Niki Ashton: A bold and courageous realist
The Canadian political landscape is bleak. We have two parties that have abandoned the public and sold their souls to their Neo-liberal masters. The Conservatives are now electing a new leader and the slate is chock full of left-overs from the odious Harper regime, along with a narcissistic carpet bagger from Boston. As for the party that claims to be our national government, the Liberals have blown their credibility very early in their mandate and are led by a not-so-politically-talented Dorian Gray facsimile.
The Greens are blessed with a good leader; unfortunately she is her own caucus of one. If we had electoral reform and proportionate representation she might just have the larger caucus she deserves.
The NDP are the party to watch as they have a date with destiny. They are at cross-roads. They can either continue their role as the ever-lovable political rump they have always been; or they can position themselves to be a major contender for the 2019 election. This means the right leader and the right platform. This means bold and courageous!
Becoming a major contender is an essential step to preserving our tattered democracy. The present Liberal government has shown us once and for all we do indeed live in a single party state where the Tweedledee /Tweedledum, Conservatives and Liberals take turns betraying the country and Canadian values. The NDP would do itself, and the country, a very big favor by giving voters a real alternative to what is a latter day “Family Compact”-an anti-democratic clique that needs to be busted.
NDP MP Niki Ashton has just announced her candidacy for her party’s leadership. She steps forward as a politician who offers voters real change and a very real alternative. Her platform is both bold and courageous.
Most politicians will never let the word “Neo-liberal” cross their lips as it is the secretive agenda, most practice, and refuse to address. If it ever became part of our political dialogue they would pay the price for their treachery. Ashton is not afraid of the “N” word using it several times in her twenty minute speech. More importantly, she is willing to challenge the privatizers and deregulators who pillage the public purse.
She is also not afraid of the word “socialism.” Nor should we be. For as Canadian philosopher George Grant pointed out:
Yet what is socialism it if it not use of the government to restrain greed in the name of social good.
We surely live in a time of unrepentant greed, where the ideology of Neo-liberalism goes unchecked globally, devastating nation states and their populations. Rather than putting any sort of restraints on this hideous ideology governments cave in and cater to it. To facilitate Neo-liberal, “gloves off” predatory capitalism, socialism has been roundly denigrated and slandered to pave the way for this unmitigated greed. The advocacy of socialism is no more than a demand for some restraint; the correction of a social balance that has been destroyed and returning us to being more just societies.
Ashton’s platform will no doubt be deemed “radical,” but it is not. Canadian voters have been slaves to election campaigns that are shallow banalities that avoid inconvenient truths and real issues.
In her first run at the NDP leadership four years ago Ashton was faulted for being too young. This time around that claim cannot be made. She is in fact a political prodigy. At the ripe old age of 35, she is in her third term as a MP, and is completing a doctorate at the University of Manitoba. Aside from her role as politician she has an impressive record of social activism. She is multi-lingual, highly articulate and has a commanding presence as a speaker in Parliament.
Her candidacy is an opportunity for progressives of every political stripe to coalesce behind.
Where the Liberals have betrayed the millennials she has the steadfast convictions to deliver.
As the NDP leadership race gets underway it must pivot around which candidate is most able to transition the party to being a real contender in the 2019 federal election. For the sake of the party, and the country, it should prepare to offer Canadians a genuine alternative to a moribund status quo.
It appears Nicki Ashton is that candidate.
Related: The NDP’s Other Leadership Race: https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2017/03/15/NDP-Other-Leadership-Race/
Canada,Not Just the NDP, Needs a Socialist Alternative: https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2017/03/15/NDP-Other-Leadership-Race/