The case for the NDP
By Greg Waldock, Staff Writer
The 2017 British Columbia provincial election is ramping up, coinciding nicely with the leadership race for the federal New Democratic Party. The NDP is receiving a fair amount of attention this time around, as the left-wing voters in British Columbia find themselves in a familiarly tight spot.
On one hand, we have the BC Liberals, our favourite paradoxically-named provincial party. Their tendency to vote centre-right on economic and social issues has massively hurt their reputation in city areas, and the continued shadiness of Christy Clark isn’t helping much. Federally, Justin Trudeau has been backing away on major campaign promises over the past few months. Electoral reform, marijuana legalization, and decreased student interest rates were major promises that helped get him elected, especially in BC, and he’s neglected every single one. On the other hand, people on the left understandably don’t want to go against a left-wing party when the threat of Trump-style politics is so near and real. This exact situation is what an opposition party is for.
The NDP collapsed hard after the last federal election. Losing the majority of their seats, getting wrapped up in controversy like “Elbow-gate” or the milquetoast Leap Manifesto, and Tom Mulcair’s failed leadership almost brought the most successful opposition party in Canadian history to its knees. But they’re finally making a comeback. The leadership race is beginning to capitalize on a very frustrated Canadian left that doesn’t want Trudeau to keep breaking promises and making empty gestures, but also doesn’t want a groundswell of right-wing extremism to rise on an anti-Trudeau wave. The NDP knows this frustration, and can use that to get real economic and social change through, especially in BC. The demand for a resolution to the homelessness problems and a minimum wage increase beyond a few pennies every election cycle is growing stronger with each passing week.
With its recent history, it’s very understandable to be wary of the NDP’s ability to come together soon. However, the failed federal run is finally forcing it to get its act together as long-time proponents of the working class. This progressivism is especially apparent as Guy Caron and New Westminster’s own Peter Julian appear as strong contenders in the federal race. With a province so torn by economic disparity and unrealistic wages, any party that best addresses those concerns in a remotely realistic way will have a strong showing in the next election.
With a social agenda that’s more truly left and progressive than both the Liberal Party platform and the BC Liberal’s history, the NDP is a clear choice for any frustrated British Columbians looking for both a real change and a true adherence to Vancouver’s progressive nature.