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Your guide to VanCon2011.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Jack Layton vows to win over Canadians with NDP values be they socialist ... or not

SoCialiSM: anChor or roCket? Colin Horgan on the deBate

ArmchAir QB Don newmAn on the nDPs Punt

ElizabEtH tHompson exPlainS the orange CruSh

12 PAges of convention Photos, sPeeches, AnD cArtoons.

PhotograPhY BY KYlE Hamilton

Monday, June 20, 2011

NDP stick with socialism for now

What would Tommy Douglas say?

Colin Horgan

ew democrats have voted to keep their options open. For starters after no end of debate, delegates to the partys Vancouver convention rejected a resolution that would have ruled out any future merger with the liberal party. one young delegate took special delight in speaking on behalf of the resolution in the presence of former liberal leader and convention observer Stphane dion. i think its very important that he hear what we think about his party and what theyve done to us in the past, the delegate said. and to bask in the fact that were now the official opposition because of his party and the policies of the past. Peter Stoffer, MP for Sackvilleeastern Shore, stood in defence of dion and reminded the crowd of the former leaders courageous proposals on the environment. Stoffer said it was only with the help of the liberals that the ndP achieved some of their greatest

accomplishments. national health care and housing were advocated by the ndP but implemented by liberal governments, he said. to close the door on any discussion with liberals now or in the future i think is a tactical, serious mistake, Stoffer said. The vote was too close to call. after going to a ballot count, the resolution was defeated by about 200 votes. later in the day, ndP leader Jack layton side-stepped talk of any merger. if liberals want to come over, he said, were leaving the doors open. Much attention was devoted to another resolution that would have eliminated the word socialism from the preamble of the partys constitution. Winnipeg MP Pat Martin took to the microphone with rhetorical flourish in support of the change. our anchor is fouled up on the rusted hull of some old ship that sank in the last century and is holding us back, he declared to scattered boos. i know what to do in a situation

like that, he said. You go down below and you get the biggest broad axe you can find and you cut that anchor free. Barry Weisleder, chair of the partys unofficial socialist caucus, responded in kind. Socialism is not an anchor, he said, but a rocket. You can take socialism out of the preamble, but you cant take socialism out of the ndP, Weisleder continued. This proposal is a bit like trying to take Corn Flakes out of kelloggs. Youre still going to have the orange crunch no matter what you do. Weisleder argued that the motion was not about modernizing the party, but instead about moderating a diluted message. Were living through the most severe global capitalist crisis since the 1930s and some genius wants to take socialism out of the constitution of the ndP? he said. What would tommy douglas say about such a proposal? he would say, no. no. a thousand times no. With time running out, newly elected party president Brian topp took the microphone with a

motion that would forward the entire question to the party executive for further review. The suggestion proved popular and was adopted. layton later told reporters that he was in no rush for resolution. it will go back for further work. The ndP leader, who picked up 97.9 per cent of support in a leadership vote Sunday, dodged when asked by reporters if hed call himself a socialist. i dont go around sticking labels on myself, he said. its much more important to focus on the issues that matter to people. layton devoted the heart of his Sunday speech to those issues jobs, families, pensions reminding delegates of his campaign promises and restating his vow to earn the trust of Canadians and build an alternative to the harper Conservatives. layton noted that Prime Minister Stephen harper has suggested Quebecs honeymoon with the ndP will pass. The ndP leader pointed to a couple in the crowd who celebrated their honeymoon at the ndPs first convention in 1962. Said layton: harper could be waiting around quite a long time.

Day 1

Monday, June 20, 2011

Are you ready to get down to work?

What do you think? did those pundits underestimate the ndP? on May 2, Canadians proved them wrong. right here in British Columbia, they elected new members like kennedy Stewart, Jinny Sims, randall garrison and Jasbir Sandhu. in atlantic Canada, they sent a strong new democrat caucus. in ontario, new democrats broke a record for most new democrat MPs ever. et dans ma province, au Qubec, le nPd a fait une perce historique une perce qui permettra de changer les choses partout au pays. let me thank all those new democrats who put their names forward in the election.

nyCole TurMel
MP For HullaylMer

ndP leader

JaCK layTon
But Canadians also asked us to propose to take the next step and be ready in four years to become the government of Canada. and its up to all of in this room to live up that responsibility. to provide Canadians with a positive alternative and to build a strong and united country. to grow our economy, create new jobs, and always put the needs of everyday families first. That means Stronger public health care, with more doctors and nurses; Improved pensions and retirement security; Support for small business. A healthy and sustainable environment Action to make life more affordable; And Leadership the Canadian people can trust. are you ready to get down to work? are you ready to get the job done? Canadians are counting us.

