If New Democrats are to form government in 2019, we need to own the turf upon which the battles will be fought. To do that we need to redefine the conversation about society, politics, the economy and the environment.
We must make the next election about “first principles”.
Our emphasis should be on democratic renewal which includes aspects of electoral reform but is far more encompassing.
Learn a new language New Democrats must wean themselves from the language of the old CCF which focused on “classes” and “class structures” and re-created these divisions even as it ostensibly worked towards equality. We must learn to talk as a national party; do so not only rhetorically but by developing alternatives which grow the conversation as a whole. New Democrats must stop focusing on the “opposition” (Liberals/ New Conservatives). This focus re-creates the “party system” which is a moat separating Ottawa from the rest of Canada. This moat tempts leaders and representatives to become arrogant, abstract, insular, myopic. We need to focus on the future and on our strategies going forward.
From representation to democracy:
The word democracy appears in neither the American constitution nor in the B.N.A. Act. In both cases the process still in place is best called representation. Democracy only happens when all citizens actively and knowledgeably participate in the self-governance of the nation.
Replace leadership “debate” with “round-table” conversation:
Debates are useful where candidates hold conflicting values. But that is not the case in this leadership race. I propose that we replace that format with a round-table conversation between participants. All candidates should be given time to present their best ideas going forward. Presentations will be followed by a round table discussion.
The NDP must empower all of our 338 candidates to develop riding-specific platforms. Each candidate should be encouraged to introduce new “collective–decision making processes” eg., town halls and on–line platforms. Collective decision-making processes must be open to all riding constituents. Riding-specific draft-proposals including proposals to revive and/or expand local economies will then be negotiated with NDP leadership. Final platform will publish party commitments for each riding. Platform will of course also include cross-Canada commitments.
As the Nation’s next government, the NDP will introduce post-partisan riding associations into each riding. These associations will maintain regular contact with representatives. Weekly discussion of the issues and routine votes will be held. All associations across the country will be networked.