NDP rights and wrong — readers comment

Many of those who responded to my posts on the Dexter government’s mistakes and accomplishments (here,  herehere, and here) were disappointed New Democrats.

To my complaint that a small cadre of apparatchiks in the premier’s office exercised far too much central control, a party supporter employed in the administration offered this colourful label:

[A] group of too-young, nasty, disconnected, Harper-style assholes.

Another longtime party supporter on the party’s left flank wrote:

One of the most disappointing failures of the government was not bring more talented, knowledgeable, and competent people into the government and the party.

In every area the government claims to be interested in improving—the environment, poverty, health care, metal health, economic development, law reform, poverty reduction—there are activists who have toiled for years to bring about change. Many of these people are highly competent, and often more knowledgeable about these issue then either the elected politicians or the departmental bureaucrats.

Many, but certainly not all, are (or were) likely NDP supporters. They represent of pool of talent and possible new ideas that has been left almost completely untapped. I’m not suggesting that they should have immediately done a wholesale house cleaning, either in the government or the party but they should have immediately began recruiting among their ranks and brought them into influence as opportunities arose.

If they had, perhaps some of the mistakes you listed might have been avoided and we might also have seen much more solid progressive legislation. I think the similar case can be made for the approach to cabinet selection.

On the positive side, in spite of making some major mistakes and ignoring for too long concerned voices from their base, they have generally been more competent then any recent government, and much more competent then either of the opposition parties are likely to be. They have also made major positive change in a number of areas such as health care and the environment. Yet in spite of this it seems as if we are about to return to mediocre ineptitude.

Over the last 48 hours, polls have tightened from the breathtaking 30-point Liberal lead reported by Corporate Research Associates early in the week, to a merely commanding 18-20 point lead Thursday. The prospect of the Liberals carrying all but a handful of seats seems to have given some citizens pause, including one Halifax voter who was overheard to say:

I don’t like [the NDP], but the government wasn’t THAT bad.

On the weekend, a closer look at the Liberals’ election-lite platform.