Monday, January 16, 2006

6 Days and Counting: A Parting on the Left (well, sort of... you know what I mean)

For the last couple of days, we've been hearing Jack Layton making his case for 'strategic voting,' but in his case, he's asking for all Liberals to 'lend the NDP their votes' this time around. Apparently, Jack doesn't understand how such things work.

Instead of making a case for a rational strategic campaign, where NDPs help Libs where it makes sense and vice versa, he's decided the time is ripe to ask the Liberal supporters to cut their political throats for the NDP. Commit seppuku like good Liberal Samurai, and die.

Never mind that Jack's strategy all but ensures a Conservative majority, where the NDP can dangle and swing in the wind. Now is the time to fire their bolt, and hope to become one of the two top contending parties.

My first federal election vote was cast for an NDP candidate back in 1988. In the end, it counted for bupkis. I've voted Liberal ever since, but I've always remembered that campaign where the slogan "This time, Ed" caught my budding political mind and heart, and I've always maintained a soft spot for the NDP. While later I loathed the Reform party, the Alliance and finally the current iteration of the Conservatives, I have always until recently liked the NDP.

The NDP were always the 'next on my list' party who I wouldn't have failed to vote for had I been in a riding where I felt such a vote would have counted; had circumstances been different, I likely would have revelled living in one of those ridings, especially during the past year.

I think I noticed the change first when I learned that the RCMP investigation into the current Liberal finance minister Ralph Goodale's possible leaking of the governments direction on income trusts was in fact triggered by the NDP. While I can't fault them for drawing attention to the possibility of a criminal act, I can fault them for timing; well that's not entirely true, in a machiavellian way I can totally appreciate the stab. Just like helping bring down the government when they did, the move to create even more sound and fury over possible criminal activity on the part of the Liberals must have been an opportunity to juicy to pass up, especially for a party that desperately wants it's shot at the big time. Being a power broker must have whet their appetites.

Was it that calculated a move? We may never know. I'll be interested to see if Ralph Goodale is fully exonerated. I'll be even more interested to see where all this calculated political maneuving and stabbing lands the NDP; I do know the aren't the same party I've always admired, and may not be again until Jack "Stab" Layton has moved on, and the NDP again resemble the party that Ed would lead.

For over a decade the Liberals have enjoyed their supremacy thanks to a divide on the right, but now a parting on the Right is now a parting on the Left; now we wait to see if the NDP and Liberal voters have the sense to come together to limit the power of the resurgeant right-wing in Canada.

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