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NDP Liberal agreement means more climate chaos, corporate profiteering and militarization

March 23, 2022
The federal NDP has decided that they are not interested in contesting an election for at least 3 years and is signing a ‘supply and confidence’ agreement to keep the Liberals in power until 2025. 
At a moment when we need radical action to stop the climate crisis, oppose Canadian military spending increases and challenge the corporate control of the economy, the NDP has given up any pretence of being an opposition. It is a shameful position and will make the NDP even more irrelevant on the political scene. 
For decades, the NDP brass has pushed the party to the centre in the interests of ‘electability’. For most Canadians that has meant that they may as well vote Liberal - usually in an effort to strategically vote to stop the Conservatives. 
By becoming a Liberal prop the federal NDP has shown it prioritizes its own parliamentary dreams over building a struggle to put people before profit. They could lead progressive movements but this agreement shuts the door on that, ensuring that all official party discussions will remain in the parliamentary realm.
What this means in practice is that the Liberals will have carte blanche on policy throughout the term of the agreement. With no threat of competing policy from the left, Trudeau can now stake his claim to represent anyone to the left of the Conservatives. This is a wide swath of territory that allows Trudeau to continue to represent the interests of Canadian business without threat of an election. 
The NDP explains their decision as being in the interests of Canadians. They want to push the Liberals to enact universal pharma care and dental care and believe this is the best way to do so. While those are laudable goals, this agreement will not necessarily make them come true. 
The Liberals have been promising such legislation themselves for years and have done nothing to make them a reality. This agreement won’t change that. The Liberals will slowly implement a watered down version of the dental plan and otherwise set up commissions to investigate other policies and delay implementation until the next election. 
The deal also means no substantive action on key issues. For example, Under Trudeau housing prices have skyrocketed and the NDP just signed up for 3 more years of the same with no plan to ensure mass affordable housing. Their peace accord with Trudeau effectively accepts massive hikes in housing costs.
And the Liberals will take credit for any progressive legislation that the NDP does support and Trudeau knows that he can rely on the conservatives to support things like increasing military spending, propping up corporate profits and building more pipelines.
The agreement also means that the Conservatives will be able to portray themselves as the only opposition to Trudeau. The far-right in Canada will be the main beneficiaries of this stupidity. They have already been given ample air time throughout the ‘convoy’ protests to air their grievances. They will now have the floor to themselves for the next 3 years while the NDP will be coated in the stench of the Liberals’ criminal policies on climate, war and attacks on workers.
The Conservatives know this. The official CPC response from Candice Bergen & Pierre Poilievre is full bore red baiting, designed to both inflame the far right fringe and bind them to the party. Under the circumstances of rising violence and hate crimes, this is extremely dangerous.
The left in Canada needs to chart a very different course and needs to shun engagement in this sham of an agreement. 
The mood to fight is there. Thousands of people have marched in demonstrations across the country in opposition to the far-right led convoy protests. The past year has seen dozens of strikes in Canada and workers are winning gains on the picket lines. The Cancel Canada Day protests in support of Indigenous sovereignty last summer shook the Canadian ruling class. 
Far from pushing that advantage, the NDP has decided to provide succour to the bosses that are destroying the planet and driving working people into increased hardship. 
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