NDP Socialist Caucus Supports Niki Ashton as Next NDP Leader

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Sean Cain
NDP Socialist Caucus Supports Niki Ashton as Next NDP Leader

The NDP Socialist Caucus (SC) is a group of left-wing New Democrats aiming to move the NDP to the left and create a more democratic and activist party.

Over the past month, members of the Socialist Caucus throughout the country have debated the leadership race and several proposals on who the SC should collectively support as leader.  After days of voting by email, on Facebook and by phone, the majority of SC members supported the position which urges a vote for Niki Ashton, with no recommendations for a second, third or further choice.

In contrast to the other candidates, Niki campaigns for closer NDP identification with the working class. She excoriates any electoral pact with the parties of big business. She denounces the imperialist war drive, insisting that Canadian troops "be brought home now." While Ashton does not advocate public ownership, she praised the successful effort of the Socialist Caucus at the NDP federal convention in Vancouver, in June 2011, to keep "socialism" in the party's constitution. In answer to a question, Ashton cited Manitoba's practice of no public funding for Catholic or any religious schools as a model for Canada.

Frankly, we like Ashton's willingness to rock the boat. She did that when she challenged an NDP incumbent MP in 2005 who opposed equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Niki won the nomination, and was elected MP in 2008 and 2011. In our book, her age, 29, and her bold feminism, add to her appeal, and increase the potential for her to move the NDP to the left.

Read the full statement on the Socialist Caucus website.

www.ndpsocialists.ca

Brachina

I wonder how much support does the sc bring to the table, a couple of thousand votes?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

The usual chortling chorus from NDP apparatchiks about socialism and the socialist caucus can keep to itself in this thread. 

Lord Palmerston

Expect insults and cheap shots to come.

Whatever one's issues with the SC, though, it is in my view to Niki Ashton's credit that she attended. 

Stockholm

Brachina wrote:
I wonder how much support does the sc bring to the table, a couple of thousand votes?

...more like 15 or 20 people...essentially Barry Weisleder and a gaggle of his acolytes with delusions of grandeur.

Sean Cain

It wouldn't be a babble discussion on the NDP without cheap shots and personal attacks from Stockholm.  FYI, about "15 or 20 people" have joined the SC Facebook group in the last two weeks alone. 

Pogo Pogo's picture

I applaud the caucus for finding a positive role in the campaign.  I am sure that a significant group will be taking a second look at Ashton because of your discussion.

Life, the unive...

Why does this warrant a seperate thread, with a moderator stamp of approval.  I thought the point was to reduce the level of threads.  Surely the Socialist Caucus is not so important it deserves something seperate.  I support having a lot less of these leadership threads, I'm sure I am not alone in thinking that.

 

How about a whole string of threads. 

 

Ice cream lovers endorse Thomas Mulcair

People who like bikes endorse Brian Topp

If you like 8 year old cheddar you'll love Paul Dewar says cheese loving group

People who live alone with cats endorse Nathan Cullen

Peggy Nash wins the support of farmers who prefer green work pants over blue ones

Simply the best says Yogurt with Fruit Coaltion of Martin Singh

 

Idealistic Prag... Idealistic Pragmatist's picture

Wow, the antipathy toward the SC on babble is really astonishing. I'm not a member (I agree with some of their ideas, but there's a serious mismatch in temperaments), but I'm proud to share a party with them and am glad they're there. I'd find it very disheartening if they ever picked up shop and went elsewhere.

Sean Cain

Thank you for your kind words, IP.  You'd be amazed at some of the garbage people throw at the NDP Socialist Caucus.  A vast majority of SC supporters have been members of the NDP for decades, and many of the ideals we hold (such as withdrawing Canada from NATO or a reducing of the workweek) have been on NDP policy books for over thirty years.  Yet for some reason, we're referred to as "radicals."

Funny, isn't that what the corporate media always says about the NDP? 

Winston

Sean Cain wrote:

A vast majority of SC supporters have been members of the NDP for decades

I can vouch for that statement - I remember serving with Sean on ONDY nearly two decades ago!!!

josh

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

Why does this warrant a seperate thread, with a moderator stamp of approval.  I thought the point was to reduce the level of threads.  Surely the Socialist Caucus is not so important it deserves something seperate.  

