Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Trying to make IP jump off a bridge

I actually agree with new NDP star candidate Michael Byers that it'd be a good idea to change the name of the party, though I strongly prefer changing the 'New' to 'Social' rather than deleting it altogether. But this quote made my head explode:

"In many ways, Barack Obama's platform is close to Jack Layton's platform."
Right, because we want to give people the impression that Layton supports non-single-payer health care, capital punishment, and the U.S. Patriot Act. And opposes same-sex marriage. Among other things.

Please, let's just quit the deliberate rhetorical attempts to make the NDP equivalent to the U.S. Democrats. Please. Or I might just have to cry.


Devin Johnston said...

If it were indeed the case that there were substantial similarity there, I would quit the party. I don't want to be associated with an American centre-right party. A name change would be good, but "Social Democratic Party" makes sense whereas "Democratic Party" does not.

Sean S. said...

ditto...similar to the Democratic party? Even the Conservatives are not as far right on some issues as that party...

West End Bob said...

Glad you posted this, IP.

I met Michael Byers a few days ago at the founding meeting of the NDP Vancouver Centre. He's very articulate and personable, but he has his work cut out for him in unseating Hedy Frye. Also, I just minutes ago picked up his book Intent for a Nation. I'm interested in gaining insights into his political philosophy.

Now, as for renaming the party to match the spineless Democrats in the US, please don't! If Jack Layton can "change" as quickly as Obama has on topics like FISA, we need no part of it . . . .

Greg said...

Welcome to my life, IP.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


Oh, how cool to be there from the ground up on something like that. I hope you give them both a bit of your time and many of your opinions. :-)

leonsp said...

We should just rename NDP to Fiscal Conservatives. If we keep the base while getting all the confused votes: Prime Minister Layton.

Anonymous said...

No IP, you cannot use the name Social Democrats as a new name for the party you are supporting now.

The Social Democratic party of Canada will be used for the successor to the Liberal Party of Canada if this country manages to have mixed member proportional representation in my lifetime. It will be allied to the Labour Party in the UK, the Socialists in France, and the Social Democratic Party in Germany. This is based on the assumption that the free market faction of the Liberals will hive off. I consider myself a social democratic and hate the word liberal with a passion. No way you can associate myself in any way with Stephen Harper's policies.

We will see what happens. Perhaps you will be a blogger for the Greens or the leader of a Democratic Left coalition between the remnants of the NDP, Trotskyists, and Communists ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey IP: I think we should all take a breath. I know the pull quote makes it sound like Byers meant that Layton and Obama had overall platform similarities but I would imagine that he was probably referring to the cap and trade policy specifically since the environment is his speciality.

I doubt that anyone in the party is thinking about changing the name to the Democratic Party for the very reasons you mention.

This is Byers first major interview and if that is his worse gaffe I think I can live with it.

Anonymous said...

"This is Byers first major interview and if that is his worse gaffe I think I can live with it."

I am tempted to say to Byers, don't give up your day job and the Tier I Canada Research Chair, but I don't think I would be fair to him.

Now you get the feeling of having a Stephane Dion type candidate running for the NDP. Enjoy!!!

janfromthebruce said...

NDP members can rename their party anything they want. Last time I looked, we don't have communist in our party, but hey, let's just

Considering that it is the corporate sector of the lib party that actually controls the party, and pays the bills it seems, they won't be going anywhere soon.

I can never understand why one joins a party, to make it into something that already exists, like social democrats.

Considering that DION, plus his liberal minions, votes down an anti-scab labour law back in the spring, saying Dion is left of centre, is off base.

Eddie Blue said...

There are too many problems with the constitution to worry about the NDP re-branding itself. We have a system designed for a Whig/Tory election and we have a wig/tory/socialist/seperatist/green political reality.

Its a little troubling too that we get say the Liberals (with one Western seat) voting on things like the Canadian Wheat Board... when they have no rural western Canadian seats. That is absurd in a democracy.

All of this has meant that even decent politicians make too many trade-offs. Layton is about press-releases and the NDP isn't a bunch of hell raising populists anymore they just appeal to a large but thinly spread base. The Tories, Libs and BQ just rely on regional splits.

