leap Manifesto which wants to keep every drop of prairie oil in the ground -- even at the cost of decimating the prairie workforce.

Mulcair couldn't win. And we doubt the federal party can win much now that so many fissures have broken it into pieces.

While Mulcair made a convenient scapegoat, he was a leader with intelligence and integrity who can't be blamed for the NDP's fall from being the Official Opposition to a third-place also-ran in the last election. The party's historic success in the previous 2011 federal election, when it captured 103 seats and overtook the Liberals, resulted from unique circumstances.

The federal Liberals, led by the uninspiring Michael Ignatieff, performed dismally in that race while the NDP established itself as the progressive alternative to the Stephen Harper Tories. …

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