Monday, February 13, 2006

Serving the People

At the founding convention of the New Democratic Party in 1961, Thomas Clement (T.C.) Douglas was chosen as its leader, until 1971 during which time he helped ensure the introduction of medicare, pensions and the expansion of Canada’s social safety net in successive minority Parliaments.

David Lewis succeeded Tommy Douglas as leader of the New Democratic Party in 1971. Campaigning against "corporate welfare bums", Lewis achieved his greatest political prominence in 1972 when the Parliament introduced a national affordable housing strategy, a new Elections Expenses Act, pension indexing and created Petro-Canada and the Foreign Investment Review Agency, because of NDP support.

Chosen as Leader of the Party on December 2, 1989, Audrey McLaughlin became the first woman to lead a major federal party in Canada. Alexa McDonough succeeded her six years later, in October 1995. The NDP caucus in the House of Commons pursued a determined course, demanding the Liberal government set targets to reduce unemployment. McDonough and her caucus were at the forefront of the fight to save Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan and Canada's unemployment insurance system.

Jason Cherniak asks :Why does the NDP exist? What is their purpose in Canadian politics?

Although NDP has not been able to form a federal government in Canada, but has been functioning as an accomplished and effective opposition in the past 40 years. All of Canada's social programs have been introduced and administrated with the help of NDP to this day. Defending minority rights, advocating women's rights, protecting the young, the elderly and the disadvantage have always been on the top of this party's agenda.

I have been around long enough to have seen various motives in pursuing public office, but if you serve on NDP's caucus, you are there to serve the people. "Daddy's money or connections" won't buy you a NDP seat.

The social democrats may come across as "dreamy", but where would we be without a little bit of idealism? Where would we be without a few politicians (even less than 10%) whose real purpose is to "serve the people"? You tell me.


At 3:18 p.m., Blogger robedger said...

As per usual, I think calgarygrit puts it best : "If you believe that Martin "moved left", it was because of the NDP. a - because he was afraid of losing votes to them and b - because of the minority government situation.

The NDP has a long history of keeping the Liberals to the left and I think that serves it's purpose. Discounting a party that 18% of Canadians voted for is a little arrogant in my opinion."

It might be a little bit humbling for a party to publicly state that their goal is to effect the way another party governs, rather than govern themselves, but I think at this point in the NDP's history that has realistically been their main positive function.

You disagree?

At 3:27 p.m., Blogger Bahar said...

I agree. That's why I think they have been an effective opposition.


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