Does the Sask. NDP even CARE anymore?

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Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture
Does the Sask. NDP even CARE anymore?

They've made no gains at all in the polls since the last election...they refuse to offer ANY new ideas, even though only a clear break from the past offers them any hope of avoiding further losses.

From where they were after the last provincial election, simply electing a new leader should have brought in SOME new support, should have cut into the Saskatory lead at least slightly, but no, no improvement at all has occurred.

They hold 9 seats now, and it looks like they cold lost a number of those.

I know party activists are probably furious about this...but they seem powerless to get through to the leadership about the situation at all.

And it looks more and more, quite frankly, as if the Sask. NDP's policy "masterminds" don't even WANT their party to do any better than its doing now.  They seem like a college basketball team, in the days before the 30-second clock, going into the four-corner stall when they're BEHIND the other team.

Any theories about this?  Any reason to believe that anything will change for the better between now and the next election?  And how has the current leader managed not to be removed in a leadership review after three years of total failure?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

That should read "COULD lose a number of those next time". Can the mod please correct that?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

No idea what their issue is, but I'm really glad I moved last year.

6079_Smith_W

Fair enough, and I agree that in the short term things look brighter there. A big part of that is because people still remember the Filmon years, and I think the NDP in Manitoba are in part riding on that.

As someone who lived through those years, and saw the selloff of MTS, I am glad I moved here.

Leftfield

I'm not sure the Sask NDP has many members anymore. My social circle is small, but I'd say the left in Saskatchewan isn't trying to get things done through politics. There's an unmet need for representation I suppose, but I'm not sure the NDP can do anything about it.

Aristotleded24

Isn't the left/NDP well represented on Saskatoon City Council at least?

Leftfield

Don't know. In Regina, council is full of real estate and developer interests. The RM's tend to worry about good roads, low taxes, and opening new mines.

I'm not sure how it got that way, but my only theory is that the Sask NDP put a lot of peculiar personalities in positions of visibility and gave prominence to a lot of individuals that the general public disliked and distrusted and it ate away their coalition. NDP members are still doing this in some nominations.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

I think it still goes back to Romanow's embrace of right-wing economic and spending policies.  Once he did that, once it became clear that the SNDP wouldn't do any more to defend working-class people and the poor than the old PC's would(or their mutant BC Socred-style successors the "Saskatchewan Party" would) people who would have been natural SNDP supporters came to the conclusion that, well, there really wasn't any reason for them to bother...there'd be cuts and lost ground no matter what, and the rich would crush everyone else no matter what.

The SNDP STILL refuses to break with any of Romanow's major policies, so there is no reason for the kind of voters who would support a party that defended the values Tommy D. fought for to think that they should care who runs the provincial government anymore.

This is what always happens when you reduce the whole thing to "it's enough to get 'our side' into power, period". 

Pondering

Ken Burch wrote:

This is what always happens when you reduce the whole thing to "it's enough to get 'our side' into power, period". 

Yes indeed.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Having lived most of my life in SK (I left less than two years ago), I don't think that's how it worked, Ken.

Romanow did move the party more to the centre, but I really don't think the NDP would have successfully held on to the government for as long as they did if he hadn't.  I think there was an attempt to keep a balance.  It's debatable whether they were successful.

The SP are the former Liberals and PC party members.  It's not so much that they aren't appealing to "natural" supporters of the left, it's that the province no longer has very many of those anymore.  Saskatchewan's "character", if you will, has undergone a dramatic shift to the right, especially in the rural areas.  The Saskatchewan I grew up in doesn't exist anymore. 

Of course, it didn't help that the SNDP gave a great performance in the art of self-immolation by electing Lingenfelter as party leader.  They'll be decades rebuilding after that stunt.

Aristotleded24

Timebandit wrote:
Having lived most of my life in SK (I left less than two years ago), I don't think that's how it worked, Ken.

Romanow did move the party more to the centre, but I really don't think the NDP would have successfully held on to the government for as long as they did if he hadn't.  I think there was an attempt to keep a balance.  It's debatable whether they were successful.

The SP are the former Liberals and PC party members.  It's not so much that they aren't appealing to "natural" supporters of the left, it's that the province no longer has very many of those anymore.  Saskatchewan's "character", if you will, has undergone a dramatic shift to the right, especially in the rural areas.  The Saskatchewan I grew up in doesn't exist anymore.

