NDP Leader Jack Layton says Paul Martin deserves to be defeated after having bungled the election campaign and his time in office, appealing to disillusioned Liberals to back his party instead so it can play a strong opposition role in the next Parliament.
The New Democrats are preparing for the strong possibility of a Tory victory in what a party strategist called a "significant change in . . . message" yesterday.
"Paul Martin's Liberal Party needs a timeout to heal itself, clean itself up, decide what it believes," Mr. Layton said during a campaign stop in Victoria. "I want to say this to those who have voted Liberal in the past: If you have supported the Liberal Party in recent elections, I suspect you have been increasingly dismayed by Paul Martin and his team of Liberal supporters. More and more Canadians have come to the conclusion that Paul Martin has failed the test of leadership."
This is the message Jack Layton should have been delivering from day one of the campaign, even while the Liberals enjoyed their traditional soft early lead.
He had the opportunity to break off the left wing of the Liberals, a wing which never really liked Paul Martin and his fiscal conservative reputation but which couldn't coalesce around a single leadership candidate to stop him in time.
He may still do so, but his public willingness to pander to the Liberals for a few extra social spending dollars has damaged the NDP's potential to solidify the left vote.
Jack Layton's endless pursuit of ad hoc coalitions and deals may have served him well in Toronto city council, under an officially non-partisan system; it has not served the NDP as well in Parliament.
But good to see him shooting down the coalition trial balloon.
Source: Globe and Mail