Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Layton's Gambit Pays Dividends

Hard to see the negative in this development:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has agreed to an NDP demand to put his Clean Air Act before a Commons committee, where the opposition will try to change it radically.

NDP Leader Jack Layton made the demand during a meeting with Harper late Tuesday, saying the minority Conservative bill was "dead in the water" because the opposition parties would vote it down.

Layton threatened to put a non-confidence motion before the Commons on Thursday if Harper refused his demand.

The bill will now go through the unusual step of being reviewed by an all-party committee before second reading, where it's expected to be overhauled by critics who say it doesn't do enough to slow global warming.

Cynicism aside, Layton’s gambit appears to be paying off. No matter what Harper’s motivations, this government has now committed himself to high-profile negotiations in committee. Any failure to reach agreement will undermine the Conservative position, as the opposition will rally around drastic change. If Harper is using this olive branch for simple appearances, then this process will expose the manipulation.

Good on Layton. Potentially good for the environment. I don’t see the negative in all party discussion to formulate an acceptable agenda. Compared to the alternative of nothing, a positive development indeed.


Scotian said...

Now this post I agree with you completely about. I only disagreed with the last one on the matter of supporting a Thursday vote of non confidence. This is a move I can wholeheartedly support, and I agree is a good thing despite my personal dislike, distrust, and inability to vote for an NDP led by Layton. I just hope more comes of it though than just political positioning/posturing.

Steve V said...

"I just hope more comes of it though than just political positioning/posturing."


Anonymous said...

Some of the best legislation this country has seen came about as a result of minority governments. I'd say we're about due for something good!

Anonymous said...

Layton wants an election as his way of manipulating the Liberal Leadership. He thinks that, in a pinch, Liberals will select the most immediately electable candidate (Iggy) who Layton can lump together with Harper as a neo-con. (I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine if this is true or not.) Layton's worst fear is an electable, progressive Liberal leader like Gerard Kennedy who has no ties to past Liberal corruption, and would decimate the NDP. (It certainly hasn't helped that Jack has basically sold out his positions to the tories in the past year). Since Kennedy is being positioned as a leader for the long term, Liberals might hesitate to select him in the middle of an election. So no, we Liberals would not like to have an election right now, and we certainly would not want to allow Jack Layton to manipulate our Leadership contest.

Olaf said...


Can't we get a shoutout for my man Harpo on this one? Even if his motivations are what I think his motivations might be... it was still, a utilitarian might argue, the morally right decision to make if it produces beneficial consequences.

Can the man get some props?

Steve V said...


I admit, I am presently surprised. For the first time, Harper is showing some pragmatism.

Anonymous said...

I know for sure that I now can never ever vote for the NDP again. Layton is a huge whore, and this has more to do with stalling the Liberals the improving climate change action.

Im disgusted that Layton would give legitimacy to such a hollow document as the Clean Air act.

Never again will I support the NDP.

Karen said...

Olaf, with respect, I don't think motivation can be ignored.

That aside however, I sincerely hope the opposition gut's the Clean Air Act, together. I hope they propose something real, achievable and something that will make a difference for the planet.

Prop's to your guy, on this issue though I'm not there, nor am I with Layton and his motives. (If it's any consolation, I think the Income Trust move was the right one, though I comments there too, lol).

I will say that I'm glad that Harper grabbed the life-line, that Layton threw him. It cannot be ignored. That is what happened here. Layton hopes to come out the hero...and trust me, you'll get the same flack that Lib's got/get from Jack, "this would never have been possible if not for the NDP". Chomp, Harper took the bait, but he's smart and will play the "we want this government to work and we extend out hand to all opposition members."

Cynical, you bet. If Mr. Layton had been really serious about doing something, would he have done this on his own? No, that was about Jack and the NDP. If he had been serious, he had all of the opposition with him, why didn't he approach the opposition, to come together and propose a joint motion, where every party could have stood up in QP and demanded a joint meeting?

This is about Jack and Stephen and both think they can outplay each other. Stephen is smarter, (there you go Olaf), so I will wait to see how this plays out.

Okay, that was all politics, my view, but politics.

My bottom line is I want some movement on the issue and if it takes all of this junk, so be it. Liberal's did not move quickly enough on this issue and frankly, we don't have much time left to Bravo, Brava, if this actually does something.

Steve V said...

"Layton is a huge whore, and this has more to do with stalling the Liberals the improving climate change action."

That may be true, but it is important to remember that Layton and Harper need the other parties, so he is ultimately a whore that can't deliver the goods. Layton isn't calling the shots here, as a quick seat count will attest. Layton/Harper is still a minority, which leaves the Liberals and Bloc in the drivers seat. Does anyone seriously see the Bloc accepting a dreadful bill?