Is there any data available regarding trends in voter turn-out in Saskatchewan?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I couldn't say.  It's a very clear split between urban and rural, though.  There's also no viable third option, so more people will go to the SP side if they're pissed off at the NDP.  I really have the sense that there is a smaller swing vote than there used to be.

Aristotleded24

Timebandit wrote:
Of course, it didn't help that the SNDP gave a great performance in the art of self-immolation by electing Lingenfelter as party leader.  They'll be decades rebuilding after that stunt.

It seems that the Manitoba NDP is determined to follow in that same path.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Yes, and having relocated to MB after SK killed their film and tv industry, it scares the crap out of me. As does Pallister.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

It's not that I don't think there are good people in the SNDP. I know there are, and I know quite a few personally. It's that there's an old boy problem that has made it difficult to groom leaders to come up through the ranks. Now, after chasing off their best choices and making a huge mistake, the boomer boys are getting ready to retire and are leaving one helluva mess to clean up.

Aristotleded24

Timebandit wrote:
It's not that I don't think there are good people in the SNDP. I know there are, and I know quite a few personally. It's that there's an old boy problem that has made it difficult to groom leaders to come up through the ranks. Now, after chasing off their best choices and making a huge mistake, the boomer boys are getting ready to retire and are leaving one helluva mess to clean up.

I remember when Malcolm was part of this community, and he often said that every couple of decades a window opens for a third party to displace one of the main contenders. I think what happens is that when a party gets used to always being one of the main 2 contenders for power, there's a sort of complacency that sets in throughout the organization, as if all they have to do is wait for the government to screw up badly enough and they will be rewarded without any work or taking any risks. Meanwhile, parties that are not regular contenders for power have to reach out and bring in new people and try new things for survival, and sometimes this inspiration is enough to over take one of the other parties. You look at the history of Saskatchewan and BC, there is (not yet) a third party capable of displacing them, so they are still of the mindset I described, even though I'm not sure the Saskatchewan NDP realizes that it's unprecedented for them to lose seats to a right-wing party while in opposition. On the other hand, the NDP in Ontario and Manitoba fell to third place, and generally once you lead your party into the ground that badly there's nothing standing between you and the tar and feathers, and you can renew. (I was talking to a long-standing MLA from that era who said that the advantage of experiencing a crushing defeat is that it helps clean out the deadwood in the organization.)

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

There used to be 3 parties in SK until the Liberals self-destructed in the mid-1990s. They've never recovered. Damn shame, with Lynda Haverstock as leader, they might have gotten somewhere. I suppose they are technically an active party, but they haven't had a member elected in ages.

Aristotleded24

I just checked Saskatchewan election results going back to 1944 courtesy of Wikipedia, and with a few exceptions, elections have generally tended to polarize between 2 parties, with others generally playing a more marginal role, if at all. The Greens actually beat the Liberals in the 2011 election, and given the general upward trend of green politics around the world lately, I expect that number to go nowhere but up, although they don't seem to have any areas of natural strength to build on.

I actually get the sense that in 2011 the NDP would have actually finished below second place had there been more than 2 parties represented in the Legislature prior to that election.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Yes, pretty much.

jjuares

Having lived. In SK and AB all my life I notice that the two provinces are becoming more alike. The exception might be Edmonton where social democracy still has some life.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I think you're right. More than that, though, is that the SP vision for SK is to become a caricature of Alberta 20 years ago.

Leftfield

I tend to think that the NDP's problems go deeper than historic shifts. Thinking back 30 years ago, among my peers (say my scout troop I was involved in as a teen) with one exception there wasn't a conservative in the bunch. Few of them would line up to the modern understanding of a New Democrat today.

There was and is something socially wrong in the NDP. I feel like they ran eccentric single men in family neighbourhoods, old social gospel preachers in new young areas, socialists in heavily Catholic areas, and union bosses who couldn't lead their members. A number of those people were real bastards too.

Ticking boxes that made one a good New Democrat was often more important than picking people who were good members of the community. Quite a few of the current crop of MLAs are career politicians or children of activists. Not relatable to average people.

Aristotleded24

One thing Wall has done well is play to Saskatchewan's independent streak, for example breaking with Harper on the issue of Senate abolition and having an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women. He is also among the most popular Premiers in the country (I believe the only one with a net positive approval). Can anyone from Saskatchewan weigh in on how much of this is Wall's approach versus how much of this is the NDP not resonating? Is it 50-50? Is Wall just that effective a politician? Is the NDP just that incompetent? What's happening?

