Need it even be said? The rightward shift of the NDP is a colossal disappointment for me.
I'm part of the NDP's natural constituency. The NDP has historically been a social democrat party, a party of the working class, a party not tied to corporate interests. The existence of the NDP, a credible, viable party on the left, is part of what made Canada such an appealing choice for me.
Despite the right-leaning leadership of the NDP at both the provincial and federal levels, I still have hope for Canada. Every NDP voter I speak to, and everything I read, tells me that my disappointment is shared and echoed throughout the land. There is still hope that the NDP will reconstitute itself as a party on the left.
But not if we dutifully vote for them no matter what platform they put forth. When 34 prominent NDP supporters wrote to Andrea Horwath to express their disappointment, we got a glimpse of the NDP's future. They collapse at the polls, Horwath is turfed, and party is re-formed from the grassroots up.
The alternative is what liberal Democrat voters did in the US. In election after election, left-leaning Democrat voters believed they had to vote for the party under any and all circumstances, as the party gradually became almost indistinguishable from the Republicans in all but its rhetoric. The Democrats could take for granted the liberal (in the US sense) vote, so they continued to court the so-called swing vote... and you know the rest of the story. If I vote ONDP, I'm repeating that exercise.
Many of my leftist comrades see this very differently. In articles and analysis such as this, they argue against the Liberals, who instituted most of the Drummond austerity recommendations, and whose leader, Kathleen Wynne, voted in favour of then-Premier Dalton McGuinty's anti-union Bill 115. They argue in favour of supporting the only party not tied to corporate interests, the party that (theoretically) is tied to the working class.
I can't successfully relate the arguments in favour of voting for Horwath's ONDP, because they don't make a lot of sense to me. I understand everything that's wrong with the Liberals, that's why this has been such a difficult decision for me. But I can't see talking about class interests during an election. Elections are not about class interests. Elections are not a revolutionary tool; they are a small-c conservative tool. Elections are about squeezing the most reform we can out of an unjust system. Sometimes - not all the time, each situation is different - elections are about doing the least harm.
It's uncomfortable for me to say this, the more I read IS analysis of the provincial election, the more clarity I found on voting Liberal to vote anti-Hudak. The arguments in favour of voting NDP in this provincial election are, to me, theoretical gymnastics.
Tim Hudak will demolish public services, eliminate tens of thousands of good jobs, and make life harder for all of us. Kathleen Wynne's Liberals are clearly not my preference to govern this province. But I believe they will be less worse. And until we get rid of the first-past-the-post electoral system, this is what I'm stuck with.
In my riding, the NDP has no chance. But there's a very real chance of the riding going Conservative. I have to do my small part to prevent that. Then I have to hound the Liberal government day and night to keep them from doing the same things the Conservatives would have done.