Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to end your week.

- Toby Sanger puts the NDP's track record as Canada's most responsible party in balancing budgets into handy chart form.

- Anna Jarvis offers her case for the NDP:
Jack Layton and the NDP have earned their opportunity. Layton, who heads the latest leadership survey measuring vision, trust and competence, appears genuinely passionate about his social democratic beliefs. He has connected with Canadians across the spectrum and reinvigorated voters. He started this campaign after cancer and hip surgery. As usual, the race was framed as between the Conservatives and Liberals. But Layton persevered.

People were told to vote strategically. He said vote for whoever you want.

Coalitions? He said he'll work with whomever Canadians elect.

I like the NDP plan to end tax cuts for large corporations (whose profits don't always stay in Canada and whose CEOs make obscene salaries) and instead use the money for tax breaks for small businesses. The party has at least identified health care issues such as home care, long-term care and prescription drug costs. It's the only party with a firm plan for capping greenhouse gas emissions. It's offering much more for pensions. Layton is already doing what nobody else has: bringing Quebecers into the fold.
(Con Jeff) Watson delivered a lot of money to this region (or the Conservatives did to shore up his seat). But despite "delusions of grandeur," according to observers, he's not likely to get even a minor portfolio. He'll always be a backbencher.

Put me down for an alternative.
- Meanwhile, Susan Riley sees the possibility of replacing the Harper Cons as the start of a new opportunity for growth in Canadian politics:
it will not start raining frogs if Layton has more influence in a postelection Parliament. It is nonsense to suggest he would embrace environmental measures if they would bankrupt the economy and even more absurd to suggest that the watchful, cautious Michael Ignatieff would start raising taxes willy-nilly.

Here is what could change, though, at least for non-Conservatives: the big dark cloud that hangs over federal politics might lift with Harper's departure.

A Liberal/NDP coalition -admittedly still a less likely outcome than another Conservative government -would bring confusion, but might also inject much-needed optimism in public life, and, we can only hope, more co-operation.

Whatever happens, spring is a good time to clean house. And the first thing to go should be those outdated myths, distortions of history that obscure any vision of a happier future.
- Finally, no Lib swoon would be complete without some public infighting. And for all their other failings, Jane Taber and John Ibbitson at least provide that:
But as Liberals try to refocus in these last crucial days, the infighting is beginning with some senior Liberals blaming a disconnect between the leader and his national campaign team.

They blame the polling – arguing that it misdiagnosed the concerns and attitudes of voters.

But pollster Michael Marzolini said “it’s news to me.”

“How do they think I have misdiagnosed? The only thing I failed to predict was Layton’s debate performance – and that kind of prediction isn’t my job.”

Others are blaming the flurry of confusing messages.

A senior Liberal complained, for example, that while the party’s health-care ads were being run on television, Mr. Ignatieff was talking about “rising up” and calling the Tories anti-democratic. He was repeatedly blown off message and seemed to come up with new themes almost daily, from concern-for-democracy to health care to wasted spending on the G8 and G20 summits. This confused voters.
(S)o far, the Liberals are not yet directly blaming Mr. Ignatieff – there is a view that he has done an admirable job. The blaming may come on Tuesday, however, if the polls are correct.

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