Never prouder to be NDP

This past week, the NDP scored a huge majority victory in the Alberta election and ended the nearly 44-year rule of the Progressive Conservatives.
It, indeed, was an immensely proud moment in the history of the New Democrat party as we celebrated what many said was impossible.
Ms. Notley’s success reaffirms my belief that Canadians appreciate leaders and parties with strong values, clear principles, and the courage to fight for them.
To many observers across the country, the end of the PC dynasty in Alberta came as a shock—but they missed several cues that change was coming. The laissez-faire economic ideas of the Alberta PCs failed the people of that province in spectacular fashion.
Amazingly, the PCs only were able to save $13 billion of Alberta’s oil and gas royalties over a 44-year period. When oil prices tanked last year, Albertans finally figured out that they had been had.
They wondered how Norway was able to put $1 trillion into the bank over the same period while harvesting roughly the same amount of oil and sharing it among roughly the same population.
Albertans finally had concluded that change was needed.
Ms. Notley is a strong leader who won her majority government by championing long-held NDP policies guided by strong progressive values. She cares deeply about the environment, alleviating poverty, and working co-operatively with First Nations.
Those values led her and her team to draft policies that included a $15/hour minimum wage, a two-percent increase in the corporate tax rate, and refining more of our natural resources in Canada instead of shipping them in bulk to be processed overseas.
And she committed to ensuring that the economy and the environment are both put on a more sustainable footing in the long-term.
If it sounds familiar, it should—these policies also are federal NDP policies.
Our opponents like to say that our policies make us unelectable in the Prairies but Ms. Notley just ran on those same exact policies and won a majority NDP government–in Alberta.
I take great comfort from Ms. Notley’s courage and convictions, and the strong mandate she received from the people of Alberta. I share her values and courage, but not everyone in Ottawa does.
Take the Liberals, for example. While the NDP was wiping the floor with a tired conservative government in Alberta, Liberal MPs in Ottawa were busy supporting Stephen Harper’s anti-democratic Bill C-51.
New Democrats fought for months against Bill C-51. We fought for reasonable amendments, to hear from expert witnesses, and for a proper debate but the Conservatives fought back and with the help of the Liberals, they won.
For their part, the Liberals announced their support for C-51 before they even had read it. This bill explicitly violates at least eight sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms yet every Liberal MP and their leader–whose father actually drafted the Charter–all stood up and supported it.
How could a former party of principle, whose name is a variation of the term “liberty,” vote for something so clearly anti-democratic? The answer is, in a word, politics.
On March 4, the Liberal leader held a town-hall meeting at the University of British Columbia. A student asked: “Why not send a message to the Conservative government that Canadians don’t want infringements on their civil liberties?”
In response, the Liberal Leader said, “But we know that, tactically, this government would be perfectly happy if the opposition completely voted against this bill because it fits into their fear narrative and they bash people on security.
“I do not want this government making political hay out of an issue as important as security for Canadians.”
In short, the Liberal leader decided it was better to vote against our rights and freedoms than to get “bashed” in a negative campaign ad.
So ended a week of unthinkable and historic political events. The NDP won a hard-fought majority government by sticking to its principles and trouncing the conservatives in Alberta.
The federal Liberal leader, meanwhile, voted against our rights and freedoms because he was afraid of a possible attack ad.
It’s safe to say that I’ve never been prouder to be a New Democrat than I was this past week.

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