For citizens with a desire for progressive political change, the anticipated Manitoba provincial election is guaranteed to disappoint.
We are still recovering from the damage done by the Tories the last time they held power and progressives rightly will not trust them with our vote.
The Liberals long ago ceased to have political importance; indeed their only contribution in the last 30 years of provincial politics has been to offer, rarely and long ago, a spirited opposition à la Sharon Carstairs or Lloyd Axworthy (when he was much younger.)
The Greens? They are worth a second look. And perhaps your vote. They have some good ideas, but the party is very small and unlikely to do more than annoy the NDP in one or two urban ridings.
In Manitoba, the NDP has come to occupy the territory provincially that the Liberal Party holds nation-wide: that of the Natural Governing Party. As an “NGP” the NDP is not hideous enough to kick out, but neither does it inspire any confidence that it has the ideas or even the desire to implement a progressive platform. As a result it enjoys broad support, drawing votes from folks who would feel comfortable voting Liberal on one hand, and those who dread a return of the Tories. The only thing that could cost the NDP a victory in the next provincial election would be if it were caught with its fingers deep in the public till, as were the federal Liberals under Chretien and Martin.
Where does that leave us lefty, pinko, commie, tree-hugging, red-green hippie feminist anarchists — otherwise known as thoughtful critics of late capitalism (or neo-barbarism, if you prefer)?
A friend once quipped: “Don’t vote – you’ll only encourage them!” That may be an option for some.
For the rest of us, perhaps the best we can do will be to inject some meaningful content into the election that is to come after Gary Doer has examined the entrails of a dying chicken to find the most propitious moment to drop the writ.
The Manitoba office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has decided to do just that with a new blog. It’s definitely worth a visit and a bookmark. Moreover, I hope readers will contribute to the CCPA Manitoba Election Blog, and work actively to inject progressive ideas into the coming election.
If we don’t do it, who will?