I won't be talking much about Layton this campaign, but since he did do an online discussion this past afternoon with the Globe I thought it was worth covering (see here for the transcript). I'll do the same if/when other leaders follow suit. Overall, I think Jack got some pretty easy questions and handled them well, but a couple answers really grabbed my attention just because they get to one major problem I have with Layton: he seems to want to try to tie himself to anything that he thinks is popular (e.g., Obama) regardless of how it fits with his supposed principles or reality. It's quite the contrast with Stéphane Dion who even Layton admits is a man of principle who has consistently taken bold stands on many issues regardless of their popularity at the time.
For instance in the forum when Layton was asked about how the NDP could be trusted with the public purse he shockingly started claiming "his party" has the best record on balanced budgets. Of course he's referring to provincial NDP governments that for the most part governed much farther to the right than the current federal NDP platform. But still I would think it quite odd if Dion started taking credit for Dalton McGuinty or Gordon Campbell’s accomplishments. Though if Jack wants to claim credit for the successes of past NDP provincial governments, surely he's willing to wear their failures too then?
Even more galling though was Jack trying to tie himself directly again with Gary Doer, Premier of Manitoba. He implied again he'd manage the economy just like Premier Doer if he were actually Canadian Prime Minister. Now I remember last November Jack Layton actually literally said "Doer's policies are the same as ours". Well as I recounted at the time, Doer is someone who CUT corporate taxes, opposes legislation to ban replacement workers, supports a continued troop presence in Afghanistan, supports the Clarity Act (which Layton wanted to repeal), and has been a strong supporter of the "Third Way" (public-private partnerships) and the right wing Tony Blair in particular.
So which is it Jack? Would you be like Gary Doer and cut corporate taxes and reverse many of your other positions? I thought you were gonna take on the board rooms though? Or are you just trying to dupe people into thinking you are more centrist than you really are?
Who are you trying to fool, your own base, or the rest of Canadians?
Again Jack wants to be all things to all people. But that's the joy I guess of being a permanent opposition party: you'll never have to make any tough choices, be held accountable, or take a real stand on anything. Just promise the world and say you’ll be just like whoever you think your audience wants you to be, knowing you'll never have to deliver. Must be nice...
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