Friday, October 03, 2008

On turnabout

Canada's political parties are back on the campaign trail after debates the previous two nights. And in building on Jack Layton's momentum from last night, the New Democrats are turning one of Gilles Duceppe's most quoted comments against him:
"What I hoped became clear from the debate is that I'm running for prime minister and there's two others that are presenting themselves, one of whom who supported the other for the last year."

Layton made the comments in a working-class Montreal neighbourhood that has traditionally voted Liberal, but switched to the Bloc Quebecois in the 2006 election. He dismissed suggestions that the Bloc has a platform with the same policies as the New Democrats.

"It's not similar, Mr. Duceppe has decided that Mr. Harper should continue on as prime minister and I don't accept that at all."
Now, I'd think there's still ample room to expand on today's theme and tie Duceppe to Harper's first two budgets which his party helped to pass. But it's certainly worth pointing out that Duceppe's comment that he expects Harper to remain in the PMO serves as a sure signal that the Bloc isn't even trying to remove the Cons from power.

As a result, Quebec voters who want to actually stop the Harper agenda can't take the Bloc seriously in claiming to have either the ability or the desire to do so. And with the New Democrats serving as the next choice for a substantial number of Bloc voters, a strong push to sell that message could offer the opportunity for Layton to put a dent in Harper's chances both in Quebec and across the country.

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