With New Democrats tumbling from leader to third place in recent polls, NDP MP Don Davies has dismissed suggestions that Liberals have outmaneuvered his party on the left.
“It’s totally nonsense,” the Vancouver Kingsway representative told the Straight in a phone interview.
Davies rejected as “media spin” the notion that Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have positioned themselves in the campaign as the real progressive alternative to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party.
Liberals are promising to cut taxes for the middle class, and raise those for the rich, which the NDP does not support.
The NDP, for its part, has pledged to increase the corporate tax, a measure Liberals reject.
Liberals are pledging to run deficits for three years in order to stimulate the economy, while New Democrats are adhering to the Conservative playbook of maintaining a balance budget.
Pundits have observed that the NDP and party leader Thomas Mulcair have played a cautious game on the centre while they were topping the polls, allowing Trudeau and the Liberals to look audacious in their campaign announcements.
In the past, Liberals have been known to campaign from the left and rule from the right.
According Davies, the issue about who represents real change can easily be settled.
“Take a look at the NDP platform,” Davies advised. “Fifteen-dollar minimum wage. Higher corporate income taxes. National day care plan. National pharmacare plan. Repeal of [Bill] C-51. Pulling troops out of Syria and Iraq. Taking I think a very courageous stand on women’s issues and standing against what I consider racist wedge politics on the niqab issue. The most ambitious greenhouse gas emissions standards of any party.”
“Now those are all prime planks in the NDP platform that are very progressive, and none of which the Liberals agree with,” the Vancouver Kingsway MP continued. “So I don’t know how anybody rationally or objectively could think that the Liberals are anywhere but to the right of the NDP.”
First elected in 2008, Davies is going for a third term in Vancouver Kingsway, a campaign he is seen to win.
But with recent polling indicating that the NDP has slumped on a national level behind the Conservatives and Liberals, New Democrats have to catch up with just three weeks to go before the October 19 election.
“We look at it the same way we have from the beginning, which is polls go up and down,” Davies said. “And we always knew that the numbers would tighten as we got closer to election day. It remains a very tight race. I also think that there is a long way to go. You know, we’re three weeks away really from election date. In a normal 37-day election, there would still be 60 percent of the election to go.”
Davies added: “Those numbers are going to move around a little bit on all parties’ part over the next few weeks, so we’re not unduly concerned.”