There shouldn’t be too much surprise over the ejection of Tom Mulcair as NDP leader at the party’s recent convention.
A leader who led his party from the top of the polls and a spot as the official opposition back to third place status? Of course he got the boot.
Yet there was surprise, and more surprise when the party opened itself up to considering the Leap Manifesto, which imagines scrapping the carbon-based economy over 35 years, among other projects.
The NDP are doing some soul searching because they were outflanked on the left by the Liberals and Justin Trudeau, who scooped up all the hope and change energy there was and ran with it, from deficits to legal marijuana. Canadian voters shifted his way, and the NDP is now kicking itself for moving to the center.
For a decade, Canada was run by Stephen Harper, who positioned himself and his Conservatives as stern but kind parents. Their cautious, grey approach finally failed at the polls last fall.
Has Canada moved to the left? The NDP seems to be reconnecting with its socialist and environmentalist roots. The Liberals are still putting into action an agenda that would have seemed like political suicide just a year or two ago, and still enjoying ridiculously high approval ratings.
It is possible that Canadian values are slowly shifting. They’ve always shifted, after all – on immigration, the economy, and women’s rights, we look nothing like the Canada of 50 or 100 years ago.
But it’s also possible that we’re at the outward range of a pendulum swing, and that we might swing back, at least a bit. Even if we have moved to the left, there’s no guarantee we’ll stay there.