09/13/2012 05:26 EDT | Updated 11/13/2012 05:12 EST

Canadians Love the NDP For What It Is Not


The latest Angus-Reid survey reflects an unexpected continued surge for the New Democrats across the country.

From British Columbia and Newfoundland, where the party has never elected an NDP government, it is on the verge of electing itself for the very first time.

The survey, conducted between August 21 - 27, also discovered that the party also boosts the most popular opposition leaders in Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick. In Ontario for instance, where there was only a one-term NDP government so far, the party also won over a Tory safe seat in Kitchener-Waterloo in a recent by-election for the first time in its history.

The federal NDP is enjoying high political support as well. According to a poll that was conducted in the summer, Canadians would choose the NDP under Thomas Mulcair with a popular support of 38 per cent compared to the Tory government receiving 35 per cent. Forty per cent is considered a majority territory and for the NDP, this is even better than the 31 per cent support they earned under Jack Layton just over a year ago.

The poll also found that, in Ontario and Quebec, the party is the favoured party to govern Canada.

This is a very surprising reality for Canadians as the NDP is becoming more mute on important issues and concentrates all power within its leader while neglecting the voices of its large caucus.

In the Quebec student strike of mere months ago over tuition fees, the party chose to be neutral instead of taking sides. This is despite having a traditional relationship with unions and student movements in the province. They could have given a moral support to the cause while respecting the provincial jurisdiction where education falls in the province but chose not to.

Most pundits called it a calculated political move not to compromise its support in other areas of Canada as the issue has minimal support nor sympathy outside of Quebec.

On important issues, the party seems to have no real stand or at the very least seems to endorse the government on important issues. For instance, one of the most controversial diplomatic decisions made by the Canadian government via Foreign Minister John Baird this week was the closing of the Canadian Embassy in Iran. NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar stated how it was a "bad diplomacy" and a "missed opportunity."

On Tuesday, Mulcair refused to codemn the closing of the embassy contradicting his colleague and stated how he thinks "one of the concerns that Paul [Dewar] was expressing there was with Canadians who are currently in prison, so it becomes difficult for them." He continued "but it's also becoming increasingly clear that there were serious concerns, we don't have the same information but it would appear that there might be some very solid information that would have led the government to that decision, so until we have that information it's hard to comment further."

This is indeed a missed opportunity for the opposition party to offer a different perspective than the government -- literally the fullfillment of the role of an opposition. Looking at the positive poll numbers, one can not help but wonder why they are way on up as they remove themselves from important Canadian conversations.

The late and beloved leader of the NDP, the late Jack Layton, once told Canadians how we have a

third choice and urged Liberals to "lend us your vote."

Canadians would be wise to demand better with that borrowed vote. The poll seems to indicate an oppositon to the Conservative government rather than what the NDP stands for.

If anything, that is!