21 March 2016

A Dipper writes his party president re leadership

As one of those federal New Democratic Party members who feels we should stop floating across the political spectrum looking for a place to park that offers an election victory and get back to being social democrats, I believe we need a real social democrat to lead that effort. Consequently, I wrote the following open letter to the party president. Perhaps it will have some small influence at the April conference in Edmonton. Perhaps not.

Rebecca Blaikie, President
New Democratic Party

Dear Ms. Blaikie:

I am writing in regard to the current leadership of our party. I will be blunt. If Tom Mulcair remains as leader, I will find it difficult to retain my membership. This is not to criticize Mr. Mulcair. He has worked hard for the party and deserves respect for his efforts, but I simply do not believe he is a social democrat. His autocratic style of leadership (he has been compared to Stephen Harper on that score) is not appropriate for a democratic party, and he seems uncomfortable with the principles of social democracy.

Both these weaknesses were illustrated by his heavy-handed purging from the party of supporters of the Palestinians. These people have suffered generations of abuse. Ethnically cleansed, militarily occupied, more of their land colonized every year, they are a people social democrats instinctively spring to the defence of. Mr. Mulcair, it seems, lacks that instinct. The day I heard that Morgan Wheeldon, candidate for Kings-Hants, was forced to step down was the day I no longer felt guilty about strategically voting Liberal. (My candidate won.)

On the first page of the party's website, the logo reads "Tom Mulcair" followed, in smaller letters, by "NDP." I find this offensive. No man comes before the party and no man is bigger than the party, symbolically or literally. Social democratic principles must come before image and political correctness. The party has an opportunity to employ these principles in offering alternatives to a capitalism that, at least in it neoliberal form, is increasingly failing the 90 per cent. We need a true social democrat to lead that effort. With all due respect, Tom Mulcair is not that leader.

Bill Longstaff


  1. A really good letter! If it is taken seriously it could have an impact.


  2. As a committed Green wishing for a NDP restoration, I find your letter refreshing.