Sunday, May 30, 2010

Oh Jack

Jack Layton stretches before his morning jog.

First off, I appreciate the partisan strategic significance of putting the "squeeze" on the Liberals. Given the polls, the circumstance, the Liberals are hardly itching for an election. In fact, I suspect we would do almost anything to avoid going to the polls at this moment in time. With the obvious, well obvious, the NDP braintrust returns to an old strategy, that requires historical amnesia, but hey why not?:
Mr. Layton argued there was “no way” Prime Minister Stephen Harper would allow his government to fall ahead of next month's G8 and G20 summits, and so would be forced to negotiate with a united opposition.

“The opposition has the opportunity to do some tough bargaining with Mr. Harper right now,” Mr. Layton told The Canadian Press.

“But for that to happen, Mr. Ignatieff has got to be a real Opposition leader.”

Mr. Layton accused the Liberal Leader of lacking “back-bone” in light of fears that defeating the bill would bring down Harper's minority Conservative government and trigger an election Canadians don't want.

Oh, the "backbone" attack. Particularly hurtful, given that Layton turned into a squid last fall, the MOMENT he lost his Liberal security blanket. It seems "backbone" is a meandering condition, when one has it, others don't, and vice versa. Again, kudos on the aggressive strategy, but nobody should delude themselves into actually arguing on principle, or citing the specifics as though a genuine manifestation.

The funniest part for me, Layton contradicts himself, telling the Liberals not to fear forcing an election, but then telling us all Harper wouldn't dare call one, given the calendar. Is that a paper tiger? Bascially, Layton himself admits the push here is predicated on no election, so the silly taunting is all the more unnecessary, not to mention a bit shallow.

I'm not sure I agree that Harper wouldn't force an election over the issue, so be careful, because we know what happened last time push REALLY came to shove:
"Fall election unlikely as NDP props up Tories"

Let's go orange!


RuralSandi said...

Layton posturing when it's safe again. When push comes to shove - and he's pressured he wants to make parliament work.

Do people not see through this?

Layton makes this claim after he knows what the Liberals will do. The Liberals shouldn't have indicated their plans in this regard for no other reason than to see Layton bluster and sweat.

Layton doesn't want an election. His wife has 2 years to go before qualifying for pension. We know how he and his wife like the public payroll and pension and perks.

Tom said...

Layton wants dissatisfied Liberals to help him become opposition leader. He doesn't care if there's an election or not right now, he'd finish about the same and the Liberals might lose a few seats. Either way, Liberal voters might cross over.

Anonymous said...

This is not about whether or not Layton is posturing, or whether or not Ignatieff has any backbone, it is about the fact that the budget includes measures to weaken our environmental assessment laws. The NDP position is that these items should be stripped from the bill and debated separately. My hope is that the Liberals will stand up with the NDP for the environment.

cabal laurier said...

And as the LPoC desperately grasps for something, indeed anything, to place them back in the driver's seat of power, Harper marches on. Talk about arrogance.

RuralSandi said...

lma1 - do you really think it matters if in the end Harper won a majority?

Think about it.

Nothing Layton thinks or says matters if Harper wins.

Self-serving Layton - all for the possibility of a seat or two - unbelievable how cavelier he is about what right for Canadians.

Layton is pathetic.

Skinny Dipper said...

I will agree with that Layton postures when it's safe. I do give both the Liberals and NDP low marks for being election ready. Both parties are afraid to have an election because they don't have the momentum to move up in the polls.

It doesn't matter where one starts in the polls at the beginning of an election period. It matters where one ends.

Anonymous said...

Sandi, doesn't Harper win anyway if we continue to do nothing for fear of an election? The federal government cannot just walk away from environmental assessments and leave them up to the provinces. This is too much to swallow without putting up a fight.

Steve V said...

I think the Libs should work with the NDP, but we certainly don't need this type of typical childish posturing.



Steve V said...

And, I'd add, the opposition has been working fairly well together of late, which makes this crap from Layton all the more counter-productive.

kirbycairo said...

