The dismal turnout in the recent federal election was one signal that Canadians are fed up with the pettiness and rancour that afflict our politics, and the current economic crisis comes with a tacit warning: this is no time for silly partisan games.
Too bad no one told Jack Layton. The NDP leader denounced this week's vague and timid throne speech within nano-seconds, declaring his party would vote against it.
How long will Layton get away with this tedious game of double-dare without suffering consequences? He is like a bratty kid taunting the neighbourhood thug from a safe hiding place behind his big brother.
The tactic serves him well in a narrow way: he gets to strut around proclaiming himself the "effective opposition" while disparaging Liberals as spineless for doing the adult thing (however distasteful).
But it is getting tiresome. This throne speech, for instance, included token nods to the left: mention of homelessness, energy retrofits for houses, a ban on bulk water sales, a cap-and-trade regime to address climate change.
I suspect Layton will get "away with it" until others join the chorus, and start discussing just how irresponsible and opportunistic the NDP have become. Oh, I can't wait until the next election, when Layton will put his party's vote against a THRONE SPEECH into the "effective opposition" calculation. What a joke.
It's a THRONE SPEECH, it isn't legislation, it's meaningless symbolism on direction, nothing changes if it passes, it's just a vague statement. How any credible leader can justify the logic of voting against a THRONE SPEECH, right after an election inwhich they just argued was "unnecessary" is astonishing, on every level. Nobody believes Layton wants another election, but in voting against, that is exactly what he endorses, in terms of pure symbolism. The catch, Layton knows full well there will be no election, so he is free to look principled, while others are left to act like ADULTS.
You know, I ripped the Liberals on a regular basis, during the abstaining period. It was an embarrassing display for the Liberals, and I predicted at the time, it would allow the NDP a powerful argument, which it did. However, I have absolutely NO qualms whatsoever in this instance, the Liberals should support the throne speech, that's what Canadians want, they have ZERO appetite for posturing and threats of another vote. If you asked Canadians whether they would rather eat a bag of nails or have another election, I bet the results would be TIGHT.
Watching Layton do the peacock routine, the purity almost offensive in its lack of practical acknowledgement, you really do see the NDP's true irrelevance. Yes, Layton can vote against the THRONE SPEECH, and what will happen? NOTHING. There will be no election, the speech will pass, and parliament will get on with it. In other words, the NDP's position is a declaration of nothingness, the adult decisions left to other, serious people.
I've heard the rationalizations from the NDP, and that's what they are, nothing more, the underlying truth so transparent, to be obnoxious in it's clarity. Whatever Jack, whatever apologists, please, it's actually insulting both to rational sensibility, as well as your own credibility.
I believe this game is getting "tiresome", as Riley states, and I honestly see some blowback on the horizon, should the NDP continue to hide behind the Liberals, so they can maintain the air of true opposition. If we are talking about a critical vote, a budget, then fine, have at it Jack, make the case. But, we are talking about a FREAKING THRONE SPEECH, delivered just over ONE MONTH from the LAST ELECTION. Good grief, maybe time to head back to the "kitchen table" Jack so "ordinary" Canadians can give Layton a swift kick in the ass, and tell him to quit wasting our time with the posturing and hyper-partisan brinksmanship.