Local outrage at the essentially anti-democratic intent of Bill C-38 is rightly aimed at the Harper government. John Weston’s lamentable response (Coast Reporter, June 15) serves to confirm that our concerns are well justified.
Bill C-38 is the prototype for hurry-up neo-conservative policy implementation. Weston’s cringe-worthy spin fails to conceal the Harper government’s agenda embedded in Bill C-38. It is a prelude to rapid acceleration in risky deregulation and looser licensing practices that place fast profits for a few (not steady jobs for many) above protecting an already endangered environment. Meantime, our public services (especially medicare, education and pension entitlements) are being eroded faster than most of us imagined.
The NDP is making a reasonable effort to stall the passage of Bill C-38 in Parliamentary debate and to illuminate its harmful implications. But do we know what the NDP is really about on the vital issues encompassed by this bill?
Where are the details of a distinct social democratic policy agenda to which they will now definitely commit? Is NDP leadership overly concerned that potential voters from the middle of the political spectrum will be turned off if the party now undertakes these commitments? Or is the NDP in opposition, at both federal and provincial levels, just awaiting its turn to govern assuming a rising tide of discontent will sweep away the Harper government?
Otherwise, how do the social democratic values NDP politicians seemingly espouse make them more trustworthy and fit to govern than their counterparts in other mainstream parties?
Within a wider political discourse around the corrosive effects of Bill C-38, the NDP is now well positioned to engage us with alternative policies to the dire solutions Harper would have us view as inevitable. Are they up to the task?