'Donate Now.' I'll pass, thanks…


Few will be surprised to know I’m a financial as well as philosophical supporter of the New Democratic Party. I’ve been making modest, tax-write-off-able, publicly recorded donations since the early 1980s when the provincial party had no MPs and a single MLA.

Giving then seemed more act of charity than political statement.

Times have changed. Federally, the NDP is now the official opposition. And, in Nova Scotia in 2009, the party of the never-wins won majority government.

I still give, though I don’t necessarily—or often—agree with actions of the government that carries my party label.

But I distinguish between a political party like the NDP, which has the luxury of a consistent, coherent philosophy, and a government like Darrell Dexter’s NDP, which has the messy job of making decisions in a province hobbled by decades of other-party-accumulated debt and a world buffeted by no-one’s-really-in-control-anymore freakynomics.

Most of the time, my convenient party-state fiction works.

But a recent post-Liberal annual meeting, political-is-personal fundraising email from party president David Wallbridge gave me pause.

Wallbridge’s email legitimately asked whether the Liberals are still spending 1970s-era, kickbacks-tainted funds to underwrite expenses like their own recent attack ads on the Dexter government.

Calling Liberal lack of transparency “disappointing [and] wrong,” Wallbridge segued: “I guess it’s not surprising.” Cue the ominous, Michael-Ignatieff music. “We don’t know a lot about Stephen McNeil.”

Huh? After a decade in the legislature, six as Liberal leader, four as leader of the opposition, what do we not know about MacNeil we didn’t know about Dexter when we made him premier.

“He hasn’t ever held any leadership or other such job in his life.”

Really? Politics don’t count in politics? Or is this a not-so-subtle swipe at McNeil’s intellectually unworthy pre-politics career as a small appliance repair shop owner.

“In fact,” Wallbridge goes on adding stupidity to innuendo, McNeil “had to hire a taxpayer-funded consultant to tell him how to run his political office.”

Uh… isn’t that what leaders should do when they need expertise? Didn’t Dexter hire consultants back in 2009 to tell him what to do about our economic situation?

“We have to fight back,” Wallbridge declared, “and we need your help.”

Press “Donate Now” button.

I’ll pass this time, thanks.

  1. Um, yeah, pass. This is exactly the kind of anything-goes mudslinging that should not be encouraged; bad enough the federal Tories are pumping out non-election ads attacking other party leaders almost the second they take office. It makes you wonder if they’re getting personal and innuendo-ish because they’re afraid to make an argument based on policy differences.


  2. If there is an election it will be the first one in the history of democracy where a governing party willingly goes to the electorate knowing they will be defeated. Mr. Dexter has another year on his mandate and the smart money (mine, what little I have) says that he will do just that. This spring will see the first balanced budget in NS in years, and to prove that it isn’t just a fluke, Mr. Dexter will attempt to repeat the process next spring, thus convincing the electorate that indeed the NDP are better managers of the books than any other party, and all it took was a complete repudiation of the principles for which they have long stood steadfast.

    History will quite possibly record the Dexter era as The Great Disappointment, and internally the party will remember it as The Great Defection, both for the exodus of party officials and long-time stalwart supporters, and, if not the abandonment, then at least the sidelining of their founding principles of social justice.

    One could credibly argue that the dare I say conservative ‘steady as she goes’ course this government has charted was a braver choice for the NDP than the much anticipated hard to port that was projected. The NDP came to power when the province and the country were reeling from an economic influenza of epidemic proportions. In such circumstances options tend to be rather limited and getting the books in order was quite possibly the sustainable thing to do. It would have been preferable if they had campaigned on such a platform but, to be fair, had they chosen to do so they would have lost the election.


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