Creating a New Party: Learning from Canada
In 1992 billionaire Ross Perot, running as an independent, received almost twenty percent of the presidential vote. Many Americans are clearly discontented with the traditional Republican and Democratic parties. Citizens, if they vote at all, often cast their ballots against rather than for candidates. Can a new party take root in the United States? Perhaps Canada’s New Democratic Party provides a model. The NDP controls provincial governments in provinces containing more than half of Canada’s population.
Elaine Bernard is the executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. She is past president of the New Democratic Party of British Columbia, Canada and she is the former director of the Labor Program at Simon Frazier University in Burnaby, B.C. She lectures and writes extensively on political, trade and labor issues.