Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dan Miller's political chalkboard for the NDP

Former Premier Dan Miller has offered up some rather frank advice to his fellow NDPers on the current leadership discussion and his Tuesday review for the Vancouver Sun, may provide a mirror for the NDP that many in the party won't particularly enjoy looking into.

He suggests that the problems with the party may not be so much with the choice of leadership of the party, but with the party's overall vision itself.

In short, he advises that the party needs to make some hard decisions on what it wants to be, offering up some fairly well thought out criticisms of the party's recent approach to politics and more importantly what it now stands for.

The reading of his post election review highlights a number of worrisome path divergences that Miller sees for the NDP.

Changes in direction that highlight the nature of a much more splintered party of today, than that of his time as an MLA for the North Coast (1986-2000) and through his handling of internal political turmoil as Interim Premier.

It's from those lessons of the past, that Mr. Miller may be of some help when it comes to the current troubles that the NDP find themselves in.

In 1999 the party in the midst of crisis turned to Mr. Miller,  the longest serving member of the Legislature, to provide for the bridge upon the resignation of Glen Clark, and the selection of Ujjal Dosanjh as party leader in 2000.

As history has recorded, Mr. Dosanjh and the NDP went down to political defeat in 2001 and the party has not returned to the Government side of the Legislature since.

Key to Mr. Miller's review of the modern day NDP is the subject of the party's current disconnect,  not only with British Columbians, but with it's own membership.

Particularly when it comes to the issue of resource development, a theme that has resonated along the North Coast and no doubt is shaping up to be a major discussion point moving forward over the next four years of the Liberals electoral mandate.

The harshest commentary perhaps, his observation that the party is one that is letting the vocal few, set their agenda on development of the province's resources.

He observes that many are quick to criticize any plan to harvest the resources of the province, whether it is coal, mining or natural gas extraction, but at the same time make demands of government for additional monies for health care, social programs and infrastructure development to name a few of the current flash points in British Columbia governance.

It's a comment that should make for interesting review among the North Coast NDP membership, considering that the current NDP MLA for the riding would clearly be on the more environmental side of the party's divide when it comes to resources.

Whether the observations from Mr. Miller, are of interest to, or resonate with the current NDP MLA Jennifer Rice, could perhaps provide for an illuminating glimpse into where some of  those current  NDP cracks and crevices now radiate from.

The full article which can be found here, is well worth the read for all British Columbians, regardless of their political affiliation.

The NDP turned to Miller in 1999 and perhaps in their current state of disarray, should heed his counsel once again. From his vantage point as a long time North Coast MLA and party insider, Miller has offered  an impressive glimpse of the current political climate of the province and of party politics for his NDP.

Whether anyone in the party is taking notes, is all something that we'll all have to wait and watch for.

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