You made us all proud

on May 2nd, the Canadian people gave us a great responsibility. in asking new democrats to form the official opposition, they asked us to oppose, yes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 2

ForMer un envoy

sTePHen leWis
aids; we have frozen foreign aid; and most reprehensible of all, the government of Canada deliberately sabotaged the bill to produce generic antiretroviral drugs for children. Why did they sabotage it in the Senate? Because the specious, profit-serving arguments of the brandname drug industry counted for more than the arguments to save the lives of children. i strongly support the convention resolution to re-introduce that bill into the house of Commons. our greater job is to do what social democrats have always believed in doing: fighting for the uprooted and disinherited of the earth, fighting to improve the human condition. That should be our role.

ParTy PresidenT

brian ToPP

Were going to think about what we have to say, so that when we next go to the voting public, were ready.

The brutal irony is that right at the moment when we have the prospect of saving 34 million lives, were running out of money because the g8 countries are reneging on their commitments. The government of Canada occupies an unholy place in the corridors of shame. We cut off money to the international aids vaccine initiative; we cut off money to the international partnership on microbicides; we gave significantly less than we should have given to the global fund to fight aidS, tuberculosis and malaria; we invested money in support for maternal and child health without making the transparent, obvious connection between maternal death, child death, and hiV/

Canadian labour Congress PresidenT

Ken georgeTTi

We must have courage and confidence in the values we hold common

labour has been there for the ndP in the difficult times when the party was down to 9 seats and were there for the ndP now with an incredible 103 seats. our support doesnt waver. the reason is simple: Working people need to be represented in Parliament. Workers need to hear their hopes and their concerns raised in what is appropriately named the house of Commons not the house of lords. My great predecessor, the first president of the Canadian labour Congress Claude Jodoin expressed our position simply and eloquently at the founding of the ndP. he said, and i quote: a labour movement that is without interest in political matters is a labour movement that is evading one of the most fundamental responsibilities. thats exactly right. For working people, that party is the ndP.

nova sCoTia PreMier

darrell deXTer

When the choices we face are the most difficult, we must have courage and confidence in the values we hold in common. We must not fall into the trap of believing that we are owed anything. Our words and actions will be noted.

Day 3
We are in this together.

Monday, June 20, 2011

under a Conservative government that holds true to failed ideas in the face of overwhelming evidence, its important that we keep Canada moving forward. in the next four years, we will show that new democrats are ready for the challenge. While Conservatives believe in tax giveaways to massive profitable companies even as they ship jobs overseas. new democrats will put forward ideas to reward small businesses and those creating jobs here in Canada. While Conservatives believe

trade deals should create a race to the bottom. new democrats will seek open trade that lifts the standard of living of all Canadians and provides other countries from matching those standards of living. My friends, youve heard me say this before, but Canada is the greatest country in the world. it is a country built on hard work and determination. and the rock solid belief that by working together, there is no challenge we cannot overcome. This is at the core of what it

means to be Canadian. Canadians know that in good times and bad, we are all in this together. and that in a country as fortunate as ours, nobody should be left behind. These are core Canadian values. and they are core new democrat values. and over the next four years, we will strive to ensure that Canadians have a government that shares these values. We have to continue to develop new ideas to meet the needs of the 21st century family,.