Leftfield

Wall is authentic, and I think when he breaks rank with Harper it's genuine. This is also true when he is cheap with teachers and gets really white hot and angry over squabbles with organized labour - it's real and not a tactic. I think this is important in the social media world.

Cam Broten doesn't make people angry but he hasn't necessarily made a connection. The NDP are pushing a health and education message, and it's getting some traction but I don't think they are flipping voters. My guess is that the next non-SP government will be some coalition of Left Liberals, Greens, and disaffected New Democrats but that is years away.

6079_Smith_W

Evidently not:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/sask-resource-revenue-sharing...

Quote:

The leader of Saskatchewan's Opposition says he will not campaign on sharing resource money with the province's First Nations again.

Resource revenue sharing was a major plank in the NDP's platform in the last provincial election, but NDP leader Cam Broten says the idea will not be back.

"Doesn't work for me. Did not work for the province," Broten said of the controversial idea. "In speaking with many First Nations leaders, as I have over the past year, did not work for them. And so that proposal is not on."

As for who said it doesn't work for them:

http://www.fsin.com/index.php/media-releases/855-resource-revenue-sharin...

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Leftfield wrote:
I tend to think that the NDP's problems go deeper than historic shifts. Thinking back 30 years ago, among my peers (say my scout troop I was involved in as a teen) with one exception there wasn't a conservative in the bunch. Few of them would line up to the modern understanding of a New Democrat today. There was and is something socially wrong in the NDP. I feel like they ran eccentric single men in family neighbourhoods, old social gospel preachers in new young areas, socialists in heavily Catholic areas, and union bosses who couldn't lead their members. A number of those people were real bastards too. Ticking boxes that made one a good New Democrat was often more important than picking people who were good members of the community. Quite a few of the current crop of MLAs are career politicians or children of activists. Not relatable to average people.

Is "eccentric single men" meant to be a euphemism for openly gay men there?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Leftfield wrote:
I tend to think that the NDP's problems go deeper than historic shifts. Thinking back 30 years ago, among my peers (say my scout troop I was involved in as a teen) with one exception there wasn't a conservative in the bunch. Few of them would line up to the modern understanding of a New Democrat today. There was and is something socially wrong in the NDP. I feel like they ran eccentric single men in family neighbourhoods, old social gospel preachers in new young areas, socialists in heavily Catholic areas, and union bosses who couldn't lead their members. A number of those people were real bastards too. Ticking boxes that made one a good New Democrat was often more important than picking people who were good members of the community. Quite a few of the current crop of MLAs are career politicians or children of activists. Not relatable to average people.

Is "eccentric single men" meant to be a euphemism for openly gay men there?

Aristotleded24

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Evidently not:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/sask-resource-revenue-sharing...

Quote:

The leader of Saskatchewan's Opposition says he will not campaign on sharing resource money with the province's First Nations again.

Resource revenue sharing was a major plank in the NDP's platform in the last provincial election, but NDP leader Cam Broten says the idea will not be back.

"Doesn't work for me. Did not work for the province," Broten said of the controversial idea. "In speaking with many First Nations leaders, as I have over the past year, did not work for them. And so that proposal is not on."

As for who said it doesn't work for them:

">http://www.fsin.com/index.php/media-releases/855-resource-revenue-sharin...

Just...wow! The mistakes made by the provincial NDP sections in the provinces that regularly elect them are just...and the federal party continues to look at these parties as models for success?

Please tell me there's an up-and-coming viable third party to vote for in Saskatchewan.

swallow

[url=http://globalnews.ca/news/2427537/split-emerging-in-sask-ndp-over-sharin... emerging in Sask NDP on revenue sharing[/url] 

Ryan Meili leads criticisms of Broten's U-turn. And the current FSIN leadership expresses unhappiness over Broten's stance. 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

It's not as if voters who oppose revenue sharing would ever vote NDP anyway.  Anyone who wants to reduce FN revenues would be a hardline white supremacist, and people with that worldview would always vote for Wall's SaskCreds.

swallow

I'm not sure about that. Plenty of NDP supporters oppose resource revenue-sharing as a principle, and they seem to include the party leader. And I am not sure that the Sask NDP is entirely free of anti-First Nations feelings. Even the Douglas CCF government's policies towards the north have been described, with some justification, as colonialist. So too with most of what was done by the NDP governments that followed it. 

6079_Smith_W

Sure, but there is a big difference between that history, and setting a policy and backpedaling on it.

