Why labour parties can’t get elected in Canada

I wonder if the whole Anyone But Conservatives hurts labour in the long run.

I wonder about the problems labour has getting elected, particularly in federal elections. When they do make gains, it always seems to be in reaction to scandal.

Frankly, I wonder if the whole Anyone But Conservatives hurts labour in the long run.

When we focus on how horrible of a prime minster Harper was, or how socially backward Scheer would be, or how much of a dictator Kenney is, or how uncaring Ford is, I think it hurts labour’s ability to gain support.

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I think this sort of tactic just cements support for those people among their base. “Harper (or Kenney or whoever) is making the left mad, so he must be doing something right.” “Watch the little snowflakes squirm. Let’s give him more support, so they squirm more.”

Talking about character flaws of their leaders doesn’t convince their supporters to jump ship. They don’t see those as flaws; they see them as positive qualities. The leader is uneducated: “he’s one of us”. The leader cuts taxes: “he’s helping businesses create jobs, and I need a job.” The leader lies: “Fake news” or “That’s how politics work.”

If labour wants to get into office, they need to focus on the benefits of labour. Labour isn’t in office for the same reason only 1 in 4 workers in Canada are unionized.

Labour needs to appeal to workers. They need to empower workers. They need to focus on how they’re going to protect workers’ jobs, how they’re going to create more jobs for workers. They need to make it clear why every worker needs to stand in solidarity, why an injury to one is truly an injury to all.

Telling someone that the person they support is a loser isn’t going to convince them to vote for you. That tactic is clearly not working.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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