27

Wiggle room


 

Jack Layton is ready if Stephen Harper is willing.

NDP Leader Jack Layton is to hold a news conference Thursday to clarify the party’s position.

A key source said Layton will announce that he’s willing to support the government on a case-by-case basis if it backs NDP private members bills on issues such as extending EI benefits, measures to help seniors, and regulating credit card rates.

And Layton will even give Harper some wiggle room, stopping short of presenting a specific “shopping list.”

For the sake of argument, the NDP boasts of some of its private members’ bills here.


 

Wiggle room

  1. Sharpen your pencils for some serious mid-autumn X marking!

  2. Okay, I'm officially confused. Haven't the Conservatives been very, very clear that they have no intention of supporting any change to the current EI framework other than their own as yet unfulfilled campaign promise to extend benefits to the self-employed? If I recall correctly, the NDP proposal is considerably more ambitious than that, so I'm not sure why Layton would think that there's any chance he'll get the backing of the government for his plan.

    • The NDP proposal is more ambitious, but hey, you can't get an answer if you don't offer (even if that offer is sure to be turned down). Plus, if the NDP didn't make an offer, all you'd hear is the cries of "The NDP did "x" without even looking at it" all over again. Damned if you do, damned if you don't I guess.

      • I can see that, yeah, but I guess it depends on whether or not he's really ready to walk away if the prime minister offers him nothing — or, worse, a blue ribbon panel on *one* thing.

    • Optics? Layton's pattern seems to be that he will always offer an olive branch to the government to try and get his priorities acted on, but has no compunction about voting against them if it's rejected.

  3. What makes you think that Layton thinks there's any chance he'll get the backing of the government for his plan? He and various other NDP MPs have made it clear on numerous occasions that they don't believe they could ever reach a compromise with the Conservatives. So isn't this really just a formality or perhaps a shot in the dark.

  4. I'm not sure why Layton would think that there's any chance he'll get the backing of the government for his plan.

    What makes you think that Layton thinks there's any chance he'll get the backing of the government for his plan? He and various other NDP MPs have made it clear on numerous occasions that they don't believe they could ever reach a compromise with the Conservatives. So isn't this really just a formality or perhaps a shot in the dark.

  5. This is pretty sad. Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George kept leaving things in the apts of girls he likes so that he'll have an excuse to call them and get a second date.

    Good God, Layton. If ya want Harper to (xxxx) you, at least get him to buy you a drink or a donut first.

    • If Layton extracts any concessions from the Conservatives he'll have one-upped your tired, jaded and cynical Liberals.

      • There's a good game for Harper.
        "Give" Jack a boost to the EI package with an automatic one-year sunset clause.
        Harper extends his gov't and perhaps gives Jack a boasting point.
        Not a very strong weapon if Iggy handles it right, (he did after all, make EI an issue, so he could claim some success here too) but you never know, the media and the people are awfully gullible these days.

        If we get more cash into the hands of our huge unemployed masses, that would be good.

        • And Canadians will wonder just how dumb Harper thinks we are and ask him why the f**k he sabotaged the blue ribbon committee with the Liberals just for autumn optics.

      • Harrid, but it'll be Harper's lipstick on his collar. I don't think many Ndpers can stomach that…

  6. While this is just posturing, it certainly works to the Liberals favour if you actually believe there will be a backlash from an election call. Now it will be the breakdown of talks between the NDP and Conservatives that really really gets things going. Now if Iggy were really clever, he would negotiate for the Bloc to support the government through the first Ways and Means type vote. That would make for some fun theatre.

    • While the BQ-Liberal idea sounds good, it wouldn't probably help Iggy in the long run. Even if the BQ allows the Ways and Means motion (the one with the Home Renovation Tax Credit) to pass, it probably wouldn't change Harper's line of attack, which would be that Iggy hates helping homeowners etc (because presumably the Liberals would still vote against it, given their commitment). Plus should any revelation of newfound co-operation between the Bloc and Libs surface, expect Harper to go hard on that too.

      So yes, while having the BQ vote for it would make the tax credit officially law, the potential downsides (i.e. rebirth of coalition) will probably mean that Iggy will take the "don't worry, we'll bring the tax credit back after the election" route (despite the fact it is, admittedly, weak).

  7. How can any traditional NDP supporter accept a de facto alliance with Cons? Propping up the Libs is one thing, but they can't hold their nose and vote for some of the Cons justice proposals for example.
    Iggy will sleep more soundly tonight. Layton may toss and turn a bit.

    • This is not an issuse for core NDP supporters, and in fact a fundamental reason for its support base. NDP supporters don't don't see the Liberal Party as better than the Conservatives, just more sophisticated at hiding its corporate agenda. (By the way, hIstory is on their side. For instance, the EI reforms the Liberals have been touting recently are partly necessary because of Paul Martin's cuts in benefits and eligibility while Finance Minister under Chretien).

      The NDP (and its union and social activitst base) is all about winning concessions from the estabished parties and governments. Just like union members don't object to their union leadership negotiating a better contract with management, NDP members fully support attempts to be at the big table in Ottawa.

      I can understand why this might be difficult for partisan Liberals to accept, but pundits need to take off their middle class blinders if they want to understand the NDP. Dismissing them as irrelevant because they won't win the election is a mistake that their opponents should be careful not to make, and it gets the way of understanding what motivates the party and its members.

  8. In the tradition of….
    "Barkis is willing" no doubt

    have they picked out the dress, ya think?

    • Kory Teneycke is a consultant there now. Garbage in, garbage out. At least he is off the taxpayers' dime now, so that's good.

    • The election looks to fall right between the time when the Americans have there vaccine, we don't have ours yet and the H1N1 flu season starts. Even if it is fairly mild, there will be young people dying. It will be a big issue.

      I agree the Conservatives will try to spin the election as irresponsible, but I don't see how that will stick. Harper could have avoided this if he had let Aglukkaq follow her instincts. I do not doubt that if the pandemic plan was transparent, discussed in committee etc that all party agreement could have been reached. It would have pushed it beyond politics where it belonged. However, now that the medical community is poking holes in the Canadian plan…. it looks like the Conservative (and Harper) will have to wear the outcome.

    • "They (politicians) want to go out and see lots of people; we (public health experts) don't want them to go out and see lots of people,”

      Uh oh. The Tory spin is being reinforced by the medical spin. The Libs got to get this under control with some effective counter-spin. Kinsella, where are you ?

  9. That was suppose to be a reply to Robert above!

  10. Wow, federal politics inanity meets H1N1 inanity!

    It's like some kind of black hole of silliness that could cause one's eyes to roll so quickly they'll actually pop right out of your head!!!

    • Hilarity from the Sun… did they come out and spell how Harper foisted an election on us a year ago? And what better way to hide their total incompetence on this issue for the CONs but to be thrown into election circle-jerks where they refuse to talk aboutt issues, only about the other guy.
      I'd be more worried about catching fecal content from some of our politicians than h1n1…

  11. It's just nice, after the past few years, to read a headline like the above and not assume he is talking about the Liberals.

  12. What time is the press conference?

Sign in to comment.