Since Barack has been brought up in this discussion, I think he is going to be the greatest disappointment to the left since Tony Blair. I'd try to avoid any association with either the US Democrats or New Labour.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


Oh, give me a freaking break. The NDP has been pronounced dead how many times? And lookee, still here and ticking! Besides, this has nothing to do with the NDP qua the NDP, this is one thing that one dude said that I personally found extremely unfortunate. It does not signal the NDP's demise.

You disappoint me by falling victim to that ever-persistant Liberal arrogance, by the way. And if you want to do that, go do it in your own blog.


You're not wrong. It was just something that hit very close to home, you know? If the Liberals wanted to follow in the policy footsteps of the American Democrats, I could maybe see it if I squinted, but the NDP???

Eddie Blue,

Agreed about Obama. I think he'd be a good U.S. President...for a U.S. President. And that's as far as I'm willing to go.

Anonymous said...

Nice to have you back, IP!

I cringed in my seat when I read Byers recommendation for a name change for the party--the Democratic Party of Canada! May the Fates please save us from such a calamity!

We'll just have to ensure that as party members we don't allow such a thing to occur. Byers displays a disturbing lack of familiarity with the inner dynamics of the NDP by making such remarks—that, or he’s equating certain unseemly features of the BC NDP with the federal party (obviously, he’s never been to a federal convention!). The informal polling I’ve done among NDP staffers suggests that their initial response to his suggestion was similar to my own.

Again, great to have you back!

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


See, yeah, I think it takes another U.S. political immigrant to really get the cringeworthiness of that particular quote. Glad to hear we're of one mind about that! It was the Democrats far more than the Republicans that convinced me to give up on the U.S.

As for being "back," well, I've been in and out all summer and will probably continue to be. But I'll post whenever I have something to say! It's nice to have been missed, in any case. :-)

Deanna said...

Coming to the commenting party late, but I absolutely agree that "Democratic Party" would be bad. I would go for Social Democratic Party though, as a indicator of what the party stands for.

Chet Scoville said...

Another ex-pat American here, and yeah, Byers' comment made me wince. The Democrats' only virtue is that they suck slightly less than the Republicans, most of the time.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

Agree re "Social Democratic Party".

But hey, I'm from the right that decided to spend a decade rebranding itself before adopting an accurate name...

Mahfot MH said...


I just want to share the information that I have. Based on many researches that have been published, most of the research comes with this result;

25 to 35 percent of patients with cancer will develop depression.

Suffering from both a physical and psychological illness makes patients more ill and disabled. However, it has been proven that the signs of depression in cancerous patients may hard to be picked up since it is superimposed by the complication of the cancer itself.

What ever it is, what we need to do is to keep giving and show our support to them in order to improve life expectancy and increase the quality of life. We can do it!

Thank you.

daveberta said...

Good post, IP. I am continually amazed at the broad support Obama is getting from people who know very little about what his actual positions are (other than not being an Republican).

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


THANK YOU for realizing that if this post is a criticism of anyone, that criticism is of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, not of the NDP. Sheesh.

Jason Cherniak said...

Take it as one more piece of evidence that opportunists who want to create a new Liberal Party out of the ashes of the NDP are now in control.

L-girl said...

I am continually amazed at the broad support Obama is getting from people who know very little about what his actual positions are (other than not being an Republican).

They are people who feel they have no choice. They will vote for any not-Bush whose speeches stir them.

Very nice post, IP.

redsock said...


Obama -- and many, many US Democrats -- are actually comfortably to the right of not only the NDP, not only the liberals, but Canada's conservatives. Obama would have to move to the left to be a viable successor to Stephen Harper.

And progressives in the US continue to go ga-ga. It's like a cult.

Mahfot MH said...


This is the view far from US area. Do you know what? Anything that American say about other candidate either from Republican or Democrat, we in Indonesia only know one person, and he is Obama.

Based on the current popularity that he has, I personally think that he might won for this time election. I do not know. It is up to american voters at the end.

Thank you!


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Matt Norwood said...

FYI, it's not the "U.S. Patriot Act" but the "USA PATRIOT Act" -- as in "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act".

Have I mentioned how glad I am that I no longer live in the Uniting and Strengthening America?