Now there’s nothing wrong with constructive criticism of one’s own party, even in the midst of its desperate efforts to woo voters.
But we have to wonder: What were those 34 progressive voices saying before the writ was dropped? Where were those activists one year ago when Horwath backed the Liberal minority government when it was still fresh from gas plant, e-health, and ORNGE scandals?
And just what were those activists doing during the past decade when Socialist Caucus militants and other concerned New Democrats spoke repeatedly at party conventions in opposition to leadership policies that favour corporate bail-outs, tax incentives to business, state funding of Catholic separate schools, the estrangement of the labour movement, and the abandonment of public auto insurance and Ontario Hydro? Where were they when Andrea Horwath, Gilles Bisson and the ONDP Election Planning Committee prevented socialists from being NDP candidates in the 2011 Ontario election?
No doubt, the current Ontario NDP electoral campaign is the worst since Bob Rae vainly defended his odious Social Contract in 1995. Gerry Caplan is right to complain that the platform has “No coherent theme, no memorable policies, nothing to deal with the great concerns of New Democrats everywhere.”
Horwath ditched the provincial pension plan she previously touted. She proposes a measly increase in the corporate tax rate, a new ministry of “Savings and Accountability” to cut $600 million a year (shades of Rob Ford’s anti-gravy train mythology), and is silent on poverty and growing social inequality.
But what do Caplan, and Michelle Landsberg, Judy Rebick, Cathy Crowe, Winnie Ng and the others propose? Abstain? Vote Liberal?
Have they forgotten that Liberals act like Tories in government? That the Liberals suspended the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike for tens of thousands of education workers? That the Liberals kept millions without decent housing, affordable post-secondary education, liveable welfare rates, an adequate minimum wage, good public transit, and subjected everyone to a deteriorating and increasingly toxic environment.
Conservative Leader Tim Hudak aims to cut 100,000 jobs and cripple unions. He says aloud what other capitalist politicians think.
Workers and allied folks need to stop the corporate agenda. We need to stop Hudak, but also stop Kathleen Wynne (and her Drummond Report austerity policies).
So, what should be done?
On June 12, vote NDP. It remains a labour party, despite its present leadership and right wing populist campaign. Demand that the NDP fight for a Workers’ Agenda, and strive to form a Workers’ Government, in the interest of the vast majority of the people of Ontario.
Join the Socialist Caucus. Together, let’s turn the NDP sharply to the left.
For more information visit the NDP Socialist Caucus web site: www.ndpsocialists.ca
Read the SC magazine on-line: Turn Left