Monday, April 25, 2005

You Don't Know Jack

Robert at My Blahg has set up about the "Blogging Dippers" to counter the "Blogging Torries". I suppose we'll have to get "Blogging Liberals" going one day, if only because the NDP being more organized that the Liberals is a little embarrassing.

Regardless, I was browsing through the Blogging Dippers blogs and they had surprisingly little on Jack Layton's latest gambit. So I'll throw my two cents in on the topic.

The way I see it, there are three possible reasons Layton might be trying to set up an alliance with the Liberals:

1) He doesn't want to go to the polls now, feeling the NDP are unlikely to increase their seat totals dramatically. On a more altruistic note, he realizes that Same Sex marriage legislation is finished if there's an election now.

2) He wants there to be an election but also wants to be seen as the guy who's making an effort to make Parliament work. Canadians don't want an election but they don't want the Liberals either. So if Layton gets "dragged" into an election against his will, maybe voters will turn to him.

3) He sees this as the one change for the NDP to be relevant and actually make a difference. This is his change to get rid of evil corporate tax cuts and save the environment. He'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony...

In my view, it's probably a little bit of all three reasons. Regardless, Martin is desperate right now and he knows this alliance can save him. Layton holds the cards and if he really is interested in making a deal, he can place Paul in a vice and squeeze. If he settles for dropping corporate tax cuts that are back loaded and likely won't happen during the remaining Martin years (months? weeks?), he's letting Paul off easy. Now's the chance for the NDP to become more than a cute little party; Layton should milk this for all it's worth and make the NDP relevant again.

There's obviously the fear that he'll be seen as propping up a corrupt government and that's where the risk lays in all of this. My gut instinct is that this would only piss off Conservatives but it certainly has the potential to backfire since the next election will most likely revolve around the corruption issue.


  • I simply dont agree that he will get painted as propping up a corrupt government.

    Most Canadians polled dont want the election now; Jack Layton publicly states he doesnt want the election now - he wants to get programs passed and wants Parliament to wor...where is the incompatibility there?

    Layton states he wants the recouped money to go towards the environment, education, int'l aid... all supported to various degrees by the Canadian public.. very populist programs.

    I hate to re-hash my essays on the topic from Blogs Canada.. but I think Jack is doing an excellent job in getting his Party good publicity and becoming the "arse for social justice" that Rick Mercer and Canadians want the NDP and its leader to be.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 8:14 p.m.  

  • What Scott said, and not what Mike said.

    I'm not convinced that the NDP can save Paul's bacon.

    But I think this "ultimatum" is brilliant on Jack's part. Paul should have called his bluff; he can shout across the House "Jack! Cabinet spot: Secretary of State for Amateur Sport?" as the NDP are about to pull the trigger and Jack would tell everyone to put their hands down.

    By Blogger matt, at 10:01 p.m.  

  • It is a tough time to be a Liberal. I admire you CG and Scott for sticking it out. I am not able to get beyond the depth of the scandal myself. I won't be voting Liberal this time around.

    I also have a really difficult time believing that the damage will be less to the Party if somehow this is all dragged out until next January when Gomery (or his successor's) report will be tabled. I fail to see how an executive summary of all the misdeads nine months from now is any less damaging than the current revelations have been.

    Bart, I would join your Bloggers for Liberals idea in a heartbeat if there was some assurance that the current regime of LIberals were interested in rebuilding the Party and ensuring that all the charlatans were gone for good.

    By Blogger treehugger, at 10:26 p.m.  

  • I'm a Liberal-inclined voter... I'm not a Liberal Party member... big difference.

    I've actually been writing lots of articles of late extolling Jack Layton's virtues.. I dont agree with CalGrit or Jonathan of TDH Strategies that Layton is playing with fire.. I think he's getting wonderful publicity out of this.

    As for the blogging Liberals.. well... I'm of a different opinion of that then CG here is.. but I'll leave that to another day.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 11:04 p.m.  

  • Well, I only said it was risky. I'm a little undecided on whether or not it's a good strategy or not...I think it's likely good for him to be perceived as "making Parliament work".

    And this is the most press the NDP has gotten in the past decade. He's getting the "environment over corporate tax cuts" message out loud and clear.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:01 a.m.  

  • I think that Layton's mostly going for #3 because he knows that the more NDP policy positions he can get Paul Martin to act the less relevant the Green Party looks. The threat to the NDP isn't from the Liberals or the Conservatives. Indeed, the Liberals aren't too attractive in general right now. There's also no risk of the Conservative party ever stealing votes from the NDP. The parties are too different to compete over voters. The gains made by the Green Party last election were made on the back of the NDP. I think Layton is just trying to demonstrate to ex-NDP Greens that Jim Harris isn't as effective as him in getting the left heard in the House. That's just my guess though.

