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The Rise Of The New Democratic Party

Updated on April 28, 2011

Canadian Leaders Square Off To Debate

Jack Layton Leads The Surge

It was an election that not even Jack Layton himself could have imagined. Layton is the leader of Canada's New Democratic Party and is currently surging in the election polls. There was a consensus that Canada's two main federal parties would be locked in battle to decide who would run the country. Here is the who's who:

Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party Of Canada

The Conservatives have been in power with a minority government for five years. They represent the right wing in Canadian Politics. They have a strong base support in the west but have been slowly making gains in Ontario. They stand for corporate tax cuts, minimal government, military strength and tough-on-crime tactics. Although Stephen Harper is well-liked in the west, he is equally hated by those on the Canadian left.

Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party of Canada

The Liberals had previously enjoyed long majority governments in the 1990's but due to scandals and regional alienation, they have since dwindled on the federal stage. Michael Ignatieff was nominated as leader and was thought to be steering the party back to centre. However, the Liberals decided to swing left and champion the rights of family. With few crucial issues to communicate yet many weaker peripheral ones, they have seen their left-wing support collapse to the New Democratic Party. While the Conservatives carved out the support of the right, the Liberals were squeezed out from the left leading to a seemingly unstoppable bleeding with each forthcoming election poll.

Jack Layton and the New Democratic Party Of Canada

By far the most charismatic of all the leaders, Jack Layton was considered widely to be running in the wrong party. The NDP platform incorporates many programs in support of labour unions and workers as well as to curtail corporate tax cuts. Many Canadians previously ignored the NDP on the basis that is was too much government and far to left for its liking.

Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc Quebecois

The Bloc Quebecois is a Quebec separatist party that is represented at the federal level. Quebecers have elected many of the Bloc to represent Quebec interests first. In succeeding in many of the subsequent elections, the Bloc directly prevented any of the other federal parties the right to a majority government. Many of the Bloc platform issues are very similar to the NDP, veering to the left. The Bloc like the Liberals never saw the NDP surge coming and have been working feverishly to distance themselves from the NDP in order to win back their core vote.

Election Analysis

The election is on May 2nd, 2011. Pollsters have been frantically working to check and re-check their results based on previously third-place NDP surging well into the second spot. The determination of the surge and its impact on the potential seat gains in Parliament can produce one of three different scenarios.

The first scenario is that the surge will most likely be a mirage due to the fact that Canadians indicate one preference and then vote for another. Such results would produce the status quo and each party would finish exactly where they started from at the beginning of the election race.

The second scenario would see the surge not as strong as anticipated. The NDP would have significant seat gains but would give the Conservatives the majority government it sought. There are a few key factors here at play. The Liberals would bleed support to both the NDP and the Conservatives. The Conservatives who are already flirting with a majority government, would benefit by vote splitting on the left. The right wing Liberal voters may also flock to the Conservatives fearing a mass NDP wave.

Finally, this surge in support for the NDP could be very firm in which case the NDP would be a solid opposition party able to force more of its platform from another Conservative-led minority government. A highly unlikely scenario which should be mentioned is that the NDP surge could overtake the Conservatives in which case they (the NDP) would lead the minority government. However, seeing the twists and turns that this election has taken, even an unlikely scenario can not be ruled out.


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    • Robertj64 profile image

      Robertj64 6 years ago from Burlington, Ontario, Canada

      The problem with the NDP is that they have not come with a solution as to how to pay for all their programs. If you tax the big corporations, they are going to close shop and move somewhere else. Who is going to pay to replace those lost jobs?

      The government does not just have the poor, the unemployed and less fortunate to worry about. These are big problems but don't you think if they were the ONLY problem, that we would have tackled this by now?

      The government also has to worry about how to export our products so that they compete on a worldwide scale. Our construction industry competes with huge contracts against countries like Brazil. If we are not competitive our manufacturers and exporters will suffer. If they suffer, we lose jobs. If we lose jobs, the government cannot get close to getting out of debt. That is another problem. Are we supposed to spend to help everyone in the community at the expense of running out of money?

      These are the many weak parts of the NDP program that need to be clearly explained. Helping the unfortunate is important but so is a sound economy.

      Your closing statement - "then everyone will have an opportunity to succeed" is noble but yet somewhat naive. Our society is filled with inequality. Even when you have equality, it still breeds inequality because that is human nature. Everyone having the opportunity to succeed will not mean everyone will succeed. It means some will and others will not. The reality is much more complex than the leftist vision that you represent.

    • road2hell profile image

      road2hell 6 years ago from Linden, AB

      I really feel that the NDP is the party to lead Canada. It may be socialist and it may lean to the left, but I think this is what Canada needs to weather the storm during the economic crisis. Vote for NDP -- it is the party that bring back "the New Deal" and more fairness to the disparity between the poor and wealthy, the protection of our environment, reduce the subsidies and increase the taxes to the big corporations and spent the money on public programs needed for the homeless, underemployed, the illerate, and the less fortunate.

      then everyone will have an opportunity to succeed.

    • Robertj64 profile image

      Robertj64 6 years ago from Burlington, Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Beverly. I appreciate your comments. If you are curious about anything from Canada, just ask. Like a true Canuck, I will be happy to help!

    • Beverly Stevens profile image

      Beverly Stevens 6 years ago from College Station

      Nice article! We hear so little in the US about what goes on in politics in Canada, so it was nice to read a little about it. I look forward to your future hubs.