Volume 96, Issue 4

Thursday, June 13, 2002
 
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OPINIONS

Reviving the conscience of Canada

Exploring the beauty of "Sein-language"

Reviving the conscience of Canada

Slacktose Intolerant
Chris Lackner
Editor-in-Chief

Much like the career of comedian Pauly Shore, the Canadian political left has been readily dismissed as washed up and irrelevant.

In terms of popular support (mired at a lacklustre 10 per cent) and national profile (my oma could bring out more people to a press conference), the federal New Democratic Party is currently insignificant.

For the sake of Canada's future, we should all collectively hold our breath and hope the NDP's fortunes are about to change.

Last Wednesday, Alexa McDonough, federal leader of the NDP, announced she was stepping down from the position she has held since 1995. Her move has ignited a leadership race which may ultimately decide the party's survival.

Throughout the social democratic party's history, the NDP has suffered from an identity crisis, wavering between the belief that it can achieve electoral success with a moderate centre-left platform and the urge to stay true to its socialist roots.

The centre-left camp would like to see the party reinvent itself in the spitting image of many European socialist parties, who have successfully implemented moderate social programs while still catering to the needs of big business.

However, the chameleon ability of the governing Liberals has left little room for NDP at the political centre. The Liberal party can wake up in the morning and put on the blue sweater of a staunch conservative and go to bed singing a socialist lullaby, tucked between crimson sheets.

If the NDP makes any gains at the political centre, the Liberals can always successfully veer to the left and outmaneuver them.

The party needs to move forward by returning to their roots. They need to accept the fact they will never attain power and understand that – to make a difference – they don't have to.

From their infancy, the party has acted as the social conscience of Canadian politics. Some of our most fundamental social infrastructure – most notably universal care – has been developed or heavily pushed by New Democrats on Parliament Hill.

Fifteen years of neo-conservative emphasis on tax cuts, down-sizing and deregulation has left our nation hurting in vital sectors such as health care, education, the environment and affordable housing.

Under new leadership, the NDP needs to re-launch itself as an advocative force in Ottawa – one that is socially active and speaks plainly about the current apprehensions of many Canadian citizens.

Pauly Shore's career is beyond salvation; the NDP has a chance at redemption or, at the very least, relevancy.


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Copyright The Gazette 2002