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May 18, 2011 / mike54martin

Moving Forward

Despite my numerous failed attempts at predicting the future I march on undeterred. Here are a few things that I think will happen on the Canadian political scene in the days and months ahead.

We will have a strong opposition!!

The NDP under Jack and his 103 member caucus will give us for the first time in a long time a strong opposition in Parliament. For the last five years the opposition has been weakened by fear of another election, leadership disputes, and a focus on regional issues. That will change as soon as the House opens. For activists it means that we will have a voice inside as we organize outside. We cannot sit back and wait for the NDP to look after us, we have to organize ourselves and then ask them to carry the message.

Our new, young and old NDP MP’s will be great!!

Our returning NDP MP’s are already great and they will be rearin’ to go. And despite the caterwauling from the media and some sore losers the new MP’s will be exciting to watch. Most are young, smart and will bring energy into the staid old House of Commons. Some of them will screw up but they will be far better than many of the people who held the seats before them. At the very least they will be honest which is more than can be said for some previous MP’s and Senators.

We have a chance to turn some things around!!

The Conservative majority will likely keep a tight rein on their financial plans and that will mean that it is unlikely to make a lot of progress on that front. But together with the NDP we can continue to promote economic equality as a principle and tax fairness as a right. I believe that we have strong public support for both measures and can back the Tories into a corner on these issues. They may not break but we can make them bend and if these can somehow be turned into election issues then we do have a chance for government the next time around.

The NDP can get some things for us!!

The Cons will not want to fight the NDP to the wall on every issue and social activists should think about what our short list would be. The key is to make it a short enough list so that the NDP can actually deliver. I have an open mind on this but I think there are a few symbolic victories that we should get right away. They might include things like the Court Challenges Fund or re-funding the Sisters in Spirit campaign. They may be symbolic but they are also very real to the people involved in this work.

Peace will have a chance!!

After too many years of war Canadian troops will be leaving the battlefield inAfghanistanand maybe we start having a new discussion about the role ofCanada’s military as peacekeepers again. The NDP will play a leading part in these discussions and peace may finally have a chance again.

We can pull the compass back towards the left!!

There will not be too much middle ground left in the House of Commons, although everyone will try and play to it. The reality is that we will have two main parties, one on the right and one on the left. The Conservatives have managed to pull the compass far over across the centre into the right. Jack and his caucus have an opportunity to pull it back our way. We cannot count on the mainstream media to help us with this; we will have to do it on our own. But if we are smart, creative and use groups like the CCPA and Canadians for Tax Fairness to bolster our arguments we have a chance. It will be a lot of work but I am ready. Are you?

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