Sunday, January 04, 2009


Lorne Gunter is determined to bash Jack Layton for having the nerve to cooperate with anybody other than Deceivin' Stephen. But in so doing, he only offers up another stark reminder of the petty and destructive view of Canadian politics which still serves as the Cons' main governing focus:
First, he had a chance to do the Liberals in and replace them as the default selection on the left had he gone along with the Tories' plan to end public funding to parties. Next to the Tories, the NDP have the best chance of replacing public handouts with private donations. Layton could have crippled the Liberals, instead he tried to vault himself into cabinet by riding into power as the Liberals' shotgun.

With the revealing of the coalition, Layton was also exposed as a self-serving opportunist...
So let's review how the above statements compare to each other. In Gunter's world, Layton ought to have lent his support to a fiscal update that was both antithetical to the NDP's policy vision and likely to hurt them as a party as well, all for the sole purpose of helping Harper to inflict a death blow on the Liberals. Which would apparently be considered a selfless act of principle.

Instead, Layton cooperated with the opposition parties to work out an agreement which would not only improve the NDP's standing on the federal scene, but also help to ensure that policies closer to its values would be put in place (both in dealing with the recession and in governing over the next year and a half). Needless to say, that earns Gunter's condemnation as "opportunism".

Ultimately, Gunter's column looks to be just another example of the Con base's warped attitude that Harper's goal of destroying the Libs matters more than anything. But the more the Cons and their flacks try to project the same pathology onto the NDP, the more clear they make it that there's only one party which truly puts a perceived political war above the good of the country. And the Libs should be careful to keep that distinction in mind in deciding whether they want to leave Harper in control.

(Edit: fixed wording.)

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