Tories soften tone with NDP ahead of 2011 budget


Ottawa— Globe and Mail Update
Posted on

The Conservatives are suddenly saying nice things about Jack Layton and the NDP, a party they once dismissed as irresponsible socialists.

On Monday afternoon, the Prime Minister’s director of communications, Dimitri Soudas, sent an e-mail to reporters giving a heads up about a forthcoming announcement. The note said the government was about to invite Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to Canada.

Mr. Soudas’s e-mail included a note regarding the NDP Leader: “Mr. Layton has written a letter to the Prime Minister asking the government to invite Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi to Canada. We thank Mr. Layton for his positive contribution to this matter.”

Perhaps the Conservatives are simply caught up in the spirit of the season, but a new tone seems to be emerging as the focus of federal politics shifts to the coming 2011 budget.

Last week, in a year-end interview with the Reuters news agency, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty spoke of the “common ground” that exists between Tories and New Democrats.

The Finance Minister said he had met separately with Liberal finance critic Scott Brison and NDP finance critic Tom Mulcair. Mr. Flaherty said it was clear from his chat with the Liberal critic that “I guess they’ll vote against the budget.”

But Mr. Flaherty suggested there’s a better chance of agreement with the NDP, particularly on programs to train workers.

“That doesn't mean they'll support the budget, but it does mean there's some common ground,” he was quoted as saying in reference to his discussion with Mr. Mulcair.

That is a sharp change from what Mr. Flaherty was saying about the NDP in September, when he told a business audience that a coalition involving the NDP should be feared.

“Any coalition that would give the NDP access to taxpayers' wallets should strike fear in regular Canadians,” he told the Canadian Club of Ottawa.

While Mr. Layton has at times been willing to support the Conservatives in exchange for specific policy measures, Mr. Mulcair – a former minister in Quebec’s Liberal government – has continued to advocate a future arrangement between the NDP and the federal Liberals.

In a column by Lawrence Martin in Tuesday’s Globe and Mail, Mr. Mulcair is quoted as saying the centre-left needs to learn from the merger of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties.

“On the centre-left, we have to be just as smart as conservatives were on the centre-right when they coalesced,” he is quoted as saying. “We’ve got to learn from that, otherwise we’ll end up with Harper governing with 37 per cent of the vote again.”

The Conservatives’ new language directed toward the NDP comes on the heels of Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff’s announcement that his party will likely vote against the 2011 budget unless it rescinds corporate tax cuts and walks away from the purchase of new F-35 fighter jets – two scenarios the Tories have already ruled out.

In a year-end television interview, CTV’s Robert Fife asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper directly whether Mr. Ignatieff’s announcement now has the government looking for other options.

“If [Mr. Ignatieff] says he’s taking you down, and you want to continue governing, that means you’re going to have to work out some kind of arrangement with either the NDP or the Bloc,” Mr. Fife suggested. “And that negates your whole storyline, which is there is this coalition of the opposition parties that you want to run again in the next election against.”

Mr. Harper replied that he’s open to ideas from the other parties, but said he won’t cut deals.

“My position, since I’ve been Prime Minister, nearly five years now, is that we don’t go and cut deals to govern with a particular opposition. Certainly not with the Bloc Québécois, a party that’s dedicated to the break-up of the country. We don’t make deals with people like that to run the country,” he said. “What we do is we say we’ll listen to everybody’s ideas, we’re open to hearing the ideas, and of course, the Canadian people, and we come forward with what we believe is best for the country. And then Parliament has to make its own decisions, based on that.”





Mr. Harper has a winning idea, play with Jack Layton's ego, the price for which will be announced later indirectly.

Mr. Harper needs to remember that Jack Layton is the most anti-father extreme feminist politician in Canada who is famous for his stance against Equal Parenting and his support for the "one stop divorce shop" lobby group who carry out a war against men and promote Male Gender Apartheid that has effectively removed from Canadian men, dam near all legal rights.

Its this kind of promotion of hatred towards the male gender by Jack Layton that destroys the rule of law, legal rights, creates injustice and causes most Canadian children to grow up without a father for which Jack Layton takes great pride in his pink triangle supporters.

A point every Male NDP father should bear in mind at the next election.