Yeah, these threads, started in the last week are more important:

http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/quebec-ndp-youth-and-brian-top...

http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/help-rate-ndp-leadership-candi...

http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/ndp-leadership-forbidden-dark-...

Complain about any of those?

janfromthebruce

Sean we are all radicals because we support or belong to the NDPee! I miss Jack.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Stockholm wrote:
...more like 15 or 20 people...essentially Barry Weisleder and a gaggle of his acolytes with delusions of grandeur.

Sigh. Stockholm, stay out of this thread once you're done patting your back for that "brilliant" cheap shot.

Sean Cain

janfromthebruce wrote:

Sean we are all radicals because we support or belong to the NDPee! I miss Jack.

Hi Jan!  How are you?  Actually, I've never thought of myself as beign radical.  In fact, I've always believed that growing inequality, poverty and millions of people suffering from hunger were the result of a radical, extreme form of global, corporate capitalism.  

As socialists and social democrats, we just want to see an end to that.  That just sounds like common sense. 

And yes, I miss Jack, too!

clambake

Idealistic Pragmatist wrote:

Wow, the antipathy toward the SC on babble is really astonishing. I'm not a member (I agree with some of their ideas, but there's a serious mismatch in temperaments), but I'm proud to share a party with them and am glad they're there. I'd find it very disheartening if they ever picked up shop and went elsewhere.

 

No kidding. It seems nobody recognizes that the SC are a dedicated group of New Democrats working to advance the party's progressive (more traditional CCF) values. Obviously not everyone will be in agreement with them, but the hostility is akin to what New Democrats recieve from conservatives in the Globe and Mail comments section. I would have thought better from a group of progressives/activists

algomafalcon

Stockholm wrote:

Brachina wrote:
I wonder how much support does the sc bring to the table, a couple of thousand votes?

...more like 15 or 20 people...essentially Barry Weisleder and a gaggle of his acolytes with delusions of grandeur.

 

Who is this Barry Weisleder? What brand of "socialism" is espoused by the "socialist caucus". Way back in the NDP of the 1970s, I recall hearing that the party still had an interesting mix of remnants from Maoists, to Trotskyites. Do they have a favored "pure socialism" criteria and does Niki Ashton abide by that thinking?

People want to know such thiings...Wink 

algomafalcon

Sean Cain wrote:

 In answer to a question, Ashton cited Manitoba's practice of no public funding for Catholic or any religious schools as a model for Canada.

Well, I would agree with that! I absolutely abhor the use of public funds to indoctrinate children in religion using public taxes. Parents who are religious zealots canare free to send their kids off for religious indoctrination after school and on weekends.

Niki moves up a notch!

 

Winston

algomafalcon wrote:

Sean Cain wrote:

 In answer to a question, Ashton cited Manitoba's practice of no public funding for Catholic or any religious schools as a model for Canada.

Well, I would agree with that! I absolutely abhor the use of public funds to indoctrinate children in religion using public taxes. Parents who are religious zealots canare free to send their kids off for religious indoctrination after school and on weekends.

Niki moves up a notch!

Except that Niki and the SC are both wrong when it comes to Manitoba's policy of funding for religious schools.  Religious schools of ALL denominations are eligible for public funding (link):

the Government of Manitoba wrote:

The operation of independent schools varies. Some schools are affiliated with a specific religious or denominational group. They have their own governing bodies or boards. Independent schools are eligible for provincial funding if they implement the Manitoba curriculum and meet a number of additional requirements. Non-funded independent schools may not follow provincial curricula but must deliver a standard of education to that provided in a public school. Only funded independent schools are authorized to issue Senior Years course credits recognized by Manitoba Education

In other words, Manitoba's official policy is the same policy that John Tory proposed for Ontario two elections ago.

Prairie Lefty

I was just about to point that out Winston. Moreover, why should parents who want their children to receive religious (especially but certainly not exclusively Catholic) instruction face greater financial barriers in providing that? (which is what ending public funding for denominational schools would entail) I have to say, the Socialist Caucus sounds less socialist and more like the Orange Lodge on this point. Niki Ashton's comment on the matter is also puzzling, I wonder if she was misquoted.

