The New Democratic Party is not like any other party in Canada and that is worth noting when people are considering a vote in a provincial election. While many federal and provincial parties share a name and general principles, those parties are completely separate entities in reality. This is a critical distinction when it comes to provincial/federal negotiations on issues. The federal Liberal Party of Canada is not formally associated with the Liberal Party of Alberta for example. Provincial NDP parties however are all simply branches of the central federal party.
While the NDP constitution refers to provincial wings as being autonomous parties, this is simply not true when it is considered that membership in the federal party is mandatory if one wants to be a member in a provincial party.
If a person likes the policies, leadership and platform of their provincial Liberal party but does not want to support the federal party they simply can choose not to buy a membership in the federal party. That applies with every party in Canada aside from the NDP. Centralized leadership is a tenet of socialism and they will never truly support any forms of regional autonomy.
This does help to explain a lot of Rachel Notley’s rather lackluster support for Alberta’s energy sector. Oh sure, Notley has talked a fantastic game but when push comes to shove she has accomplished utterly nothing in the protection of Alberta’s key industry aside from increasing direct government involvement in the production of energy products and the financing of these ventures. Increased government control of the energy sector is important as it would help facilitate the shutdown of the industry as per NDP goals outlined in the LEAP Manifesto.
The LEAP Manifesto is an extreme socialist document that essentially calls for the shutdown of Alberta’s energy industries within the next decade. The manifesto was created by key NDP players in Canada and has been embraced by the federal NDP at a general meeting. Despite the loud denials on Notley’s part, that manifesto is part of what forms the basis of her party’s goals. This is because when push comes to shove with principles and policies, the provincial wings of the federal NDP are constitutionally forced to be subservient to their federal masters.
As can be seen in the constitutional statement below, while provincial parties are called “autonomous” this is chained down by the very hard reality that they have to match the principles of their federal superiors. “Principles” is a pretty broad term. In having embraced the LEAP Manifesto though, the federal party has made their principle in working to shut down Alberta’s energy industry crystal clear.
The second statement makes it clear that the federal party has the authority and ability to remove party status from any of their provincial wings should they choose to. While this has yet to have happened in Canada, the constitutional clause makes it pretty clear who is the boss when it comes to provincial and federal wings of the NDP.
Notley can talk a good game when speaking of protecting Alberta’s energy sector but she can’t really act. This is why Notley drafted legislation to cut off the flow of oil to BC but never actually used it. All she can do is bluff. If Notley acted overtly against her BC comrade Horgan, the federal boss would be forced to intervene in the fight. As Horgan is the Premier acting in closest faith to the LEAP Manifesto it is pretty easy to see what side he would take in such a dispute.
The NDP has many many flaws. One of their greatest ones is their forced adherence to central leadership while trying to operate in a country with diverse regional needs.
This should be remembered when choosing who to vote for this spring. While you may indeed trust and like Rachel Notley to lead Alberta, a vote for her will actually be a vote for Singh. Can we trust him to look out for Alberta’s interest or Notley to stand up to him when she needs to?