Yes, It seems to me that if the LPC is afraid of an election then Harper just does what he want anyway. Meanwhile things often change in an election period. The Conservatives were behind in the polls when they went up against Martin but they still came out ahead. It seems that the Liberal leadership isn't considering the possibility that they are behind in the polls because people perceive them to be weak and afraid and that standing up might change that. Meanwhile no one is considering the fact that Harper HAS to win a majority in the next election because if he doesn't he political cache will finally have been spent and people with perceive him as incapable of winning a majority and he has to know that if he came back with another minority the opposition could defeat the throne speech and try to form a coalition.

Layton is a blusterer. But they are all blusterers of late. It is only a firm stance that has any chance of actually making a dent in the Conservatives.

Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

Layton's latest comments actually worry me, re. democracy. I've asked if the transcript can be found and posted. Because as I read it, the first two paragraphs suggest that Layton doesn't think the defeat of a Govt on a money bill necessarily leads to an election. Maybe it was decontextualised and he meant to say the threat of one, re. negotiations with the government over budget bill. But that's not the impression the first two paragraphs give. If that were true, either Layton is astoundingly ignorant, non compos mentis or, even by his standards, staggeringly false in his posturing to distract form the NDP's own troubles (expenses, gun control, internal dissension as internal contradictions created by Layton come home to roost, etc.). I don't know what more can be said about Layton. I'd like to read the transcript before I say anymore about it. The link is below, the paras are as follow:

"New Democrat Leader Jack Layton taunted his Liberal counterpart Michael Ignatieff Saturday to vote against the Conservative government’s "Trojan horse" budget legislation. Layton argued there was "no way" Prime Minister Stephen Harper would allow his government to fall ahead of next month’s G8 and G20 summits, and so would be forced to negotiate with a united opposition."

(Note that he doesn't seem to say Iggy should "threaten to vote against", but that he should "vote against", but the Govt wouldn't fall. Maybe there was a mistake in the reporter's notes / transcription, and he linked the threat of voting against to negotiations that would lead the Govt to negotiate? I think that's what he's getting at, reading the rest, but at the same time, that's not what he seems to say, according to the reporter.)

DL said...

I think the NDP would LOVE an election right now. It would perfectly coincide with the HST hurricane reaching its high point in BC, it would get an election out of the way before all the municipal elections in the fall, Jack is looking a lot healthier - why not? What's not to like?

There would even be a great election issue - the Tories want to strip environmental regulations and allow oil companies to drill where ever they want and we want to stop them.

Meanwhile Iggy is back to being Dion II - afraid to oppose anything the Tories propose - caving in over and over again in exchange for NOTHING. When will it all end? Its been over four years since the Liberals lost power and the excuses are always the same - "we need more time to raise money", "we need more time to organize", "we need more time to develop policies", "we need more time for Donolo to do his magic" when will the time be UP? How much more time do the Liberals need???

DL said...

"Because as I read it, the first two paragraphs suggest that Layton doesn't think the defeat of a Govt on a money bill necessarily leads to an election."

No, its pretty obvious is that the opposition demand is that all this extra junk the Tories threw into the budget omnibus bill that has nothing to do with the budget - has to be removed. Apparently the NDP tried to do that in committee this week and several Liberal MPs fled the room just before the vote was held for fear that it might pass.

The point is to put Haroer on the spot - either remove the evil junk from the budget bill or face a non-confidence vote and watch your precious little G8 summit go down the drain.

Time to call his bluff!

RuralSandi said...

lma1 - c'mon. If you want to pick a fight, I would think it would be better if you could really win the fight.

Layton is in no way ready for an election, nor are the poll numbers in his favour.

It's the old rough, tough, cream puff because Layton knows the onus isn't on him. That's weak leadership, not strong.

DL said...

If the Liberals were so sure that the NDP didn't really want an election - all they would have to do would be to be to take the lead in being aggressive about demanding that the Tories strip the environment destroying elements out of the budget bill and call the NDP's "bluff" - except that obviously the Liberals won't do that because they aren't quite sure that the NDP is bluffing.

