LETTERS; NDP defence

I was taken aback by the vitriolic nature of the comments in a recent letter to the editor.

When I first read this letter (Penticton Western News, April 7, NDP is a dying party), I was taken aback by the vitriolic nature of the comments and decided to let it pass as the rant of an apparently angry individual.

Subsequently, I have been approached to provide a response to Mr. Joe Sawchuk. Let me declare at this point that I am a member of the New Democratic Party and am proud of the contributions that the party has made to the betterment of this country over many years. I might also say that I am not overly dogmatic about politics having voted for other parties at one time or another including the Greens, Liberals and Progressive Conservatives. But, back to the letter.

I notice that Mr. Sawchuk lists Duncan on Vancouver Island as his location and the first question that came to my mind was how is it he would come to know about an internal New Democratic Party event that was held at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre on Feb. 27 to March 1. He indicates in his letter that the event was “just a waste of time and money.” How does he determine this? Is it his time and money? In fact, the event, called Forward 2015, was an internal party training and information session which attracted 360 participants, many of whom were young people from across B.C. and the Yukon and it was deemed by participants to be very successful .

He then says, “taxpayers all across Canada have no use for the NDP party,” and lists off the number of seats held by the New Democrats in various provinces as evidence to support his statement. First, why the use of the word “taxpayers”  rather than, say, “voters?”

Second, while I am willing to accept Mr. Sawchuk’s numbers here (I assume he did his homework), anyone who understands the “first past the post” system of voting used in this country knows that the number of seats held by a particular party has little to do with the popular support for that party. For example, in the last federal election the Conservatives were elected with less than 40 per cent of the vote (39.6 per cent)  yet they held 53.9 per cent of the seats in Parliament.

For Mr. Sawchuk’s information, the New Democrats are consistently supported by almost a third of Canadians (30.6 per cent of the popular vote in the last election).

Is he suggesting that the opinions and ideas of those citizens is irrelevant?

Mr. Sawchuk then goes on to make various predictions about the NDP in Manitoba, about Tom Mulcair federally and about BC NDP leader John Horgan. How he comes to know these things, who knows? Maybe he has a crystal ball?

Finally, he states “taxpayers (there’s that word again) will no longer be fooled by lies and propaganda.” I hope he is right! My suggestion to Mr. Sawchuk is to wake up and smell the coffee. It is not the New Democratic Party that has been guilty of this affront to the Canadian public.

Peter Benson




Penticton Western News