Friday, November 21, 2008

Amen

It is nice to see someone in the media call out the nonsensical entity that is the Layton-led NDP. I was going to wait until the NDP officially voted against the throne speech for this post, but Susan Riley makes such good points, what the heck:
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.

Amen Susan.

27 comments:

Blues Clair said...

It's always a fight for the NDP to get some press. Well played Jack.

Anonymous said...

Whoa dude...protest too much?

Your funny. Susan Riley is such a Liberal shill it isn't funny.

"Tokens for the left"? The NDP is supposed to mouth support for that when there is economic doom all around and pundits south of us are speculating real change and an Obama Big Bang approach on energy, health care and the big three?

You guys can support "a timid and vague" approach but I am proud that my party didn't.

Steve V said...

"I am proud that my party didn't."

Of course you are. Off to the polls!

Mark Francis said...

Yes, it's time for another election! Let Layton become PM, and watch him pay for everything with his promised job-killing hike in corporate taxes!

[From corps not making any money...]

And heck, having another election is only going to cost taxpayers another $300 million.

Layton, yet again, is being daring and brave while doing little more than armchair quarterbacking.

Yes, great principles at work there.

William said...

It will be most interesting how Layton reactes the first time the Liberals announce they are voting against a bill and the NDP finds itself holding the balance of power and a forced election in their own hands. If he struts he will commit suicide.

Gayle said...

Slightly off topic Steve, but I thought you might find this interesting:

http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/opinion/story.html?id=16086645-5520-4a97-8ca4-8ce26a87720d

RuralSandi said...

I saw a part of a clip (I think on CBC) during the beginning of the election campaign. The words in the speech were almost exactly the same words Layton uses in his speech. It was a speech by David Lewis, NDP leader - in "1972".

Hey, Jack, try some of your own thoughts and get in the 21st century.

If Jack was so concerned about the working Canadians - he'd be totally against spending another $300 million for an election just over 35 days from the last election and put that money to better use.

Layton is a joke. Give him a mirror and a camera and the little boy will be happy for a while. Don't you just love the OVER exaggerated "stern" look he has when he's in the House. Unbelievable.

The Jurist said...

Steve: In considering the credibility of your source, I'll point to the following from the same column:

"Still smarting from last session's repeat humiliations, Liberals vow they will no longer routinely support the government on confidence measures to avoid an election. Not that they will be provocative; they are pre-occupied, after all, with their leadership race. But if they are going to choose their battles, they better make sure they get to the microphones before Layton -- and put the onus on him, for a change."

So Riley outright encourages exactly the same thing she criticizes Layton for doing - so long as it works to the Libs' advantage rather than the NDP's. Which should offer a fairly strong hint as to how honest and reasonable her attempt to critique Layton really is.

Stephen said...

Adults? Serious?

I hope you're not talking about the Liberal party.

Throne speeches are symbolic, but budget votes aren't, and when the adult, serious Liberals okayed Stephen Harper's 2008 budget, they helped blow a hole in the nation's finances with irresponsible taxation changes.

Check out the Parliamentary Budget Officer's recent report, and you'll read that recent policy changes in-- a number supported by the Liberals in Budget 2008--are largely responsible for the weak fiscal framework we now face in Canada.

Now, of course, the real consequences are clear of the plan adult, serious Liberals termed "a watered-down Liberal budget" that was sending Canada broadly in the right direction: clearly bad.

And Liberals have the nerve to complain that Stephen Harper is a bad economic manager when they helped him get his most recent management plan through.

Adult? Serious? Hardly.

Liberal? Absolutely.

Steve V said...

stephen

Excuse me, but are we talking about budgets here?? If this was a vote on substance, after a few months of sitting, then you might have a point. We are talking about a throne speech, FIVE weeks after an election, so yes let's get "serious" for a brief second, before we return to the partisan nonsense. Weak.

jurist

I'm sure we would both agree that posturing will rear it's head at some point, that's the nature of the beast. However, it's kind of rich, to come off an election, wherein you argued it was unnecessary, then upon return, express a desire to get down to business, followed by voting against an initial throne speech. If you can reconcile these contradictions, I'm impressed, because I can't.

gayle

Interesting indeed, thanks :)

leftdog said...

Riley's criticism is totally lame. Far & Wide's endorsement of it is lamer still!

Layton and the New Democrats are the only opposition party that has ACTUALLY BEEN 'opposition' to Harper! New Democrats do not need to be lectured to by Liberals!! (By the way, has the Liberal party paid back all of the money from the Adscam scandal to the taxpayers yet?)

Steve V said...

"By the way, has the Liberal party paid back all of the money from the Adscam scandal to the taxpayers yet?"

Wow, if that isn't an indication of a lame retort, not sure what would be. Oh, and btw, I voted for your party during that period :)

leftdog said...

LOL .. Touche! ;)

Steve V said...

That's my trump card :)

The Jurist said...