Winston

Prairie Lefty:

I'm not so sure that Niki wasn't out to lunch on what Manitoba's official policy was.  I saw her on CBC television with Evan "Bob Rae" Solomon and she did not even seem to know what the actual and historical rates of corporate taxation were when he queried her on the details of her tax "plan".

That's actually my biggest criticism of her (and to a lesser extent, Nathan and Peggy too) - they seem to have a shallow policy depth.  By that, I don't mean that they are not releasing policy papers or that they are not very well-versed on some issues.  What I mean is that their PERSONAL breadth of knowledge in many public policy areas does not seem to be very deep.  I believe this explains the tendency to talk a lot in terms of values and slogans but not so much in details.

Unionist

That was just one of the elements of the SC statement that caused concern.

Manitoba's "progressive" policy originated with the Manitoba Schools Act of 1890, which abolished funding of Catholic schools and banned French as a language of instruction (yeah). It was part of sealing the defeat and humiliation of the Metis and the supremacy of the neo-colonial regime in Ottawa. Decades later, the law still in force, there were measures to get around it by "sharing services" with private schools. Then Georges Forest went to the Supreme Court with his parking ticket, and everything changed. Franco-Manitobans started emerging from the shadow along with their culture and language. And as Winston pointed out above, it is simply erroneous to say what the SC said, and what they attributed to Niki Ashton.

I've already commented in another thread about other offensive aspects of their statement. But the most offensive part is praising one candidate to the skies and smearing and defaming each and every other one. It's the spirit of the hatchet job which is even more disturbing than the content, which is bad enough. They don't want the party "obsessing over Harper". They don't want public funds helping to save the auto industry (nor any others I must gather). They crap on the coalition of 2008, which exhibited the profound spirit of non-partisanship and unity that IMHO won the NDP 59 seats in Québec. But it's the sectarian spirit that shines through the most.

I can't trash the SC, because I don't know them. I don't have any problem at all with the word "Socialist". It's rather the concept of "Caucus" that disturbs me. If this is how they operate within the party, then they must surely be a force for division. The very concept of polling caucus members and having a majority vote to decide which candidate to support in another majority vote exhibits that divisive spirit well. Are the caucus members expected to vote with the caucus recommendation? If yes, are they expelled from the caucus if they don't? If not, then what is the significance of the caucus's "endorsement" of Niki?

I have no doubt that SC members are dedicated activists. But I hope I have the right to call their joint actions and statements as I see them. I'm not known for holding back when it comes to the NDP and its actions (am I?). I expect to be as vocal with the SC as others.

Which reminds me. I have asked several times, on this discussion board, for Barry Weisleder to explain his statement from about one year ago, wherein he called on the Canadian government to demand the "opening of Libya's borders" so that the "rebels" could receive arms. If you need the link to his statement which he posted here, I'll find it. I have never received a response. Moreover, the SC statement endorsing Niki properly condemns Paul Dewar for supporting the aggression against Libya, but seems to forget that Niki Ashton and all the others did likewise. It is tendentious arguments like that one - many of them - which put this statement on my recycle list.

ETA: [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/introductions/vote-ndp-may-2-no-coalition-libera... is Weisleder's post[/url] from last April, which I note was made on behalf of the Socialist Caucus. I'd like an explanation, please.

 

Hoodeet

Idealistic Pragmatist wrote:

Wow, the antipathy toward the SC on babble is really astonishing. I'm not a member (I agree with some of their ideas, but there's a serious mismatch in temperaments), but I'm proud to share a party with them and am glad they're there. I'd find it very disheartening if they ever picked up shop and went elsewhere.

Hoodeet (JW)

I am not impressed either.  I am not a member of the SC or any other caucus, so I too speak as an independent socialist.  I joined the NDP because its values set it apart from the other two parties.   The hostility toward Dippers who wish to save the founding core values of the party is quite uncalled for, even if these individuals of the SC don't come across as particularly pleasant themselves in their discourse.  Perhaps people should step back, as a couple of moderators have suggested, and cool the rhetoric and can the insults before resuming their debate.

