I am responding to the rather shrill missive contributed last week by the irrepressible Michelle Stirling. It seems she has such antipathy to Jack Layton that she must decry any mention of his gifts and replace them with a rather selective history of social democracy in Canada.
How she announces Toronto as a place that spawned the social democratic movements of the early 20th century puzzles me. In mentioning the prairie farm movement and the UFA, she neglects to remind us that the NDP emerged directly from the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), which drew its major support from all three Prairies provinces. Founders such as J.S. Woodsworth, A.A. Heaps, Angus McInnes, Agnes McPhail and William Irvine represented Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta in its inception. The party was founded in 1933 in Regina, rather than Toronto. The NDP emerged from those roots in 1961 under the leadership of Tommy Douglas, in Regina once again.
I’m sure that many members of the Alberta government bureaucracy are fine hard working people, but what that has to do with “dissing” Jack Layton, I can’t fathom. Any excuse, I guess, for lauding our current government. It doesn’t seem to dawn on Stirling that after four decades in power, a government of any stripe needs replacing.
It’s clear that Jack Layton was no hero to Michelle Stirling. We got that after two sentences. However, if that fact is to be the launching pad for a short history of the social democratic movement, she might at least make it inclusive of the prairie roots of that movement, and save her praise for our current government for the coming election campaign.