Friday, August 23, 2019

On clear positions

What should have been considered an entirely uncontroversial bit of news - that, like his predecessors, Jagmeet Singh has publicly stated that he's not interested in putting a Con government in power - has instead given rise to a truly impressive display of projection and selective amnesia. So let's set the record straight.

No, it's not accurate to say "but Jack Layton would never have done that!". To the contrary, Layton did it as well, releasing this passage in his own book when he was still leading the NDP and strategizing about post-election options:
I was not about to participate in any scheme cooked up by the Bloc and the Conservatives that would put the country in the hands of Stephen Harper.
And it's even more preposterous to suggest that it's "rare for a party leader to take options off the table so early in an election cycle".

The previous three federal election cycles have all been marked by the Libs trying to lay the foundation for their strategic voting racket by loudly trumpeting a refusal to countenance any post-election coalition with the NDP, even if the result was to leave Stephen Harper in power. And at every opportunity, they've indicated after the fact that they didn't mean a word of that spin.

Similarly, while the Cons have regularly run on multiple incorrect and unprincipled claims (that the party with the most seats governs, and that coalitions of any kind are illegitimate), they've never held to those positions when they've perceived any hope of seizing power by discarding them.

If there's any difference between the NDP's position and that of competing parties, it's that the NDP can be counted on to base its level of willingness to cooperate with other parties on reasonable principles, and to follow through on its commitments. And Singh is rightly upholding that well-established tradition.

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