Winston

BTW, I happen to agree with the Socialist Caucus' view on education funding.  I believe that everyone should go to the same public schools, and that no other schools should receive ANY public funding.  School is where our children learn respect and tolerance of each other; sending people of different faiths to different schools harms social cohesion and solidarity, and if religious schooling becomes prevalent can lead to sectarianism, intolerance and violence.

This is not a radical proposal.  Indeed, it is exactly the policy in Newfoundland and Labrador, since they passed a referendum to defund the Catholic school system.  It was also courageously proposed by the Green Party in Ontario in the last two elections.

Winston

double post

Life, the unive...

josh wrote:

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

Why does this warrant a seperate thread, with a moderator stamp of approval.  I thought the point was to reduce the level of threads.  Surely the Socialist Caucus is not so important it deserves something seperate.  

Yeah, these threads, started in the last week are more important: http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/quebec-ndp-youth-and-brian-top... http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/help-rate-ndp-leadership-candi... http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/ndp-leadership-forbidden-dark-... Complain about any of those?

Actually yes I would have if I had dropped by when they were near the top of the active topics feed.  Because as a casual observer and participant I find scrolling through piles of easily related threads, instead of just a few rather annoying and a drawback of babble.  Satisfied. 

socialdemocrati...

I think a lot of people here are sympathetic to the views of the socialist caucus, because a lot of us have socialist (anti-imperialist, pro-labor, pro-mixed economy, pro-worker control) leanings.

But an endorsement from an NDP caucus that attacks 6 out of 7 NDP candidates suggests to me that this "caucus" is more interested in dividing the party than building support for their views, or building any kind of consensus at all.

I was going to vote for Niki Ashton anyway. But the SC's endorsement isn't a positive factor in that.

Kara

Prairie Lefty wrote:

Moreover, why should parents who want their children to receive religious (especially but certainly not exclusively Catholic) instruction face greater financial barriers in providing that?

Why shouldn't parents who want religious or any other kind of special instruction bear the costs themselves?  Churches, temples, mosques, synagogues, etc. are available for religious instruction.  All children should attend the same public schools in which they will hopefully learn tolerance and acceptance along with the usual curriculum.  School and religion should be kept separate.

Prairie Lefty

Winston wrote:

BTW, I happen to agree with the Socialist Caucus' view on education funding.  I believe that everyone should go to the same public schools, and that no other schools should receive ANY public funding.  School is where our children learn respect and tolerance of each other; sending people of different faiths to different schools harms social cohesion and solidarity, and if religious schooling becomes prevalent can lead to sectarianism, intolerance and violence.

This is not a radical proposal.  Indeed, it is exactly the policy in Newfoundland and Labrador, since they passed a referendum to defund the Catholic school system.  It was also courageously proposed by the Green Party in Ontario in the last two elections.

I disagree. Winston, you're making the exact same argument against denominational schools as the Scottish Tories and the right-wing, Protestant fundamentalist DUP in Northern Ireland do. I challenge your claim that religious schooling-particularly in Canada leads to "sectarianism, intolerance and violence", where is your evidence in asserting this? I think a much greater threat to tolerance is promoting a monoculture where the children of families for whom faith plays an important role are deprived of receiving religious instruction. In that respect, your proposal sounds rather divisive. I agree, it is not a radical proposal, it is a reactionary one.

P.S. Unionist, your brief history of education policy in Manitoba was very well stated.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Has Niki responded to the SC's endorsement of her?

Winston

Prairie Lefty wrote:

I disagree. Winston, you're making the exact same argument against denominational schools as the Scottish Tories and the right-wing, Protestant fundamentalist DUP in Northern Ireland do. I challenge your claim that religious schooling-particularly in Canada leads to "sectarianism, intolerance and violence", where is your evidence in asserting this? I think a much greater threat to tolerance is promoting a monoculture where the children of families for whom faith plays an important role are deprived of receiving religious instruction. In that respect, your proposal sounds rather divisive. I agree, it is not a radical proposal, it is a reactionary one.

