|Professor Layton and the Unwound Country
||[Aug. 22nd, 2011|10:44 pm]
So Jack Layton died this morning, leaving behind him a posthumous letter to the effect of 'I regret nothing!'
I can't say I was a fan of Jack Layton's, nor of the NDP under his leadership. I sincerely hope whoever takes over can undo at least some of the damage he did during his 8 years in charge.
I still hold Jack personally responsible for choosing to bring down the Liberals right at the start of the COP 11 climate negotiations and introducing Harper to the PMO in 2005/6 (killing the Kelowna Accord in the process was an added bonus). The NDP's rabid attacks on Dion's carbon-tax proposal in 2008 sounded like they were ripped directly from a Conservative playbook. Granted the Dion Liberals mostly dug their own incompetent grave, but old Laughin' Jack was only too ready to help shove them into it, ensuring that no political party (except the Greens, natch) will dare to propose a national carbon tax in Canada or campaign seriously on the environment for another generation. (It certainly didn't help when the BC NDP merrily followed his lead with a similarly vicious Ax-the-Tax campaign in 2009, which was similarly counterproductive though for quite different reasons.) Layton's performance this spring, where he seemed more intent on sticking a final shiv in the Liberals than actually bringing Harper down, was just par for the course by then, and boy did it work. Now we've got an unbreakable 4-year Harper majority and the end of publicly-financed elections in Canada. Thanks Jack, that's a real legacy to be proud of!
Sure he lead the NDP to an unprecedented finish and a miracle breakthrough in Quebec this time, but at what cost? They have less actual power to do anything now than they did with half as many seats in a minority parliament, a textbook Pyrrhic victory. And we don't know how many of those Quebec seats will even get a second term yet... I wonder what many of those "Orange Surge" voters who were probably basically voting for Jack personally (or thought they were) are thinking now.
Still, good luck to Nycole Turmel. I've heard decent things about her as interim leader, the whole PQ red-herring notwithstanding, and I'm curious of course who's going to ultimately take over. I just truly hope whoever else it is, it isn't Thomas Mulcair, or we'll be looking back on the good old days of Jack.