Liberal and NDP supporters have a lot in common in terms of what kind of policies we’d like to see at the national level, but for that reason I just can’t understand why so many NDP supporters seem perfectly content to have Stephen Harper remain Prime Minister. If Jack Layton can’t be PM, and he can’t, then one would think NDP supporters would want a Liberal minority with the NDP holding the balance of power and be working to make that happen. For all those NDP supporters who will claim that it doesn’t matter if Stephen Harper gets to stay PM – I wonder how they’d answer the following questions.
1. Who would work better with Jack Layton in a minority government context Stéphane Dion or Stephen Harper?
2. When has more progressive policy passed, with a Liberal minority or a Conservative minority government? Forced to choose between the two isn’t it obvious which one has been better for progressives?
3. What does Jack have to show for his “opposition” to Stephen Harper this term? Did he elicit a single concession? Did a single piece of progressive policy pass since Harper has become PM? Why would another Harper minority be any different?
4. Having to choose between a Conservative minority government with an NDP gain of 5 seats over a Liberal minority government with an NDP loss of 5 seats which would you choose?
5. Which of those two options would lead to more progressive legislation being passed?
6. Does anyone believe any of the following would EVER be undertaken with Stephen Harper as PM?
- a real plan to combat poverty
- a real national child care plan
- a real plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- re-introduction of the Kelowna Accords
- meaningful increases in foreign aid
- fighting against the death penalty everywhere
- advocation against Guantanomo Bay
- re-instatement of the Court Challenges Program
- re-instatement of funding and mandate to Status of Women
- a Commissioner for Gender Equality
Yet we all know all those things in 6. would happen with Stephane Dion as PM - even Jack Layton acknowledged Dion to be a “man of principle and conviction” who you can trust. But every year more Stephen Harper is PM, more people suffer. Even so, Jack is unfortunately pursuing a strategy (by saying Stéphane Dion can’t be PM) that helps Stephen Harper who will never be a friend of progressives.
No matter what Jack says the evidence is clear - the race to be PM is between Stephen Harper and Stéphane Dion and pretending otherwise in no way helps progressives. It’s right in Tom Flanagan’s book – the Conservatives love the NDP because they’ve been instrumental to helping the Conservatives win ridings that were essentially two-way fights between Liberals and Conservatives.
Why is it so hard for NDPers to admit that Stéphane Dion would be a much more progressive PM than Harper? Did the Liberals and NDP not vote together on numerous private member's bills that Harper ended up ignoring? Why must NDP supporters resort to the same arguments that Ralph Nader supporters make in the U.S.? (While ironically backing Obama at the same time who makes the same arguments the Liberals do about how the stakes are too high to flock to a third party)
NDP supporters always seem to dodge the questions above, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised if none of them honestly answer them, or instead just take one snippet and ignore the rest as they usually do.
The results of the last election led to a trashed child care plan, Kelowna abandoned, Court Challenges program eliminated, and massive backtracking on human rights, the environment and foreign aid. If you are progressive and you want actual progressive policies passed by a principled PM there’s only one party poised to do that in government and that’s the Liberals. There is too much at stake to have this election be 1988 all over again, I would hope the NDP realizes that.
UPDATE - 4:15 PM: Credit where credit is due, this is a well-done ad by the NDP. Though it does make the case well why we need Stéphane Dion as Prime Minister. Still waiting on the FIRST commenter to answer the questions asked above. I guess we all agree on the answers then :).
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