The NDP no longer seems to understand its base, and that is a problem
While the Trudeau team continues to face daily questioning from the media and all opposition parties, it seems Singh’s NDP is on an equally negative trajectory of their own making.
The last poll in which the NDP cracked 20% of support was released on August 10th, 2018 by Nanos.
Outside of polling, the party also continues to struggle when it comes to fundraising, only bringing in $5.2 million in 2018, a far cry from the Conservatives who brought in $24.3 million. Things are so bad that the NDP have had to re-mortgage their building in Ottawa just to keep the lights on.
The Liberals, Greens, and PPC all posted significant increases in donations.
Unsurprisingly, roughly a quarter of the NDP’s sitting MPs will not run for re-election. While many have pointed to the lack of Singh’s presence in parliament and in turn question period for this mess, that reason seems hard to believe as individuals such as Nathan Cullen have expertly maintained the NDP name while actively questioning the Liberal government.
With so much negative news, some may argue that the right is simply growing in Canada, but in my opinion that would be a short-sighted view of the matter.
The nation today is arguably more left-wing than perhaps ever and Justin Trudeau
The party under Trudeau has taken some of the most popular NDP cards such as
While this shift has occurred, the NDP’s leadership has become increasingly centrist. From the time of Thomas Mulcair when the word socialist was removed from the constitution, until today when Singh’s branding largely attempts to show him as Trudeau draped in orange.
The sentiments of the party elite largely appear to be that centrism will be the road to finally making the NDP a governing party nationally.
Here is the problem with that idea: We are now in 2019, at a time when populism rages across the world, and social media makes centrism a recipe for disaster. The NDP elite now represents the exact same policies as the Liberals, and to most voters, even those in their own base, voting for the NDP makes little sense.
On Venezuela, it seems Singh has towed the same line put forward by Trudeau, even though MPs in his party along with unions (one of the most important potential power bases for the NDP) actively oppose that stance.
You simply have to look at the recent struggles the NDP has had in responding to Venezuelan as well as the development of pipelines/LNG projects to see why even the most ardent supporters likely have trouble backing the current party.
While many Canadians may agree with Trudeau on both of those topics, the NDP base likely does not. In
On the environmentalist front, it seems extremely bizarre for the Singh team to state they support the Paris targets, while actively promoting a “carbon bomb” such as LNG Canada. Phase 1 of that project alone will produce 3.45 megatonnes of greenhouse gasses per year for two production facilities, phase 2 will add an additional two facilities.
NDP voters likely realize this. Their sentiments can be best summarized by Svend Robinson, a populist NDP candidate and former MP.
He opposes any new oil and gas infrastructure projects. Once again a view that likely stands in opposition with much of Canada, but likely vibes increasingly well with the NDP base.
Svend’s return to the NDP, should highlight just how much his policy may mesh with the rank and file members.
This is because Mr. Robinson did not simply return to reclaim his seat, he returned after first leaving politics in a public scandal in which he stole an expensive ring from an auction site while serving as a Member of Parliament.
Being able to do that is simply said, a populist maneuver worthy of Trump himself. Nonetheless, it should also show just how much can be overcome by working within the base.
The NDP has a lot of issues it could work with, and a large portion of its base that it could win back. For that to happen though, they will have to stop trying to be Liberals, and instead put forward a vision for Canada that is distinct
What do you think? Join the conversation by commenting below!