If it isn’t already clear that the planet cannot sustain robber-baron free-market economics and that the growing inequality between the wealthy and impoverished is about to ignite a powder keg of discontent — it should be. The American election showed us the same old centrism doesn’t cut it anymore for the millions who’ve been short-changed by Wall Street. They preferred a demagogue over the corporate elite. Clearly not offering a Bernie Sanders is dangerous for democracy.
It also should be obvious that building pipelines and really addressing climate change are incompatible. The fossil fuel industry is on a collision course with First Nation rights. You can’t support both. We need a government committed to moving to a green economy now if we have any chance of making our far-too-modest climate commitments.
After the last federal election, I was a voice in the wilderness, decrying my party — the NDP’s — move to the centre. The Ottawa brain trust responded with “No, it was our stand on the niqab.” The federal NDP opposed restrictions on veiled women during citizenship ceremonies. I suppose someone forgot to tell them the Liberals had the same policy. Now my opposition to polling over principles seems to be widely shared. Good.
As Trudeau breaks key promises on electoral reform, First Nations funding, civil rights (C-51 and others), and agrees with Trump on pipelines, the question looms: where will voters turn in the next election? When Canadians have to choose between the party of Bay Street, or someone who plays the right-wing populist card, what or who, will be the alternative? Will there be an alternative?
Tommy Douglas was crystal clear. You can’t have democracy and justice if you don’t have socialism. Unfettered capitalism will literally be the death of us all. Roosevelt knew that back in the 1930s. Millions of Canadians understand that medicare, public education, employment insurance, CPP are all programs socialists fought for and won. Many more need childcare, a living wage, a union job, stable housing. Other countries provide all of these. In every country that does, social programs are now under threat from a growing right wing. Don’t think Trump, O’Leary or Leitch can’t happen here. If the only choice is Bay Street and the same old, same old broken promises — they just might happen here.
So, yes, we do need a true third party, a democratic socialist party that provides a clear and distinct alternative to multinational corporate rule or the rampant intolerance of right-wing populism.
Looks like, in this leadership race, we just might get one. Canada should be pleased.
Read more: Federal Politics