This Week in Canadian Politics: Locked in the Trunk of a Car

NDP back themselves into a potentially deadly corner with their Green Party criticisms

This week, it was “revealed” that over a dozen former NDP candidates in New Brunswick had switched to be affiliated with the Green Party of Canada.

Problem with this was that, although the Greens’ leader Elizabeth May was extremely quick to jump on this big announcement, it ended up not being 100% accurate. Some of these former candidates did not wish to be part of this. However many remained adamant about their change.

Jagmeet Singh immediately cried foul, by saying the Green Party had “started the fiasco,” but not before he and many other NDP higher-ups had declared that the defections were based on the NDP leader’s race. French alternative/pop rocker Alain Souchon defines the situation perfectly in his 1981 hit “La ballade de Jim”:

Jimmy va trop vite/Jimmy goes too fast

Jimmy pleurniche/Jimmy whines

Now the NDP have backed themselves into a corner, and locked themselves in the trunk of a car.

If you want to know where I feel this car is going, I’ll give Alain Souchon the floor once more:

La Chrysler s’envole dans les fougères et les nénuphars/The Chrysler plummets into the ferns and water lillies

Upon critically thinking, people may see that some NDP higher-ups are sending two very dangerous messages if they hope to win back portions of the electorate, especially in Ontario and Québec.

Firstly, they’ve set the stage for declaring that everyone who defects, changes allegiances or questions the NDP is racist. Now, I will play for both teams here. There is still an astonishing amount of racism in Canada, especially institutionally. Many Canadians still won’t vote for a man in a turban, which is utterly disturbing. And there are some NDP members (as there would be within any party) who find Singh problematic for this reason. To them, I point a doigt d’honneur.

But because of the fallacy of Canadians being a universally welcoming and diversity-loving people, which we have bought into, Canadians are very touchy about being called racist. The last thing you want to put into the head of an intelligent swing voter is that your party will silently (or loudly) claim their intentions are racially motivated if they end up selecting the Greens (or simply not the NDP.)

Secondly, they’ve implied and inferred that defectors to the Greens are simply opportunistic traitors. Why is this problematic? Because even though the NDP is polling terribly, they’re still ahead of the Greens and most models have them winning 2-4 times the number of seats. It’s not as though these NDP defectors are all gonna ride their way into the House of Commons on a Green horse. Many NDP partisans as well as former candidates are bothered by the climate crisis, and see that the Greens have a more aggressive climate plan. If Jagmeet Singh and company tell their supporters that raising serious questions about the NDP climate plan is a gateway to jumping ship in the name of opportunity, they’re going to have serious problems.

So finally, the NDP is in a tough spot. They cannot continue this non-sensical war with the Greens. They’re campaigning on being for the people, not big corporations, and being more progressive, yet they’re attacking the party that also claims to be all these things. The Greens, however, are fresher and have a more universally favourable leader (May leads Singh 40-26% in favourability according to Éric Grenier’s Leader Meter.) If this is who they pick their fights with, they will lose, and it will be disastrous (I’ll add here that according to my model, they currently have no safe seats in the entire country as is, and have less than 5 leads that are even somewhat solid.)

And if they do seriously want to attack the Greens, they need to step up their game from what we’ve seen this week.

This week the NDP was the bully that pushed you down the hill in grade school and then told administration that your clumsiness was at fault and that you were the architect of a conspiracy trying to sink him. Happens to every 10 year old at least twice, right?

So finally, I would declare that we are up to here and if the NDP keep mistaking day for night, and the Greens catch some phantom power, there will be trouble at the henhouse for the NDP. And that’s not road apples.

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