A luncheon speech by Center for American Progress (CAP) President Neera Tanden underscored that success for progressives depends on a strong, sustainable progressive movement, driven by idea generation and solid policy. Tanden was director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign and served as Hilary Clinton’s policy director on her presidential campaign.
“Our experience since creating CAP in 2003 has reinforced the lesson that gearing up for highly expensive elections every four years is wholly insufficient for achieving real progressive change,” said Tanden. “In the end, the money and energy spent winning elections will be for naught if it is not followed by the organizing, policy, and communications work necessary to keep the Obama coalition in permanent motion between elections.”
“The Center for American Progress has built an engine of progressive change in the United States and provided policy and communications support for an effective progressive movement,” said Broadbent Institute Executive Director Rick Smith. “I am delighted that today we were able to learn some lessons about how we can build the progressive movement in Canada.”
Following Tanden’s speech, Smith expanded on her conclusions with the release of exclusive new polling data. The Broadbent Institute-commissioned Environics Research Group poll reveals important trends in support for progressive values in eight of Canada’s largest urban and suburban areas – the battlegrounds where federal elections are won and lost. The national poll reveals that Canadians, both new immigrants and Canadian-born, overwhelmingly support progressive values such as reducing income inequality, better pensions, and stronger environmental regulations.
“These results provide an important contribution to our understanding of what socio-economic attitudes and values prevail in urban Canadian society, as well as the impact of the influx of new Canadians on our political climate,” explained Derek Leebosh, Vice-President, Public Affairs at Environics Research Group.
“When it comes to a number of important issues, we have found that there is no significant statistical difference between the attitudes of Canadian-born and non-Canadian-born Canadians,” said Smith. “This is contrary to recent reports that have portrayed the political trend lines of the country as moving in a small “c” conservative direction. If anything, the opposite would seem to be the case.”
Canada’s Economic Action Plan is being widely advertised this National Hockey League playoff season, but it is hardly working as advertised. It needs to be rethought in light of new thinking about the costs of austerity.
While the feel-good ads would have us think that the famous “Plan” is generating growth and jobs, last week’s Labour Force Survey showed that we have lost almost 100,000 paid jobs in the private sector since December.
Two years ago, shortly after the last federal election when I still worked for a national environmental organization, I had a private meeting with one of the more senior lobbyists for the Canadian oil industry. Over a lengthy coffee I suggested that the recent election of his friends in the Conservative party for a comfortable majority mandate presented him with two possible courses of action:
President Obama went to Austin, Texas, last week in pursuit of an industrial and employment revival. He wants to launch manufacturing institutes to foster American innovation and job creation.
Republicans responded by ridiculing the president, in the same arrogant way that the blooded aristocrats on the British television series Downton Abbey scorned a chauffeur who sought to marry into the patrician Crawley family. "No opportunity for the downtrodden!" the GOP and wealthy vow.