So…depending on who you ask, the NDP’S 19-October election results were terrible (we lost more than half our seats, OMG!!); the second-best ever (we got 44 seats!!!), or widely successful (the goal was to get rid of Harper, after all).
None of those is all that good a fit for me. I’m disappointed – but honestly, I think we got exactly what we deserved, maybe a bit more. We as in the NDP, that is, not as in Canadians. I think Canadians, and especially Aboriginal communities within Canada, got ripped – but that is our – the NDP’s – fault.
I’ve been reading all sorts of stuff & nonsense about why we lost. It ranges from the victim narrative end of things – strategic voting did us in; the main stream media are biased against us; people are racist and/or stupid; it just wasn’t our time… to the it’s all Tom’s fault – too right wing/centrist; he’s not charismatic; he’s this that or the other thing….
Honestly, I agree – and disagree – with all of it.
ALL of those things were factors. But in my opinion they were all much bigger liabilities than they needed to be and focusing on them is missing the most basic issue.
I have always supported the NDP because they are the only party that puts people before profit. Conservatives do to, Liberals do for – only the NDP is committed to working WITH Canadians for a better Canada….. or are they?
I think that even Canadians that were not formerly NDP were looking, this time, for a government that was ready to work with them, to put them and the people they cared about first, to work toward reconciliation, and toward building a better Canada for all.
But we – the NDP – contradicted our own most basic principles in the quest to finally win an election. Intentionally or not, we sent messages that directly contradicted the entire notion of caring what Canadians thought, that said profit before people.
We had some great ads on social media – drew people into the NDP site and to subscribe to our emails based on particular issues such as child care, or minimum wages, or …whatever…. they were good, and they worked. And do you know what happened if you signed up in support of whatever issue drew one in? You got a flood of asks. Give us money, give us money, give us money. Sometimes as many as four in a day.
Fundraising is necessary, I get that. But if you’re trying to send a message that says people before profit, it cannot be the primary thing. And it sure as shit can’t be the ONLY thing!
The sad part is, that could have, should have, been so easily fixed. Send the fundraising requests. But also other stuff. Articles of interest, links to people to follow, or hey, here’s a thought – if you want to tell people you care what they think, to a place to talk with others who also care about that issue. Or online polls. Something!
We care what you think? Ever send an email to anyone at NDP HQ? I did. Many times. Also filled out the contact form on their website more than once. Know how many times I got ANY sort of response? Once – and that was in response to a question about fundraising (so… money). The only other responses I ever got to anything were thank you’s for donations. Yes, we will be bothered to thank you and respond to queries related to money but not to anything else. Is that the sort of messaging that says people before profit? Not in my book. Setting up an auto-responder on every email address that says thanks for your input costs nothing but a few seconds of one’s time. Nothing!
Now, admittedly, my education is in communications, and I have studied and love institutional ethnography, which is a way of looking at things a bit differently:
“Combining theory and method, IE emphasizes connections among the sites and situations of everyday life, professional practice, and policy making.” (Institutional Enthography)
…so maybe I look at the unspoken messages we were sending a little more than the average Canadian might.
But even if the average Canadian isn’t able to put their finger on why they’re experiencing contradictions in our messaging, that doesn’t negate the actual contradiction – in fact, it is more likely to undermine our messaging because “something doesn’t ring true but I can’t put my finger on it” is more likely to impact perceptions of all of our messaging from then on. It won’t be limited to just “in this specific case” … it undermines everything.
Once people don’t trust you, it really doesn’t matter what you say, does it?
There are lots of other ways that we sent the wrong messages – we don’t care what you think, and we do care more about money than people. And there were lots of easy, cheap ways we could have fixed it. Some of those emails and contact form submissions I made were actually suggestions that could have helped… but …yeah… the NDP thought they had it all in hand, and squandered our best chance ever of forming government.
Do we need a new leader? I don’t yet have an opinion on that to be honest. But we do need a leader that believes in the NDPs most basic principles and doesn’t do, or allow those around him/her to do, things that contradict them. IMO