Sunday, August 26, 2012

On political legacies

Ready the fainting couch for Warren Kinsella, because I've got a scoop that he'll find shocking and appalling.

The NDP has been fund-raising for years based on appeals to Jack Layton's public image.

In fact, Layton's face and signature regularly appeared on financial appeals to his party's supporters not just in the year since his death, but in the entire time since he became the leader of the federal NDP. And one might even speculate that Layton and the NDP made a concerted effort to build his public profile, then to maximize its effectiveness as a means of raising money and otherwise encouraging NDP supporters to participate in electoral campaigns.

I can only assume this comes as an out-of-the-blue revelation to a political naif like Kinsella in light of his latest column. Because otherwise, one might have to ask some rather awkward questions.

For example, who could possibly think it surprising that a political leader - and indeed one who put ample personal effort into his own party's succession planning - would be pointed to as an example of that party's ideals after his passing?

And who could possibly look at one of the most unabashedly political lives in recent Canadian history, and conclude that it must be drained of political meaning? (Particularly when that order comes from somebody who fought tooth and nail against nearly everything Layton stood for during his lifetime, rather than anybody with even a vaguely plausible claim to speak to his wishes?)

I do hope that the above will prove enlightening for Kinsella and anybody else spending time demanding that NDP supporters erase his legacy from the historical record in order to honour it. And Warren, when you come to, you might be even more horrified at what you'll discover in your own party.

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