This article was originally published on February 21, 2018 on Huffington Post Canada.
Coming out of its first policy convention under the leadership of Jagmeet Singh, there are mixed signals about whether the NDP has the will to distinguish itself in Canada’s political landscape. Squeezed by Trudeau’s charm offensive from the political centre, Singh and his party will need to act decisively if they’re ever going to have the electoral impact of Britain’s Jeremy Corbyn or the US’ Bernie Sanders.
As many have suggested, Corbyn and Sanders garnered massive popular support because their ideas were radical enough to inspire new hope. Becky Bond, an adviser to Sanders in 2016, argues, “When you can actually vote for the things you really believe in, then that really changes everything.” By comparison, voters can be left flat when politicians suggest incremental solutions to vast global or national crises.Read more
This article was originally published on May 26, 2017 in the Toronto Sun.
Earlier this week, the Toronto Sun published an op-ed entitled, “NDP MP Niki Ashton has made her priorities clear.” While I disagree with virtually everything the op-ed sought to assert, I do agree with the title, as indeed, it is clear that the rights of the oppressed are the priority in Ms. Ashton’s distinguished political career.
Since she won her seat in Parliament in 2008, Ms. Ashton has been a champion for a broad variety of social issues. She has spoken out repeatedly for the rights of women, and how women suffer wage discrimination and other systemic obstacles in Canada. She has also long been a proponent of LGBTQ rights, supporting same-sex marriage and other social rights for such groups since the beginning of her political career.Read more
This article was originally published on May 23, 2017 in the Huffington Post.
In my final year of high school in the spring of 1981, headlines in North America chronicled the long decline of Irish Republican hunger striker, Bobby Sands. It was my first introduction to “The Troubles” of Northern Ireland, but I came through that period with a better understanding of the two sides of that conflict.
While many Canadians might not realize it, there is a hunger strike going on today that is just as significant as that of Bobby Sands and the other Irish Republicans in 1981. Led by Marwan Barghouti, hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails are five weeks into a hunger strike. Yet because North American media are ignoring the strike, Canadians are hardly wiser to the plight of the Palestinian prisoners. Unfortunately, any time Israel is involved, it is nearly impossible to get North Americans to address the realities of the situation.Read more
This article was originally published on May 4, 2017 in the Huffington Post.
Three things are clear coming out of the second NDP leadership debate in Montreal. First, there’s a clear sense of where the party is headed. Second, the field of leadership candidates is extremely strong. And finally, the candidates will need to try harder to distinguish themselves.
This is in strong contrast to 2012, when last the NDP had to choose a leader. The task of replacing Jack Layton in 2012 forced the party to make many tough decisions, foremost over whether to bring the party closer to the political centre under Thomas Mulcair. But the current race has four candidates all of whom push a strong social democrat vision. They each refer frequently and favourably to Jack Layton’s legacy, but rarely to Thomas Mulcair’s. Regardless of which candidate prevails in the end, the party will be pushing a solidly progressive vision.