Steve: I'd argue that "getting down to business" in a minority Parliament includes making clear to the government that it needs to work with the other parties - highlighting both one's own leverage and a willingness to use it in the public interest. And that includes clearly drawing lines as to what kind of policies won't earn one's support.

Unfortunately, the Libs are again failing in that task - and all opposition parties will have a tougher time trying to influence the Cons' direction as a result.

Steve V said...

"Unfortunately, the Libs are again failing in that task"

How anyone can draw that conclusion from a throne speech verdict escapes me.

Anonymous said...

It is quite normal for opposition parties to vote against Throne speeches. In fact when there is a majority government it is a no-brainer that all opposition parties vote NO to a throne speech.

If the Liberals really think that the NDP and the BQ (remember them?) are just grandstanding and are only voting NO because they know that the Liberals will cave - then why doesn't the Liberal Party call the NDP's bluff and announce it will vote NO and see what the NDP or BQ do?

BTW: Let's face it - if the NDP voted with the Conservatives one single solitary time - we would never hear the end of it from you Liberals about how "the NDP is propping up Harper" etc...

Blues Clair said...

re: Layton's respone: Big hat, no cattle.

Steve V said...

anon

It's not a majority, and a vote against is the same as endorsing another election. The NDP are just hiding behind the adults, so we "never hear the end of it" about the Libs propping up the government.

Look, people can spin it until we're dizzy, but nobody seems to want to deal with the contradictions I've presented, based on Layton's OWN WORDS.

Jaytoo said...

Actually, no, Steve, it's not "the same as endorsing another election." Defeating this flaccid Throne Speech would likely lead to the GG inviting Mr. Dion to find Parliament's support for an alternate agenda. The Liberals are choosing to forgo that opportunity and rubber-stamp Harper's regime instead. Again.

Not one month ago, Steve, you were boldy calling for the rubber-stamp to be tossed overboard. For lines to be drawn in the sand. For principles to be upheld.

What changed?

P.S. Where on earth do you find Layton calling the election "unnecessary"?

Anonymous said...

I think the Liberals have a bad case of "penis envy". They look at the NDP and the BQ boldly rejecting Harper while they are stuck propping him up and they wish they could do the same - but they can't.

Stephen said...

Steve V

Excuse me, but are we talking about budgets here?? If this was a vote on substance, after a few months of sitting, then you might have a point. We are talking about a throne speech, FIVE weeks after an election

Exactly, like I said in my post, Throne Speeches and votes on them are symbolic, not substantive.

The same people you are now calling "adults" and "serious" for a vote that is nothing more than a gesture are the same people who, eight months ago, did serious harm to the country by supporting a Harper budget that has helped to wreck the fiscal framework for the company.

Indeed, they campaigned in the last election defending a corporate tax cut regime that will cost the federal treasury billions over the next few years, while continuing to shift the tax burden disproportionately onto the shoulders of ordinary Canadians.

Yet these same people, having done such harm on substantive votes that actually counted, receive your praise as "adult" and "serious" for giving Harper a pass on a speech you yourself call "meaningless symbolism."

With all due respect, I'm not the one running the risk of not having a point.

Steve V said...

Stephen

You're point is nothing more than a dodge and weave, that introduces past action to justify current contradiction.

Hey apologists, can someone please reconcile Jack's rhetoric of the past two months with this display today. The most hilarious part, you're effectively sanctioning the same posturing, completely devoid of the purist principles that supposedly set the NDP apart. Layton is acting like a opportunistic hack, nothing more, nothing less. What you miss here, what the blinders can't see, the NDP are exactly what they claim to detest, and in this instance, they are revealed in a pretty profound way. The only reason people can still cling to the ideal, is because the decision making is always within the theoretical, it can operate under different rules than parties that actually have practical realities. I'm afraid Layton's gambit here, is nothing more than admission of marginal importance. I mean, watch what happens when the NDP votes against, NOTHING. And, this is why we can ascribe pedestals to used car salesman.

Steve V said...

"I think the Liberals have a bad case of "penis envy". They look at the NDP and the BQ boldly rejecting Harper while they are stuck propping him up and they wish they could do the same - but they can't."

I think you have "brain tissue envy".

Stephen said...

Steve V wrote this:

The most hilarious part, you're effectively sanctioning the same posturing, completely devoid of the purist principles that supposedly set the NDP apart.

This is but one of several sentences that are literally unintelligible to speakers and readers of the English language.

Would you like to re-phrase, taking due care to observe the rules of English grammar and punctuation?

Steve V said...

No, I'm good thanks.

Steve V said...

"Indeed, they campaigned in the last election defending a corporate tax cut regime that will cost the federal treasury billions over the next few years, while continuing to shift the tax burden disproportionately onto the shoulders of ordinary Canadians."

Oh, yes, and pompous windbag, can you tell me what is missing from this sentence? Not sure "they" cuts it, but you're the expert. Too funny.