Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton disagrees with the decision of his party's Ontario wing to suspend union leader Buzz Hargrove.
The Ontario NDP moved against Hargrove because of complaints that his embrace of Liberal Leader Paul Martin and strategic voting during the election campaign was a violation of the party constitution. Layton says that's a course he wouldn't have followed, adding he would have liked to see a full debate on the issue.
I think Layton gets it right here. Turfing Hargrove, despite the Party constitution, gives the appearance of heavy handedness that stifles open debate. Althought Layton's comments will now highlight some divisions within the NDP, the fact that he preaches inclusion, despite differences, is an important tone. If this discussion leads to amending the "toe the line" clause in the constitution, then Layton's apprehension is well placed. I understand why the NDP demands loyalty, but as a public relations point it isn't attractive on the surface. There are other, less official ways, to reward and/or punish people, based on their activities. Keeping Hargrove on the margins of the Party apparatus serves as an adequate reaction, without the public display. All this expulsion did for the NDP, was highlight divisions and debate the Party's relevance in the public spectrum.