Its obvious that there is only one party that is petrified of an election - and its not the Tories, the NDP or the BQ, it's ....guess

Anonymous said...

Sandi, Harper is the one who is picking the fight. The Libs have to decide whether or not they are willing to defend their stance on tougher environmental laws. If push comes to shove and Harper won't negotiate and an election results, let the public decide how much they care about environmental assessments of pipelines, Tar Sands projects, deepwater drilling, etc. The timing couldn't be better with the results of deregulation clearly visible for all to see in the Gulf of Mexico. There is a lot at stake here, both for the Liberals and for Canada.

RuralSandi said...

lma1 - have you not read the polls? It appears that Canadians don't give a damn. They don't want an election.

Most don't even seem to know what's going on.

You know, Layton can't count on anything with Harper. Perhaps Harper would love to go to the polls given his numbers right now - and sure as hell doesn't like to be pushed around

Face the music

Steve V said...

"I think the NDP would LOVE an election right now"

Ya, look at them soaring in the polls, despite the Liberal's problems. Plus, the coffers are brimming and Layton's health has never been better!

Good ole DL.

Anonymous said...

Sandi, that's what Harper's counting on, the fact that "most don't even seem to know what's going on". So, tell them, before it's too late. Surely it would be better to go down fighting than to die a death by a thousand cuts as the Liberals are presently undergoing.

Greg said...

Layton is pathetic.

Why should he be any different from the rest of the opposition?

ottlib said...

None of the parties want an election right now. So focusing on the Liberals and/or the NDP is kind of silly.

I know that we all like to focus on the Opposition but if you look at the Conservatives you will see that old swagger is gone.

There was a time not too many months ago that the Conservatives opening up a substantial spread in the polls would have touched off a whole host of election speculation.

Now? Crickets.

Steve, as you pointed out in a previous post there is a malaise amongst the electorate. That malaise will grow into a desire for change. That will happen over time but it could also be accelerated by an election and the Conservatives know it.

The Conservatives are now in survival mode and they will likely stay there for the foreseeable future.

It is that we should be focusing on and not the predictable meanderings of Jack Layton.

Tomm said...

The NDP is digging into the soft under-belly of their real opponents, the LPC.

It is a brilliant political move.

He knows that many Canadian's will get the original sound bite, but likely not think through the rhetoric. It is also extremely hypocritical and self serving.

The Liberal's have no choice but to slink like a wounded animal into the summer, even if they see an obvious weakness in the Tories. They will be wearing this (to some extent) right through the barbeque circuit.

DL said...

What about the actual substance of what Layton is saying. He is pointing out that the Tories have larded the budget bill with unrelated measures that are all about cutting environmental regulations. He is imploring Ignatieff to join forces and work with him to stop Harper's scheme in its tracks before the damage is done. This shoudl be a no brainer for the Liberals. i thought they were supposed to at leats pretend to be "environmentalists" - so why not try saying YES to Layton's offer - it could be a step on the raod to more Liberal and NDP cooperation and might help Iggy find a way to reverse his idiotic "no coalition" stance from last September that has made him such an object of ridicule.

Steve V said...

You said:

"What about the actual substance of what Layton is saying."

I said in the post:

"but nobody should delude themselves into actually arguing on principle, or citing the specifics as though a genuine manifestation."

Enjoy the view.

Tomm said...


The Liberal Party of Canada believes in nothing except their return to power.

They would rather slink into the night than join with Jack Layton to defeat this budget bill on principal and policies they have already shouted from the roof tops themselves.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Grit (with apologies to The Bard).

RuralSandi said...

Oh, Tomm, you must be wetting your pants - another chance to attack the Libs. Wowee, what an accomplishment.


And, to think, Harper has no interest in power - uh, huh

Steve V said...


The fact you still stand by Harper demonstrates in the most remarkable of terms, that you stand for NOTHING. Sing it from the basement bottom.

Tomm said...

Rural and Steve,

You defend yourself by attacking me?

It just seems that the myopia I found here needed a set of corrective lenses. I simply provided them for you.

