Saturday, June 27, 2009

On kingmakers

The Toronto Star prints some poorly-labeled historical fiction:
Jack Layton looked like a kingmaker when the Liberal-NDP coalition threatened to topple the Conservative government last fall, but eight months later he is struggling for attention.

By throwing in his lot with the Liberals, led then by Stéphane Dion, the NDP leader saw a chance for real power. However, his ambitions came crashing down when Governor General Michaëlle Jean agreed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's request to prorogue Parliament, sending MPs home.
Now, I for one have at least a vague recollection that the coalition remained an option until the January budget vote - with Layton and the NDP working hard in the interim to build the alternative against constant attacks from the Cons. And it wasn't Jean who torpedoed the concept, but Michael Ignatieff - who decided he'd rather extend the reign of King Steve and uphold his party's tradition of rolling over for the Harper Cons at every turn than work with the NDP to provide more stable and effective government.

Of course, it isn't too much surprise that the Liberal house organ is trying to rewrite the ever-expanding chapters of the history books where the Libs have happily facilitated the Harper agenda. And it's similarly to be expected that the Star would portray polling numbers entirely consistent with most of the last few years as the NDP being "pushed to the margins" in the interest of trying to bring about that result. But the reality is that it's Ignatieff and his party who bear responsibility for choosing continued Harper government over the progressive coalition - and in the long run it may be Ignatieff's ambitions rather than Layton's that suffer most for the choice.

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