Left Turn Canada – Election 2008:
Labour, the NDP and the Left
CPS Election Analysis 2008 - Week 1
August 31, 2008

The Globe and Mail is reporting that Buzz Hargrove retired leader of the CAW will run in Whitby-Oshawa for the Liberals against Conservative Finance Minister Flaherty. One braces for the righteous indignation that will inevitably flow from “hyper left” and the “friends of labour” if this actually happens.
The NDP will be particularly incensed as it aims to replace the Liberals as the official opposition.
The “told you so” commentaries that will pour forth in all of their variants will quietly evade discussing why it is that millions of working class voters continue to see little difference between the policies of the Liberals and the NDP. On issues such as the loss of manufacturing sector jobs, the environment, social programs, civil rights, labour legislation, the Wheat Board, urban transit, social housing, women’s rights, child care, indigenous peoples, immigrant labour and youth unemployment the differences are not always apparent.
To spend an entire six weeks of campaigning to explain the differences between the NDP and the Liberals is just what Stephen Harper is counting on.
What is obvious is a distinction between the NDP and the Liberals on the war in Afghanistan. The distinction cannot be ignored. Dion in his fixation with his Green shift plan allowed the Manley, Ignatieff, Rae tag team to appropriate the Liberal foreign policy, purge its peace wing and move it further to the right. The Manley, Ignatieff, Rae betrayal of the hopes of the Canadian people for peace will live in ignominy.
There is a grave weakness in the NDP’s electoral tactics that is of its own making. It enunciates supportable positions on peace, NAFTA, SPP, and then mutes them, leaving its activist peace and labour supporters disheartened. A glaring example is the fact that the NDP no longer campaigns vigorously for Canadian withdrawal from NATO.
These are serious problems for left progressives who believe in electoral unity to defeat the right. A left centre flocking to the polls that results in another Harper minority or worse, a majority is a possibility.
Now the matter has been dramatically posed by a possible nomination of a labour militant on a Liberal ticket.
We publish Buzz Hargrove’s statement upon leaving the leadership of CAW. It is forthright and supportable in the context of today’s real labour politics. If what he has said is an indication of what he would carry into the campaign of Whitby-Oshawa and were he to become a rallying point that could administer a crushing defeat to corporate Canada’s front man, Finance Minister Flaherty, supporting his campaign would have to be a serious option to be considered by organized labour.