Picking health care as their new number one issue is certainly a new strategy for the Dippers - they didn't even mention health care in their deal last spring. Obviously health care polls as a bigger issue than democratic reform or the environment so it might not be a terrible choice as their wedge issue with the Grits, especially if they're serious about getting tough with private health care in Quebec, where they have no hope of winning seats and the Liberals are in deep, deep, deep trouble. It also has a benefit of reminding people that a certain someone didn't exactly fix "health care for a generation". But...despite all of this, my gut instinct is that this isn't really the best choice of an issue for the NDP. Let's face it, when health care is the issue, Canadians vote Liberal.
Regardless, if Layton says he wasn't happy with his meeting, he's keeping his options open vis-a-vis a fall election. No one I talk to seems to think we'll see an attempt to bring down the government after Gomery but I'll definitely be paying a lot more attention to what Stephen Harper, Jack Layton and Gilles Ducceppe say next Tuesday than I will to what Gomery does.