Saturday, May 29, 2010

The reviews are in

While B.C.'s successful HST petition and rumoured recall campaign have understandably focused attention at the provincial level, Charlie Smith nicely summarizes the effect that the continued debate over the HST might have on federal politics:
After the 1993 federal election, McGill University political scientist Elizabeth Gidengil demonstrated that the federal NDP lost much of its support to the Reform Party, which was seen as the party of protest that appealed to populist voters.

It was a counterintuitive argument because the Reform Party was adamantly right wing, whereas the NDP was a left-wing party. But in their heyday, each embodied the sense that they were against corporate and government elites who were trying to shove unpopular policies down the public's throat.

With their support for the HST, the Harper Conservatives have yielded this ground to NDP Leader Jack Layton, who is a shrewd observer of political trends.

Don't underestimate the NDP in the next election. With his opposition to the HST, Layton just might outlast both Harper and Ignatieff as a federal party leader.

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