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That Sinking Feeling?

I don’t know if it’s just my old age, the fact that I’ve been involved in politics since I was 18 or the fact that I’ve gone from radical Marxist to more of a realist, but I just don’t see Jack Layton’s capitulation on the corporate tax cuts as the black hole that many on the left seem to see it. True, I’ve been as vociferously opposed to corporate tax cuts as anyone else and I stand by the belief that they do not spur job creation and only work to line the pockets of those who already make my yearly salary in the first few days of January. The thing is, how much sense, real political sense I’m taking here, does it make to continue beating a dead horse. The fact remains is that the NDP can hold it’s head high knowing that it voted against corporate tax cuts every time they have come up for a vote. Every….single….time. The Liberal party, on the other hand, is the party that got the ball rolling on cutting corporate taxes and even supported going lower then Harper did in the 2008 election (that’s right, they too felt that in times of trouble, corporate tax cuts would spur job growth).

Now I know many who support the NDP, like myself, get bent out of shape when we see the leader of our national party bailing on this ideals. The fact remains, however, that there is little the NDP could actually do to get these cuts changed. They have been enacted into law, thanks to the Liberals again, and changing that legislation is not something that I think is even politically possible, let alone legislatively possible given the Tory majority in the Senate. So what choices did Jack have, and what has he really done here? Well, he’s played this smart. He’s put forward some good measures that if implemented could help out seniors in a big way in this country, not to mention the 1/5 of people without a family doctor. Will this get the NDP votes? Maybe, maybe not. But in the end isn’t it better to do what’s right then what gets a party votes? Tommy Douglas felt that it was.

When the War Measures Act was brought in by then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Tommy Douglas stood against it. Did it win him and his party votes? No! The NDP lost votes after the next election. Was it the right thing to do, to oppose the implementation of the War Measures Act on our population? Absolutely. The very reason Layton joined with the NDP was because he was inspired by T.C.’s boldness and steadfast belief in the right thing to do. Jack is likely using this mantra to help himself craft ideas that the Harper government get through this troubling time. I’m sure he hates to support Harper, but, ensuring that Canadians receive the full benefits of their might support. It’s better this then an election.

Even I have said at times that I want an election, but once I step back from my own emotions I see the tumultuous times we live in today and realize that the outcome of another election is likely going to be more of the same. So why not try to work together? It makes little sense to go all in against a party that is holding all the cards. The Tories are great a playing this game and to play into it will not serve us in the long term. If we continue to ride out this recession, try to get the most for Canadians and maintain pressure on the Harper government, this is much stronger footing then being the all or nothing parliamentarians that we criticise the Tories for being.

In the end, the NDP needs to focus on getting the best for Canadians out of the next budget. We can be judged on our success come election time. Precipitating an election that no one wants will not do us any good in the long run.

Cross Posted @ Progress Now!!

1 comment to That Sinking Feeling?

  • ck

    In your old age? I’m probably old enough to be your mother!

    Anyhow, personally, given the piss poor polling numbers for both the NDP and the Liberals, and the surge of the Harpercons, particularly in the battleground of Ontario, particularly, in the sought after 905/416; the attack ads are apparently working like a charm; the Liberals haven’t the money the Harpercons have to put on their own tv ads to respond and neither do the NDP for that matter; Harper could well get his majority if an election were held this spring, therefore, if anyone, say the NDP, at this time, did float the upcoming budget, I would be relieved, as insidious as it may sound. It would be the responsible thing to do.

    After reading Harperland , I learned exactly what Harper is capable of doing, and that’s with a minority. Just imagine with a majority what he can accomplish!!

    Yes, the budget will be a bad one; probably an austere one. But if it fell and we went to an election; Harper gets his majority; just think how much worse his first majority budget would be?? That budget that would’ve fallen would look like a Santa Claus budget compared to the possibilities.

    I do, however, believe there will be a poison pill inserted, despite the promises Flaherty makes. Remember, Harper dictates, not Flaherty. In Harperland , Harper has demonstrated, even if he is overseas on some other business, has called a minister to tell him to do something last minute. A perfect example illustrated in Martin’s book was that ill-fated economic statement Flaherty made in 2008; the one that led to that coalition. Flaherty wasn’t initially supposed to talk about scrapping per vote subsidies or stimulus packages or things like that. Harper, while overseas, made a call to Flaherty and told him to do it with little notice. Nothing to do with the subject at hand. Just wanted to give you an example of how Harper can change things and do a 360 last minute, especially when he is confident things are good for him. Back to the poison pill, I believe the scrapping of the per vote subsidy will be inserted into that budget. This will decimate the Liberals and the Bloc in one fell swoop, Harper’s ultimate goal, according to both Lawrence Martin in Harperland and Gerry Nicholls in a recent article he penned in the Globe & Mail .

    However, the NDP, while painful, could survive. I suggest you read the NIcholls article if you haven’t already.

    All that said, though, the NDP isn’t any more or less altruistic than the rest of them are.

    Also, if the budget is floated, Harper will find another way to trigger his own election sooner, rather than later. He knows he’s this close to a majority and having an election in 2012, well, he probably won’t have that opportunity again. The Liberals could well have a leadership convention by then and there would be another leader. The NDP fortunes could change as well by then. Also, things could change in Quebec, as Duceppe will probably no longer be the leader of the Bloc Quebecois by then as he seaks the leadership of the Parti-Quebecois.