B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s problems go deeper

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has followed the lead of his Cuban hero Fidel Castro

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has followed the lead of his Cuban hero Fidel Castro

VICTORIA – As the minutes ticked down to last week’s deadline for NDP leadership candidates to sell memberships, the Adrian Dix campaign brought in stacks of memberships and bags of money, which was then divvied up and attached to memberships.

Rival candidates Harry Lali and Mike Farnworth cried foul, but the party brass quickly decided the strict rules they imposed were just guidelines, and they’ll accept the memberships.

So Dix is now the front-runner, assuming these thousands of suddenly inspired members from Vancouver’s South Asian and Filipino communities translate into votes for him on April 17. As stinky as all this is, it’s not the NDP’s biggest problem.

Dix’s remarks in launching his campaign point to another one. He chose a theme of wealth redistribution.

“Analysis from all over the developed world demonstrates that the polarization of wealth and power, and the growth of poverty, have very significant financial and social costs imposed on our children and our communities by the growing divide in our society,” he said.

Dix didn’t indicate how he intends to correct this “morally wrong” situation where some people have lots of money and others don’t. But another political controversy in Vancouver offers a clue.

B.C. Liberal MLA Kash Heed is being investigated by the RCMP over campaign leaflets distributed to the Chinese community in Vancouver-Fraserview in 2009. The problem wasn’t the content, but rather the anonymous nature of the brochures and the way they were paid for.

One leaflet claimed the NDP supports a “death tax” on inheritance. This would be one way to realize Dix’s dream of government-imposed financial equality, although it’s not one espoused recently by candidates.

But if you look up the B.C. NDP constitution, you’ll find it starts by declaring loyalty to “democratic socialist principles,” which are defined as follows:

“a) the production and distribution of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people and not for profit, b) the modification and control of the operations of monopolistic productive and distributive organizations through economic and social planning towards these ends, and c) where necessary, the extension of the principle of social ownership.”

Now this is watered down from the old NDP philosophy, which talked specifically about nationalizing banks and major industries. But there remains a definite whiff of Cuba and Venezuela, where the state seized the means of production from private owners and ran it into the ground.

Dix and leadership rival John Horgan both worked for the NDP governments of the 1990s. Horgan describes what he calls a “capital strike” that hit B.C. after the NDP was elected. His terminology hints at a conspiracy of capitalists to pull investment from B.C., to punish the NDP.

To Horgan I would reply that this is an understandable reaction by investors to a party that remains explicitly opposed to profit.

To Dix, I would say I look forward to details of this analysis of the terrible effects of income inequality in the developed world. My understanding is that if it weren’t for private capital, competition and rewards for efficiency and innovation, there wouldn’t be much of a developed world to analyze.

The root of the recent turmoil in the NDP has been described as a lack of policies. That’s not accurate. Judging by the party’s foundation document, the problem is policies so discredited they can’t mention them.

Actually there is a modern policy that equalizes wealth by supporting the poor and placing more of the burden on those most able to pay, while encouraging investment.

It’s called the harmonized sales tax.

Tom Fletcher is legislative reporter and columnist for Black Press and BCLocalnews.com.

tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Just Posted

The Sooke Fine Arts Show will be online again this year, showcasing unique artworks from Vancouver Island and B.C.’s coastal island artists from July 23 to Aug. 2. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke Fine Arts Show to have a virutal walk-through gallery for 35th year

Longest-running show on Vancouver Island aims for 300 pieces in an online gallery

An elderly man having a medical emergency in Mount Douglas Park on May 13 was rescued by firefighters and paramedics with the help of ATVs. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rescue team uses ATVs get man in medical distress out of Saanich park and to hospital

Cedarhill Road closed as firefighters, paramedics rescue man in Mount Douglas Park

While recovering several items reported stolen from the set of a Netflix movie in early April, West Shore RCMP also seized drugs and drug trafficking items from a Colwood residence last week. (Black Press Media file photo)
Electronics, credit cards taken from Neflix set found in Colwood home

West Shore RCMP seize stolen items, drugs, trafficking materials

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Brown Drive Park closed as conservation officers search for her after she returned from relocation

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read