Layton is offering to back the government as long as Martin scraps $4.6 billion in corporate tax cuts promised in the Liberal budget and the money directed at social programs.
Martin would not say Sunday if he's willing to meet that demand.
Speaking at Khalsa Day celebrations of the Sikh New Year, Layton said the issue is not one of supporting the scandal-ridden Liberals.
"We're not talking about propping anyone up, we're talking about delivering something for the people," Layton said.
"It's about trying to get something positive done on social and environmental issues for Canadians."
Good for the country, then, that Jack Layton will never get any closer to being Prime Minister than this. Not because he is a socialist ideologue, but because he is a damned fool.
Layton's inability to do math may doom him just as it did Joe Clark.
The budget won't pass unless all three independents vote in favour of it, and at least one (David Kilgour) has all but come out against it. If so, the result will be as follows:
Liberal (132) + NDP (19) + Independent (2) = 153 YES
Conservative (99) + Bloc (54) + Independent (1) = 154 NO
The government will fall. Martin's promise to reroute corporate tax cuts to social spending will be worth even less than it is now (zero), Layton spends the election defending his decision to prop up a corrupt government, and what promised to be the best election ever for the NDP will be a debacle.
Even if the budget should pass, what will Jack Layton be able to extract in return? His leverage is far less than those of the independents, at least two of whom will be out to get Martin at every turn.
This deal with the devil will not profit the NDP one whit, and may cost them everything, including Layton's leadership.
Don't jump, Jack. You have so much to live for.