I know you won't thank me, but you are welcome anyway.

Jack Layton is pretty much how you have portrayed him. That doesn't negate the political acuity of his actions.

RuralSandi said...

Tomm - using the typical "victim" card that Cons play. It's not very impressive to let yourself be a victim.

Stand up for something instead, you'll feel much better as a person.

cabal laurier said...



One doesn't require descent to the cold and murky depths to state the ridiculously obvious.

Steve V said...


Tof KW said...

Tomm said...
The NDP is digging into the soft under-belly of their real opponents, the LPC.

I've said before that it was a shame that Harper never got his majority - so that he could proceed to cut every social spending sacred cow that the NDP holds dear ...and then the dippers can be reminded of who their real political enemy is.

Also Tomm, if the NDP's dream of removing the Libs from the political map ever came to pass, then our federal politics would become like BC's. You really wish to see incompetent NDP governments elected to the federal level? Outside of Saskatchewan, I can't recall a single NDP provincial government that wasn't a major FUBAR ...just waiting for Nova Scotia to complete the trend.

And I expect DL to come in and ‘correct’ me about those gawd-awful NDP government economic records in BC, ONT and MB anytime now.

DL said...

The NDP record in Manitoba has been very good. The only time the NDP screws up is when its led by Liberals like Bob Rae or Ujjal Dosanjh.

Meanwhile, the most hated provincial governments in Canada right now are all LIBERAL - BC, Quebec and New Brunswick!

Steve V said...

DL is right, the NDP in Manitoba that governed like Liberals has a good record.

DL said...

Gordon Campbell is a perfect example of someone governing like a Liberal. Caveat emptor!

Tof KW said...

Steve V said...
"DL is right, the NDP in Manitoba that governed like Liberals has a good record."

That's pretty much it, isn't it? When the dippers stop listening to all the unions, activists and poli-sci dropouts; in short jettison their rhetoric and govern from the centre - they can do an OK job.

BTW DL - Rae and Dosanjh were the smart ones that realized they deserved better ...and Layton has the party he deserves. Just waiting for Dewar to jump ship, he's way too good for the NDP as well. Maybe after Mulcair becomes the next leader?

Tof KW said...

DL, the BC Liberals once were a centrist party, but were infiltrated with ex-SoCreds. With that they will inevitably become corrupt like all past SoCred governments in BC, and the province will eventually vote in the NDP; who will also become corrupt as they always do. 'Tis politics in BC.

DL said...

Meanwhile according to the latest Angus Reid poll - the only hope for getting rid of Harper is to make it clear to Canadians that Layton would be PM in a Liberal/NDP coalition. If you tell people Ignatieff would be PM they turn away like what my cat does when I give him a flavour of cat food he doesn't like!

For the sake of Canada, Liberals need to get in line behind Layton - the ONLY leader who can beat Harper!

Steve V said...

Is that the same poll that shows Rae taking Ontario? Way to contradict your earlier post dimbulb. LOL.

Steve V said...

BTW DL, I know you love the jabs and whatnot, but you have to be the most ineffective partisan I know. You're laughable.

Carry on...

Tof KW said...

Oh Gawd ...the day Layton ever became PM is the day I return to the Conservatives. Hey you never know, Harper would have to resign and they might pick an actual Tory for leader?

Steve V said...

If so many people want Jack to be PM, why aren't they 35% in the polls? Such a trivial result, and the reason it is so, is because EVERYBODY knows it won't happen. Fodder for fools.

Scotian said...

I love how DL is talking about how the Layton NDP are on the rise, you would think then if he and the party was in such good shape against such a weakened Liberal party that in the last two elections they could manage to equal their prior high water mark for seats (43 in a 295 seat Parliament instead of the 37 in the 308 one currently), percentage of the vote, and even raw vote numbers that they got under Broadbent back in the late 80s.

