Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Jack Layton : Playing Smart Politics?

Political Smarts 101:
NDP Leader Jack Layton threw his weight behind Prime Minister Stephen Harper's move to prioritize the health of women and children, calling on all party leaders to make the upcoming session of Parliament the "Women and Children First" session of Parliament.
Canada holds the presidency of the G8 this year and Harper has pledged to make it his mission to highlight the health issues facing women and children in developing countries when the group meets in Muskoka this summer.
"I'm going to take Mr. Harper at his word and encourage this initiative to move women and children to the top of the G8 agenda when those meetings happen," Layton said.- PETER ZIMONJIC, PARLIAMENTARY BUREAU, The Intelligencer
Contrast this latest position with below.
September 2008 - Mr. Layton's aggressive strategy carries considerable risks. The more he attacks Mr. Harper, the more he feeds the notion that "progressive" voters should get together to block a decisive Conservative victory. If the NDP has not surpassed the Liberals in the polls by the end of the campaign, it could be vulnerable to a repeat of 2004, when swing voters on the left responded to Liberal appeals to come over to their side. - Tom Flanagan
Budget Fallout 2009
Listen for the warning to the Liberals from the NDP and Bloc in not giving up their "gains". Why would the strategists allow an election on the timetable of the Liberals if the seats are at the expense of the Bloc or NDP?

May 2009- As with so much in politics, morality disappears like a fog when survival is at stake.  All parties and their leaders have done it in the past, but for right now it’s Jack Layton’s turn and it isn’t pretty. - Glen Pearson
September 2009 - Michael Ignatieff is a winner because his bluff paid off. The Liberals are now free to vote against the government on every confidence motion. They have succeeded in shifting the burden of determining the fate of the government to the two other opposition parties. While the Liberals may be the major victors in this week's brawl, that doesn't reverse the remarkable shrinkage Ignatieff's stature has undergone over the past year. Once thought of as a sparkling intellectual, a second Pierre Trudeau, the Liberal leader bumbled his way into and out of the coalition, gave his support to the Harper government in return for a few report cards, and spent the summer who knows where. -Jack and Gilles went up the hill
September 2009 -Ignatieff hasn't thought this fairy tale through -I have not even mentioned to this point the fact that the Liberals would need the support of the NDP and the Bloc Québécois to force this election. I have not mentioned it because the last time “Jack and Gilles” got together to form a team, they predictably did not make it up the Hill. So to assume this dream team will band together again now and win over the Canadian public is, quite frankly, a fairy tale.- Steve Patterson

Jack has been in politics for a very long time and has been positioning the NDP as the "cooperative" partner for years. Has the NDP have suffered their worst seat counts when progressives voted for the Liberal majority? If the NDP are to grow as a credible alternative to the government, they need to counter their natural allies. The Allies are Bloc, Liberals and Green voters. Can the NDP build upon 2008 and poach more progressive voters from the left of centre parties by cooperating with the CPC?
The Liberals have engaged in asking for the "progressive voters" in several campaigns. They are going to repeat the same narrative in the next campaign to stop the CPC majority. The Liberals attacked the NDP and Bloc when they did NOT support the no-confidence motion by the Liberals in September 2009. Anyone remember the Jack & Gilles jokes by the Liberals?
How will the NDP position themselves for the next election to hold their gains against their "natural allies" in large urban centres,  Quebec and rural communities? Are the NDP playing smart politics in not following the Liberals who took a public pro-abortion stance for aiding the third world countries in opposition to the announcement made by our government for the upcoming G8- G20 meetings?
A winning tactic on several occasions, deployed by strategists within the CPC is to allow the opposition just enough rope to twist themselves in knots and ultimately hang themselves.
Has Jack Layton evolved from checkers to chess in strategy? Is Jack providing our PM with just enough rope on the international stage on Women's Issues? Time will tell.
Some of us, cynical bloggers will suggest the finances, nominations and his personal health are the factors in giving the current government breathing space to shine on the international stage. My observation, a few strategist within the NDP have allowed the Liberals to take the lead with photo contests and publicity stunts for a smarter politics in 2009 after the NDP summer convention.
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Bruce said...

Your thesis makes a great deal of sense.

The Liberals see the NDP as a storage bucket for "Liberal voters" and a source of ideas to pilfer.

The Conservatives seem to see the NDP as worthy of rising to be the #2 party. (Sure, that serves Conservative interests, but it also serves NDP interests.) That means what Jack says at least gets attention and consideration, witness his reception last September (one incident amongst several).

I hope you're right. The country needs a principled Opposition, and a principled Government. Oddly enough, it's the Liberals who act to inhibit both!

Patrick Ross said...

If the NDP thought that abortion had anything to do with this issue, they sure wouldn't be backing the Tories on it.

Kind of puts the lie to Ignatieff's recent pro-abortion stand, which really just goes to show you how out-of-touch the Liberals seem to be in terms of the developing world.

Apparently, all they needed all along was more abortions! It's brilliant! ;)

CanadianSense said...


thanks the NDP recovery from 2000 has been slow and steady with many seats gains at a direct result from the Liberals seats.

Many Pollsters have found the NDP the second choice for the Liberal voters.

The NDP have yet to break 20% in a federal election and his convention with the advice from the OBAMA camp about building alliances and becoming mainstream may have made a dent.

It is in the interest of the CPC, Bloc, NDP and Green to eliminate the Liberals as the loyal opposition.

Michael Ignatieff went back on his signed promise to lead the coalition.

CanadianSense said...

Patrick Ross,

Agreed if the NDP wanted to attack the religious voters in Canada they could have joined the Liberals in decrying the current government as a right wing creationist pro-life party who are threatening to make abortion illegal.

The fact is the CPC have not revisited the subject for years, have become the default choice for Catholic and visible minority vote as a result of their policies is very disturbing for the Liberals.

The Pro-Abortion lobby made a mistake in stoking this issue and it will backfire.

In the US it may help kill the healthcare plan.