Last month was the provincial convention of the Ontario New Democratic Party – time for New Democrats, myself included, to come together and try and decide what kind of party we are going to pretend to be for the next two years. It seems the working class interests that built this party just didn’t make the agenda.

No, this year the ONDP isn’t focusing on unions at all. In fact the biggest labour issue that the provincial NDP is tackling is a Bombardier contract that Ontario is competing for. The Liberals are guaranteeing millions of dollars in corporate welfare to the corporation in an attempt to win the contract. Thankfully we have Howard Hampton to step in and say something on behalf of Ontarians at this point. Yes, Hampton stepped in and demanded to know why we were spending millions on a corporation, when we should be spending HUNDREDS of millions! That’s right, the ONDP’s complaint was that we weren’t giving Bombardier a sweet enough deal in Ontario. After all, Bombardier is counting on McGuinty falling over himself to serve up taxpayer money on a silver platter, and according to Hampton, “New Democrats will fight to make sure he doesn’t let them down.”

The NDP should not be engaging itself in the disastrous race to the bottom of the bourgeois parties. The goal of the workers’ party is to improve the lives of worker people and not to suck up to corporations.

The current leadership is more focused on making the Ontario NDP “the party of health care” (as Hampton emphasized this convention). Okay great. Free quality healthcare for all, right? Maybe not. And apparently not even Universal health care, just like it was a decade ago before Martin repealed the Canada Aid Act. The ONDP will fight valiantly … bravely … tooth and nail, to eventually, slightly reduce heath care premiums … maybe. (See Ontario Liberal budget continues assault on workers)

That’s right, Canada’s workers’ party is going to make heath care accessible to all people … after they pay a fee of course. This is the same party that spent the better part of three months screaming at the top of their lungs about just how great Medicare is, and yet they can’t even call for the elimination of health care premiums?

It’s time for the NDP to stop sitting on the fence like this. Workers all over the world are bearing the brunt of the crisis of capitalism, and Ontario is no exception. There will be a straw that breaks the camel’s back and the workers will demand solutions. They will burst onto the political arena, by way of their mass organizations, including the NDP. All who stand in their way will be swept aside – this tired old leadership included.

January, 2005