Layton’s New Job

Julian Wolfe
May 24th, 2011

Layton rallies his NDP troops

Jack Layton has always had a fighting spirit, and he must be so happy that Harper has a majority. This may sound insane, but Harper having a majority actually does benefit him. Since Harper has a majority, he can bark at him and never risk toppling the government. In this case, smooth sailing for him to boost his image. All he needs to do is reject everything Harper does he will look golden by October 19, 2015.

Try being the official opposition leader in a minority government. It isn’t easy. While Layton pinned the Liberals as weak for going along with what Harper said and did, it is obvious that it was strategic. Unless Canadians wanted a near election call every few days, the Liberals had no choice but to abstain or throw in the towel. The NDP and Bloc Quebecois placed themselves in a position where they would always oppose the government. It can be guaranteed that if Layton had been the official opposition leader last time, he would have been forced to support the Harper Government every step of the way as the Liberals would have used the non-official opposition status to tender to the same advantages that Layton had – corner the official opposition into choosing between an election and stable, yet majority-like government.

Canadians can expect a loud, but silenced, opposition. As Harper has a majority, listening to Layton and taking his advice is at his discretion. In other words, expect the paraphrase “Canadians elected us to do X and this is the platform that Canadians voted for, therefore we will not back out of our plans” to become a regular statement from the Conservatives.

Today, Layton addressed his troops, promising to hold Harper to account. Today, Layton wants to pin Harper as uncompromising and against Canadians needs, another strategic move as the Conservatives will clear the way for their agenda. With a majority government under their reigns, Canadians will see and feel the power that the Conservatives have to shrug off opposition attacks and carry on with motions – this time, they don’t need to assign a confidence motion to almost every single one.

Layton may have tripled his seat count, but he lost his voice in parliament in the process. An ironic twist of events, but one that Layton will try to capitalize on. It is easy being the opposition leader in a majority government since your voice means next to nothing and people will think that you are against what the government is doing – regardless of where you actually stand.

Layton announced today, “We have here — standing shoulder to shoulder — the experienced leaders of today, with decades of experience, and the young Canadian leaders of tomorrow, and of many years to come.”

Layton’s caucus includes a number of ministers that are under 30 and the youngest being 19-year-old Pierre-Luc Dusseault.

Layton told his caucus that Canadians gave him the task “to hold the Conservatives to account, and to propose practical solutions that will drive the agenda and the country forward.”

Layton said that the NDP will focus on families when Parliament resumes on June 2. He told the crowd that Harper was more focused on rewarding his friends referring to the new Senate appointments.

“Stephen Harper’s very first post-election priority was to reward failed Conservative candidates with high-paying Senate appointments,” Layton said.

Fabian Manning and Larry Smith left the senate to try to get into the House of Commons. When they failed, they joined defeated former cabinet minister Josée Verner in Harper’s list of appointments to the upper chamber.

Layton acknowledged that he wouldn’t have had the support he got if it weren’t for Quebec and menti0ned his 59 Quebec MPs in his speech.

On Wednesday, the NDP and Liberals will be holding caucus meetings. The Liberals will be trying to lick their wombs while choosing an Interim Leader.

The Conservatives haven’t met since they won their majority.

Layton will announce his shadow cabinet by the end of the week.

In the end of the day, it is shaping up for a Layton/Harper showdown in 2015 and Layton will be using the majority safety blanket to attack Harper from a distance that won’t have repercussions on the stability of the government. Assuming Layton doesn’t mess up, or propose an unrealistic plan, he is enroute to enjoying his term as Official Opposition leader in a majority government – quite frankly, his political career must be relieved that it is a majority government.

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   Categories: Cabinet, Conservative, Election, Electoral System, Families, Harper, Layton, Liberal, NDP, Quebec, Senate

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