and this time the role of Lucy is played by Stephane Dion, not Stephen “do you like my hair, my personal assistant knows it’s going to look good” Harper.
I read this morning that the Liberal motion to pull Canadian troops out of Afghanistan in February, 2009 went down to defeat after the NDP voted with
the Conservatives. The motion was a clever move by the Liberals, because it puts the NDP in a tight spot (see Galloping Beaver for more on this) having to either back the government or the opposition.
And Layton did what Layton does, he handled it pretty badly.
He claims he voted with the Conservatives because he wants the troops withdrawn now, not in 2009, however this looks like a simple gloss to cover his increasingly cozy relationship with the Conservatives – a relationship I’m sure borne not of ideological similarities but of fear of what will happen to the NDP, more importantly his leadership, if an election were to be called. (Not that this was not a confidence issue as written, but Harper has used the threat to force condfidence motions in the past and the Opposition has always blinked.) Layton fears that the NDP would fare quite badly in a pop election and knows that his days as leader are numbered from that point forward.
Getting played by the Liberals like this is not going to help – in the next election campaign you can be sure that the NDP’s support of the Conservative government is going to be played hard in any riding where the two leading candidates are Liberal and NDP.
It’s good to have principles, and perhaps Jack’s opposition to this war is done on principle, but somehow I doubt it. Perhaps he really thinks we should be out of there right now, but does he really think that the NDP’s 20-odd seats is going to force this? Is he planning to put forward and NDP motion to get the troops out right away and expect the Liberals and BQ to back it? I doubt that, too.
What could he have done? He could have voted with the Opposition and then said to his base, which is largely against the war, that it was the best way to get Canadian troops out in the shortest time. In short, a compromise, which is what parliamentary politics is supposed to be about.