Monday, October 06, 2008

NDP Leader Jack Layton the only choice for a real Opposition Leader in federal election

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column

Tuesday October 7, 2008

Layton's the ideal opposition


You can't do your job as Leader of the Opposition. I don't know what you're doing running for Prime Minister.

- NDP leader Jack Layton to Liberal leader Stephane Dion

It's a very unusual political situation when every voter knows even before the federal election is called that Canada's next prime minister will be Stephen Harper.

NDP leader Jack Layton with Tom Mulcair, NDP MP for Outremont.

Like or loathe it, the Conservatives will be returned to power on October 14.

But two other important questions are far from decided - who will be Opposition leader and whether it will be a minority or majority government.

After last week's debate and two years of Harper government one thing is very clear - the only real federal opposition in the House of Commons is the New Democratic Party.

And the only real choice for Opposition leader is Jack Layton.

Liberal leader Stephane Dion is a smart, decent man. But Dion and the Liberals don't stand up to Stephen Harper - they prop him up.

On 43 separate occasions in Parliament, Dion's Liberals voted to keep Harper in power and accept his very conservative legislation.

By continually abstaining, the "Official Opposition" has abdicated its important role of serving the majority of Canadians who reject Conservative ideology.

But it wasn't just fear of losing an election that led to the Liberals becoming Conservative Lite - they actually agree with Harper's wrong-headed positions on many key political issues.

Dion and the Liberals support Harper's massive $50 billion corporate tax cuts that reward companies which have eliminated more than 400,000 manufacturing and forest industry jobs since 2000.

And the Liberals and Conservatives want huge tax cuts despite the fact that Canada's tax rates are already lower than many industrialized nations, including the United States, Germany, Italy and Japan.

And Canada also has a much lower Goods and Services Tax than most countries.

Dion and the Liberals joined with Conservatives to vote to extend till 2011 the deadly mission that sent brave Canadian troops into a hopeless situation in Afghanistan.

Dion and the Liberals say they want a "Green Shift" and carbon tax to protect the environment but oppose a proposed NDP moratorium on new Alberta tar sands oil projects - Canada's biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

In British Columbia, the NDP is best placed to defeat Conservatives and replace lackluster Liberals while trying to block a Tory majority.

The Green Party can't elect a single MP but progressive Canadians giving the Greens their vote could let Conservatives sneak past NDP candidates.

And whether the Conservatives win a majority or minority government, Canada needs strong opposition to Stephen Harper in Parliament - not the weak leadership of Dion and his absentee MPs.

Canada needs a new leader of the opposition - Jack Layton.


Anonymous said...

Bill, I disagree with your characterization of Stephane Dion as a smart and decent man. Wou;d a smart and decent man align himself with the likes of Mark Marissen, Bruce Clark, Jamie Elmhirst, Joyce Murray, Brenda Locke, Ian Sutherland and Bill Cunningham. Stephane Dion is a Faustian character who sold his soul to a pack of devils. Fortunately for Canada, he is sufficiently inept that Canadians will not be subject to the terms of his Gordon Campbell-like pact.

Anonymous said...

Golly, gee, Bill, I'm sure hearing a lot of folks who are fed up with Harper. His pr spinners are so stupid that he is saying there won't be a recession in Canada. Yet CNN in a recent broadcast THE GREAT WALL STREET SWINDLE declared Scotiabank has lost $82 billion. Persons in Toronto were interviewed. One crying woman declared whe was losing her house, another said she is 65 and now has to go back to work. How have the Canadian media missed this story? Doesn't anyone in Harper's group watch CNN? He being such a bum buddy to Bush, you'd think someone might pay attention. Don't count Elizabeth May out. Her performance on the debate was the best of the bunch even though the main stream media, who are being told what to do (i.e. support Harper) are seeing the world from some venue...outer space?
Layton had a great event yesterday broadcast live: big crow, music, cheering, wow...we have Obama here in our midst!
Have a good day! Cheers.

Anonymous said...