Well then, we'll agree to disagree, I suppose.  For the record, I did not say that separate schooling WILL lead to sectarianism, intolerance and violence, I said it CAN, thus implying the possibility not the inevitability.

I'm not arguing for a monoculture (far from it); I'm arguing for a true multi-culturalism, where people meet and understand people from different backgrounds.  If all children are segregated from each other along faith-based lines, that becomes a lot more difficult.  We certainly wouldn't argue that rich kids should have separate schools from poor kids (i.e. division along socio-economic lines), so why should we do so along sectarian ones?

Beyond that, as a secular humanist, it offends me that my tax dollars should go to support someone else's superstitions.  As a gay man, I am very deeply offended by the thinly-veiled hatred that sometimes rears its ugly head in our publicly-funded, faith-based "independent" schools.  As a feminist, I am thoroughly disgusted by the anti-choice indoctrination that occurs in them.

That all said, I agree with you that this discussion is potentially very emotional for some, and I would much prefer to focus on issues that we can all work together on, so this issue is of a very low priority for me.  I do prefer Manitoba's system to Ontario's, where they fund only a separate system for the Catholics.  In my view, it's only fair to fund all of them (as here in Manitoba) or none of them (as in Newfoundland).  In other words, I am fine to live with the Manitoban status quo, however much I disagree with it.

Sean Cain

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

I think a lot of people here are sympathetic to the views of the socialist caucus, because a lot of us have socialist (anti-imperialist, pro-labor, pro-mixed economy, pro-worker control) leanings.

But an endorsement from an NDP caucus that attacks 6 out of 7 NDP candidates suggests to me that this "caucus" is more interested in dividing the party than building support for their views, or building any kind of consensus at all.

I was going to vote for Niki Ashton anyway. But the SC's endorsement isn't a positive factor in that.

The Socialist Caucus did not attack the other six candidates personally, we criticised several factors in their campaign and their policies.  Since the SC agreed on a policy that recommended a vote for only Ashton, we had better explain WHY we felt that way.  We were only being clear in our explanation, which included a criticism of the other candidates.

Supporters of the SC will vote anyway they want.  I, for example, will still vote for Peggy Nash along with Niki Ashton.  I know of an SC supporter who will be voting only for Mulcair.  The Socialist Caucus has put forth our recommendation, which a majority of SC supporters agree with, but that doesn't mean we will vote in a block. People are free to vote anyway they wish.

Sean Cain

Boom Boom wrote:

Has Niki responded to the SC's endorsement of her?

Yes, she has.  She emailed us back today saying she was honoured by the endorsement.  As editor of Turn Left, the magazine of the NDP Socialist Caucus, we will be featuring our recommendation for her in the upcoming edition.  We'll be printing 3,000 copies for the convention in late March.

Prairie Lefty

Winston wrote:

Prairie Lefty wrote:

I disagree. Winston, you're making the exact same argument against denominational schools as the Scottish Tories and the right-wing, Protestant fundamentalist DUP in Northern Ireland do. I challenge your claim that religious schooling-particularly in Canada leads to "sectarianism, intolerance and violence", where is your evidence in asserting this? I think a much greater threat to tolerance is promoting a monoculture where the children of families for whom faith plays an important role are deprived of receiving religious instruction. In that respect, your proposal sounds rather divisive. I agree, it is not a radical proposal, it is a reactionary one.

Well then, we'll agree to disagree, I suppose.  For the record, I did not say that separate schooling WILL lead to sectarianism, intolerance and violence, I said it CAN, thus implying the possibility not the inevitability.

I'm not arguing for a monoculture (far from it); I'm arguing for a true multi-culturalism, where people meet and understand people from different backgrounds.  If all children are segregated from each other along faith-based lines, that becomes a lot more difficult.  We certainly wouldn't argue that rich kids should have separate schools from poor kids (i.e. division along socio-economic lines), so why should we do so along sectarian ones?

Beyond that, as a secular humanist, it offends me that my tax dollars should go to support someone else's superstitions.  As a gay man, I am very deeply offended by the thinly-veiled hatred that sometimes rears its ugly head in our publicly-funded, faith-based "independent" schools.  As a feminist, I am thoroughly disgusted by the anti-choice indoctrination that occurs in them.

