Grits get PM, deputy PM, NDP get Ministry of Silly Walks?

News is emerging of of the deal struck between the Liberals and the NDP on how to divy up cabinet posts.

On the surface of it, the NDP’s 25% of cabinet posts seems a respectable number and more or less standard operating coalition procedures as far as a junior partner in a coalition goes.

But look at what positions the Liberals have agreed the NDP won’t get.

Liberals get Prime Minister (that was expected).
Liberals get Deputy Prime Minister (Standard operating coalition procedures in the entire world are that the junior partner of a coalition gets the second in command post.)
Liberals get Finance Minister.
Liberals get Foreign Affairs Minister (who will likely be Bob Rae according to the National Post).

And what does the NDP get?

The Ministry of Silly Walks?

I’m getting that sinking feeling….


14 Responses to “Grits get PM, deputy PM, NDP get Ministry of Silly Walks?”

  1. 1 Robert McClelland 1 December, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Look at it this way. The NDP will have power but won’t be the guys holding the bag if Canadians get upset over the economy. And just think of what the NDP can accomplish holding the ministries of health, the environment, heritage, aboriginal affairs and natural resources. It’ll feel like Christmas for 2-1/2 years, dude.

  2. 2 Idealistic Pragmatist 1 December, 2008 at 8:58 am

    I’m a New Democrat, and I’m perfectly happy with this concession. There are many more cabinet positions of great importance to the NDP than the ones you list here.

    Coalition-building is about giving in in some areas so that you can get what you want in others. I like to see that kind of flexibility, personally.

  3. 3 penlan 1 December, 2008 at 10:08 am

    All excellent points IP. Agree with you. Those are great portfolios for them.

  4. 4 purityofessence 1 December, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Look, there are a lot of good portfolios available – Labour and the Environment to name just two However, in a situation where the NDP is supplying a third of the seats, your right they should have gotten one of the big three. Perhaps, this will break the ice. No more supporting minorities without participating in them. In the future we’ll do better.

  5. 5 croghan27 1 December, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Sorry to use this venue for this …. but

    I downloaded some of your political images and could not get to the website of the Australian Communistr Party … do you have other means to contact them?

  6. 6 asdf 1 December, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    The NDP will play an important role — don’t worry — read the political and economic accords that were signed.

    both are quite good, given the general state of things. we couldn’t expect anything better, to be frank.

    but can we now form a united socialist/anti-capitalist party?

  7. 7 paulitics 2 December, 2008 at 4:06 am

    Hi croghan27,

    You’re right, it seems the Communist Party of Australia has taken down their wallpapers and images section. It’s a shame, they had some great stuff.

    If you’d still like to contact them, the CPA’s website is here:

  8. 8 paulitics 2 December, 2008 at 4:17 am


    I read somewhere that the NDP agreed not to undo Harper’s corporate tax cuts while they were in coalition with the Liberals which just made my skin crawl. So, unfortunately I’m not sure that I share your view that the NDP will play an important role. They’ve already sold out their strongest quasi-socialist principle that they championed in the last election. I’m not casting any judgement on how the NDP will ultimately shape policy, but I’m just not expecting much of anything given their track record provincially and given what I’ve seen in the last 36 hours.

    On the other hand, I think you’re absolutely right that we need to start working towards a united socialist/anti-capitalist party. It would certainly be easier though to simply co-opt an existing party structure like the Communist Party of Canada. I think the ideology of the Communist Party of Canada has moved far enough away from authoritarian socialism that it could be susceptible to anti-Lenninist entryism as an alternative to building a new party from scratch. But, as a libertarian Marxist, I’d really like to see a party that both our anarchist and our socialist comrades would feel comfortable getting behind and anarchists would have a knee-jerk reaction against any party with “Communist” in its name.

  9. 9 asdf 2 December, 2008 at 9:53 am


    thanks for the response.

    i just read the economic accord and it looks good from the perspective of the NDP (tax cuts aside). (see the ndp website to read the pdfs).

    it is a centre-left keynesian agenda, the best the NDP could ever hope to get.

    if that plan is carried out, the ndp should be happy.

    as for the far left, the best experiences of left regroupment internationally have been much more organic than simply playing entry politics in the CP. we need a different approach — something that really matches the new spirit of the radical left, on both an organizational and political level. something like the Rebuilding the Left Initiative in Toronto in 2001.

  10. 10 asdf 2 December, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    the ndp is not a workers party. it is not a socialist party. it is a moderately left keynesian outfit.

    the socialist caucus of the ndp is totally wrong — the coalition is perfect for the ndp.

    the radical left needs a separate, united, non-sectarian party — an organization outside of the ndp instead of embedded within in. that strategy has gone NOWHERE for 40 years. give it up barry weisleder.

  11. 11 Ken Furber 2 December, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    I agree with asdf. Despite what my right-leaning neighbors say — and since I live in sunny Saskatchewan there’s a lot of them — the NDP is not a socialist party. Social democrat, maybe. But socialist, no. And I also agree that the true socialists need their own, vibrant and politically active party to represent them. And with the extreme right in this country so ably represented by the governing Conservatives, now is the best time for that to happen. I’m growing a tad sick of watching zealous corporate and religious entities get the lion’s share of the political attention while regular, hard-working human beings are ignored. Time for some real, socialist representation.
    But who or what will stand up to do this?
    We need more than navel gazing folks. We need a real party that’ll do more than write intellectual articles about workers’ rights on blogs and in newsletters. And no, Paul, that’s not a shot at you.
    So is there such a group out there. And if not, why not?

  12. 12 asdf 2 December, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Dear Ken,

    I agree with you too.

    The far left is in a quandry.

    In the absence of federal socialist party, we have to vote for the party with the best potential: the NDP.

    But we also have to get our own shit together.

    Currently, there is no grouping in the Canadian state that lays the basis for a new party — all of the existing groups have real flaws that must be transcended.

    What we need is a genuine regroupment of the far left — a coming together of social movements and activists in the form of a new party which has an organic structure based on the real needs and realities of our struggles.

    There were potentials for this to occur in 2001 in the form of Rebuilding the Left in Toronto — but the initiative failed to attach itself to real struggles of the day: the mobilization for Quebec City and the OCAP Fall Campaign.

    But we need to do the same thing again — but make it relevant to the movements.

    This very process has already occurred in Quebec in the form of Quebec Solidaire as well as in many countries in Europe.

    We need to do the same.

  13. 13 Julius 3 December, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    It is absolutly foolish for the NDP to join this coalition. The public has a hard enough time distinguishing the NDP from the Liberals, this will certainly not help. As for those of you on this board who think that a new political party should be created, well good luck to you, it seems that every single socialist tendency wants to do the same thing (create theyre own party). Why not support the NDP by pushing it to the left? The NDP is a focal point for many socialists anad other leftists (many who are not in urban centres) and is the natural party for this, why put effort into the Communist party????? Thats ridiculous! There are more socialists within the NDP then all other groups in Canada combined!!!!!!!!!!! Im very surprised by some of the comments on this page, and the fact that my previous post was deleted as well! Ive been checking out this page for years now but seriously I think I may reconsider…

  14. 14 Libcom 3 December, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I’m also a TBay expat, currently living on the other side of the pond. I like your blog and share many of your political views, in terms of drawing from both the anarchist and marxist traditions. In fact, the synthesis of anarchism and marxism forms the core of my current research, writing, and thinking about politics.

    In any case, drop me a line (I’m assuming that you’ll be able to access my non-published email address). It would be nice to discuss politics (or Paulitics) with a fellow ex-TBay’er.

    – Libcom

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