NDP supporters won’t like it, but the truth is that, in the push for power, former leader Jack Layton and the NDP party sold out the West and BC and pandered to Quebec every way they could: from proposing that ALL future Supreme Court justices be required to be expertly bilingual (bye-bye Western appointments!) to even denying Alberta and BC a fair increase in their currently under-represented number of Commons seats, to reflect the huge increase in our populations over the past decades.
At first glance, it may have looked like turning its back on BC and the West worked: the NDP grovelling to Quebec scored well with voters in that province … but it turned the once-national party into basically a provincial power.
Disagree with that?
Well, point me please to any vote where BC’s NDP MPs have stood up for BC when it has come to achieving our deserved rights!
BC’s NDP MPs voted in favour of the Supreme Court bill that would severely deny BC and Western Canadian future appointments to the Supreme Court: the only thing that stopped the Bill from becoming law in the minority Parliament at the time was the much-maligned, but Tory-controlled Senate, that shot down the legislation ..and saved the West.
And since the election, BC’s NDP MPs have continued to pander to Quebec … to the point of voting against BC getting any increase in Commons seats, unless Quebec (despite its dwindling population) also got more seats ..thus wiping out any potential justice for their “home” province.
Only the Tory majority (much as I hate to admit it) assured BC a fairer share of seats for future elections.
Unfortunately, I don’t see a single NDP federal leadership hopeful who I can comfortably believe would give BC’s interests and needs a FAIR representation on the national scene. Not one!
I know a lot of British Columbians are backing our own homegrown MP Nathan Cullen …but tell me, where was HE when BC was being short-changed, discriminated against and denied equality? From everything I can see: NOWHERE! In fact, from my point of view, he was just another one of the BC NDP MP lemmings who failed to stand up for fairness on our behalf.
And if you think I’m being too “provincial”, what about the candidates???
Have you seen anything that shows Thomas Mulcair, the former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister, would EVER vote against Quebec’s interests in Ottawa to give the West a fair break; any hint that Ottawa MP Paul Dewar would deviate from backing his Ottawa constituents interests; or that Peggy Nash, a former Toronto MP, who seems to worship “la francophonie” would DARE to ever stand up to Quebec nationalists or against Ontario’s power in Ottawa to back BC or Alberta???
Which brings me to Brian Topp … again, not a great past proven voice for BC either, but at least as former party president, he has a history of working for the NDP when it was a national, not a regional party.
He knows the importance of the West and therefore seems to recognize the need to return the NDP to being a NATIONAL party if it is ever to achieve power.
He has, in fact, actually lived in BC and also worked in Saskatchewan for the NDP Romanow government. And Adrian Dix at one time tagged him to manage the next provincial NDP election campaign here.
Because he was part of the NDP establishment under Layton … I can’t give him an unqualified endorsement either as someone who I can wholeheartedly trust to give BC a fair deal on issues in Ottawa if elected as leader.
But at least he hasn’t voted AGAINST us. Yet.
Harv Oberfeld is a retired journalist and blogger. This column originally appeared in his blog, Keeping It Real.