“Today’s NDP” is how the Manitoba NDP leadership has branded the party in the spirit of Tony Blair’s right-wing remaking of the Labour Party in Britain as “New Labour.” Manitoba is one of two provinces in which the NDP governs at the moment. At this past weekend’s Manitoba NDP convention, the party leadership’s politics couldn’t have been clearer than the finance minister’s hailing of IKEA and Target. As the article reports, convention delegates called yet again for the government to act on party policy by adopting pro-union reforms to labour law, but there’s no reason to think this will have any effect on the premier or anyone else in the NDP caucus in the legislature.
Since the election of the NDP in 1999, Manitoba union officials have never mobilized members to push the government to enact significant reforms, and the government has implemented only a handful of small measures helpful to workers. Errol Black and Jim Silver pointed out back in 2004 that “mobilizing workers for extra-parliamentary action against this government would prepare the labour movement to take on the next Conservative government.” Unfortunately, if the Conservatives win the election this fall, the extremely demobilized and complacent workers’ movement in the province will be very poorly prepared to resist their attacks.