WINNIPEG - Some Manitoba New Democrats are pushing the provincial party to change its name to rejuvenate following last year's election loss.
The NDP constituency association in Lac Du Bonnet has put forward a resolution for the party's annual convention in March to formally rebrand the Manitoba New Democratic Party as the Manitoba Democratic Party.
The association points out the party is no longer “new” after 56 years and believes a change of image could appeal to a wider audience.
“It will instill a new party identity and foster new political ideas while maintaining our grassroots philosophy,” the resolution reads.
“As well, it will be easier to market and will appeal to a broader spectrum of Manitobans, including youth and community leaders.”
Similar efforts have failed at the federal level. In 2009, the idea fizzled despite support from then-leader Jack Layton.
There is no guarantee this resolution will pass, or even come to a vote. Each year, only a small number of resolutions make it to the convention floor before time runs out.
In 2009, a resolution aimed at changing the provincial flag failed to beat the buzzer.
Royce Koop, who teaches political studies at the University of Manitoba, said a name change is unlikely to sway voters, and could alienate some longtime NDP volunteers and donors.
“There are very strong partisans that identify with the NDP and the party can consistently draw upon the efforts of those volunteers ... as well as upon their money.”
The name-changing effort at the federal level coincided with the popularity of former United States president Barack Obama, Koop added.
“They were hoping to create a connection between this new party - the Democratic Party of Canada ... and the Democratic Party in the U.S.,” he said.
“The problem is, now the Democratic Party is in rough shape itself.”
Manitoba's NDP are already attempting to turn over a new leaf.
Former Premier Greg Selinger stepped down following the election night defeat that saw the party lose more than half its seats. Flor Marcelino was appointed interim leader soon afterward and a permanent replacement is to be chosen in September.