Wednesday, October 01, 2008

On complicity

Following up on this post, let's note what Chantal Hebert says about Jack Layton's goal for tonight's French debate - but also point out just how well it figures to fit into an economy-based theme:
If Harper holds an ace over his Bloc opponent going into tonight's debate, it is the economy. It supersedes every other issue this week and it is more credibly advanced from the perspective of a governing party than from that of a permanent opposition one.

Duceppe will also have to spend some debate time looking over his left shoulder. In this campaign, the NDP has had more prominence in Quebec than ever before and Layton has the potential to emerge from the French debate as the sentimental favourite of many wavering Quebecers. The NDP remains the default choice of too many soft Bloc supporters for Duceppe's comfort.
Now, it's possible (if far from certain) that an economic focus works to the Cons' advantageto the extent the Cons and Bloc are fighting for voters. But Hebert seems to miss the even bigger opening on the left, as the economy is also one of the issues where the Bloc can most easily be tied to the Cons.

After all, it was Duceppe and his party who backed Harper's first two budgets: the first as an inexplicable free pass, the second (long after the first round of Con cuts which the Bloc now criticizes) based on prioritizing federalism issues over social values.

Which means that as much as Layton can paint the Libs as having offered no opposition over the last year, he'll equally be able to criticize Duceppe for allowing the Cons' right-wing agenda to take root before that. And now that the up-front money to Quebec which made those votes palatable to the Bloc at the time is a thing of the past, Duceppe may have an awfully tough time explaining why anybody should believe that he'll have either the ability or the inclination to stand up to Harper in the future.

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