Friday, 17 August 2012

Steady retreat of Manitoban Social Democracy

Today's NDP, yesterday's red Tories.

Image Source: Blend of Manitoba NDP
and Progressive Conservative Party
Of Canada logos
 as obtained from
their respective wikipedia articles.
Errol Black and Jim Silver have an article out on Policy Fix that talks about the declining aspirations of the Manitoba NDP since the Pawley/Schreyer years. Coincidentally, I wrote a post about the greatly under appreciated Pawley Premiership a week ago and typed out a post on the Today's NDP's rightward drift a few weeks ago- so this sort've all ties in.  

As the authors in the Policy Fix/Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives article point out, the willingness to run deficits in a severe recession kept the Manitoba economy strong in the early 1980s. Regardless of whether other dippers were afraid of the "spendthrift" image deficit-spennding during a recession would create for their party, it was the  correct policy response. Pawley showed much courage and honour in pursuing it, along with pushing for pay equity, stronger workplace safety rules, and adding sexual orientation to the human rights code.

The 18th Premier of Manitoba made decisions, regardless of being out of vogue right now, that were much more courageous than what the 20th Premier and present oil sands salesman would be capable of.  

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  1. I was thinking about that at last night's Bomber game which was sponsored by MPI, so MPI logos were everywhere.

    Any objective observer can see that Manitoba is well served by having a public insurer like MPI. But it took courage and vision to create it. It's hard to imagine the NDP taking the lead in creating something else like MPI in today's political climate. That's unfortunate.

    1. I just had this exact discussion earlier this week. Sadly today's NDP haven't had a bold idea in decades.

  2. It seems that "responsible" pundits are very conflicted about Doer. On the one hand, they recognize that he wasn't innovative at all, didn't really fundamentally change Manitoba for the better, and was more of a follower than a leader.

    On the other hand, "responsible" pundits love his "centrism" and quelling of "hard-left nut bars". In particular, see this Policy Frog post for an example of the attitude

    This all seems to go back to a theme Jared Wesley has about Manitoba provincial politics. And that's that the political class if not the broader public have this "not left, not right, but FORWARD" mentality.

    The problem is that major policy innovations require some sort of vision that'll inevitably alienate some segments of the population. Whether this vision is left, right, green, urbanist, agrarian, or syncretist is beside the point. You can't diffuse all political conflicts and move a province forward at the same time.

  3. Well served by having a public insurer like MPI?

    Well, I guess if you are a shitty driver that couldn't get insurance under a private system, but otherwise even or in most cases underserved by MPI.

    1. Bullshit. Even the hard right reformers in Saskatchewan aren't screwing with their public insurance.

  4. Really? I guess you just bend over, pay your premiums and are on your way, huh? You just remember that the next time you are in an accident with a driver with 15 demerits ( who would have never received insurance in any other province due to their driving record) and MPI refuses to pay for half your treatment.

    But hey, when you drink the orange kool-aid it must all be good, huh?

    1. Nice try. Since when did a lack of insurance ever stop idiots from driving and getting into accidents?