With the fall election getting closer and closer by the day, we are starting to see the different parties ramp up in different ways. Between the floods of emails soliciting emails and phone calls for the same, the parties are doing what they can to get the resources in place to run their campaigns. And to do that, every party is trying to find different ways to shore themselves up, look stronger and convince their supporters they should give to help the cause.
When I got home from work yesterday, I had one such thing waiting for me in the mail. The New Democrats had sent me a full mail out, soliciting support and donations, which isn’t an unusual event in my home; we get them a few times a year. But when I get them, I can’t help but turn a critical eye to what’s being sent, what’s being said in it and how effect is it. In the package that I received this time though, there was one product in particular that jumped out at me as needing some examination and comment. Here are some photos of the product in question:
This larger, glossy product jumped out at me for a few reasons, none of which are good. For starters, the NDP has done these before, including a map, and normally I think it’s a great product that sends a great message. But in the current context, it just doesn’t work for me. In the text, it talks about the NDP having “more power on the ground across the country” than they’re given credit for. It also asks us to “take a look at where our success have been across the country in the past.”
Under normal circumstances being nostalgic in such ways is a good idea, because you can point to what is possible. But folks, these are not formal circumstances and this piece mostly seems very tone deaf to that reality. The current leadership has done it’s best to distance itself from past successes, so how does it now get to try to point to it as a reason to support them? That’s some real cognitive dissonance there to be polite about it.
Also, this map and text makes some big assumptions that are deeply flawed. They try to use this as an example of organizational power in all of these provinces, but does that really hold in 2019? Between the fighting and open hostility between the Alberta and Saskatchewan NDP and the Federal Party, is it fair to say that you can count on those boots on the ground to help Jagmeet Singh in 2019? Probably not.
To add insult to that injury though, this map actually tries to boost the Federal NDP on the backs of the successes of these provincial sections. The map points to Alberta’s NDP government & now Official Opposition as a way to leverage the Federal NDP’s position as if there hasn’t been an open feud and ice cold relations between the two for a couple of years. In the end, it looks like the Federal NDP is trying to claim the progress made in Alberta as their own, which is breath taking given what’s actually played out there.
Also in there the map makes references to the last election, calling it the “2nd highest result in party history.” You have to understand just how it stunned me to see that, after hearing people get so mad when Tom Mulcair would point out that fact after the last election. That description was scorned and reviled and now the new leadership thinks they can use it to pump up the members? Yeah, that doesn’t land well in my opinion.
But while all of that is quite nervy to do, there is one last thing that I noticed about this piece that jumped out at me far more than anything else, that said volumes. Nowhere in this piece does it speak about a Federal NDP government or seeking government. In fact, outside of the places where it refers to past provincial NDP governments, the word “government” does not appear. It talks about “look at our history” and “look at what’ve managed to do in the past”, but there is no reference or inference of a potential NDP government in 2019 or the future. Under Jack Layton and Tom Mulcair, that was also in there somehow, talking about achieving government to deliver on our platform and promises. But in 2019? It seems that’s totally off the table, which is probably the most honest part of this piece, even though I wonder if that was intentional.
All in all, I have to say that this piece didn’t hit the mark with this member and surely didn’t make me want to open my wallet up. If anything, it struck me as more like whistling past the graveyard than getting me pumped up for the future. You can’t spend two years running down provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan (and their NDP sections) and then try to take credit for their successes. That doesn’t hold water and is seriously unrealistic. This mailout was probably intended to build member confidence in the NDP’s prospects for the Fall but all this has done is build my doubts about it. I take no pleasure in that doubt, in fact I cringe at it, but I can’t ignore the facts and realities of today. Sadly the NDP hasn’t done that here, which makes me worry more and more about the Fall.