That all said, I agree with you that this discussion is potentially very emotional for some, and I would much prefer to focus on issues that we can all work together on, so this issue is of a very low priority for me.  I do prefer Manitoba's system to Ontario's, where they fund only a separate system for the Catholics.  In my view, it's only fair to fund all of them (as here in Manitoba) or none of them (as in Newfoundland).  In other words, I am fine to live with the Manitoban status quo, however much I disagree with it.

 

I apologize if I misrepresented your position. Anything is possible but I'm not convinced that religious schools in Canada display an inclination towards that. I think the key difference between seperate schools based on income and seperate schools based on religion is that one is seperation based on class and one allows for specific instruction in a particular faith. While the picture you paint of the public school system is one we should strive for, it does not leave any room for that kind of focused instruction. Again, I think my example of schools with billingual prgrams is relevant here. Well to be fair homophobia is a big problem in all of our schools, private and public. I agree it needs to be combated ferociously wherever it rears its ugly head. And yes, we agree that it is an emotional issue and as leftists, we should definitely focus on our common objectives.

Unionist

Then why not set out the views of the minority as well, if they're free to vote as they wish? Why come out with one strident statement which condemns al the other candidates as not even meriting a second choice?

and could we please lay off the debate on religious school funding - there are many other threads where that discussion is ongoing.

toaster

I mean, no offence to Ashton, but she doesn't really have a chance.  In the future, yes, but just not now.  I think the endoresement would have made Nash more competitive against Mulcair.  These endoresements to the 4th and 5th place (in the polls at least) candidates don't mean much now.

Sean Cain

Prairie Lefty wrote:

I was just about to point that out Winston. Moreover, why should parents who want their children to receive religious (especially but certainly not exclusively Catholic) instruction face greater financial barriers in providing that? (which is what ending public funding for denominational schools would entail) I have to say, the Socialist Caucus sounds less socialist and more like the Orange Lodge on this point. Niki Ashton's comment on the matter is also puzzling, I wonder if she was misquoted.

Seriously?  You really believe that by wanting to end taxpayer funding for Catholic schools (and other religious schools, for that matter), that the NDP Socialist Caucus is some kind of Protestant front group?

Wow.

Niki was very clear at the SC event in Toronto last Thursday when she called for an end to taxpayer funding of religious schools, a policy which I would hope progressive people and NDP members would support.

Prairie Lefty

Sean Cain wrote:

Prairie Lefty wrote:

I was just about to point that out Winston. Moreover, why should parents who want their children to receive religious (especially but certainly not exclusively Catholic) instruction face greater financial barriers in providing that? (which is what ending public funding for denominational schools would entail) I have to say, the Socialist Caucus sounds less socialist and more like the Orange Lodge on this point. Niki Ashton's comment on the matter is also puzzling, I wonder if she was misquoted.

Seriously?  You really believe that by wanting to end taxpayer funding for Catholic schools (and other religious schools, for that matter), that the NDP Socialist Caucus is some of kind of Protestant front group?

Wow.

No, I said on the particular point of denominational schools there are similarities in the SC's position with the Orange Order's. Historically in Manitoba, they were the staunchest defenders of no taxpayer dollars going to fund religious schools. Clearly, I do not think the two groups are similar. I was simply highlighting the flaw in the SC's stance through a facetious comparison.

Kara

Prairie Lefty wrote:

Here in Winnipeg, we have public schools that offer billingual programs. (Hebrew and Ukrainian immediately come to mind). Neither of them are official languages, should parents be forced to hire a tutor if they would like their children to receive instruction in these languages? Language and religion are important aspects of the cultural identity for many Canadian families and I see no reason why we should be preventing the children of said families from attending schools which help foster that sense of identity. Yes, religion and public schools should be kept seperate. Yes, religious schools must (and do) follow the public curriculum. I completely reject what you are implying however, that religious instruction runs counter to tolerance and acceptance. The two can and often do go hand in hand. I fail to see the hostility of some on the left towards religion (and I'm a secular-humanist myself). Should we shun Charlie Angus for sitting on a Catholic school board?

