Friday, January 12, 2007

Layton and Dion Should Meet

Isn't it about time for a high-profile, extensive, meeting between Stephane Dion and Jack Layton? The NDP has had several consultations with the Conservatives on the Clean Air Act, but we never seem to hear anything regarding the opposition leaders developing an understanding. All I have heard from Layton, he has spoke with Mr. Dion, but there was no sense of any substantive talks.

If everyone is completely pure in this process, wanting to craft effective environmental legislation, than a united opposition that projects a common front would seem to be the best path. Dion and Layton are both genuine in their environmental concerns, so it would seem natural that the two could come to a mutually beneficial position. As I read the leaders perspectives, it would seem there is much to agree on.

The whole debate over the Clean Air Act will largely come down to leverage. It is imperative that the opposition work together to put maximium political pressure on Harper. A united opposition, doesn't allow Harper the power to negotiate, he will be faced with a yes or no proposition. Layton has argued that parliament "must work together", so why not overtly court the Liberals to act in unison?

If you want to move beyond the ethical consideration, such an alliance would also have political benefit. I think Canadians would respond positively to news reports of two leaders working together on such an important issue. It would show a principle beyond partisanship, something which Canadians rarely see. Both parties could be far effective if they operated as one, as opposed to the parallel paths we see today. The last thing Harper wants to see, the NDP and Liberal Party working together, with the real foe exposed.


Canadian Tar Heel said...

Hi Steve,

Interesting point about Jack and Stephane meeting. However, from a cynical perspective, I wonder if it's in the NDP's interest to cozy up to the Liberals. The NDP has been riding fairly low in the polls lately.

Steve V said...

It would certainly eliminate the "in bed with the Conservatives" angle, which might be hurting Layton more. If everyone is being honest and are genuinely interested in finding solutions, there is nothing to stop an alliance on this issue.

Canadian Tar Heel said...


I guess that I just have a hard time fighting off the cynicism when it comes to politics.

Steve V said...

You're not alone ;)

Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that the Liberals were hesitant to work with the other opposition parties on revising the Clean Air Act, because if the process was successful then their main election platform plank would be gone. Doesn't it make more sense for the Liberals to stall any real environmental legislation, so they can champion the issue during an election campaign?

Steve V said...


If that is the motivation, I will be the first to lambast it.

Scotian said...

"The last thing Harper wants to see, the NDP and Liberal Party working together, with the real foe exposed." Steve V

Which is why Harper has been doing everything he can to split the NDP and Libs on this and any other issue he can, relying on Layton's lust to replace the Liberals as the governing party of the left in this country. I'm sorry, but I do not trust Layton to place any principled position above his own agenda for power, especially since he can rationalize it away by thinking that once he has the power then he can don more than anything he can do now. It is unfortunately a very common trap for political leaders of all stripes to fall into in my observation. You know Steve that I have grave and growing issues where Layton's priorities are and why I think so. I think that is why you are not seeing what would be as you rightly point out a logical alliance on this issue between Layton and Dion.

Steve V said...


It will be interesting to watch this committee unfold. If the opposition parties don't work together, it will tell me all I need to know about what Jack is really up to. There is no excuse not to have a united front, other than partisan concerns, which Canadians should rightfully punish he next election, whomever plays game.