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NDP name change? How about SDP?

At the upcoming NDP Convention, there seems to be a move afoot to drop the “new” from the NDP’s name and just change it to the Democratic Party. I presume this might be not just a nod to the fact the party isn’t really ‘new” anymore (being as they’ve had the name since 1961), but perhaps trying to get some subliminal good will vibes from their potential namesake in the US, what with President Obama being popular and all.

Not that anyone from the NDP cares what I have to say on the matter, but if you’re going to change your party’s name, why not change it to the SDP – as in Social Democratic Party? Social policy is what the NDP is known for, what they advocate for, and what they’re most proud of (Tommy Douglas, Medicare, etc), so why not just make the rather obvious official?

Besides, I think the SDP parties of Western Europe are a lot closer in policy alignment to the NDP then the current Democratic Party is (that party can’t even put forward a single-payer health reform for health care; they’ll be lucky if their moderate part of the caucus doesn’t gut the “public option” they’re trying to get) and Obama isn’t going to be President forever, even if he remains popular for his term(s?) in office.

18 comments to NDP name change? How about SDP?

  • Oemissons

    A name change won’t make one vote a difference.

  • I like Social Democratic Party as well. It says what it means; it has a good history in other countries. It says more things to me than just “Democratic Party”.

  • Grant McLachlan

    The SDP or Social Democratic Party sounds good to me. I don’t think we should shorten it down to the Democratic Party, it makes us sound to liberal and when the Democratic Party down in America losses support, we will most likely lose support as well.

    • @Grant McLachlan, I like it when you’re implying that adopting the name “Democratic Party” might make people believe that the party led by Jack Layton and the one currently led by Barack Obama (and his successors) that they’re all cut from the same cloth. At the same time, should the NDP have its name changed for the “Democratic Party”, I think that many Canadians will notice that the difference lies in the policies both parties make.

  • Whether the NDP decides to change its name or not, it has always had difficulty to attract enough people to make it a power house in the House of Commons. I’m not going to speak for others, but here’s my point of view.

    1. As a Quebecker, I always found it sad that the NDP has never tried to compete against the Tories and the LPC when it comes to proposing a way to practise our federalism. Therefore, because of his silence on the subject of federalism, Jack Layton just makes me think that he’s an advocate of a centralized federal government.

    2. Secondly, Jack Layton’s (if it’s not the NDP’s) vision of the health care system doesn’t attract me. He only thinks that the only alternative to a 100% private health care system is ours. Don’t misconstrue my remarks: a public health care system is needed. However, given the problems that we have with our long waiting lines (depending of which service you want), I think that it will be a good idea to see how some European countries manage to maintain a mixed health care system. Finally, I just don’t see how the NDP will change given that Jack Layton is just an ideologue who believes that having a mixed health care system – like in some European countries – is a “slow” privatization of our system.

    All in all, before it wants to change its name, the NDP needs to have a look in the policies that it promotes.

    • Eve

      @Anh Khoi Do,

      The NDP -is- and has always been a centralized party. It bothered me at first but then I realised I prefer a good central government than lousy decentralised ones. You live in QC, I live in BC… I don’t know about you but I’d rather have the NDP have the upper hand than Jean Charest or Gordon Campbell.

      • @Eve

        “I realised I prefer a good central government than lousy decentralised ones.”

        At this point, Quebec doesn’t need to ask for new powers. Besides, Canada was founded as a country where there is a division of powers between the federal government and the provinces. All I’m saying is that I’m afraid that the NDP – like the LPC – won’t be able to respect the division of powers as described by the article 91 and 92 of the Constitution.

  • SM

    And in french … PD. It’s not even subtle anymore.

  • There would be a lot of logic to the name “Social Democrat,” based not on your silly idea that it just reflects social policy, but that it does fairly accurately describe the ideology of the party. However, as Northern BC Dipper points out, the label is virtually unknown in North America.

    Perhaps Jason can come back and explain his fatuous idea that dropping “New” constitutes abandoning the party’s leftist identity. That may be the daftest thing I’ve read on a political blog in some time.

  • Scott,

    There are actually a lot of NDPers who would agree with you (indeed, there’s been a motion to change the name to Social Democratic Party as long as I can remember, though it’s never gained much traction). Personally, I don’t really care what the name of the party is. I think that what really matters is making sure that we remain relevant to Canadian voters by taking on their issues in a creative way.

  • National Democratic party..NDP

  • Carts

    You can not have progress with out change. Nothing wrong with dropping the New from the name and becoming the Democratic party. There are more Democratic parties then those south of the boarder BTW this isn’t about Obama it is about progress.

    As for the Progressive party we had one of those once they were just Liberals who voted with King not to change anything ever. No thanks.

  • I hope they drop the “NEW” from their name as it will destroy thier position as a left of centre party in Canada. Furthermore if they are so naive as to think they can pick up some residual political benefits from the American democrats then they really are doomed. The American dems are actually to the right of the Canadian Liberal party which would undermine everything the current NDP party claims to stand for. Also the “DP” jokes would be too good to pass up!

  • Liam

    I vote ‘Progressive Party of Canada’. Under Iggy, the Liberals have lost all notion of being progressive and of course, the Cons shunned that term as a condition for Harper to lead, so about two-thirds of the voters are left without someone to champion progressive causes (like progressive tax policy, progressive labour laws, etc).

    I know a ‘Progressive’ party existed at one point, but I think they’re extinct now?

    My two cents. Thanks for the post!

  • The New Democratic Party can become the Nude Emocratic Party. I’m not sure if Jack Layton can look Emo.

    Seriously, I would think that a name change could work if NDP could improve its mission statement and reorganize its internal structure to fit the mission statement. Is it going to be a labour party, progressive party, environmental party, or all of these? Should the labour unions have 25% of the vote even though they are not 25% of the active members?

  • Mark

    I’m hoping that they just drop the “New,” leaving “DP.” Why should US Republicans get all the innuendo fun?

  • Greg

    The NDP should remain the NDP, but change the “Democratic” to “Democracy”. We surely need one.

  • The thing with “Social Democratic Party” is that:

    1) Few non-politically interested people in Canada know what the term means;

    2) It is a ideologically limiting name, especially in a party in which quite a few don’t identify as Social Democrats;

    3) It leaves the New Democrats in acronym hell (from NDP to SDP). Considering the other political parties have a one work title as a reference (Liberal, Conservative), this is not good.

    And I’m saying this as somebody who self-identifies as a Social Democrat.

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