This is the evidence that the NDP is chasing a pipe dream currently with Layton as leader about how they will replace the Libs. If that was going to happen we would have seen evidence of it in the last two election cycles where the Libs were as weak as they ever have been, in disgrace, and perfect for being run over by a strong NDP. Yet that is not what happened, the reality is the electorate does not trust Layton, nor the NDP itself, with the power of government, in no small part because they tend to get too high and mighty in their holier than thou routines on various policy and social justice issues, combined with a real concern that they do not actually understand (or even agree with) the fundamental basics of how our economic systems operate.

Tomm is right about one thing and also wrong about it at the same time. The Libs are the greater electoral threat for seats with the NDP, but in terms of actual policy differences, political philosophy, beliefs, and practices there is no question that the Harper CPC represents a threat unlike any we have ever seen at the federal level in our entire history. Which is why if the NDP really was still about the principles and the different kind of party they love to describe themselves as they would have done everything in their power to work with the Libs even when they don't like them, when they don't trust them, because they are still far more willing to adopt NDP concepts into their platforms and governments, while the Harper CPC never will (outside of anything they can agree on that will hurt the Libs, on that one point the Harper CPC will side with the NDP) and worse are out to destroy what progressive principles and policies already exist within our government and society.

This is why I save my remaining scorn for the Layton NDP when I am done with the Harper CPC, because they are hypocrites that play holier than thou and sold out the long hard worked for credibility of being a principles first party at the time those principles most needed defending from their greatest threat ever in this country. I used to believe that Dippers practiced what they preached (not just the politicians but the partisans and supporters as well) about principles first, but the past four years have proven the sad and ugly truth on that score.

Tomm said...


I bow to your wise words. At least some of them.

The CPC can see the writing on the wall. The only threat right now is the LPC, yet as we know, they are bobbing and weaving like Ali in the Rumble in the Jungle. Can they survive long enough to save the furniture, re-define themselves and make a new start that will appeal to a loyal segment of Canadian's?

The one thing the CPC will surely do once they get their majority is kill the annual federal political donation. I hope the Liberal's are ready for it.

jkg said...

It is clear we can see the framework upon which the NDP operates, but what is more telling is that when presented with a remote possibility of being, from a legislative and representative standpoint, relevant, Jack Layton cannot maintain the Dipper raison d'ĂȘtre.

Recall that the normal appeal to absolutism from the NDP was fairly easy to make when there were majorities in the House. The NDP could still appeal to the most lofty of progressive ideals and make it part of their platform without having to experience any real political feedback when voting based on such a platform in the House. Keep promulgating those ideals while slowly inching off support from the Liberals was always the easy strategy in hopes of one day becoming a governing party or at least the Opposition.

What they probably didn't expect is that when it came to minority situations, they would have had to balance their political ambitions against their own ideological persona they have built up over the years, even considering some tough trade-offs in the short term for long term gain.

Quite simply, the NDP have no idea how to do that, and while they can typically accuse along with the Conservatives that the Liberals are power hungry (a property somehow exclusive to them in the minds of those who repeat such a vacuous talking point), they have demonstrated that they are just as motivated by that ambition. Layton has tried to disguise that by once again appealing to those so called principled ideals he holds dear, but it only works when the onus is not on him to act through their logical consequences in Parliament .

As soon as it becomes apparent that there is any onus on what he says or directs his party to do, he becomes just as inconsistent as those to whom he indicts with the same charge.

The CPC knows that the best way is to capitalize on just how oblivious Layton is to the long term repercussions of this maneuvering. He used up some amount of political capital when bringing down the Martin government, given that he rushed the microphone when he got those great concessions out of Martin in the first non confidence vote only to have all those policies wiped out when he decided to withdraw support, leading to an election victory for the Conservatives.

The Liberals just have to make the NDP bear the legislative onus more often as it did last fall. That will make them more receptive to maybe working with the Liberals, and Jack can run back to the microphone to say that he is 'making Parliament work' again like he did 5 years ago.

But like another commenter said, I am fully prepared to have a CPC majority, so that the NDP may finally develop some instinctive political clarity on who is the better enemy to become their friend. But knowing Jack, if that ever came to pass, he would just blame the Liberals and say his party was standing up for working families at kitchen tables all along.