Jack Layton’s hidden agenda
NationalPost.com – FinancialPost/FPComment – NDP’s hidden constitution opposes profits, backs ‘social ownership’
Apr 29, 2011. Terence Corcoran
With the NDP’s public election platform already packed with more than 200 extreme, unworkable, radical and mostly undesirable promises, it might surprise some to learn that Jack Layton’s current power trip packs at lot more baggage under the floorboards.
How much more can there be? They’ve got plans for what amounts to a 10¢-a-litre cap-and-trade tax on gasoline, doubled pension plan contributions, corporate tax increases, plus a long list of plans and schemes to newly regulate pharmaceuticals, banking, oil, food, telecom, railways and many other industries. As for monetary policy, not mentioned in the platform but recently the subject of comment, Mr. Layton says that he wants to maintain an “arm’s length” relationship with the Bank of Canada, although he apparently at the same time intends to jawbone the bank over interest rates and the value of the dollar.
This is all bad enough, but now let’s have a rummage through the baggage rack and under the floorboards. We’re looking for plans Mr. Layton didn’t mention in the platform, long-standing NDP agenda items, ideological positions they don’t talk much about but which underlie everything the party does. Does the NDP have any “hidden agendas”?
The CBC’s Leslie MacKinnon recently reported on the NDP’s official constitution, a 2003 document that specifies why the NDP exists. It turns out the NDP constitution is itself a hidden agenda.
First, here’s a core statement from the preamble outlining the “principles of democratic socialism” that guide the party:
- That the production and distribution of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people within a sustainable environment and economy and not to the making of profit;
- To modify and control the operations of the monopolistic productive and distributive organizations through economic and social planning. Towards these ends and where necessary, the extension of the principle of social ownership….
- The New Democratic Party is proud to be associated with the democratic socialist parties of the world and to share the struggle for peace, international co-operation and the abolition of poverty.
The above NDP constitutional extract is unfortunately not available on the NDP website. Ms MacKinnon asked about this omission and was told that the party’s constitution is an “internal” document that is only available to members, not to voters who might be interested in NDP principles. Other questions raised appropriately by Ms. MacKinnon: “Does the NDP have a problem with the making of profits? Does social ownership mean the nationalization of certain industries? And does the NDP still deeply believe in these precepts, or has it repudiated them?”
Or does the NDP have a hidden agenda well beyond the fat agenda in the election platform?
That the NDP has larger ideological and political aspirations can be found in the party’s busy legislative effort under Mr. Layton. Most of these bills, not mentioned in the platform, are part of the NDP’s active policy agenda. This is stuff they would do, even if not part of the official election campaign.
Bill C-311 A pet project through the last session of Parliament, and long a part of the NDP agenda. It’s an act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing “dangerous” climate change under United Nations agreements. The word “dangerous” is code for a UN trigger clause that would jumpstart massive global government regulation. Mr. Layton personally backed C-311, a bill loaded with regulatory process and expanded government control over all carbon-generating economic activity. In essence, it would formally lock Canada into following UN-based dictates, even if those dictates were contrary to Canadian interests and even contrary to common sense.
Bill C-502 An act to block oil tankers from entering waters off the British Columbia coast, a move that would prevent the export of oil and gas.
Bill C-337 A union crowd-pleaser that aims to prevent federally regulated industries from hiring replacement workers in the event of a strike. Sounds innocuous, although it would do little more than give unions at airlines, railways and other firms more power and make it more difficult for companies to compete and make profits (see constitution above).
Bill C-469 An Act to establish a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights would, in practice, bog businesses down in legal and regulatory thickets every time they are seen to be doing some “harm” to the environment.
Other bills make up the hidden agenda list: C-518 would shut down aquaculture; C-474 would move to subject agricultural seeds to review for “potential harm” before “any new genetically modified seed is permitted;” C-298 would impose “corporate social responsibility” on Canadian mining companies operating abroad.
That last bill is also known as the bill to encourage mining companies to set up head offices in other countries — composed, as such companies are, of profit-seeking enterprises currently outside the grasp of NDP “social ownership.”
All the above failed to become law. But the NDP is full of many more such ideas fashioned out of the socialist ideology that’s at the official core of the party’s constitutional agenda, a hidden agenda that it seems voters are not supposed to know about.
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