Language programs and religious instruction are apples and oranges.  Religious instruction is available from religious institutions which have tax-free staus and thus are already publicly funded (albeit in a roundabout way).  Also, AFAIK, priests, rabbis, pastors, etc. do not charge for religious instruction so one need not hire a tutor for those services whereas if language programs were taken out of schools, parents would need to pay for those services.  In addition, language skills and multilingualism should be encouraged as they offer benefits to society at large.

I never said nor implied that all religious instruction runs counter to tolerance and acceptance.  However, you are being disingenuous if you claim that none of these institutions do reinforce bigotry.  The Catholic church, for example, is racist, sexist and homophobic, all of which has become worse under the present Pope rather than better - in other words, they are backwards, not forwards.  Tax dollars should never go to support an organization like that unless you are okay with funding for Neo-Nazis, REAL Women or other hate groups to open their own schools.  Religion should be separate from all schools, not just public schools.

Winston

Prairie Lefty wrote:

Here in Winnipeg, we have public schools that offer billingual programs. (Hebrew and Ukrainian immediately come to mind). Neither of them are official languages, should parents be forced to hire a tutor if they would like their children to receive instruction in these languages?

Yes.  If I had kids, I may want them to learn Esperanto.  Should everyone's tax dollars necessarily go to pay for that?  Do I think that it's great that other second languages are taught in our schools?  Yes.  Should the government be REQUIRED to provide that? No.  Only English and French (and I would argue aboriginal languages too) should be REQUIRED to be funded.  If there are extra funds for other languages, then great - teach them in a public school setting.

Prairie Lefty wrote:

Language and religion are important aspects of the cultural identity for many Canadian families and I see no reason why we should be preventing the children of said families from attending schools which help foster that sense of identity.

I'm sure that language and religion are indeed important aspects of cultural identity, but that's not the point.  The question is whether the government should be required to fund special schools in those languages and religions.  I don't think it should be.  No one is talking about preventing people from attending separate schools, only funding them.

Prairie Lefty wrote:

I completely reject what you are implying however, that religious instruction runs counter to tolerance and acceptance. The two can and often do go hand in hand.

They can, and often do.  That is perhaps the only reason why I am not overly hung up on de-funding Manitoba's separate schools in spite of my very serious misgivings.

Prairie Lefty wrote:

I fail to see the hostility of some on the left towards religious education (and I'm a secular-humanist myself). Should we shun Charlie Angus for sitting on a Catholic school board?

I can't speak for others, but in my case it stems from a bit of hostility toward religion in general.  No one is talking about shunning anyone.

Sean Cain

Prairie Lefty wrote:

Sean Cain wrote:

Prairie Lefty wrote:

I was just about to point that out Winston. Moreover, why should parents who want their children to receive religious (especially but certainly not exclusively Catholic) instruction face greater financial barriers in providing that? (which is what ending public funding for denominational schools would entail) I have to say, the Socialist Caucus sounds less socialist and more like the Orange Lodge on this point. Niki Ashton's comment on the matter is also puzzling, I wonder if she was misquoted.

Seriously?  You really believe that by wanting to end taxpayer funding for Catholic schools (and other religious schools, for that matter), that the NDP Socialist Caucus is some of kind of Protestant front group?

Wow.

No, I said on the particular point of denominational schools there are similarities in the SC's position with the Orange Order's. Historically in Manitoba, they were the staunchest defenders of no taxpayer dollars going to fund religious schools. Clearly, I do not think the two groups are similar. I was simply highlighting the flaw in the SC's stance through a facetious comparison.

Well, okay, but the funding of religious schools in certain provinces in Canada has received even international condemnation.  I'm not comparing it to North Korean gulags or anything, I just think that it's high time the NDP establish a policy on creating a secular education system throughout the country.

Prairie Lefty

Kara wrote:

Prairie Lefty wrote:

Moreover, why should parents who want their children to receive religious (especially but certainly not exclusively Catholic) instruction face greater financial barriers in providing that?

Why shouldn't parents who want religious or any other kind of special instruction bear the costs themselves?  Churches, temples, mosques, synagogues, etc. are available for religious instruction.  All children should attend the same public schools in which they will hopefully learn tolerance and acceptance along with the usual curriculum.  School and religion should be kept separate.

