Wooing Business Leaders Is Futile for New Dems: A Response

With a few corrections, the following is my contribution to the conversation arising from an article in The Tyee by Will McMartin:


Well done, Will! Another strong empirical analysis, in a manner almost non-existent in the “A” section of our corporate newspapers.

While giving up on appeals to the business sector might appear reasonable (assuming Shepard is representative of the business class), giving up on talking about the economy is not. The average citizen, not the business class, needs to hear from the NDP leadership that the party is serious about the economy, and will not cede this issue to the BC Liberals due to indifference. They need to know that the NDP has answers for the bumper-sticker accusations against previous NDP governments. And, they need to know that the NDP has a legitimate set of economic policies, where “competition” and “productivity” are not dirty words.

For example, instead of beating the social welfare and environment angles to death (issues where the NDP already has favourable ratings), talk about new things like tax breaks to encourage worker ownership. Say yes to an ownership and enterprise culture, but one where workers are encouraged to gradually assume collective ownership and responsibility for businesses. Social democratic yes, but still recognizing the realities of the market.

Is Carole James up for this? Unlikely. Despite her avowed interest in going in a new direction, she is too conservative: stick to the tried and true, belabor the obvious.

Posted by Colin Welch at 6:35 PM
Edited on: Monday, August 09, 2010 9:50 PM


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