Friday, January 05, 2007

Parliament's New Math: Will The NDP Fly High or Sell Out?

From CTV:

CTV's David Akin said the move is strategically important to the Conservatives and the NDP.

"Any majority vote is 154 seats, the Conservatives have 124 so they need 30 votes on any issue in order to sustain the government," said Akin.

With Khan's defection, the Conservatives could achieve a majority.

"The combination of the Conservatives and the NDP (29 seats) gives you 154 seats -- a majority you need. This makes Jack Layton and the NDP much more important."

Let's get something straight. Despite the moniker, my allegiance to the Liberal Party of Canada has always been primarily strategic. I've voted NDP in the past, and way back in the mists of time, I think I cast my first vote on the federal level for Joe Clark.

My philosophy has always been that if the Conservative Party starts acting Liberal enough, then you don't necessarily need the Liberal party in power anymore. And if the NDP can serve the same role with the Tories as they played for so long with the Liberals--pulling them left on issues of importance--then they (the NDP) will have maybe done enough earn my support.

So the upcoming negotiations between Layton and Harper over the new and improved Clean Air Act will be crucial. Harper needs to show he's "serious" about the environmental portfolio, but on the other hand he's an Albertan and constrained by the ties between the Oil Industry and his political base. Layton has environmental credibility, but with the party at 15% in most polls, he desperately needs a deal to make the NDP look relevant. Will he succeed in putting some real teeth into the new legislation? Or will he accept crap, call it ice-cream and, for a three point bounce in the polls, sell out the nation while providing legitimacy to the CPC?

I am encouraged by a couple of things. Firstly, with the advent of the Green Party (a Green-first rather than Labour-first political organization), we have a credible check on NDP/CPC joint pronouncements. Secondly, it seems to me that NDP rank-and-filers have always been far more issue-aware (see note) than their counterparts in the other major parties, and less inclined to allow their leaders political maneuvering room on issues dear to their hearts. If Layton comes up short, you will hear about it from his own people.

Note: There's a saying: Conservatives go to the conventions to get drunk, Liberals go to get laid, NDPers go to read the pamphlets. Let us home that there is indeed some truth to this.


Anonymous said...

Holy shit!

I need a drink (Im conservative). I think this is the first time that I read a post of yours that I agree with...

Anonymous said...

Harper will support the NDP just enough to bleed the lefty Liberal voters back to the bubbly champagne socialist in Torrana & Vancouver

Dion is proving to be a dud, will not be able to counterattack very well and will overplay the environment card and drive other liberals to the Greenies.

Tough to liberal these days.

bigcitylib said...


I thought Rona had said words reconsidering some kind of carbon trading...about two months ago.

Anonymous said...

if Ontario hydro, a HUGE GhG emitter wants to double or triple your electricity rates so they can buy some nice feel good credits from China, y'all can just fill yer boots with them nice credits.

You Torrana folks won't mind paying way more for your electricity will you ?? You will still be emitting all those terrible gases but you can feel better even if you are poorer.

Anonymous said...

Yep, shrewd situation for Harpor, kind of hail mary time for layton. Harpor doesn't seem to be too concerned about the rest of this minority mandate -- he's laid the foundation -- promise keeper, tough on crime (even if most couldn't pass muster or a legal check), boost the military, even sound tough internationally. I still think he's more Frank Burns than hawkeye pierce when you get down under his skin, but ... for layton, the opportunity to gain a few morsels, make harpor look less scary don't appear so bad. There is some kind of unwritten accord between these two dancers, about pinching the liberals out of the picture. Unfortunately, nDPers will rue the day that they sold their principles to be just as jackrabbit-partisan as the big boys. But as more wise men then me have pointed out, to underestimate Dion is to prepare yourself for a creme pie facial.