01 September 2011

The Politics of Cynicism, NDP style #nlpoli

One could hardly imagine a better way to bitch-slap the carefully fabricated Legend of Jack Layton than Lorraine Michael’s news release announcing a 25% reduction in something the provincial NDP leader calls a “small business tax”.

“Small businesses employ most of the workers, contribute to their local economies, and continue to create most of the new jobs in this province,” Michael said today. “A focus on small business in Newfoundland and Labrador became an important part of our platform preparation. Consultation with small business owners helped us identify some key ways to give them a break.

Problem Number One is that Lorraine doesn’t bother to tell anyone what small business tax she would like to chop.

Perhaps it is the Small Business Income Tax.

Problem Number Two is that the current rate is 4%.  The New Democrats will drop that to 3%.

Whooppeee friggin’ ding. This is a non-announcement.

The release has absolutely no detail in it at all, in keeping with current New Democratic Party practice.

That means you can’t really tell what they are promising and as such you will have a hard time holding them accountable later on should they accidentally compile enough credits to form a government.

For those keeping score, we are up to problem Number Three.

In that same theme, this lack of accountability is exactly the opposite of what the Dippers did in Nova Scotia.  Over there, Darrell and the crew issued a simple statement of goals and had all sorts of details that you can use to tell if they did it or not.

The province’s New Democrats are running a very aggressive campaign that is centred primarily on their steady stream of candidate nomination announcements.  They are getting plenty of media coverage for it.

Whether that’s enough to cause a massive break through in seats in the province remains to be seen, but if past history is any sign, voters in this province aren’t that stupid.

At some point, voters will pay attention to the candidates and the party platform.  What voters will see at that point is pretty striking.

The first thing voters will see is that the New Democrats want to see the Conservatives back in office.  Lorraine is in her last campaign – most likely – so they don’t have any bigger plans at the moment.  They are hoping the Liberals will collapse but the Dippers aren’t doing anything substantial to move themselves forward.

The second is that their campaign “platform” is just a thin series of statements like this one on small business taxes.  The releases sound vaguely interesting but on closer examination, they turn into puffs of smoke at best.  At worst, they advocate policies that benefit people outside the province more than those who are actually going to pay for it.

Like, Muskrat Falls.

On Muskrat Falls,  the NDP stand firmly behind the provincial Conservatives. Their position is that they back it, if it works.  Well, the thing will “work” because local voters will be forced to pay the whole shot for it even though Nalcor and the provincial Conservatives ignored cheaper alternatives.  Either the New Democrats haven’t paid attention to what is happening with Muskrat Falls or they don’t give a shit about local voters. 

The third thing the voters will notice is that the New Democrats have turned from a party of ideals to a party of intense  - and pretty blatant cynicism.  Their position on Muskrat Falls is perhaps the best illustration of that.  Their positions on gasoline tax cuts and home heating fuel are examples of aping Conservative retail politics while mouthing words about ordinary Canadians, helping people and protecting the environment.

If that doesn’t add up to some pretty blatant cynicism, it’s hard to know what else would.

- srbp -

* Link added.