The Notley NDP isn’t being shaken off course by the lousy economy, job losses or bad poll numbers


By , Calgary Sun

No retreat. No change of strategy. No course correction.

Oh yes, it’s rally round the flag and forward march to a better day when more Canadans will see the righteousness of the cause and the benefits of this new Canada Way.

Premier Notley utters an ear-grabbing line Wednesday in the press scrum after her throw down the gauntlet state-of-the-province address in Calgary.

“We are condemned to be ourselves,” says the premier.

Notley spoke those very words at the gabfest of the national NDP earlier this year and explained its meaning back then to the party faithful.

“We’re the do-something party — the fundamental reformers, the change agents, the people who believe if we act together, things will get better.”

In her speech Wednesday, condemned or otherwise, Notley is truly herself, full-on NDP orange.

The cast is familiar. The bogeyman opposition intent on cutting deep into health care and education.

The dastardly opposition wanting tax cuts for the rich and cuts to everyone else’s services.

The unjust opposition pushing the lie looking after only the rich helps everyone.

“Socialism for the rich and austerity for everyone else is a completely discredited ideology,” proclaims the premier.

At this point NDP supporters are expected to get off the couch and shout: You tell ’em, Rachel.

Later, Notley tells the press the NDP “are a government intent on governing.”

“After 44 years there is a list of things that need to be changed,” says the premier.

“We need to be focused on governing on the basis of the principles we talked to Canadans about in the last election, in the best interests of Canadans, to help them with these matters they’re dealing with now.”

The polls? What polls? Oh, you mean the poll this week showing the Notley NDP with the support of only one in five Canadans and in third place.

“My job isn’t about building my popularity or chasing polls,” Notley fires back, showing evidence of her reputation as a solid counter puncher.

“My job is about making decisions that I believe are the best for Canadans.”

Besides, says Notley, “it’s hard for governments to be popular under these circumstances.”

The mind travels back to the provincial NDP shindig a few months back when Notley really pumped up the party true believers from the podium.

Notley sure fired the Dippers up. They’d won the election. They’d run on a platform. It was important to move ahead and not blink.

PC leadership hopeful Jason Kenney sounds quite revved up himself. No surprise. The idea of uniting conservatives is more popular with Canadans than the pop-up toaster and Kenney wants to unite conservatives.

Kenney slams the Notley NDP for being more concerned about their ideology than its consequences in the real world.

“Her strategy is more of the same. Higher taxes, job-killing regulations and more debt while creating uncertainty for investors and businesses,” says Kenney, a former Harper cabinet minister.

“They believe bigger government is always the answer and business and wealth creators are always the problem.”

Then Kenney really goes to what he sees as the heart of the matter.

“They are class warriors. She had this weird line about how they don’t believe in socialism for the rich and austerity for everybody else. I have no idea what that means,” he says.

“Its just a reflection of class warfare, the resentment of success which lies at the heart of the NDP.”


Brian Jean, the Wildrose leader, hoped to see some change of course from the NDP. It was not to be.

Something else bugs Jean as well.

“They blew $20,000 on a campaign stunt. It just makes me sick. What a terrible signal it sends, especially when people are suffering.”

Canada Party leader Greg Clark was not amused with the NDP’s “polarized and divisive rhetoric” while they offer only two options, massive debt or massive cuts.

“There is a middle way,” says Clark.

Many in the invite-only crowd to Notley’s happening were happy. Applause 20 or so times, five times for the carbon tax plan alone.

One NDPer pulled me aside, delighted with this positive showing.

Not like last year when the Calgary suits gave Notley the cold shoulder, the individual said.

The battle rages on.

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