NDP convention endorses Layton, shelves “socialist” decision for now

NDP convention endorses Layton, shelves “socialist” decision for now

Jack Layton presides over his party at the 2011 NDP convention (Image: Jenna Marie Wakani/NDP)

With Canada’s first majority government since 2004, Ottawa’s political parties now have the chance to focus on all sorts of things they’d have neglected if an election were just around the corner. For the Liberals, this means trying to dig out of the hole they’re in. For the Conservatives, it means re-affirming that everything is awesome. For the NDP, it means a convention full of deliberating on just how much of their lefty heritage they’re willing to dump in order to win power.

According to the CBC:

NDP leader Jack Layton took aim at Stephen Harper at the close of his party’s convention in Vancouver on Sunday, saying the prime minister will be waiting a long time for the NDP “honeymoon” to end.

Layton’s comments came after delegates put off a vote on a potentially divisive resolution to drop the word socialist” from the preamble to the party’s constitution.

While paying tribute to his New Democrat predecessors, Layton also hailed the next generation of leaders” at the convention, noting the average age of MPs is now below 50 for the first time in Canadian history.

Layton also received a glowing endorsement from his party’s members, with 97.9 per cent of delegates voting against holding a review of his leadership following the party’s record showing in May’s federal election.

Some reports suggest that with that kind of endorsement, no more than 30 or 40 people in the entire convention could have voted anti-Jack. Given where Layton has led his party—and where he led it from—it’s not a surprise. But Layton might want to ask Pauline Marois how much 90 per-cent-plus approval means when the party’s rank and file feel like their values are being traded away, something that will be a recurring issue as NDP members debate what to do with the word “socialist” in their party’s constitution.

It might not be worth the effort to drop the word—these kinds of re-brandings are hardly a sure thing. Layton might also want to ask the last guy who led the opposition, Michael Ignatieff, about how well his attempts to brand himself as the anti-NDP went down. The Conservatives ignored them and just kept beating that coalition drum until Election Day. Moral of the story: you don’t get to choose who calls you socialist.

Layton vows no end to NDP ‘honeymoon’ [CBC News]