We have to continue to build our organization, and bring together all Canadians looking to build a better Canada. We have to grow our fundraising to match that of the deep-pocketed Conservative party. and we have to continue to earn the trust of Canadians in Parliament every single day. Then and only then can we look at fulfilling the dream of all those that came before us and who fought so hard to see a government that put families first.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Caught in the field lights, NDP punt key decision

don neWMan

he pragmatists won a key policy change at the new democratic Party convention in Vancouver this weekend, and decided on a delaying strategy before winning another. For now, new democrats will consider joining with the liberals, theyre just not sure if they want to be socialists when they do. Such were the key decisions to come out of the partys triumphant postelection gathering. during the convention, delegates revelled in the glow of the 103 seats and official opposition status that the party claimed on May 2. They also continued to debate how leftwing the party should be. The issue has split the party from its start 50 years ago to the

Waffle group in the 1970s and the left-wing caucus decades later. always, the party leadership and the hierarchy that supports it have kept the radical wing at bay. none of that was about to change with official opposition status and the brass ring closer than ever. Still the new democrats have a big problem. no one is quite sure why French-speaking voters across Quebec suddenly embraced Jack layton and his party. The flood of seats in the heart of nationalist Quebec pushed the ndP to its new exalted and unexpected position. keeping the Quebec wing and its many new supporters happy will be a daunting challenge. But it is a problem for another day. For now the party must focus

on getting people in the rest of the country excited about the ndP. it wont be easy. The party picked up only seven additional seats outside of Quebec despite the historic collapse of the liberals. There is some evidence that in some places, the reported rise of ndP support prior to the election convinced liberal supporters to support the Conservatives to block the socialist tide. and thats why there was a key motion at the convention to substitute social democratic for socialist in the ndP constitution. The dramatic change turned out to be too controversial. Faced with the pressure of a making a difficult decision in front of television cameras and the Canadian public, the new democrats did what football teams do when they cant get a first down. They punted. Suddenly on the convention floor was an amendment to the motion to change socialists into social democrats. it said the question

should be referred to the national executive for a later decision. The best speech to supporting the amendment referring the resolution to the party executive for a decision, was made by Brian topp. oh yes, topp was just elected president of the ndP, and, of course, chairs the party executive. how, when, and what the executive will decide is not known. But heres a hint: google Federal new democrats and you will find the party described as Canadas social democratic party. Before long, the party constitution is going to look like that, too. The thinking is that a name change here, a few new policies there, while keeping up attacks on the harper Conservatives, should be enough to woo any voters the liberals still have. if that doesnt work, well, maybe the party could merge with the liberals. it was a controversial motion, too, but when the delegates voted, it passed.

Monday, June 20, 2011

For now, New Democrats will consider joining with the Liberals, theyre just not sure if they want to be socialists when they do

kYle haMilton

Monday, June 20, 2011

Behind the orange crush? Patient strategy

While few saw the NDP tsunami coming, it is the end result of a slow-but-deliberate campaign by the NDP that began shortly after Jack Layton became leader

elizabeTH THoMPson

n many ways, Jack laytons words were eerily prescient. The decline of sovereignty as the dividing line in Quebec politics coupled with the strong support of Quebecers for peace, the environment and social democracy could lead to a renaissance for the ndP, layton predicted in a 2003 interview shortly after becoming leader. add to that a new generation of Quebecers who have never known life before the Quiet revolution. if we could ever get the social democrats in Quebec together with the social democrats in (places like) Saskatchewan, watch out! on May 2, observers watched and watched closely as the ndP did what many had previously thought impossible pull ahead of the sovereignist Bloc Qubcois in public opinion polls in Quebec then sweep the most of the provinces ridings. The party, and layton himself, appears to have tapped into Quebecs francophone

soft nationalist vote, luring it away from the Bloc Qubcois which has dominated Quebec federal politics for much of its 20-year history. But while few saw the ndP tsunami coming, it is the end result of a slow-but-deliberate campaign by the ndP that began shortly after layton became leader. as the ndP started leading in public opinion polls, it didnt come as a total surprise to longtime veterans of the ndPs Quebec wing like Pierre ducasse. There are people who say this is coming out of nowhere, said ducasse. This isnt coming out of nowhere. to fully understand the results you have to go back to the late 1980s, when former ndP leader ed Broadbent was making inroads throughout Canada, including in Quebec, says ducasse. Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was unpopular, liberal leader John turner had left and the ndP was at 44 per cent