Here in Winnipeg, we have public schools that offer billingual programs. (Hebrew and Ukrainian immediately come to mind). Neither of them are official languages, should parents be forced to hire a tutor if they would like their children to receive instruction in these languages? Language and religion are important aspects of the cultural identity for many Canadian families and I see no reason why we should be preventing the children of said families from attending schools which help foster that sense of identity.

Yes, religion and public schools should be kept seperate. Yes, religious schools must (and do) follow the public curriculum. I completely reject what you are implying however, that religious instruction runs counter to tolerance and acceptance. The two can and often do go hand in hand. I fail to see the hostility of some on the left towards religious education (and I'm a secular-humanist myself). Should we shun Charlie Angus for sitting on a Catholic school board?

Unionist

What a joke of a thread. School funding is a provincial matter. Don't let the Socialist Caucus divert the discussion away from their statement and endorsement. And frankly, unless I hear Niki call for an end to private school funding, I will remain skeptical as to whether she said it. The federal government has no say in the matter. 

 

Pogo Pogo's picture

I will not be voting first for Niki Ashton as unfortunately she doesn't meet my first criteria (strong Quebec links and history).  However I think that it is valuable for groups like this to identify the candidate that deserves their support.  It A) is a help to people who are like minded but are unable to plow through the policy information and B) it helps raise the issues important to these groups.

I am not a far left member, but I value the work that comes from the left of the party.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Sean Cain wrote:

Yes, she has.  She emailed us back today saying she was honoured by the endorsement. 

Well, that's a surprise. I thought she would have said, "Oh, hell - no!" Laughing

Fidel

Unionist wrote:

 The federal government has no say in the matter. 

 

Yeah if we could figure out what the feds actually do in Ottawa, we'd replace them.

flight from kamakura

me too.  i think something like pulling out of nato is completely nuts, for a lot of reasons, but i support anything that tries to pull the center left-ward - most of the reason why i don't support candidates who'd actually hurt our credibility and standing in the mainstream.

Fidel

I think their main role in Ottawa is to collect taxes with one hand and slide them to corporations with the other. And to make sure the NDP doesn't get elected and create a country.

algomafalcon

Kara wrote:

Prairie Lefty wrote:

Moreover, why should parents who want their children to receive religious (especially but certainly not exclusively Catholic) instruction face greater financial barriers in providing that?

Why shouldn't parents who want religious or any other kind of special instruction bear the costs themselves?  Churches, temples, mosques, synagogues, etc. are available for religious instruction.  All children should attend the same public schools in which they will hopefully learn tolerance and acceptance along with the usual curriculum.  School and religion should be kept separate.

 

I totally agree with that (irrespective of actual Manitoba policy). I think it is abhorent that public taxes are used to indocrinate children in religious dogma. I really don't think their is any "greater societal benefit" to segregating children for schooling on the basis of their parent's religion (any more than doing this on the basis of their racial or ethnic origin). As I stressed, this is by no means an intrusion of the state into the freedom of the individual (the children, who generally have no say in this), or the freedom of the parent to raise their children according to their religious beliefs, as parents can indocrinate them at home or in the church of their choice after school or during weekends.

gunder

Sean, is there any evidence to support the claim that Peggy "favoured the removal of socialism" from the preamble, or that she did anything in particular to limit the participation of members in the policy process while president? Either would be news to me.  And how does referring to she and Brian as "elite party-machine" candidates not constitute a personal attack, especially in the context of the Socialist Caucus? Why upbraid certain candidates for not offering a full systemic critique of capitalism when NONE of the candidates have done so?

For what it's worth, none of the groups proporting to represent the left of the party do any service to the cause of moderate socialism in a broadly social democratic NDP, in my opinion.

Fidel

I think it would be okay for the NDP not to mention socialism in this time of unprecedented global economic crises as long as the other two parties never mention the word capitalism. And for as long as capitalism is never mentioned in either of the U.S. or Canadian constitutions, we will assume that it's neither a necessary nor key part of our colonial-extractive economy. 

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