A rebuttal to attack on the NDP
I have never been so angry in my life until I read Joy French-Coleman’s letter to The Compass, published in the June 25 edition until the headline “Suspicious of the NDP.”
In it she attempts to equate the New Democratic Party with communism and goes so far as to warn Compass readers to not forget Tiananmen Square in China.
Ms. French-Coleman in a suggestive way classifies the NDP as “a form of Mao-like socialism” and in the process equates great Canadian political leaders like the late Tommy Douglas, David Lewis and Jack Layton with notorious communists such as China’s Mao Tse-Tung.
Her dastardly comment about Tiananmen Square is so downright nauseating that it does not merit a single comment.
These (Saintly) great Canadians stood for “Canadian social democracy” and went to their early graves defending it. Let’s take a close look at their lives (hardly those of dictators). • NDP Tommy Douglas Once voted “the greatest Canadian of all time,” Tommy Douglas was a prairie politician who believed in democratic socialism, the crucial role of civil rights, and the great potential of co-operation for the common good. He is best known as the “Father of Medicare.”
Born in 1904 Douglas was a champion boxer and a Baptist minister who later exchanged his pulpit for a political platform. A powerful orator and tireless activist, he sat first as a federal MP and then served for 17 years as premier of Saskatchewan, where he introduced the universal health-insurance system that would eventually be adopted across Canada.
As leader of the federal NDP, Douglas was a staunch advocate of programs such as the “Canadian Pension Plan” and was often the conscience of Parliament on matters of civil liberties. In the process, he made democratic socialism a part of mainstream Canadian political life.
Giller Prize-winning author Vincent Lam, an emergency physician who works on the front lines of the health-care system, in a new book “Tommy Douglas” profiles what he calls one of Canada’s greats. • NDP David Lewis NDP leader David Lewis worked for years for the old CCF, but he came into his own when it became the New Democratic Party. Campaigning against “corporate welfare bums” in 1972, David Lewis led the NDP to hold the balance of power in the resulting Liberal minority government. David Lewis and his NDP supported the introduction of a national affordable housing strategy, a new Elections Expenses Act, pension indexing, and the creation of Petro-Canada and the Foreign Investment Review Agency.
David Lewis was the father of another great Canadian, the scholarly Stephen Lewis, who was appointed Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, a role in which he garnered great admiration for our Canadian political institutions what he called the very essence of democracy. • NDP Jack Layton The beloved Canadian Jack Layton (who died Aug. 22, 2011) was a “social-democratic politician” and leader of the official Opposition. He lead the federal NDP from 2003 to 2011, and previously sat on the Toronto city council, occasionally holding the title of “acting mayor.” He was the Member of Parliament for Toronto-Danforth from 2004 until his untimely death.
A prominent left-wing voice in municipal politics, he championed many progressive causes. He later rose to become head of the “Federation of Canadian Municipalities.” In 2003, he was elected leader of the federal NDP on the first ballot of the convention.
Under his leadership support for the NDP increased in each election. The party’s popular vote almost doubled in the 2004 election, which gave the NDP the balance of power in Paul Martin’s minority government.
In May 2005 the NDP supported the Liberal budget in exchange for major amendments, in what was promoted as Canada’s “First NDP budget.” In November of that year, Layton voted with other opposition parties to defeat the Liberal government over the findings of the Gomery Commission.
The NDP saw further gains in the 2006 and 2008 elections, in which the party elected 29 and 37 MPs, respectively.
In 2011 (his last) election Layton led the NDP to the most successful result in the party’s history, winning 103 seats, enough to form Canada’s official Opposition.
Federal support for Layton and the NDP in the election was unprecedented, especially in the province of Quebec, where Layton’s NDP party won 59 out of 75 seats.
Jack Layton brought teary eyes to Canadians coast to coast when he lost his battle with cancer in the summer of 2011.
I suggest to Joy French-Coleman that she take a closer look at CANADIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRACY as fostered by these trailblazing great and noble men. I also suggest she consider the tireless work of current NDPers, including national leader Thomas Mulcair, Jack Harris, Ryan Cleary and, provincially, Lorraine Michael.
These are hardly leaders with communistic leanings. It would be impossible to call either of them a Commie (as French-Coleman might suggest).
If this letter fails to convince Ms. Joy French-Coleman of the seriousness and the political incorrectness of her June 25 views, I suggest she burn her MCP card, tear up her Canada Pension cheque and, if applicable, do likewise with her Old Age Security cheque.
To do otherwise would, in my view, be a sacrilege.