Thursday, August 21, 2008

My NDP friends, welcome to my world

You may remember that Jack Layton was for an immediate election before he was against an immediate election:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper would be "misguided" if he chose to call a federal election before Parliament resumes sitting on Sept. 15, NDP Leader Jack Layton said Thursday.
Layton said it's up to the prime minister to make Parliament work and he intends to ask him to work with the other parties to accomplish that.

"I'd love to see a prime minister who says lets all roll up our sleeves and work together," he said. "I'm not holding my breath, but that's what I'd like to see."

What happened to the Jack Layton that wanted an election NOW, that pilliored the Liberals for waiting, for abstaining, for being missing in action? You know the guy. Average height, with a mustache? Remember him? Well, he's stroking that mustache now as he ponders Harper's motives:
The NDP leader said Harper's assertion that Parliament isn't working is at odds with the facts.
"He's managed to get his entire program through with the help of the Liberals and the Bloc [Québécois]. So it's actually not a valid complaint," Layton said. "So he's up to something."

Harper is up to something indeed. Oh, the thoughts that must be running through Jack's mind. Yes, we want an election. But now Harper is saying he wants one too. So maybe we shouldn't want one, because he wants one so it must be good for him and so it's bad for us. Or does he just want us to think he wants an election so we won't give him one, and really he doesn't want one?

And what if the Liberals decide they actually want one too and we need to make a decision ourselves for a change? Oh, he's so crafty, that Harper, with his chess playing!
Getting frustrated yet my NDP friends? Welcome to my world, mes amis. Pull up a chair.

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Barcs said...

The liberals have let Jacko off easy for several months.

I grabbed a list of polls off of wikipedia (it doesn't have the last couple weeks, but they aren't much different on the nation numbers)

The NDP scored 17.5% in the last election.

But look at the polling (and discount the Angus online polling where you have to actually go find the pollster to vent on them... hardly random)

The NDP havent exceeded 17 since Feburary..... They consistently poll around the 14-16 numbers.

Jacko is truely whacko for still wanting an election at those numbers, if the greens drop 1/2 their poll numbers divided between the 4 major parties like they usually do... that still leaves the NDP with a loss in popular vote and sure to follow that... in seats.

This is part of the reason Dion puzzles me so. I cannot understand why he would not call Laytons bluff.

It is time for Dion to stand up and stick to a position and make the NDP sweat for awhile.

I still do not think we are going to have a fall election unless Harper actually asks Ms. Jean to dissolve parliament. I am just not sure which one of them (all 4 major parties) will blink. I do know that it will be very hard for the 3 opposition parties to spin that the governing Tories were the ones... even if they turn out to be.

(Yes I know about the fixed election dates bill.... but I also know that bill contains a clause that states the bill in no way limits the GG's constitutional powers. If Harper decides to ask; then by long standing convention the GG will almost certainly do it.)

I know I am a bit late... but let the (non)-election spin war begin.

Devin Johnston said...

I don't really see this as a change in position at all. Jack has always said, essentially, that he wants to make Parliament work and he's willing to work with any of the other leaders, but that the current government has been too far from the NDP and too unwilling to move for that to happen. Therefore, the NDP has voted no confidence in the government at every opportunity.

What's he saying now? He's saying that Harper is lying about his motives in threatening an election call (clearly true since the Tories have been able to pass everything unopposed by the Liberals) and that he shouldn't do it (since, after all, he's the one who passed fixed election dates into law.) What he hasn't said is that he intends to support the government or abstain on confidence motions. In fact, I suspect that the NDP will continue voting against the Tories each and every time unless there is a complete 180 in Conservative policy positions.

Barcs said...

"Jack has always said, essentially, that he wants to make Parliament work and he's willing to work with any of the other leaders"

Show me a leader that hasn't said that??? I see them all do that and then go do what they feel like while trying to retain the original spin of how hard they are working to make parliament work.

I see glimmers of hope from the NDP... for example allowing the RCMP to investigate in a couple of so called scandals. But over and over again they seem to fall into the same cheap partisanship that do the Liberals, Tories and Bloc.

Laytons great victory waaay back when when he pushed the conservative environement bill to committee. Did they actually do any work on it after it went to committee? No it died in committee while they were patting themselves on the back in the media for how good a job they were doing making parliament work. And the environment suffers still from pollution (and the fabled GHG's too maybe)

Its really too bad that non of the parties measure up in any way close to the rhetoric they use. But then millions of Canadians who don't actually pay attention to politics hear some of it and believe some as they choose.

It really is too bad there isn't a way to force them to live up to it, but what are we going to do? vote for the other guys who are just as bad for it? And how do we get the millions who listen and believe some of it to take a second look and see it for what it is and vote elsewhere (if there was an elsewhere to place the vote)?

Greg said...

He gives himself enough wiggle room to still back a Fall election (I mean he can claim he wants a vote of non-confidence rather than an early election called by the PM). However, it is an ominous signal and one Layton should have avoided.

Barcs said...

That's true greg.

Layton could also just be trying to put the best spin on.

If the tories decide to all the election before the session starts. "we wanted to make parliament work"

I don't think that will be as good as "We helped bring down a government we are ideologically opposed to".

So yeah. it is possible that Layton is just trying to hedge against losing the spin of actually bringing down the government.

Jeff said...

Barcs, I think we'll probably have an election this fall. I'm not sure if Harper trigger it himself or if he'll fall in the House. But if the House does come back, I think the Liberal propping-up will quickly be over.

Which makes it crunch time or the NDP and the BQ. As you say, both are polling badly, the NDP have been for some time. As I've argued before, they've for some time been able to hide behind the Liberals' abstention policy to talk tough without consequences. If the Liberals actually stop abstaining this fall though and election becomes possible, then an election does become possible with their votes and they need to decide if it's really the right time for them.

If it wasn't just rhetoric then they'll bring the Con down, and if it was just rhetoric then they either need to forge ahead or try to spin am embarrassing climbdown.

Devin, with respect I think you're splitting hairs. I know of what I speak, I split many a hair trying to defend the Liberals abstaining before I threw up my hands finally and said screw it.

Jack and the NDP have been very clear on one thing: election now. Conservatives bad. Doing bad things. Don't deserve to govern. Election now!

So, if he really wants an election now, and only those dastardly Liberals have been stopping it, what does he care if Harper goes to the GG and dissolves? He's still getting what he says he wants: an election. Whether it's triggered by a confidence vote or a dissolution is relatively meaningless, you could argue there's a boost from bringing him down in the HoC on an issue of our choosing, but the bump from these things is minimal and the issue is forgotten by Day 3.

If Jack wants an election he should be in favour of this. Instead he's hemming and hawing. It's easy to dismiss the fixed-date thing: "It's the PM's prerogative to go to the GG, but Harper's violating the spirit of his own act, and his refusal to make parliament work, so why he sucks...why we need more NDP MPs..blah blah...Liberals bad..." and so on.

Chrystal Ocean said...

Good comment by "Durward" on the site, in response to the article. He tells it like it is:

"Jack votes to bring down the government only when he knows therte is zero chance of that happening, now it is happening he wants more time. yap yap yap - no bite."