Monday, April 20, 2009

Layton To Harper: "Work With Us"

What an amazing turn, wherein Layton has effectively disavowed the last five months of NDP rhetoric. Apparently, this two week break brought an epiphany, or in more honest language, a sober look at the woeful state which demanded a major rethink, even if it reeks of hypocrisy. There he was, Layton now arguing that the NDP has an agenda, and it's goal in Parliament will be to "work" with the Conservatives to take action on the economy. Never mind that the NDP don't "trust" Harper anymore, yesterday's line, now it's all about making Parliament function properly.

Actually, it gets worse. Remember way back when, during the budget? Do you recall a overwhelming sentiment amongst Canadians to get the budget passed, near UNIVERSAL rejection at the prospect of another election? Of course you do, the thought of another election beyond distasteful. That sentiment was part of the calculus for the Liberals, or more broadly any reasonable person covering the events. What is just fascinating, although somewhat late to the party, Layton has discovered something when he spoke with Canadians:
“I didn't hear anybody saying that they were hankering after an election,”
As opposed to budget time, when Canadians were just ITCHING eh Jack? Staggering. Sounds like a "hole in the head" moment, doesn't it?

And, it still gets more bizarre. In an interview on CTV today, Layton was confronted with his poor decisions in the past months:
Tom Clark:

"You took a huge flyer on the coalition, you took a huge flyer on the budget by saying you were going to vote against it. Did that work for you, because the numbers would seem to suggest it didn't?"

And, what is Layton's response? Layton argues that it's all been a success, because Harper's budget spoke to the issues raised:
Jack Layton:

"Well, first of all, I access- did it work for Canadians? The fact is, we ended up with some action that Harper would never have delivered without that threat"

Follow the logic. The budget "delivered" because of the "threat", it "worked" for Canadians, but we couldn't support it, even though Canadians "want action now" as opposed to an election nobody wants. Okay.

For the final head scratcher, uber NDP support McClelland mentions this tidbit at Big City Lib:
I told you the other day that the NDP were likely going to crush Iggy's pipe dream of an election this year in exchange for something from the Cons. I'm hearing that a referendum on PR may even be on the table.

Oh please, let it be true. Not only is Layton ready to "work" with Harper, he's prepared to make BACKROOM deals with a man he can't "trust", all in the name of avoiding the electorate.

Disclaimer. The only reason I mention any of these outrageous inconsistencies, borne of political expediency, is because NDP supporters tend to think their party operates within a different reality. I know full well that many decisions made by my party of current choice are strategic, principles are often marginalized within the dynamics at play. That is the hard reality for mainstream parties. There are times where the NDP's relative irrelevance allows for a different presentation, a purity that can function because in the end it's mostly theoretical. What galls me is the naive belief that this purity is real, relatively speaking, the high horse chastisement. TODAY, we see something very simple, which should be taken to heart. The NDP are just as opportunistic, calculating and hypocritical as all their imperfect targets. Deal with it :)


Skinny Dipper said...

If I may translate Layton's comments: "The Liberals won't get a free ride in defeating the government and setting the election date."

Steve V said...

I'll stick with the plain english translation thanks. Could it be ANY clearer?

bigcitylib said...

The promise of a PR referendum is interesting, though, if it ever amounts to anything.

Jeff said...

If I may translate Dipper's comments: "We're not going to let the Liberals defeat the government like we've been demanding they do for months when we're tanking in the polls and would get smoked."

Kirbycairo said...

I have always been a NDP supporter but I agree that Layton does very little credit to this cause and I have refused to vote NDP since Jack was leader. I think that the country desperately needs some form of PR and we could afford to make great political sacrifices to achieve it. Unfortunately, I think within the present context it would be a waste since a referendum would be rejected. Until one of the two major parties are willing to give up some power for more genuine democracy nothing will happen.

Greg Fingas said...

Yes, quite some difference between Layton's quote responding to Clark and this from December 16:

"The coalition's already made a difference" by humbling Harper, Layton told reporters at the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario.

"If we're to go by what (finance minister Jim) Flaherty has been saying, there's already a change in tone and I suspect there will be a change in the budget.

"It looks as though they'll put aside those divisive measures that were making it hard for Parliament to work together . . . they weren't doing that before the coalition."

Layton stressed he has little confidence in Harper's ability to help a struggling national economy rebound, the issue that drew Layton to London.
Simply put, there's no contradiction at all in saying:
(1) the coalition led to better policies than Harper would have offered otherwise;
(2) despite (1), we'd have been best served replacing Harper with a better government; and
(3) as long as the Libs disgree with (2) making a change in government impossible, the next most viable course of action is to minimize the damage in the meantime.

Cliff said...

