A New Party? The NDP and the 2001 New Politics Initiative

In 2001, a campaign to reconstitute the NDP into a new party emerged, calling itself the New Politics Initiative. It proposed a party with stronger links with social movements and the anti-globalization campaigns that had been growing over the previous years, and had some high-profile spokespeople. What happened with this initiative? What was the response from within the NDP? Can anything be learned from this effort to reshape the NDP towards a more explicitly left-wing vision?

Listeners may also be interested in this 2018 episode, The Waffle, the NDP, and Full Breakfast Socialism.

Welcome, COMMONS listeners!

If you’re stumbling across our podcast after hearing about it on Arshy Mann’s excellent COMMONS, subscribe with Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, or RSS.

We’ve put together a few episodes you might enjoy. First, check out Killing the Welfare State: Liberals and the 1990s. It’s an exploration of the manufactured debt crisis and deep budget cuts that the Chrétien Liberals brought to Canada in the 1990s, as Canada welcomed corporate globalization. Features Rank & File editor Doug Nesbitt.

You might also enjoy our episode Canada: Making People’s Lives Miserable, Around the World. It’s an interview with Tyler Shipley about his book Canada in the World: Settler Capitalism and the Colonial Imagination. Has Canada always been a front for dispossession and resource extraction?

Lastly, give our episode about Western Alienation a listen. (Heads up: we think it’s fake.) Do other provinces blame all their woes on Ottawa to protect local billionaires, or is that just us?

Our work is 100% listener-funded. If you like what you hear, support us on Patreon and get yourself some exclusive perks. Thanks for listening!

Expand Medicare to Include Dentalcare

While Canada’s medicare system was launched in the 1960s, some notable exclusions remain. Vision, pharmaceuticals, mental health, and dental care are all aspects of health that remain largely uncovered by our public health system. Brandon Doucet, dentist and member of the Coalition for Dentalcare, and Thomas Lange, health economist and research coordinator at the University of Calgary, join Team Advantage to discuss the potential ways health coverage could be expanded to include dentalcare.

Follow the Coalition for Dentalcare on Twitter @for_dentalcare, and follow Tom Lange @TomLangeYYC.

Read Brandon’s piece in Passage on the topic here:

Read Tom’s research papers here:

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The Klan in Alberta

Did you know that the Ku Klux Klan operated in Alberta— with thousands of members, a newspaper published out of downtown Edmonton, and regular picnics, parades and marches? Anti-racist activist Jason Devine joins Team Advantage to explore the strange history of the KKK in Alberta, and discuss how these historical forms of white supremacy have contributed to implicit and explicit forms of white supremacy today.

Further reading:
The Ku Klux Klan in Canada A Century of Promoting Racism and Hate in the Peaceable Kingdom – Allan Bartley
Perry, Barbara, and Ryan Scrivens. “Uneasy alliances: A look at the right-wing extremist movement in Canada.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 39.9 (2016): 819-841.
Anti-Racist Canada blog.
Canadian Anti-Hate Network.

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Waffles, Trots, and the 1971 Takeover of the New Brunswick NDP

New Brunswick, home to one of Canada’s wealthiest families, is far from a nexus of left-wing political culture— yet in 1971, a small group of Waffle-aligned activists managed to briefly take over the New Brunswick NDP, before the federal party intervened. Who was involved in this radical takeover of the provincial party, and how did it happen? New Brunswick correspondent Abram Lutes joins Team Advantage to discuss this strange tale involving Trotskyites, entryism, and dueling conventions. Follow Abram on Twitter @abramxlutes.

Further reading:
Webber, Patrick. “Entryism in theory, in practice, and in crisis: The Trotskyist experience in New Brunswick, 1969-1973.” Left History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Historical Inquiry and Debate 14.1 (2009).

Webber, Patrick. “” For a Socialist New Brunswick”: The New Brunswick Waffle, 1967-1972.” Acadiensis 38.1 (2009): 75-103.