support in Quebec. around 1989, i still have press clippings that show the ndP first (in Quebec), says ducasse. however, when the Meech lake accord failed in 1990 and Quebec politics polarized between federalists and sovereignists, a lot of soft nationalists who had supported the ndP switched to the newly founded Bloc Qubcois, explained ducasse. The 1990s were lean years for the party in Quebec, a period ducasse describes as crossing through the desert. a hardy band of a dozen diehard supporters kept the embers of the party alive but support remained in the single digits. The party was so weak in Quebec that in the 2000 election the Marijuana Party polled higher than the ndP in a number of ridings. When layton became leader and met with members of his Quebec wing in a basement hall in Montreal, only a few dozen people were present. however, layton, born and

raised in Montreal in a family with deep english Quebec roots and a member of the Mcgill Franais movement when he was at university, decided to make building the party in Quebec a priority. despite questions from some new democrats in the rest of the country, layton also poured more money and resources into Quebec than its past electoral results would warrant. The story does really begin with Jack, says ndP organizer anneMarie aubert. not only did he see that there was a natural alignment between some of the policies of the party and the progressive nature of a lot of people in Quebec but it is also because he made it a priority within the party to make this happen. ducasse says one of the Quebec wings first tasks was to build the foundations of the party in Quebec, starting with restructuring the Quebec wing and its executive. While it didnt result in changes that were very visible to the public,

Monday, June 20, 2011

kYle haMilton

it put in place the foundation the party needed to build in Quebec. a second step was for the Quebec wing to adopt policies in tune with Quebec, something that laytons decision to allow the Quebec wing to have more autonomy made possible. The result was the Sherbrooke declaration in 2005, which positioned the Quebec wing in the soft nationalist heart of Quebecs political spectrum federalist, but favoring asymmetrical federalism, recognizing Quebecs unique character and its right to self-determination. That declaration was adopted by the entire party in 2006 at a convention that also feature guest speaker Thomas Mulcair, a Quebec liberal Mna who had quit cabinet earlier that year rather than accept a demotion from environment minister because his policies had clashed with those of Premier Jean Charest. a big step in building the partys profile in Quebec came in 2007

when layton successfully wooed Mulcair to the ndP. Mulcair won the liberal stronghold of outremont in a byelection, then held the riding in 2008, becoming the first new democrat to ever win a Quebec riding in a general election.

There are people who say this is coming out of nowhere. This isnt coming out of nowhere.

The presence of Mulcair gave the party the other boost that was necessary, says ducasse. We had done a lot of preparatory work. We had restructured the Quebec section, we had developed policies, we were getting candidates of a better and better quality. having a Quebec MP in caucus also made a big difference, said ducasse. Some of the changes have been small. The Quebec wing now develops its own pamphlets and

advertising for Quebec rather than just translating material from head office intended for the rest of the country, which has helped candidates a lot, says aubert. layton has kept working on his French by taking courses in various regions of Quebec. other changes have been more substantial. The ndP has carefully crafted policies and positions that resonate among small-l liberals and soft nationalist Quebecers from fighting for the environment to defending the right of workers in federally regulated workplaces to work in French without scrapping the official languages act or adopting the Blocs position of imposing Bill 101. The results of those efforts have been slow but steady. From getting a mere 1.8 per cent of the vote in Quebec in 2000, the ndP garnered 4.6 per cent in 2004, 7.5 per cent in 2006 and 12.2 per cent in 2008. on May 2, the ndP ended up with 42.9 per cent of the vote, well

ahead of the Blocs 23.4 per cent, and won 58 of Quebecs 75 seats. in many areas, voters swung en masse from the Bloc to the ndP. That dynamic was documented by pollster nik nanos who conducted a poll in 2007 asking Bloc Qubcois supporters who they would vote for if the Bloc did not exist. any drop in support for the (Bloc), the key beneficiaries are the Conservatives and the new democrats, said nanos at the time. little of the Blocs support would flow back to the liberals, he found. ducasse said one of the factors that explains the ndPs rise in the polls is the fact that for the past couple of years the ndP has been the second choice for a lot of Quebecers who vote liberal and Bloc. But while people liked the ndP, they just didnt think the ndP could win. Theyre not new people they have been there, said ducasse. its just that we were their second choice. now were becoming their first choice.

10 Monday, June 20, 2011

Drawing conclusions
Attention editorial cartoonists: Jack Layton would like to think his punchline days are over. (We hear you draw a mean Bob Rae.)

Monday, June 20, 2011


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Monday, June 20, 2011

Photo: the Canadian PreSS, ManiPulation: JeSSie WillMS