Sunday, November 30, 2008

Layton accused of smart politics

So let me get this straight.

Jack Layton, foreseeing a time when a progressive coalition of opposition parties would be a go, smooths the way with the Bloc Québécois beforehand. Here's a transcript of a conference call (possibly obtained criminally by the Conservatives) that lays it out.

This preliminary work saves the Liberals the trouble of having to start cold on a deal with their Quebec nemesis. It allows Layton, in effect, to bring two parties to the table. And he was able to establish at the outset that the BQ would not be an actual coalition partner.

Very astute politics. And the irony of getting the BQ on board isn't lost on Layton either:

I’ll just say one other thing about the issue of the Bloc: nothing could be better for our country, than to have the fifty members who’ve been elected to separate Quebec to actually helping to make Canada a better place. I think we just approach it on that basis, and say we’re willing to make Canada happen, here’s other things that we’re going to be investing in and transforming together, they’re willing to work with us, we’ll accept that offer. What will be important to point out is that this will be an NDP-Liberal coalition, which is supported by the Bloc, with policy ideas that the coalition is bringing forward.

But oh, the faux-outrage! Assorted Tory trained seals, hangers-on and media lackeys have broken into a near-deafening chorus of whines and angry accusations. There was only silence from those same quarters, of course, when Stephen Harper was shopping around for coalition partners in 2004.

Harper was supposed to be the one with the chess skills, even if they deserted him recently. But at this point it looks like Jack Layton is no mean player himself.

On with the progressive coalition talks. Bring. Them. Down.

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