As the founding president of the Thompson (Manitoba) NDP, and as a later MLA and Cabinet Minister, I feel reasonably qualified to do an in-depth analysis of the slow demise of socialism in Canada.
The March, 1984, Gallup Poll that showed the NDP down to 11 % of the popular vote is eloquent testimony of the public’s good sense since 11% is the lowest standing in 24 years of public polling. More and more, political chiefs are predicting the disintegration of the party after the next election. The Maclean’s article attributed their popularity slide to “drift” and to a lack of “new ideas.”
I do not agree at all. In fact it is too many new ideas – like the following – that got them into the present dilemma.
- “Decriminalize Marijuana and other soft drugs“, a smoke-screen for legalizing the use of drugs. Under the present laws, the use and age of drinking are tightly controlled. They tell us “marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol.” (Most experts dispute that claim.) It is, at present, a very serious criminal offense to drive while intoxicated. To drink while driving is far more serious. Yet if the NDP had their way drivers could cruise along our highways puffing on a marijuana cigarette. They may as well say that it is okay to drink liquor while driving as long as you are not drunk.
- “Decriminalize Prostitution” – a euphemism for legalizing hookers. Svend
Robinson NDP (B.C.) tried to pull the wool over the eyes of B.C.’s most crusty and abrasive newsmen by saying on a program that prostitution should be decriminalized. Mr. Webster roared back at him, “You mean legalized whore houses, Mr. Robinson?” – and that is precisely the NDP position.
- “No fault divorce” – means “divorce on demand.” In real life there is never a no-fault marriage breakdown. To treat it otherwise is an insult to the public, and to all married people past and present. Regardless of who is at fault, the children (if there are any) are innocent victims, whom the NDP refuse to acknowledge.
- “Ban Cruise testing in Canada” – a unilateral surrender to communist might. Those are some of the “new ideas” that have got the NDP onto the public’s “most unwanted” list.
The Manitoba MP, Terry Sargeant (NDP), a pro-lifer before election and a pro-abortionist after election, stated, “We are basically on the right track; the people just are not receiving our message.” I suggest that the people are receiving the message, and are quite properly treating it as junk mail.
I believe the NDP’s problem started with excessive money from and influence by our labour unions. The total membership of the unions, whose chief concern is not for Canada as a whole but only for their dues-payers, is a minority in this country. Translated into politics, the unions’selfish position is to service only those who support their party. An example is the ganging-up of B.C. union leaders to elect the new leader of the NDP in that province.
Imagine, if you can, a Mulroney government saying after winning an election, “We were elected by conservatives and will be a government for conservatives. The rest of Canadians can go to hades.”
Yet this is pretty close to what foul-mouthed labour bosses like Denis McDermit are implying by their militant rhetoric.
In 1964, I was attracted to the NDP because of their Social conscience and their practical programs for working people. To me, as a hard-rock nickel miner in Thompson and Vice-President of the Steelworkers union, the NDP made a great deal of sense, At that time the unions did not have a stronghold on the party: the pro-Russian Waffler-group had not yet surfaced, and the anti-marriage-pro-abortion “women’s lib” was yet to come. Now all of that has changed. “He who pays the piper calls the tune”: the unions have been most generous with their members’ dues-money when it comes time to pay the NDP piper.
According to the Maclean’s article, the organized-labour unions donated one million dollars to the NDP during the last Federal election – and that does not take into account the free help by paid union office-and-staff people given to the party during elections, or the election supplies that the local unions give “on the quiet” to their local NDP candidate. (e.g., office printing, stationery, stamps, etc.).
Another reason that the NDP will eventually end up on the scrap heap of history (like the Federal Social Credit but for a different reason) is their one-sided criticism and occasional slander of our best friend and neighbour, the United States.
If one were to take seriously the anti-U.S. propaganda that flows from the NDP, one would come to believe that they (the U.S.) are the bad guys on the world stage and that the communists are either the good guys or are simply responding to military threats from the big bully, the U.S.A. One would think it was Roosevelt and not Stalin who built the Gulag concentration camps in Siberia where thirty million people were beaten, worked and starved to death since the 1917 revolution, Kennedy and not Krushchev who left half the population of the Ukraine to starve to death; Carter and not Brezhnev who invaded small and defenseless Afghanistan; Reagan and not Andropov who casually shot down an unarmed Korean civilian airliner and sent 269 passengers to a watery grave. As a matter of fact, that last was one of the very rare occasions when Broadbent publically criticized the Russians for anything.
Today the communist death-flag flies over 27 countries. The Russians are the world’s chief exporters of revolutions, terrorism, and weapons. By brute force and error they are cramming their communist paradise down the throats of more people and more nations than have been subdued by any other conqueror in recorded history.
Yet in spite of those overwhelming and self-evident facts, the NDP continues to pillory friendly democratic governments like the U.S. and England.
Whatever shots are left in the NDP sling are thrown at banks and their high profits, at corporate profits and at the multi-nationals. Some worthwhile ideas emerge here, but this area is dealt with as afterthought rather than platform. It was not always thus. For years, the NDP was a real alternative for many Canadians: it acted as a conscience and was a responsible voice in parliament. Now they have sunk to being a mouth-piece for the self-servers and the abortion-pushers in our society. They have become a voice for anti-family and pro-communist propaganda.
The problem is not leadership. It is not the captain who is drunk. It is the crew, and until they sober up (wake up to reality) or are replaced, the socialist floating brothel will continue to flounder in heavy seas and eventually sink or be ship-wrecked.
Joe Borowski is president of Alliance Against Abortion in Winnipeg, Manitoba.