Amusing New Democrats to death

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s Jeff Davies was partying like it was 2000 at the British Columbia New Democrat convention. On Saturday, the mischevious bearded radioman was spotted frightening unassuming delegates with his vintage provincial campaign shirt. According to Mr. Davies, most have reacted to that shirt - which reads "Making History Ujjal Dosanjh and the NDP" - with a mix of "shock and horror."


Too right. It still shocks ME to think that Ujjal Dosanjh was ever an NDP.

And to think the long time fear of Ujjal was that his politics were too left wing for the NDP

Ujjal has moved steadily right from his early days in the Communist Party of Canada-Marxist Leninist before the NDP flirtation.

Surely the Liberal Party of Canada will only be a way station on the road to Stephen Harper's cabinet.

The only ism Ujjie believes in is opportun-ism!

I don't think Ujjal Dosanjh's switch to the Liberals was unreasonable as some think. Many provincial New Democrats vote Liberal federally while many BC Liberals go Conservative federally. There are also many BC Liberals who go Liberal federally despite their characterization of being right wing. The fact is BC is a two party system, while federally it is a three party system so a provincial New Democrat could be either a federal New Democrat or a federal Liberal while a BC Liberal go be either a Conservative or federal Liberal. He was always on the moderate end of the provincial NDP while on the left flank of the federal liberals which is pretty much the same. Likewise the right flank of the federal liberals and the moderate wing of the BC Liberals are not much different.

It was well known in Sihk temples in the Fraser Valley that as early as 1995 and 1996 Ujjal Dosanjh was conducting meetings with both Brian Tobin and Paul Martin on the topic of his joining the National Liberal Party. Why? Because he was furious that the provincial NDP had overlooked him and chosen instead Glen Clark, of all people, to be Mike Harcourt's successor. Dosanjh's contempt for Clark was palpable.

When Clark had to quit and other people in the BC NDP began to rally around Dosanjh, those who were aware of his earlier negotiations with the Liberals were appalled. How could the party seriously consider as Leadership timber someone who was such an obvious security risk? They were ignored and Dosanjh was chosen. And then, in the ensuing months, even some people like David Schreck who had worked so hard to have Dosanjh chosen leader found their advice ignored, decisions not made, etc., etc. and quit in disgust.

It was becoming painfully obvious that Dosanjh had no intention of putting in any effort that might lead in the direction of success, which under the circumstances would translate as loss minimization, trying to win a dozen or so seats, ... perhaps more if one hammered the need for a viable Opposition early enough and consistently enough.

Gee Whiz. Isn't that amazing. The guy who once conducted negotiations with the Liberals in 1995 and 1996, and who did in fact join them openly in 2004, could not, in 2000 and 2001 get the lead out in terms of gearing up for an election against them. How strange is that in the wonderful world of BC politics?

Maybe one of our resident Liberals, like Bernard or Mike Geoghegan can fill in some of the details here. After all, they too know all about making a successful transition from NDP to Liberal ranks.

Never having been a New Democrat ( or federal Liberal), I would have no idea what that sort of a transition would be like

"...early as 1995 and 1996 Ujjal Dosanjh was conducting meetings with both Brian Tobin and Paul Martin on the topic of his joining the National Liberal Party. Why?" asks Budd.
Most of us can remember why. It was because his "Leader", Premier Clark had just run on a lie about balancing the budget and was under investigation by the RCMP. The budget lie was soon exposed, but Dosanjh was constrained by his oath of office to keep the RCMP investigation secret, especially from Cabinet. When the Crown had enough evidence to recommend charges, Dosanjh informed Clark and explained that the Premier must resign while under investigation. Clark (and a cabal of die-hard loyalists, most of whom still lurk on the fringes of the NDP) refused for over a year. Eventually the "real Premier" Brother Georgetti made the same phone call to Clark that he had made to Harcourt a few years previously. Something along the lines of "Look, your poll numbers are in the single digits (lower than any politician ever, anywhere), the Americans still aren't satisfied (they want a total wipe-out in the Legislature, no token Opposition, the whole 9 yards), you couldn't get elected to Burnaby Parks Board even if we paid every voter. It's time to go. Don't worry about money, I talked to Pattison. You'll be taken care of. That was the deal all along anyway, right? Listen, I gotta go, Ujjal's holding on the other line. I'll fax you a copy of your resignation speech. Talk to you soon". Click.

The reason Ujjal Dosanjh didn't like Glen Clark is Glen Clark represented the hard-line leftist who were sub-serviant to big labour. The NDP has put up moderates like Mike Harcourt, Carole James, and Ujjal Dosanjh to try and appeal to centrist voters, but the reality is big labour still pulls all the strings and those that don't pander to big labour get pushed aside. Mike Harcourt was ultimately pushed by the hard-liners. With Carole James either she will move radically to the left making the party unelectable or the hard-liners will push her out. Either way, the BC NDP doesn't deserve to have another chance at gaining power. I certainly welcome moderates of the BC NDP joining the federal Liberals. In fact I would have no objections if they joined the BC Liberals. I think it is a great a party like the BC Liberals can bring diverse people ranging from Kevin Falcon and Rich Coleman on the right to people like Wally Oppal and Carole Taylor on the left. This shows they are diverse party representing the diversity of the province. Unlike others, I see nothing wrong with crossing the floor. Voters change their votes from election to election, so why can't politicians. People's views change as well as parties change through time. Red Tories like Joe Clark who support the Liberals over the Tories aren't turncoats. They still hold the same values as before, it is simply that the new Conservatives no longer represent their values so their party has left them, not them leaving their party.

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