We sure don't need harpo getting a majority or even a strong minority. The big goof pretends there is no problem here due to the US meltdown. Bank rates going up a full percentage point today, but Harpo seems oblivious to how that increase in costs will affect so many folks strugging to keep their homes. Personally I wouldn't elect him for dogcatcher. Dion has a few problems right here in the Victoria area. Dr,Briony Penn, well known environmentalist, Liberal candidate in Saanich and the Islands, who stands likely to beat the incumbent Conservative , as the NDP Candidate withdrew, disagrees with Dr. Keith Martin Liberal, in Esquimalt who is against a modern sewer plant and wants to stay with the screening , then out to sea system. Even the Provincial Liberals have ordered one be built. So when asked Dion did the usual, shrugged and moved on.
I like a government where at least most of the members are reading the same page. Not blid obedience but some sense in what they are doing. Layton is prepared to keep Harper in line and we all need such a man to do it. I as so many others were amazed to see the federal Liberals stay out of the house as a slim majority guy did things a lot of us didn't want done. The cons got into the habit of calling Layton Taliban Jack as he pressed for the government to start talking with the Insurgants in the war we got pushed into. Alors. now it seems that the government has been pushed into opening discussions with the Insurgents, Who did the courageous thing? It sure as hell wasn't Harper, or Dion. If we can't get rid of the guy right now at least let's get a system where he can be contained. Jack Layton is the guy to do it. Professor Deon is not the guy in my view as he rolls over to vote with the Conservatives. My MP is NDP nad it suits me to see her get reelected.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Bill, Layton and the NDP carry way too much dated baggage and as much as I want to (or wish that) the NDP to reflect my views, it doesn't and suffers from the same ossified doctrines that afflict other party's.

I will vote Green, as I see them as the lesser of 4 evils. A hell of a way to run an election.

Anonymous said...

My only hope for 14/Oct. is that it is a . . . Minority Government.

Who is at the head of the Minority Government is unimportant.

A Minority Government will bring out the party-knives for "all the losers" who currently manage the Liberal, Conservative & NDP parties.


Anonymous said...

Harper, as far as I'm concerned is a TRAITOR to all Canadians!
Harper is all about secrecy ie: secretly selling out OUR publicly owned Federal buildings to Larco Investments a Yankee corporation, then we lease them back at a king’s ransom plus we pay all operating and maintenance costs forever.
Why do we allow these vermin to dictate to us when we are their employers and as such we should by law be able to throw these corporate hos, bums out on their asses!
Gordo is just a chicken s—t coward, BC Railgate, enough said,

BC Liberals Suck said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Bill's analysis and I hope those who want to vote Green will see that the only way to "contain" Harper is to vote NDP.

The Conservatives are in deep trouble. I hope people take a clear look at how they've conducted themselves during this campaign. A few bits:

Harper has muzzled all but a few Conservative candidates, which means they are not talking to constituents, not appearing at All Candidate debates & forums, not meeting with, nor responding to communications sent by constituents, not meeting with local media, nor making public appearances.

Does that bode well for democracy and the voices of constituents if they actually get elected?

Harper's autocracy (Harpocracy as the Liberals call it) is well known. Harper is a "party of one," once voice, one decision-maker, period.

The Conservative party has a very, very shallow gene pool of candidates to chose from. Ask yourself this, do you think ANY Conservative candidate is qualified, educated, or even moderately intelligent enough to run any Canadian ministry and represent our nation abroad. Might I mention one name - JIM FLAHERTY. Or, another - TONY CLEMENT. This is the quality of people attracted to the Conservative party. And I'm damn tired of being embarassed on the world stage by these idiots.

Harper and his minions are lying to and betraying the nation's trust about the depression, not recession, Canada and the entire world is heading into. Mr. Harper, the sky _is_ falling and saying it isn't, makes you lose credibility as the leader of Canada and abroad.

This is an illegal election, our sitting Prime Minister broke his own law by calling this election (against his own fixed date), b/c he is a toady to the Bush regime. This wasn't about Canada, it was about the US and their crumbling, aged empire which has been stripped clean by the crooks in charge there, who are pulling Harper's strings too (and making plans to pillage and loot what resources Canada still has).

Harper and his minions, for months, have been meeting with the leaders of the European Union to sign an agreement that will "integrate" Canada into the EU. Harper's meeting with them 3 days after the election, on Oct. 17th. He has not told Canadians about these meetings, negotiations, nor will he release this Agreement which will change the fabric and sovereignty of Canada FOREVER!!! During an election.

See: Election Issue Alert: Canada's Integration with the EU & United States

Canadians have MUCH to fear from Harper, we will cease to exist as the same nation, he has already changed the fabric of our nation in these 2 years we've been plagued by him and his puppet clowns who masquerade as MP's.

This is a plea to Canadians to vote NDP in this election. As mentioned, the Liberals have propped the Conservatives up and offer no real choice, the Greens have no hope of electing enough candidates (if any) to make a difference,except to split the vote. Canada is at a crucial turning point in our survival, it really has come down to that.

I just don't know what evidence NDP bashers have to suggest the federal NDP have a past that disqualifies them from leading our nation. Only Liberals and Conservatives have ruled in Canada (and we've seen the problems and corruption with this parties), the NDP has _never_ been given the opportunity to show how they can and will improve life for all Canadians and rescue our once proud and distinguished international reputation.

