Canadians do have a choice: they have the NDP
OPINION | BY CARL HAGER | July 20, 2023
Getting things done to help Canadians in their struggle to make ends meet is what Parliament should be about. Canadians will evaluate their candidates on that basis. And it's not just between the Liberals and the Conservatives. The choice will include the NDP.
Election speculation has already begun. Will Prime Minister Justin Trudeau call an election before the Conservatives solidify their appeal with Canadians? Yet again, pundits have begun characterizing such an election as a fight between the Liberals and the Conservatives.
Chantal Hébert writes that Trudeau would again make the election a fight between Liberal values and Conservative ones, leaving the New Democratic Party out in the cold. But the hard facts of the current situation is that Pierre Poilievre is not tearing up the country with popularity, making the Liberal scare-mongering about the Conservatives much less credible.
It is no surprise that speculation about an election abounds. The Canadian government is a minority government, vulnerable to the whims of the opposition parties.
Polls show that Canadians are tiring of the Trudeau show. There have been a multitude of gaffes, faux pas and sloppy government decisions: from Jody Wilson-Raybould to Marco Mendicino and foreign interference, to the scandal of the WE organization and holidays with the Aga Khan.
Insiders say that Trudeau wants to take on Poilievre now before he shines his shoes and cleans up his mad-dog act. Canadians find little substance in Poilievre’s grievance-laden antics.
As opposition, the NDP has tried to make Parliament work for Canadians. This is in direct contrast in both substance and style to the Conservatives.
The supply-and-confidence agreement reached with the Liberals over a year ago was an exchange of promises. Under ordinary conditions, the NDP wouldn’t fold Parliament for the sake of an election if the Liberals agreed to implement some key NDP policies. The national dental plan is a direct result of that agreement: making Parliament work for Canadians.
The NDP has seen a small rise in polling numbers, but if an election were to be called this fall—or in a year from now—its actions would certainly be viewed positively by Canadians. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s stature has risen as a direct result.
In an election, the Liberals would find it less than easy to condemn the NDP, with whom they have been partners. Many political disagreements make the relationship between the NDP and the Conservatives difficult. The stance on women’s abortion rights being one of them.
A fall election might see another minority government. If it were a Conservative one, it isn’t expected that it would be hounding the NDP to fold the government for another election.
A Liberal minority government would most likely see a pact develop—again—between the Liberals and the NDP, if one were going to be agreed upon.
Getting things done in Parliament to help Canadians in their daily struggle to make ends meet and helping them achieve their dreams is what Parliament should be about. Canadians will evaluate their candidates on that basis. And it’s not just between the Liberals and the Conservatives. The choice will include the NDP.
Carl Hager was born and raised in Montreal. He was a teacher with the Western Quebec School Board and president of the Western Quebec Teachers’ Association before his retirement in 2006. He has been on the executive of the Pontiac New Democratic Party since 2012. Currently living in Aylmer, Que., he does volunteer driving for people needing transportation to medical appointments in the Pontiac and writes for the Pontiac Journal.
The Hill Times