Title: Holy Hypocrisy, Batman!
Description: Commentary on Harper and Layton criticizing Stephane Dion and Elizabeth May on their recently announced agreement to co-operate in their efforts to defeat Harper and promote the environment and the timing of the upcoming election in Canada.
Tags: Harper Dion Layton Elizabeth May non-compete election environment Central Nova MacKay
Lloyd MacIlquham, B.Sc., M.Sc., J.D.
Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
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I has come to Robin's attention that Harper and Layton are criticizing Stephane Dion and Elizabeth May on their recently announced agreement to co-operate in their efforts to defeat Harper and promote the environment.
Robin: It seems that Stephane Dion might be following your suggestion to make Elizabeth May Minister of Environment if the Liberal win the election
Batman: Well, not quite Robin. He and May jointly announced that their parties will not be fielding candidates in the other leader’s riding.
This is quite different than what we discussed previously.
Robin: How so, Batman?
Batman: Well Robin, what Dion is doing goes to the fundamental structure of the Liberal Party.
It also seems to run contrary to the “308-riding strategy” expounded last December by Gerard Kennedy, Dion's adviser on election preparations. Not fielding a candidate exposes the Liberals to the accusations of not being “National” and
Robin: And that is what is happening.
Batman: Yes Robin, but you must keep in mind that no matter what Dion and the Liberals do the NDP and Harper will criticize. So, we must discount their comments if we want to get to the truth of the matter. One thing we can infer, though, from their reactions is that the longer and louder they cry the more they feel it hurts their chances for power.
Robin: Holy Hypocrisy, Batman, you mean Harper and the NDP are really criticizing because they feel Dion’s move will hurt them at the polls? How might it do that?
Batman: Well not running a candidate will likely increase the seriousness of Elizabeth May’s challenge to Peter MacKay
in Central Nova, to the extent even of displacing the NDP.
Also, the Green Party and the Liberals being able to work together in the common purpose of protecting the environment and defeating Harper threatens to unite the centre and left and squeezing out Jack Layton and the NDP.
Robin: But, this is only one riding. How can that make a difference?
Batman: Well, Robin, it make be a case of leading by example. This may be a signal to the grass roots of each Party to co-operate. They then leave it to the individual party members.
Robin: But, isn’t it necessary to unite the centre and left in order to ensure that Harper doesn’t form a majority.
Batman: Once again, Robin, you seem to have a clear grasp of the situation.
Robin: Then, why doesn’t Jack Layton join in with the Liberals and Green Party.
Batman: Good question, Robin. In the last election it seemed Layton had visions of himself equalling or bettering Broadbent’s achievements, squeezing the Liberals out and even forming the Official Opposition.
This, of course, didn’t happen and for good reason, not the least of which may be Jack Layton himself. It would appear that Layton is not yet ready to concede this dream, in other words his quest for power and influence. Also, Layton seems to think that he and the NDP benefit from a minority government in that it gives him and the party increased stature.
This is, of course, despite its inhibiting effect on good government and allowing Harper to rule.
Robin: You mean, Batman, Layton does not join in with the Liberal and the Green because of sheer desire for power and influence, even if it means that Harper and the Conservatives run the country.
Batman: That would appear to be so, Robin. And the situation may not change until leadership in the NDP changes.
Robin: Holy the Pot-Calling-the Kettle-Black, Batman, isn’t the NDP accusing the Liberals of power mongering.
Batman: Apparently, Robin, this is an example of a basic principle that they, and Harper as well, seem to be applying, that is ‘project your own shortcomings onto your enemy’.
Robin: Well Batman, that sheds light on Layton and the NDP. But, what about Harper and the Conservatives?
Batman: Well, Robin, Peter MacKay, is Harper’s general in the Atlantic Provinces and he will be campaigning in all these ridings and so not as much his own. On the other hand, if he were to lose the riding it would be a huge defeat for Harper and the symbolism would not be lost on Canadians.
So, MacKay is forced to spend more energy and time in his own riding disrupting the Conservative campaign in the Atlantic Provinces.
Robin: But does Elizabeth May really have a chance even with this agreement between her and Dion.
Batman: Good question Robin, it can’t be said that this agreement will definitely 'put it over the top' for May.
Robin: Then why do it, Batman, especially with the kind of backlash that they should have foreseen.
Batman: Well Robin, if this agreement represents the full extent of their efforts to unite the centre and left, then it may be a failure Robin, and for the reason you suggest.
Robin: Holy left-in-the-dark, Batman, what could this all mean?
Batman: Another basic principle in politics when you are deciding on a controversial courses of action is to “run it up the flag pole and see how it flies”.
Apparently Dion did not do this. Given the impact on the Liberal Party, itself, if this were the extent of their plans, this really should have been done.
However, it may be that this agreement itself was announced to
see what the reaction would be in order to gage further, more extensive, actions in co- operation between the Parties.
Robin: You mean, like Dion announcing that he will ask Elizabeth May to be Minister of Environment if the Liberals win.
Batman: Possibly, Robin, but given the nature of the agreement, it may be that there is something else afoot.
Robin: Just one more thing, if there won’t be an election for a year or so, why make this announcement now. Couldn’t they simply hold off on a nomination meeting in Central Nova,
let rumours start to rise about such a deal and thus applying your flag-pole principle.
Batman: Well, Robin, if Dion foresees an election in the very near future, then there would be no time for this.
Robin: Well that goes back to our previous discussion that it is better for Dion to have the election in now rather than a year from now, which would likely benefit Harper. Does the agreement between Dion and May mean that the Liberals are going to press for an election now.
Batman: I don’t know, Robin. What I do know is that we’ve got to get our Canada back, Robin, before its too late.
© Lloyd MacIlquham, all rights reserved, 16 April, 2007