Blog: Why José Núñez-Melo and I Left Mulcair’s NDP

Bruce Hyer
Speaking Notes from Montreal Press Conference
[Check Against Delivery]
I am so pleased to welcome Montreal MP José Núñez-Melo into the Green Party of Canada. José es un hombre muy inteligente…  y honesta tambien.
I fully understand why José chose to leave the NDP and join the Greens. Many of his reasons are similar to mine.
I joined the Greens to work with Elizabeth May for three reasons:
  1. The Green Party has the best platform (actually the ONLY written down platform!). I urge you to Google “Vision Green” and read 178 pages of very comprehensive and thoughtful commitments on how to restore democracy, reduce income gaps, make Canada more prosperous for everyone, and save our planet.
  2. We clearly have the smartest and most forthright leader. (This is why Harper and Mulcair are afraid to debate her!)
  3. The Green Party is the only truly democratic party, where José and I can put the best interests of our constituents and Canada ahead of party control, hyper-partisan politics and mindless tribalism.
I know very, very well from personal experience that the NDP is:
  • Not new
  • Not democratic
  • … And no party!
It was quite democratic while Jack Layton was the leader, but after his death, it quickly became clear that the acronym NDP stands for “Non Democratic Party”.
Globe and Mail journalist Gloria Galloway did a good job several years ago in documenting how the NDP controls MP’s voting and speaking even more than the Harper Conservatives! Virtually 100% lockstep party control.
Parties were not even mentioned in the Canadian Constitution (which made every MP’s intended role clear… to represent their constituents in Parliament!). From 1867 until 1970, parties were not listed on the ballots, just the candidates’ names and occupations. In 1970, Pierre Trudeau amended the Elections Act to add party names to the ballot. In the fine print hardly anyone noticed that his amendments required the national leaders to approve and sign candidate nomination papers. Within a few months he was calling his own backbenchers “mere trained seals”, which is what most MP’s for the three main parties seem to resemble. Journalist Andrew Coyne has called them “expensive automatic voting machines”. The three main parties have their MP’s under their thumb … and sometimes under their heel.
I left the NDP to become Independent when:
  • Mulcair told me that all votes would be “whipped”.
  • The NDP whips told me that if I did not follow the voting wishes of the leader and party, I would be “punished”, and
  • “We won’t sign your nomination papers”.
After I left to become Independent, one NDP MP confided in me that he wished he had my backbone, but because he likes his pay and perks and wants to be re-elected, he has just accepted the reality that he is “just a Customer Sales Rep for the NDP in my riding.” Very sad.
Under Tom Mulcair, the NDP has become less democratic than the Conservatives. There are many well-intended and hard working NDP MP’s. I want to see lots of NDP members in a minority House of Commons. But, I certainly hope that in our flawed electoral system we do not see a “false majority” like resulted from the 38% vote for the NDP in Alberta. If voters hand Mulcair a “false majority”, we will be on our way to enjoying another dictatorial Prime Minister.
Right now in his own party, Mulcair has ruthless control over the messaging of his candidates.
Particularly worrisome is that his messaging is contradictory depending on the geography and language where it is delivered. Two prime examples are the Energy East Pipeline, and the Long Gun Registry.
In Quebec, in French, Mulcair is firmly opposed to Energy East. Further west, in English, he is in favour of Energy East, provided that there is “better Environmental Assessment.” Right.
Particularly ironic for me is his two-tongued, two-faced messaging on the Long Gun Registry. In Quebec, his message in December was, “We will bring back something that allows police to track every gun in Canada.” Pretty clear.
But at his recent fundraiser in Thunder Bay, he told TBNewsWatch that “We will not be bringing in a Long Gun Registry. It was a failure.” He might have chosen to add, “I now agree with Hyer”.
Mulcair is a ruthless man who will say and do anything to get elected. Just like Stephen Harper. He certainly is not Jack Layton, and the NDP is no longer the Democratic Party that it was under Jack Layton.
José’, Bienvenido! Mr. Mulcair has treated you badly and anti-democratically. It is a pleasure to welcome you to the most democratic party in Canada.