Monday, January 28, 2008

Jack Layton's Pitch to Ontario Labour Council Presidents

Yesterday, I attended a Canadian Labour Congress Labour Council Presidents’ meeting in Toronto where NDP leader Jack Layton was a guest speaker.

Layton’s speech briefly highlighted the historic roots of the NDP-labour alliance before turning his guns on Stephane Dion and the Liberals, whom he mocked and lambasted for sitting on their hands while workers endure a crisis in the manufacturing sector. Layton also gave us a sneak peak at the party’s election platform, suggesting it will focus on pocketbook issues like ATM fees, and credit card debt to woo voters who are feeling marginalized in the economy.

Layton didn’t mention Stephen Harper once during his ten minute speech, but virtually all of the questions from the audience had to do with Harper’s agenda.

By the end of the session, perhaps sensing the mood of his audience, Layton shifted gears and concluded the meeting by declaring "we've got to kick the shit out of this Harper government and replace them with enough NDP MPs to form or direct the next government."

I can understand why Layton focuses on Liberals... strategically, the top NDP targets in Ontario have Liberal incumbents. However, at what point will voters grow tired of an NDP that goes soft on the government while criticizing the Official Opposition? To be sure, there is lots to criticize when it comes to Stephane Dion, but after witnessing the dynamics of this meeting, I'm beginning to rethink the wisdom of the NDP's focus on the Liberals.

3 comments:

Lizt. said...

Well he did not run down Harper in the election of 2006, but ran down the Liberals..and look what we have for a government..it does not work. Harper will be back in again. I do not know why Jack can't wait for the Cons to hang themselves!

berlynn said...

Oh, how I wish the NDP would pay more attention to the grassroots than to the party loyalists! Here's hoping the lesson at the CLC will hold...

Joseph said...

I don't see them going soft on the Conservatives -- at all. Think about Afghanistan. Think about Harper's tax cut agenda. In fact, the Post is just now reporting "Layton targets Harper in pre-return rally" today: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=269802

Sure, they've been critical of the Liberals for sitting on their hands, but they aren't alone. Liberals didn’t oppose extending the mission. Didn't oppose the throne speech. Didn't oppose the mini budget. Liberals deserve all the criticism they get for not voting to defeat Harper's government.

If being consistent and voting for what you believe in is the measure, the NDP has been the ONLY opposition the Conservatives have faced.