Thursday, September 04, 2008

Jack Layton's NDP concedes the election before it even begins

I probably won’t be saying this much, so take note as I’m saying it now. I actually agree with Jack Layton on something: I think he’d be a great opposition leader.

All full of righteous anger, much sound and fury signifying nothing, lots of feet-stomping, the freedom to attack without the responsibility to actually do anything... isn't that the perfect job for Jack Layton?

NDP strategist Lavigne: "We want to get the message across that we are better at taking on Harper than Dion is."

While we wouldn't be betting the farm on a Liberal meltdown and Layton's becoming official opposition leader, the stars certainly aren't aligning for Dion so far.

As Lavigne says: "The entire campaign as it now stands comes down to one word: Leadership."
I invite Jack Layton (who seems to be conceding a Harper victory in his election, perhaps a majority if he gets lucky) to by all means carry-on with his plan to turn this campaign into a 30+-day job application for Opposition.

In the mean time, Stephane Dion and the Liberal Party are going to talk with Canadians about why we actually want to lead this country, and why Stephane Dion should be the next Prime Minister of Canada.

Layton can talk about why he’s the best to oppose Harper. The Liberals will talk about why we’re the best to replace Harper.

Layton can talk about how he’ll try to curb the Harper agenda. The Liberals will talk about our own agenda for Canada.

Let Layton explain why he can best keep Harper in check. The Liberals will be explaining why our plans on climate change, on poverty, on health care and on infrastructure are the best choice for Canadians.

Layton can talk about what he’s going to oppose. Dion and the Liberals will be talking about what we’re going to do.

We’re not electing an opposition Jack, we’re electing a government. You can set your eyes on Stornaway if you want, but we’re looking at 24 Sussex.

P.S. We've heard from the NDP and the Cons that Elizabeth May shouldn't be in the debates because she thinks Dion should be the next Prime Minister. Since Layton is only running for opposition leader, does that mean we can exclude him too?

UPDATE: Liberal MP Ujal Dosanjh, a former NDP Premier of B.C., weighs-in:

“I believe that the next election is about the future of Canada. Jack believes it is about his personal political career. The Liberal party is focused on saving Insite, fighting climate change and restoring fiscal responsibility and economic prosperity. BC has some significant challenges with homelessness, infrastructure and affordability and yet the NDP is focused on finishing second. “

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northwestern_lad said...

Jeff... I guess we're into an election because I see that you're into full spin mode. Where did the NDP say they aren't running to be the government??? What Mr. Lavigne said there is that Mr. Dion hasn't stood up to Mr. Harper and if you don't want another Harper government, Mr. Dion isn't going to give you what you want. So while the Liberals can talk all they want about standing up to the Conservatives and offering a real alternative, they can't actually point to examples of them actually doing that. The NDP can and as Mr. Lavigne said, this is about leadership. But hey, nice try to spin something out of nothing.

Sean S. said...

Would we expect anything less from a partisan Liberal Cam? I'm just waiting for the Liberals to roll out the "don't split the vote" meme they have used in the past 2 elections...of course they apply that across the board, even in ridings that they run 3rd or 4th...funtimes, probably best if we all turn off the computers until 8pm on Oct 14th.

900ft Jesus said...

ok, "don't split the vote" - but at least we aren't trying to unite three parties to form CRAP.

With all respect due you, northwestern, BCer has a point.
"We want to get the message across that we are better at taking on Harper than Dion is."

Pretty much says it, and I’ll add this - generally, I support the NDP despite favouring Liberals, but this bit really, really got to me. Harper loves it that the left parties attack each other and divide the vote. It’s like a game of Risk where the biggest bully points and says: “he’s the threat!” shifting from one to the other so that the opposition does half his job for him by weakening each other.

We need to re-think how we do politics, as someone (Ed) pointed out at theTGB. The political environment has changed, and besides that, when you have someone like Harper who is so destructive, so manipulative, will use any means to obtain far more power than any one person should have then set his sights on re-shaping an entire country according to his very narrow, very extreme right standards, then the opposition should really take a look at what matters more: getting rid of this menace, even if it means supporting each other temporarily, or playing right into his hands and keep vying for a few extra seats that won’t make a bit of difference because the bulk of the power will rest with a man who has no respect whatsoever for democracy.

Wheww! I love my country, and it’s breaking my heart to see what’s being done to it. I would encourage anyone who cares about democracy to step back and consider how to best use their vote in the next election, even if it means supporting a party they normally would not. We need to re-claim our democratic process first, or it really won’t make any difference which of the left end parties we support.

Pat Martin (not one of my faves) suggested way back an informal coalition between Libs and NDP just to get Harper the hell out. I agreed with him then, and I still do. Informal, temporary...If Layton would try it, he could actually end up being official opposition, maybe not this time, but next, because with NDP and Liberals agreeing to a common goal of pointing out why Harper has to go, the left might actually get somewhere.

