So apparently the NDP have decided to prop up Stephen Harper till March (as the EI reforms go through committee, 2nd, and 3rd readings) SOLELY in return to what NDP MP Pat Martin flatly calls “paltry improvements to EI.” Well the NDP seem to have quite a sense of priorities because by propping up Harper till March (when he pulls the plug himself and perhaps before these EI reforms even receive royal assent) that means:
- There will be NO MORE significant enhancements to benefits or fixing regional disparities for the hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers NOT covered by the Conservative reforms (the reforms are said to affect at best 60,000 people a year) (so much for helping the little guy)
- Canada will be sending Harper the obstructionist to the most important climate change negotiations in history this December who will go with the goal of torpedoing the whole thing (so much for the environment)
- Canadian citizens will continue to languish in foreign prisons with no help from their government (so much for human rights)
- Government stimulus funds will continue to go predominantly to Conservative held ridings that actually have lower relative unemployment rates (so much for fairness)
- Harper will bring in ever more right-wing legislation knowing you will pass whatever he wants until the EI reforms are passed into law as you are promising (so much for principles)
- Harper gets an election at his preferred time and you will be giving him what you in your own words called a "de facto majority" (so much for electoral strategy)
- Harper will give you no credit for these EI reforms he was already going to do, he will throw in some mockery and more humiliations here and there and you will have no real accomplishments to go to the electorate with in March (so much for pride)
And that's just a short list and it's all so Tom Mulcair can hold his seat a little longer and Jack Layton can hold the NDP leadership a little longer.
When the two of them lose them both as a result of the election Harper triggers post-Olympics, I somehow doubt their supporters will look back on it and think it was all worthwhile. Even though I think the Liberals still stand a good chance of winning then too, it will be after more damage was done to our reputation and finances that will have to be repaired thanks to NDP short-sightedness.
Now these EI reforms that Pat Martin calls paltry are worthwhile, but I'm sure they could have been applied retroactively after an election and are far from all the reforms that should be made or even that the NDP said must be made. And it should have been obvious to the NDP that leaves Harper in office for the next 6 months means NO MORE "results for people" beyond what their own MP said was paltry while having all the negative consequences above and more.
But I guess protecting Jack and Tom matters more. That's really some leadership the NDP have isn't it?
The irony is that by extending the government till March and giving us an election on Harper's terms, IF Harper actually won I wonder if the NDP would even survive to fight the election after that? First chance Harper would get post-election he will cut public financing of political parties, which no doubt will be a big thank you to Jack from Steve for the 6 months or so Jack helped HIM survive.
In the meantime, should the NDP grassroots just fall in line with Layton and Mulcair's wishes and not force them to back down, then we must just resign ourselves to six more months of spiraling deficits, more debt, more unemployment (without any new significant assistance), more division, and no leadership or vision at home or abroad. And then we can get an election exactly when Harper wants.
I think we can do better.
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