 

swallow

I agree with that. I just think the simplest explanation for Broten's decision is not that he loves the policy but thinks it's bad messaging. Rather, he probably doesn't like the policy. Or in other words, there's plenty of anti-First Nations bigotry witin the Sask NDP, as there is outside the Sask NDP. 

Aristotleded24

Timebandit wrote:
I think you're right. More than that, though, is that the SP vision for SK is to become a caricature of Alberta 20 years ago.

I remember in 2007 the NDP ran ads claiming that the Saskatchewan Party wanted Saskatchewan to be "like Alberta." Fast forward 8 years, and I wonder which party would like Saskatchewan to be more like Alberta now!Tongue out

Aristotleded24

Ken Burch wrote:
Leftfield wrote:
I tend to think that the NDP's problems go deeper than historic shifts. Thinking back 30 years ago, among my peers (say my scout troop I was involved in as a teen) with one exception there wasn't a conservative in the bunch. Few of them would line up to the modern understanding of a New Democrat today. There was and is something socially wrong in the NDP. I feel like they ran eccentric single men in family neighbourhoods, old social gospel preachers in new young areas, socialists in heavily Catholic areas, and union bosses who couldn't lead their members. A number of those people were real bastards too. Ticking boxes that made one a good New Democrat was often more important than picking people who were good members of the community. Quite a few of the current crop of MLAs are career politicians or children of activists. Not relatable to average people.

Is "eccentric single men" meant to be a euphemism for openly gay men there?

I took Leftfield's post to mean that the Saskatchewan NDP doesn't really have the pulse on the public mood or the demographic makeup of the province, and as a result tends to select candidates that are not particularly well suited to the individual ridings.

Malcontent

The BC and NDP federally no longer care and are irrelevant now sad to say. So you in Sask are not alone in this dissapointment.

mark_alfred
Aristotleded24

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenier-podcast-saskatchewan-election-1.... Mandryk and Eric Grenier talk Saskatchewan politics[/url]

Can any Saskatchewan people comment on this discussion?

Misfit Misfit's picture

A major problem in Saskatchewan is a lack of a viable third party like the Liberals to split the right wing vote. And, the old CCFers within the province are too old or gone now. The SP has also gerrymandered the seats to make sure that the majority of ridings are rural which pretty much guarantees their electoral success no matter what. Rural Saskatchewan is not NDP friendly territory.

Aristotleded24

Misfit wrote:
A major problem in Saskatchewan is a lack of a viable third party like the Liberals to split the right wing vote. And, the old CCFers within the province are too old or gone now. The SP has also gerrymandered the seats to make sure that the majority of ridings are rural which pretty much guarantees their electoral success no matter what. Rural Saskatchewan is not NDP friendly territory.

I have to say this sounds very defeatist and, frankly, an evasion of responsibility. All of these are beyond the NDP's control, however I will point out that the NDP has in the past won elections with over 50% of the vote, so a split vote in that case is not a factor. What is the NDP doing about it? Have they simply rolled over and hoped that Wall will mess up enough in order to slide in?

It's very disheartening to hear progressive constantly use things beyond their control as excuses for why they can't do better. I mean, if the NDP can win Alberta without any major media endorsements, and Sanders can sersiously compete with Clinton desipte all the disadvantages he had going into the campaign, what is everyone else's excuse?

Misfit Misfit's picture

I don't think there is dynamic leadership. Douglas, Blakeney, and Romano were strong and dynamic leaders. They don't have that anymore. They don't have adequate news coverage either. It is almost like there is no opposition at all. I've never seen it this bad.

swallow

They chased most of the activists out of the party to hand its husk over to an oil executive. Then they were surprised that there was no passion or activist spirit left in the party. 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

After which, they said "It's all the left's fault-We gotta 'move to the centre".

Most likely, nothing short of the SNDP losing EVERY seat will break the grip of the rightist hacks.

Debater

Misfit wrote:
I don't think there is dynamic leadership. Douglas, Blakeney, and Romano were strong and dynamic leaders. They don't have that anymore. They don't have adequate news coverage either. It is almost like there is no opposition at all. I've never seen it this bad.

In a column last year, Chantal Hébert described the Saskatchewan NDP as a 'skeleton crew'.

quizzical

oh gawd now she's an expert on SK?

Debater

Hébert has been a political journalist for 30 or 35 years.  She has a pretty good general understanding of provincial politics, although I don't think she would call herself an 'expert' on SK, no.