The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results. It's time to try something new & that is elect the NDP as our next federal government.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it we're stil going to have a Tory minority government.

The NDP are still going to have non-confidence motion after non-confidence motion in an attempt to bring the Con government down.

At that rate we will be having a federal election every 6 months, which Canadians don't want.

Better for New Democrats to vote Liberal to increase the number of Liberal MP's and have a Liberal minority government. That way at least the remaining NDP MP's will have some impact upon government policy in a Lib/NDP minority government.

Anonymous said...

Illegal election? How could the conservatives resist calling an election with Liberals coming out with a policy like the Carbon Tax. It was too goodan opportunity to pass upon.

BC Mary said...


gosh, no, 8:22!

It's too sad if you vote Green because you loathe Harper.

Sharing out the anti-Harper votes 3 or 4 or 5 ways guarantees a Harper win and a 2nd term in office at our expense.

Vote NDP ... as the crucial anti-Harper vote. Then get more active about making your wishes known to the governing parties.


Anonymous said...

With over 64% support for the opposition parties, it isn't enough for Jack Layton and Stephen Dion simply to be battling to be title of Leader of the Opposition.

That's pure ego strutting. It leaves Canadians at the mercy of what could soon prove to be the meanest, most secretive, repressive, militaristic, and ultra-right-wing government in Canadian history.

Harper doesn't need a majority to pursue his agenda for continental integration.

Canadians deserve a majority government, and with the present first-past-the-post system, that means a Coalition government -- Liberal, NDP and Green, and Bloc.

It's not outside the realm of possibility. The idea of a coalition has been proposed before, by Pierre Trudeau to Ed Broadbent in 1980 -- but the NDP caucus of the time nixed it. It was raised again in 2006 by others but ignored by the politicians.

I've written about this on my political commentary site You can link to it directly at:

shifter40 said...

Jack Layton has the most common sense among the whole bunch running for office. He seems to me to be honest and quite open about what he would do should he form government.

pip said...

I signed up to campaign for Layton but immediately withdrew when he joined with Harper to deny May a place in the debate. Everytime I want to vote for Jack he opens his mouth and says something Toronto centric. He has said virtually nothing about the war in Afghanistan. No one has. Harper says we are out in 2011 which really means 2012 and no one challenged him. I vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE.

Anonymous said...

Some folks have rather thin skins.

I won't vote because , is just one wasted vote. My MP will be re-elected as she won with a large number of extra votes, represents this town very well, but even so I'll drag my cruthes down to the poll booth to vote for her.( NDP)

If I lived in Sidney, I would do the same for Dr. Briony.( Liberal) Both women are endorsed by the environment group.

May wasn't invited because she has a party with no elected members. sounds pretty rational to me. That was supposed to be the rules. Dion wasn't about to say she should be following the rules set up by others , as he and May cooked a deal by not having a Liberal run in the riding she hopes to win.

I simply cannot understand why some folks get their shorts in a knot over percieved awful actions. You want Harper, keep making excuses to vote Green when the polls indicate a vote in that direction is a vote for Harper.

Harper let her call him a fraud a few times because he can count. Humour May and get a few more votes. Lets' focus on sending Harper somewhere else. The other option is bring out the crying towels as the big Jerk takes oover again, and Dion supports his legislation again

Unknown said...

I think you are underestimating the intelligence of Canadians.
(or maybe I'm wishful thinking)
Harper may not get to be Prime Minister. Harper's support has been dropping a point a day for the last week. People really are talking about strategic voting.
With any luck, we could have 3 parties in the mid-high 20% range by election day. Given the trends we could have NDP opposition to a Dion government. Looking at the actual races & ridings an NDP minority looks unlikely, but Harper is in free fall. He has demonstrated his lack of integrity and ethics and his sneering has hurt him badly. Worst of all he's a Friedman economist and the Friedman theories are failing. He doesn't get tarred with the failure, but, he has no idea about what to do next. Let's hope his down passes our up trend by the 14th.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with your analysis. The liberals have lost many occasions to be an effective opposition. Like abstaining to vote the last Conservative budget; therefore letting it pass. In addition, I would say for Greens who hesitate to vote for the NDP, that the NDP is the only Party in the House of Commons who supports proportional representation, a system that would signify the election of many Green MPs.

I would just point out that the Green Party is in a better position right now than the NDP in Saanich-Gulf Islands, particularly that the NDP candidate withdrew (but even before that perhaps!).

Also, contrary to what you wrote, I think the Americans are less taxed then us!