Bright Lights, Big Stakes -

Bright Lights, Big Stakes


Big City Jack Layton was out talking up mass transit funding this morning, his podium set up hard by the streetcar track at Bathurst Street station in Toronto, the lights of Honest Ed’s beloved urban-kitsch sign twinkling just down the block.

The day before, at a rally east along the Bloor-Danforth subway line (you had to get off at Broadview and take a pleasant stroll north, past Mountain Lion Taxidermy and Serendipity Stained Glass, to the Estonian Hall), Layton went so far as to suggest that Toronto is a sort of beacon to Canadians.

You don’t hear that every day on the hustings.

Of course, Toronto is the old city-hall pol’s home turf, although Layton also takes every opportunity—with a few Montreal ridings arguably in play for his NDP—to mention that he’s Quebec born and bred.

That urban flavour means everything to Layton in this campaign. Shorthand for federal politics in recent years has been: big-city Liberals; smaller-city, small-town, rural Conservatives. But check out this interpretive paragraph from Harris/Decima, based on the firm’s poll released on Sept. 27:

“The gains for the NDP appear to be coming largely at the expense of the Green Party and the Liberals. The growing strength of the NDP is most noteworthy among urban voters, where they now trail the Liberals by only 3 points of second place. Among urban women, the gap between the parties is only one point, essentially a tie.”

This read of where city ridings might be trending is more telling in the case of the NDP than the national numbers (latest Harris/Decima has Conservatives 36 per cent, Liberals 25 per cent, the New Democrats 19 per cent, Greens and Bloc both 9 per cent), since it’s targeted urban seats where the NDP is most likely to gain at the Liberals’ expense.


Bright Lights, Big Stakes

  1. “read of where city ridings might be trending ”

    Women voters will say one thing before the polls close, and they’ll do another based on the most recent polls on election day. The NDP will go back down to their usual 15-16% after all the votes have been tallied.

  2. Condescendingly sexist much, Anon?

  3. Not out west here Anon! There is movement I have never seen before and it’s going NDP strongly. I think what is hapening is that as the Liberal numbers drop through the floor the main inheritor is the NDP with some going Green and Conservative

  4. No kidding that was an incredibly sexist post. The NDP has strong platform planks that address the needs of Canadian families no matter where they live. I know that Jack was in cities (small and large) across Canada for the past 4 months making transit funding announcements. There is a strong plank to deal with the forestry sector and the devastation they are facing both from the softwood sell-out and the pine forest beetle. The child benefit plank will help each and every family with incomes below 188k across the country. A New Democrat government will be able to do all this because they will keep the corporate tax rate as it was set by Paul Martin and NOT reduce it by $50billion as the libs and cons would do. Layton’s agenda isn’t simply a cities agenda it is a Canadian vision.

  5. Jay, given the 30-45 seats the NDP seem likely to win (based on recent polls anyway), what fraction of the NDP platform do you see being implemented by the next parliament?

  6. Ian,

    From the entire NDP platform, we can safely assume that both “the” and “a” will find their way into virtually every piece of Conservative legislation. If they can tip the seat count above 45, perhaps “with” and “is” too, but that’s probably too much to hope for…

  7. If Toronto is a beacon, it’s a giant red light warning sensible people to stay away.

  8. Actually, what’s sexist is to claim (as just about everybody does) that child care is exclusively a Women’s Issue (I paid attention in sex ed, I’m sure the man does something…), and that all women want is for the government to cheaply take the snotty-nosed buggers off their hands.