Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jack Layton Visits Prime Minister's Office

In yet another twist in the never ending road of minority government election speculation, NDP leader Jack Layton had a visit with Stephen Harper in the Prime Minister's Office on Friday. According to CTV, Layton laid out a rather passive list of demands, and will not make their support of the budget contingent on repealing already approved corporate tax cuts. Craig Oliver seems to think that this diminishes the probability of a spring election, and he might be right. He concluded by saying that if Harper wants his government to stay in power it won't cost him much, and that people in Ottawa are joking that Jack Layton has become "a cheap date".

The business of predicting election timing is tricky at best. The Liberals would love to see the NDP prop up the government so they can attack the Dipper right flank with accusations of enabling Harper's grip on power (just as the NDP did when the Liberals approved previous confidence motions). Personally, I'm at the point where I would like to see a new election. We haven't had a fresh mandate since we found out that the left would like to a form a coalition if necessary.

The NDP has been trying really hard to sell people on their election readiness, but that might have been all for show; because at the end of the day, Jack Layton might prove to be nothing more than a cheap date...


  1. I believe this is just optics. They put impossible things in the window to Harper knowing it won't happen so they can say..."We tried to make things work". The NDP are frothing for a Coalition Govt. Its the only way any of them will get to sit in Govt. Why do you think they are acting so mean and crazed (Dewer)? The only think that MIGHT hold Layton back is Olivia Chows pension in Jan 2012 because they are afterall the MILLION DOLLAR COUPLE.
    I'd like to see Canadians wake up finally and give PM Harper a majority, but the antics from the Libs will never stop.

  2. And we must not forget;one more year as a MP and Chow qualifies for her pension.

  3. These asks from the NDP are decent proposals, not too costly and I am hoping that the PM decides to work with them on this and avoid an election.

    Seriously, the cost of a federal election is now estimated at a minimum of $500 million, I would much rather see that money used for those proposals rather than pissed away for an election that would likely change little anyways. Layton not asking for the corporate tax cuts to be eliminated indicates to me that he is serious about his offer to the PM about wanting to work with him.

    I believe the optics that the PM is capable of working with the opposition and also saying that he was truthful that he does NOT want an election would play very well for him going forward. Definitely make Iggy look like even more of an opportunist again, new ads for that! ;-)

    Yes, I am a CPC supporter before anyone piles on me about that. I am just being pragmatic and really do not see any pressing need to go to the polls. Let Iggy flail around for another year or so, good for us!


  4. I agree with Linda. No election this spring is the best outcome for us.

    Let's see what Iggy does, for another year. Last June, James Travers reported that Mrs. Z was unhappy, some Libs were trying to gently push Iggy out the door, there was a soft landing for him at the University of Toronto.

    So what has changed since then ? The poll numbers are lower, the bus tour has been done, Iggy is looking old. It's going to be a lot more entertaining for us junkies if he resigns.

    Calgary Junkie


    Our progressive, politically correct Prime Minister’s immense expansion of government and expenditures since 2006 denotes that he has abandoned his small-c fiscal conservative principles for an office. Rather than continue to put off the tough decisions, Harper must follow Britain’s paradigm and concede that we can no longer put off the train wreck of both a high deficit (2.8% of GDP) and debt. Rather than increase total 2011 spending by $1.7 billion, Harper’s 2011 austerity budget must reduce total spending; not continue to “restrain” spending increases. Spending levels must divert back to 2008 pre-stimulus levels rather than using the new, much higher post-stimulus levels as the expenditure base for budgeting purposes.

    A net debt ballooning to $519 billion (2009/10) or 32% of GDP, and spending increases of 43% since 2006 are excessive and urgently necessitate amending. Announcing the extension of the superfluous infrastructure program, that are deferred tax increases, is one more example of this fiscally negligent government caving into Quebec’s demands. Spending has ballooned out of control, and our left-plunging PM is now using the recession as a pretext for it to get still further out of control; total expenditures have increased from approximately $210 billion in 2005 to a projected $275 billion for 2009/10. These are the type of circumstances that got us into the crisis that the Chretien-Martin restructuring rescued us from. PM Harper must reiterate Prime Minister Martin’s review procedure as his outline to decrease spending, and reform programs.

    Rather than abiding until we realize Greece style insolvency, its time for tough choices and authentic fiscal reform. If Harper was a legitimate small-c fiscal conservative who merited continuing support from what use to be his authentic small-c fiscal and social conservative base, rather than a progressive, he would immediately inaugurate a substantial expenditure reduction initiative. He would also institute a tax reduction, productivity growth, and innovation performance enhancing agenda that that would result in a structural balance budget by 2013.

    “…the danger now lies in the back-sliding that has occurred in the past decade, with rapidly going government spending and a return to complacency about public debt. Now is the time to reaffirm the power of Laurier’s vision, to make some courageous policy decisions, and to thereby ensuring that the twenty-first century belongs to Canada…Will Canada’s political leaders pay attention?”

    --C. Ragan, Department of Economics, McGill University

    “It would be easy to slip back into persistent government deficits, to allow stimulus spending to endure long after its justification has disappeared, and to fail to achieve for Canada the competitive tax advantage Laurier recommended.”

    --Allan Gotlieb, former ambassador of Canada to the U.S.


  6. Minority parliaments and proportional representation by parties leads to a higher spending government.

    First past the post majority governments allow a party a short period to show the courage of a ruling party's convictions.

    There is always another election to throw the bums out if necessary.

  7. '..attack the Dipper right flank with accusations of enabling Harper's grip on power..'

    Well Liberals may try it, but Dippers got zip results from that line of attack when they used it.

    Canadians elected a minority government 3 times, they like it and EXPECT compromise and co-operation between the parties.

    And if I remember correctly, last time layton propped up the govt to stop an election,
    the NDP numbers went UP.

    Liberals are screwed.

    Somehow Dippers baited Iffy and gang to swing left, then Jack does the switcheroo,
    leaving Iffy swinging out in left field.
    Bravo Jack, you made it look easy (which it likely was)