Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Positive steps

Just as the first musings emerged about the NDP being relatively quiet, both Jack Layton and Thomas Mulcair sent a strong message about the coalition yesterday. And there's plenty to like about the general themes:
"I think it's a happy marriage and we had a nice cup of coffee and a good discussion," Mr. Layton said of (a meeting with Michael Ignatieff) during an interview on CTV's On The Hill. "The coalition plan really is that bold plan that we need in this country right now."

Mr. Layton said even if Mr. Harper embraces the opposition demand for measures that provide economic stimulus, Canadians have no reason to believe he will act upon them.

"I hope that the Liberals are going to look at the choice they are facing," said Mr. Mulcair. "It is very simply this one: either we leave the Conservatives there or we replace them. I greatly prefer by far, in the interests of the population, to replace them."
There are two important components worth pointing out. Not surprisingly, Layton and Mulcair are both emphasizing that the ramifications of the budget vote will go far beyond passing a single piece of legislation, implicitly raising the question of whether Ignatieff wants to go on the record saying that the country is better off with Harper in charge than with the coalition.

But equally importantly, that message isn't being conveyed adversarially. Instead, the NDP's focus for now is on Harper's well-known lack of trustworthiness and interest in effective government, coupled with a strong willingness to work with the Libs toward the shared goals of the coalition parties. And that positive message toward Ignatieff should contrast nicely with Harper's continued habit of reflexively bashing the opposition without even hearing its ideas when Ignatieff decides who the Libs should be working with in getting Canada's economy back on track.

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