Or: 'We're dealing with two arrogant, undemocratic sneering neo-con leaders and two right wing parties - only one of them is in power and the other turned down the chance to be in power with our help.

We'll work to advance our issues helping ordinary Canadians and if that fucks with Iggy's schedule, well that's a shame, but it stopped being our problem when he tore up the coalition didn't it?'

That translation work for you?

Jim said...

Steve I guess my worry is that this might lead to keeping Harper in power until the recession is over.

In the end that only helps Harper, but Layton will do anything to delay the inevitable for him and his party. Do you agree?

RuralSandi said...

Oh, now the NDP supporters are coming out with all kinds of explanations for Layton's "principled" (LOL) stance at the moment.

Hey, guess what folks, the vote count is just so important isn't it? JanfromtheBruce is all over the blogosphere talking about who shows up for votes - in the end it doesn't matter as long a enough show up to get something passed. Yup, the most important thing is the attendance record, yup, yup.

The last time Layton played this stupid little game Harper won(in2006) and now he going to guarantee Harper wins again.

Good going Layton. Amazing how Harper plays Layton and Layton goes for it every time.

I was at a funeral home tonight (a friend passed away) and for some reason this came up. Three usual NDP supporters have had it with Layton - 2 going to the Green and one is not sure whether he's going Liberal or Green.

xyz said...

Jack Layton reminds of Ben Linus from LOST... what a terrible terrible human being.

Anonymous said...

Grin - I absolutely love the Ben Linus reference. For any fan of Lost, that can definitely resonate.

I find myself with that same, "Now, am I supposed to like or hate him this week?" and the "What the hell game is he playing now?" feelings.

(on an aside, my word verification is "spring" - that has to be the nicest one I've even received)

Greg said...

Am I happy? Nope. I want Harper gone, gone, gone. Is this any worse than voting with the government 70 times? Nope. I guess "none of the above" gets my vote.

Skinny Dipper said...

Just to add a note about myself: I am not nor have I ever been a member of the NDP. In the next federal election, I could vote for the Liberals, NDP, or Greens. Someday, if the Conservatives ever become progressive again, I may vote for them.

Jeff said...


That translation work for you?Not really.

If it was just "if the Libs don't want to put Harper out of his misery fine, we're going to try to get stuff done for Canadians, but give us an election dammit because Harper sucks" that would be one thing. A clear, consistent position. Want an election, get stuff done until Libs grow a pair. Fine.

Now, it seems that it's "we're going to get stuff done and not let the Liberals decide when the election is." And that's a significant shift.

Because before, you wanted an immediate election, and only those dastardly Libs stood in the way. But now, you're saying that, even if the Libs agree to give you that election you want, you don't want that? That's where you lose me.

What has changed so that an immediate election is no longer a moralistic imperative? It makes it seem like the NDP only wants an election if the Liberals don't, which given the voting numbers in the HoC, means the NDP only wants an election if they're assured there won't be one. Which means its never been about moral imperatives, but always about partisanship.

To borrow a phrase, the NDP position is election if necessary, but not necessarily an election.

Greg said...

I would have been much happier if Layton had said after the Liberals dumped the coalition, "Fine, we will try to get our issues through another way. Good luck calling an election, Iggy. " But, he didn't do that. Waiting this long to take this position just makes Layton look like an opportunist, just like everyone else.

Cliff said...

"Because before, you wanted an immediate election, and only those dastardly Libs stood in the way. But now, you're saying that, even if the Libs agree to give you that election you want, you don't want that? That's where you lose me."

In case you hadn't noticed, in the meantime the world economy burned to the ground.

Priorities change. Calculations based on ideas like 'The Liberals can be trusted as coalition partners' get recalculated based on new information. Two arrogant, undemocratic neo-conservatives with utter contempt for the real views of the majority of Canadians start to seem like not much difference.

The Liberal Party - or it's unelected elite at least - chose to walk away from one coalition and embrace another. The NDP is choosing to respond pragmatically.


Steve V said...

"In case you hadn't noticed, in the meantime the world economy burned to the ground."

Oh, so the economy was just peachy way, way back in January and February? Are you for real Cliff? You're not lying to us, you're lying to yourself. The NDP is being pragmatic, but it's entirely a political consideration. Period, end of story, any suggestion otherwise makes lame look compelling.

Deal with it, we had too :)

Cliff said...

Right Steve, because the Liberal Party and its current leader are unending founts of self sacrificing idealism.

Political considerations and considerations of the best way to advance our party's goals and issues - are you really suggesting these are mutually exclusive or even separable?

Of course its about politics, what's your point?

Steve V said...

Just don't get on your purist pedestal when the political considerations come from another party. Spare us all the high and mighty principled bull, because everyone plays the same game.

I actually think this is a very good move on the NDP's part, all I'm addressing is the duplicity.