Seriously, if NDP stood a chance of beating Scott Reid in my riding, I’d vote that way.

Now I’m going to go fume for awhile and say once more “youze-guys should pick a different party leader.” We remember Broadbent, and layton ain’t no Broadbent.

RuralSandi said...

Oh, this is just too funny. I just saw Layton on the news...talking to people about what's happening in the US and "change" and he thinks he Canada's Barack Obama.

Good grief Jack.

Jackie Obama - have you not noticed that Obama has moved closer to the centre?

And, you wear that stupid moustache.

Jack - you're no Tommy Douglas and your no Broadbent and definately no Obama.

Cliff said...

Wow. You're attributing a message to the Layton campaign, which your source article utterly contradicts. It literally says the exact opposite. Were you hoping no one would actually follow the link?

In fact the article describes how the NDP are planning to ignore the Liberals and concentrate on campaigning against Harper and the Conservatives - don't Liberals always whine that we're doing the opposite? Are you just upset that one of your cherished narratives isn't going to work this time?

So we'll campaign against the Conservatives and the Liberals can campaign against us and try to poach as many NDP votes as you can while complaining bitterly about how we're the ones splitting the left - who's campaining to be the opposition again?

Skinny Dipper said...

While Mr. Lavigne said that the NDP will be focusing most of their attacks on Harper and little on Dion, I do not get the impression that Mr. Layton just wants to become the opposition leader. He wants to become prime minister someday. At the end of this election campaign, he may end up becoming opposition leader. For Layton and the NDP, it will be a great step forward.

Canadians will find out more on the first day of the campaign what Jack Layton and the NDP will be saying. I don't think he will be using language such as "Vote for the NDP so we can be the official opposition." I think the NDP may start referring to themselves as the a potential governing party.

If the NDP plays its cards right, the party can grab votes from the Liberals and Greens. It can also get a whack of votes from people who voted Bloc the last time in Quebec. It might even get a few people who voted Conservative previously.

It is a common strategy in politics to attack the governing party even if new support may come from people who supported a different party. It's a strategy Layton and the NDP will be using--attack the Conservatives to get votes from the Liberals, Greens, and Bloc (plus a few Conservatives).

admin said...

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Since the elections about to start, thought you might enjoy this..

Greg said...

Do you think it's easy to take quotes in context?

susansmith said...

Let's try this on:

"A New Vision, A New Canada, A New Democrat"

Jeff said...

Cam, I think I might have heard something about an election somewhere, you're right...

...but seriously, while I'm not surprised you'd have a different interpretation, but I'm going to have to stand by mine. Here's exactly what Brad said:

"We want to get the message across that we are better at taking on Harper than Dion is."

Elections aren't about who can best oppose. They're about who can best govern. Or at least that's how I've generally seen them.

sean, jack layton made heavy use of "don't split the vote" messaging in the 2005/06 campaign too, in select ridings where it was a Con/NDP race (but I'd expect nothing less from a partisan NDPer like Jack). And it made sense strategically for the NDP, just like it does for the Liberals in select ridings.

Did you read the article Cliff? Here's the headline:

NDP aims for second

Here's the subhead:

Jack Layton hopes to snatch Stornoway's keys from Dion

There's nothing contradictory at all. The NDP plans to focus on the Cons and show they're "better at taking on Harper than Dion is." Sounds like they're running for opposition to me. And to Greg Weston. And to whomever writes his headlines.

That's a strategy. I just think they're aiming low.

Keeping Eyes on Kingston said...

I find it almost amazing that comments that you have stated. The liberals are best positioned... Well they have been best positioned for a long time and they took their position with Harper on each and every vote. In fact it has been so amazing to see Liberals say one thing and do another, Rick Mercer, probably a card carrying liberal made fun of them so bad we still talk about the Liberal Theme Slogan "Liberals, we're Adaptable". No no no, you can't have your cake and eat it too says A BCer in Toronto, well then you can't think for one second that Dion is the right leader for Canada. Jack Layton is the only party leader consistently working for a better Canada. Liberals either abstain or vote with Harper. Say one thing, do another. The New Democrats are the best positioned to take on the Stephen Harper agenda.

Jeff said...

The New Democrats are the best positioned to take on the Stephen Harper agenda.

And framing it that way you're conceding Harper is going to win the election, and you're running for opposition leader.

As far as abstentions, I've been long on the record as being pissed off as hell about that strategy. That said, the NDP was in the enviable position of being able to have its cake and eat it to, as their votes wouldn't impact the fall/continuation of the government either way. They could safely vote no and espouse rhetoric without having to consider if Canadians really want an election or not.

Should Jack get his dream-job somehow and become opposition leader, he'll find he'll have to make far more difficult choices than as the leader of the fourth party.