Last election the NDP took 7.5% of the popular vote in Quebec. Now polls consistently show the NDP at around 12% in Quebec. In other words, the NDP is up 4 to 5% in province with about a quarter of Canada’s voters. However, recent polls put the NDP below what they were in 2006 and hardly any poll since 2006 has showed the NDP rising above what the obtained in 2006. Ergo the NDP is bleeding voters elsewhere. This is certainly the case in greater Toronto. The NDP is loosing support both to the Liberals and the Greens there.
Toronto Center and Willowdale were not flukes; they are the future. The NDP is going to take it on the chin in the 905 and 416. If there was an election this spring chances are Layton might keep his seat, albeit barely, but Chow, Marston, Charlton and Nash will loose their seats.
The party needs to change focus.
1) The NDP party brass is delusional if they think they can A) utter the following and not be damaged by it and B) think it is actually a sound “gameplan”. “Damaging Harper and the Conservatives on ethical issues like the Cadman mess mainly helps the Grits, and that’s not in our gameplan.” It may be too late to do anything now but, if possible revive the Cadman thing in committee.
2) Stop talking about the economy. Does Layton honestly believe that Globe and Mail, and Can west global are going to give them a fair airing? I hope to god not and by the way this is not 1988.
3) Go back to its rural Western roots and focus on taking back voters that had abandoned them for the Reform Party in 1993 and then have gone on to vote Conservative. It still polls far better in BC and Sask than it ever has in Ontario, especially Toronto. They should also look to be fighting it out with the Conservatives to pick up the Liberal votes that have slowly been bleeding away over the years to both themselves and the Conservatives in Northern Ontario.
4) Look to Europe. The NDP used to try to import socially democratic ideas from Europe. What the hell happened? What little is left of that tradition is hardly stressed. Layton spends just as much time talking about the “weaponization of space”, as if foreign policy was somehow their bread and butter, as the party’s pharmacare plan.
Clarity of message and easy to understand policy is all important. 5 examples come readily to mind. Some are already part of the NDP platform.
A) National minimum wage
B) A national pharmacare program based upon the one currently available in the UK
C) 4 weeks paid vacation for all Canadians
D) dental care as part of health care
E) Universal Day Care for kids aged 1-5
5) Dump Layton; replace him with Muclair or even better Joe Comartin