    -Socialist Swine

    By Blogger Socialist Swine, at 3:11 a.m.  

  • P.S. I also didn't mention anything about this issue because I thought it wasn't all that surprising given Layton's speech last week. He's just sticking with his game plan. If he started advocating corporate tax cuts (as the nice lady on Global TV mistakenly said he was) then I would say something.

    By Blogger Socialist Swine, at 3:14 a.m.  

  • This may be all the Martin needs to keep going. It doesn't matter who props up this government, once the election is called, Ontario will vote the liberals back in. What Layton gets now in return for support will be lost once the liberals are back in with a majority government.
    Its just playing for time and nothing more. The longer the wait, the better the chance Martin has to say sorry to Ontario voters who really don't give a rat's ass about the scandel.
    Ontario voters are more concerned with their beer and hockey than what goes on in Ottawa. As long as you don't touch their wallets too much, they'll vote in the liberals time and time again, especially Toronto.
    that's the way I see it anyways.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:29 a.m.  

  • Regarding the blogging liberals idea, I'm against it. I'm a liberal, a party member, a riding association executive, a volunteer... I'm in deep. And I blog.

    But I'm opposed to things that glorify the opinion of the party over the opinion of the individual. I'm a Liberal because that party matches my feelings best. Not because I decide what I think based on what the party says.

    Artificially important parties are the reason some members of the Liberal party were willing to break the rules for its interests. They're also the reason voters are willing to punish the Liberal party for adscam, rather than the real perps.

    Let the tories and dippers take part in their groupthink exercises, and give away their liberty to dissent.

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 2:48 p.m.  

  • Socialist Swine, you say that "There's also no risk of the Conservative party ever stealing votes from the NDP. The parties are too different to compete over voters." I disagree. The Reform Party/Alliance did huge damage to the NDP, especially in BC, pulling away many of its populist voters (small-town residents, loggers, etc.). In western Canada, the left and the right have often both appealed to the "little guy" in the struggle against big money and the evil forces of the east. Think of Wacky Bennett. His right-wing populism looks awfully left wing compared with the slash-and-burn agenda of Gordon Campbell. As long as the western populists are influential in the Conservative Party, there's an ongoing threat to the NDP.

    By Blogger mijnheer, at 3:52 p.m.  

  • mijneer,

    You have a good point there. One that I do actually holds quite true for the upcoming election, especially in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I must have been thinking too locally. Here in Alberta, you'd never get a Conservative ever considering the NDP and vice versa, not unless something catastrophic happens.


    I don't think it's an exercise in groupthink, at least for us dippers, from what I've seen on the various blogs we tend to hold quite different views. There is agreement on some issues but I would think that those are issues where even independently minded Liberals as yourself are likely to think similarly about as well.

    -Socialist Swine

    By Blogger Socialist Swine, at 4:29 p.m.  

  • Whether or not Layton's move is motivated by a desire to do what's right for the country, as opposed to simply what's right for his party, the NDP needs to demonstrate its relevance to prevent its marginal supporters from casting strategic ballots in favour of the Grits in what is looking to be a very polarizing election. This of course will be how the Liberals protect their left flank in any upcoming general election: by equating a vote for Jack Layton with a vote for Stephen Harper.

    By Blogger Vivek Krishnamurthy, at 4:34 p.m.  

  • Vivek, you're right. That's presumably why Jack Layton recently indicated that the New Democrats could work with a Tory minority. Liberals must not be allowed to polarize the election the way they did last time. So everybody join hands and sing, "Stephen Harper is hardly evil at all, Stephen Harper is hardly evil at all..." (Come to think of it, wouldn't that make a good bumper sticker?)

    By Blogger mijnheer, at 5:42 p.m.  

  • The NDP and Liberals have reached an agreement on the budget -- Martin and Layton both confirm this.

    I've talked about it at BlogsCanada.. but I wont whore my own diary.. I am sure CG will talk about it here soon enough ;)

    I will say tho as a social reform-minded Liberal-oriented voter on the left of that Party's voting populace.. I am pretty pleased to see what Layton has gotten Martin to put in the budget.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 10:17 p.m.  

  • Blogging Liberals? What a great idea if for no other reason than to drive traffic to each others' sites.

    I started a blog in January and while it does not take a partisan focus, I have been up front about my past work as a Liberal political staffer.

    By googling Blogging Liberals, I did manage to find your blog and will now add it to my favourites list.

    Well done!

    By Blogger Ed Hollett, at 7:22 p.m.  

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