I recently discovered an incredibly perceptive article about the Toronto Danforth by-election. The author is Theresa Lubowitz.
Very well done, some of the excerpts include:
Does The Toronto Danforth Election Really Matter?
“It’s no secret that in a parliament where a majority of seats belong to Conservatives, a single riding going Liberal or NDP will not tip the scales into some new political reality for Canadians. It’s also likely being argued by the NDP that returning that party to 102 seats will put a ‘progressive’ party one step closer to removing Conservatives from office in three years time. The NDP, for those who don’t know, sat at 102 seats before a newly elected Quebec MP quickly tired of their party and its performance as the Official Opposition and turned to the third-place Liberals to make a more substantial impact on Canadian public life (which might tell you something about the effectiveness of the Opposition NDP). The NDP will also argue during this by-election that they have a proven track record of holding progressive positions and taking principled stands against federal Conservatives.
This, I must bluntly say, is utter garbage. In the last decade in federal politics the NDP has not only chosen political expediency over progressive policy time and time again but they have unforgivably done so hand-in-hand with their Conservative counterparts.”
On The Real NDP Record – May 2, 2011 and Beyond
“After the May 2nd election, NDP supporters everywhere congratulated themselves on their ‘historic’ victory (which I suppose to the NDP is what second place and having no power is called). They naturally ignored the fact that it was precisely their splitting of votes with Liberals in Ontario that handed Stephen Harper the first Conservative majority government since Mulroney won a second term in 1988.
And they may be right. Handing a majority to the most power-hungry and power-hoarding Prime Minister in Canadian history in order to get Official Opposition status in the House of Commons without being able to overturn any draconian legislation the new government might put into law is probably cause for celebration. I tend to disagree with them on this point.”
On Election as an End – Vs. An Election As A Means To An End
“What the NDP has never understood even after May 2nd, 2011, is that the election of an NDP MP is not a victory in and of itself. The victory comes after that MP contributes to legislation that improves the lives of Canadians. That is what Members of Parliament are elected to do, whether in opposition or government.
Liberals have always understood this. They have always understood that one member is one more member towards the threshold required to form government and truly impact the lives of Canadians, especially those worst off, for the better. The NDP believe in a politics that is self-satisfied with small gains for their party. Liberals believe in a politics that is transformative and progressive and are the only party with a true governing record to show for it.
In Toronto-Danforth you can vote for Craig Scott and be satisfied with another NDP member becoming a Member of Parliament, as the NDP themselves will be.”
This article is well worth a read!