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.