Blocker, David G. “‘To Waffle to the Left:’The Waffle, the New Democratic Party, and Canada’s New Left during the Long Sixties.” (2019).

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Corporate Subsidy Sponges and Handout Hogs

What is the employer-friendly CEWS, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, and how is it funneling public funds to big businesses? Doug Nesbitt joins Team Advantage to discuss the generosity of the Canadian state with regards to employers, and how this differs substantially from the approach taken towards workers. Why did the NDP and major labour leaders support a program that is essentially trickle-down economics on steroids? Who benefits from this program? And how will the costs it creates be used against working people in the future?

Follow Doug Nesbitt on Twitter @StandingTheGaff, and read his work at rankandfile.ca.

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MINI-EP: Alberta’s Abstinence-Only “Recovery” Model

The opioid crisis is killing more Albertans than the COVID-19 crisis— but Jason Kenney’s UCP government is intent on pursuing an abstinence-only model that rejects harm-reduction approaches. Joining Team Advantage are Garth Mullins, host of the CRACKDOWN podcast, and Jeremy Appel, author of a recent Progress Report piece titled The Alberta Model: Who benefits from the Alberta government’s shift away from harm reduction to abstinence-only recovery.

Follow Jeremy Appel on Twitter @JeremyAppel1025, and follow Garth Mullins on Twitter @garthmullins. Listeners may also be interested in the work of @momsstoptheharm and @HIVCommLink.

A full transcript follows the link.

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Operation Solidarity, 1983: An (Almost) B.C. General Strike

What happens when a government adopts the Fraser Institute’s policies wholesale, pushing cutbacks, austerity and a rollback of rights? How does labour leadership respond to widespread discontent with a government— and how does it act to contain this discontent? Team Advantage explores Operation Solidarity, one of the largest political protests in British Columbia’s history.

Historical audio clips are sourced from Common Cause: The Story of the Operation Solidarity Coalition.

Further reading:
Bryan Palmer – Solidarity: The Rise and Fall of an Opposition in British Columbia (1987) (see also Ch. 7 of Palmer’s Marxism and Historical Practice Vol. 1, “British Columbia’s Solidarity: Reformism and the Fight against the Right”)
Thom Quine – How Operation Solidarity Became Operation Soldout (International Socialists, 1985)
William Carroll and R.S. Ratner – Social Democracy, Neo-Conservatism and Hegemonic Crisis in British Columbia (1989)
Leo Panitch and Donald Swartz – Towards Permanent Exceptionalism: Coercion and Consent in Canadian Industrial Relations (1984)
Rod Mickleburgh – On the Line: A History of the British Columbia Labour Movement, Chapter 18: Operation Solidarity. (2018)
Rod Mickleburgh – 1983: The Year BC Citizens and Workers Fought Back (The Tyee, 2018)
Stanley Tromp – The RCMP Thought Solidarity Was a Communist Plot (The Tyee, 2018)
Digital Museums Canada – Solidarity: The Largest Political Protest in British Columbia’s History (timeline, photos, clips and interviews)

A full transcript follows the break.

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Alberta’s One Day Wildcat

The morning of October 26th, workers at health-care sites across the province of Alberta walked off the job. What happened, and how has the broader labour movement responded? Join Team Advantage as we discuss the wildcat strike and the Alberta Federation of Labour’s response. If you’re interested in the AFL’s campaign, check it out at standuptokenney.ca.

A full transcript follows the break.

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The Deeply Troubled Calgary Police

Documentary filmmakers Marc Serpa Francoeur and Robinder Uppal rejoin Team Advantage to discuss their theatrical-length exploration of the deeply troubled Calgary Police Service: No Visible Trauma. Recent years have seen the Calgary Police Service shoot and kill more people than officers in any other Canadian city, and more than either the New York or Chicago police departments in 2018.

No Visible Trauma can be streamed on demand through the Calgary Underground Film Festival until December 1st. Follow the film on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Please consider contributing to their legal fund (they are being sued by Constable Christopher Harris for $150,000 in damages).

A full transcript follows the break.

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