I don’t know if it’s just my old age, the fact that I’ve been involved in politics since I was 18 or the fact that I’ve gone from radical Marxist to more of a realist, but I just don’t see Jack Layton’s capitulation on the corporate tax cuts as the black hole that many on the left seem to see it. True, I’ve been as vociferously opposed to corporate tax cuts as anyone else and I stand by the belief that they do not spur job creation and only work to line the pockets of those who already make my yearly salary in the first few days of January. The thing is, how much sense, real political sense I’m taking here, does it make to continue beating a dead horse. The fact remains is that the NDP can hold it’s head high knowing that it voted against corporate tax cuts every time they have come up for a vote. Every….single….time. The Liberal party, on the other hand, is the party that got the ball rolling on cutting corporate taxes and even supported going lower then Harper did in the 2008 election (that’s right, they too felt that in times of trouble, corporate tax cuts would spur job growth).
Now I know many who support the NDP, like myself, get bent out of shape when we see the leader of our national party bailing on this ideals. The fact remains, however, that there is little the NDP could actually do to get these cuts changed. They have been enacted into law, thanks to the Liberals again, and changing that legislation is not something that I think is even politically possible, let alone legislatively possible given the Tory majority in the Senate. So what choices did Jack have, and what has he really done here? Well, he’s played this smart. He’s put forward some good measures that if implemented could help out seniors in a big way in this country, not to mention the 1/5 of people without a family doctor. Will this get the NDP votes? Maybe, maybe not. But in the end isn’t it better to do what’s right then what gets a party votes? Tommy Douglas felt that it was.
When the War Measures Act was brought in by then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Tommy Douglas stood against it. Did it win him and his party votes? No! The NDP lost votes after the next election. Was it the right thing to do, to oppose the implementation of the War Measures Act on our population? Absolutely. The very reason Layton joined with the NDP was because he was inspired by T.C.’s boldness and steadfast belief in the right thing to do. Jack is likely using this mantra to help himself craft ideas that the Harper government get through this troubling time. I’m sure he hates to support Harper, but, ensuring that Canadians receive the full benefits of their might support. It’s better this then an election.
Even I have said at times that I want an election, but once I step back from my own emotions I see the tumultuous times we live in today and realize that the outcome of another election is likely going to be more of the same. So why not try to work together? It makes little sense to go all in against a party that is holding all the cards. The Tories are great a playing this game and to play into it will not serve us in the long term. If we continue to ride out this recession, try to get the most for Canadians and maintain pressure on the Harper government, this is much stronger footing then being the all or nothing parliamentarians that we criticise the Tories for being.
In the end, the NDP needs to focus on getting the best for Canadians out of the next budget. We can be judged on our success come election time. Precipitating an election that no one wants will not do us any good in the long run.
Cross Posted @ Sister Sage’s Musings