Courtesy of Ian Capstick, here’s a sneak preview of what Jack Layton will have to say to his caucus — and party staff, and supporters, and however many reporters and camera crews can be crammed into 308-WB, which, by the way, is not nearly as many as if he did this somewhere other than the second-smallest and most cramped committee room on the Hill, but ITQ digresses – at what is being billed as a back-to-work “rally” tomorrow morning.
There’s not much new, to be honest — although he agrees that we’re on the “brink” of an election, he still wants to Make Parliament Work For Canadians — although he does lay out the NDP’s legislative priorities for the fall session in a wee bit more detail:
- job creation through “directly funding new infrastructure in municipalities”
- security for seniors
- substantive” credit card reform
- “fixing EI”
- respecting the rights of Canadians abroad
- an effective and ambitious emissions reduction plan to take to Copenhagen
- “work to build the foundations of the new Canadian economy”
But — and this may be a deal-breaker of a “but”, depending on exactly what the government plans to include in the rumoured Friday supply bill – the NDP “will not be party to increasing the EI payroll tax to pay down Mr. Harper’s record $164 billion deficit.” It’s also not clear whether all of the above concerns would have to be addressed in order for the NDP to support the government throughout the fall session.
Which is why ITQ stands by her original assessment: even if the NDP throws its grudging support behind the EI reform package on the grounds that it does something, at least, to “fix” the current system, it’s hard to see how that alone would be enough for the party to justify keeping the government in power when the first opposition-initiated confidence motion hits the Commons later this month.
Oh, and yes, even though we’ve seen the speaking notes, ITQ still plans to be there, berry in hand, for tomorrow’s live performance. Parliament is back, y’all! Let’s enjoy it while we can, shall we?