And Hébert is critical of everyone.  She just wrote a critical column on the Trudeau Government.

Robo

Misfit wrote:
The SP has also gerrymandered the seats to make sure that the majority of ridings are rural which pretty much guarantees their electoral success no matter what. Rural Saskatchewan is not NDP friendly territory.

The Grant Devine Conservatives gerrymandered the distribution of seats so that rural areas were overrepresented. This was overturned by the Supreme Court just before the Devine Tories were voted out (the boundaries had to be fixed for the following election, given he timing of the decision).

At present, the provincial constituencies in Saskatchewan have no more than a 5% variation from the provincial average, except for one seat in the far north. There is no easy access to the population stats -- you have to look at Appendix C within the last provincial boundaries commission report (this link gives the whole commission report).  At the federal level by contrast, the boundaries commissions within each province were authorised to vary riding populations by up to 25%.

There are 26 seats in Saskatoon and Regina combined (each city having one urban-rural mixed riding), 8 is the smaller cities (if you count everything from Martensville-Warman up to Moose Jaw), 2 in the far north, and 25 in rural areas -- this breakdown lines up with population overall. 

I don't like the Saskatchewan Party government.  Disproportionately representing the population in the distribution of seats is not one of their faults.

Debater

The new House of Commons seating distribution for 2015 was thought to advantage the Conservatives and disadvantage the Liberals, and yet the Liberals managed to change the game and win a majority of those seats.

Aristotle makes a valid point above -- parties need to overcome this sort of thinking and find ways to appeal to a larger segment of the population, even if the seat distribiution system supposedly works against them.

Stockholm

swallow wrote:

They chased most of the activists out of the party to hand its husk over to an oil executive. Then they were surprised that there was no passion or activist spirit left in the party. 

I gues that was then and this is now!

http://www.saskndp.ca/most_diverse_candidate_team_in_sask_history_finalized

Most diverse candidate team in Sask. history finalized

The NDP has nominated candidates for the provincial election in all 61 constituencies, and it’s the most diverse candidate team in the province’s history.  

saskndp-full_slate-fb2.png

  • Women: 45 per cent
  • Aboriginal: 13 per cent
  • Visible minorities: 10 per cent
  • Disabilities: 3 per cent
  • Average age: 43
  • Candidates under 40: 44 per cent
  • Candidates under 30: 16 per cent

Professionally, they come from the public, private and non-profit sectors – including teachers, school board trustees, health care workers, small business owners, lawyers, farmers and community leaders.

 

bekayne

Four of those candidates (and the campaign manager) have already been dropped.

jerrym

Quote:

Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall is being dogged on the campaign trail by questions about a land deal for the new Regina highway bypass.

The Global Transportation Hub, a Crown corporation, bought 204 acres of land west of Regina from two businessmen for $103,000 an acre. That was more than three times the Highways Ministry’s appraised value and far higher than what other landowners in the area got under threat of expropriation. ...

Meanwhile, a former landowner along the route has filed a $2 million lawsuit that claims the Ministry of Highways misrepresented the value of the land. McNally Enterprises says in a statement of claim that it was offered $9,000 to $11,000 an acre under threat of expropriation. The company says its own appraisal done in February 2010 by Colliers International pegged fair market value of the land at $38,000. The statement says the ministry rejected the appraisal as “unrealistic and stated that the appraiser would be reported to its professional organization with a complaint for incompetence.”

McNally agreed to sell the land. The statement of claim alleges the ministry “misrepresented the value of the lands to induce the plantiff into the sale at a substantially reduced value.” None of the allegations in the lawsuit has been proven in court.

NDP Leader Cam Broten questioned why the government criticized McNally’s appraisal as “unrealistic,” but not the appraisal for the two Regina businessmen. “When you have one parcel of land that’s been treated differently than all the others, when you have Mr. Wall sloughing off one appraisal, saying that’s junk, and then claim another one is good, and happily writing that huge cheque, there’s inconsistencies with what they’ve been saying,” Broten said Thursday. “His justifications do not hold water.”

The provincial auditor is reviewing the land deal. Wall requested last month that the auditor examine whether the government followed proper procedures and received appropriate value for the land.  Auditor Judy Ferguson said the investigation is a priority, but added she doesn’t know when she’ll be able to report the findings. Ferguson said she’s seeking legal advice on whether she can report publicly during a provincial election. Voters head to the polls April 4.

http://thestarphoenix.com/news/local-news/global-transportation-hub-land...

 

 

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