Tag Archives: jack layton

23 seconds of liking Jack Layton

Various blog rumours: “Jack Layton may lend support to Stephen Harper’s government in exchange for a referendum on proportional representation.” (yay!)

Robert Silver at globeandmail.com: “If this rumour is true then it is the first move Jack Layton has made since he became leader of the NDP that is, without qualification, strategically smart.” (yes!)

Peter Zimonjic at canoe.ca: “I called up Karl Belanger, Layton’s press secretary, and asked him if there was any truth to it He gave me a flat out: NO.” (damn!)

Aaaaaaaannnnnd scene. That was fun, eh? Now, as you were everyone. As you were.

A prediction

I have acquired a huge backlog of things to write about, which ironically is more paralyzing than enabling. All sorts of drafts and re-writes are rolling around in my head, and I hope to have this blog up and running again with semi-regular posts in short order. Thank you for your patience.

In the mean time, I leave you with this quick prediction. With so much environmental, economic, and political uncertainty in the world right now, it’s hard to know where anything is headed. I can, however, confidently foresee the following. Having now endorsed not just one, but two Liberal leaders as prime minister, Jack Layton will oppose his own inclusion in the next televised leaders’ debate. You heard it here first.

Without Precedent

The criteria for inclusion in the leaders’ debate is completely arbitrary. The system to decide who gets equal treatment has never been clear, transparent, accountable, or democratic. And yet, the Green Party played along and met all of the criteria as ever defined by a member of the broadcast consortium. Today we were excluded from the debate regardless. This is a shameful and irrational decision. It is an insult to democracy. And it is without precedent.

For the Reform party, having one seat was good enough to earn Preston Manning an invitation. For the Bloc, creating a party mid-Parliament was enough to earn Lucien Bouchard an invitation, even though no one had ever cast a single vote for his party and his candidates were only running in one province (on a promise of breaking up the country, no less). The Greens have an MP (who came to his new party in the same way that Bloc MPs came to theirs), have national support and are running candidates in every region of the country (more than the Reform party could say).

So what’s the difference between us and those other new parties that came before us? Was this decision made because our leader is a woman? Or because unlike the other parties, we haven’t traditionally spent money to advertise on the same networks that made the decision? I’d hate to think those were motivating factors, and I don’t really believe they were, but I’m hard pressed to come up with any other key distinctions. The only thing I’m left with is that we’re more of a threat than those other parties were, or perhaps that our opponents are more cowardly than theirs.

On day one of this election campaign, Elizabeth May began by saying that democracy itself was more important than any one party. On day two, 5 unelected and unaccountable people met in secret and decided to spit in the face of the nearly 700,000 people who voted Green in the last election, the over 1 million people who say they intend to do so in the next election, the 80,000 people who have signed a petition demanding our inclusion, and the 80% of Canadians who—regardless of whether or not they support the Green party—understand that we have earned our right to be heard.

We will fight this decision. Not just for ourselves, but for all voters who deserve to know all of their options before they make up their minds.

Finally, I can’t help but feel a special amount of shame for Jack Layton. He claims to support fair voting. He has repeatedly run on a platform that argues the Greens deserve at least 12 seats. And yet, today he’s happy to hide behind a voting system that he otherwise decries as unjust. He supports fair voting when it suits him, and ignores it when it doesn’t. That is the definition of a hypocrite and an opportunist.

When each party kicked-off their election campaigns on Sunday, Elizabeth May led supporters in a chant of “vote, vote, vote.” Meanwhile, NDP supporters across the river from Parliament Hill were chanting “Jack, Jack, Jack.” I guess we know where their priorities are.

A Future Voice

(To download or print this letter as a PDF, click here.) 

Last June our Member of Parliament, the Hon. Bill Graham, stood in the House of Commons to announce his resignation. As a result, a by-election has been called for March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, in Toronto Centre. In his final address to Parliament, Mr. Graham said, “[the] people of my riding, I hope, will understand why I believe it is important that they be represented by a future voice rather than someone from the past.” I couldn’t agree more.

We are at an exciting time of opportunity for our city, our country, and our planet. It’s up to us, as citizens, to seize that opportunity. I’m running to be your Member of Parliament because I believe it’s time for government to do better, to aspire towards greater goals, and to achieve them with pragmatic and innovative ideas. I’m running as the Green Party of Canada’s candidate because I know Greens have the best plan for our country’s economy, for our environment, and for Toronto.

I’ve heard from many of you who have voted Liberal in the past that you aren’t comfortable doing so this time around. You know that even though someone has “experience,” it doesn’t always mean they have the right kind of experience. If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. Many current and former Liberals are supporting the Green Party and my campaign, including Pierre Trudeau’s former Director of Communications Jim McDonald.

I’ve heard from many of you who have voted Conservative, but feel like your party has left you. You know that the firing of your duly nominated local Conservative candidate because he was too focused on social and urban issues sends a strong message that this Reform/Alliance/Conservative party has not only turned its back on cities, but has turned its back on all Progressive Conservatives. If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. Many current and former Progressive Conservatives are supporting my campaign, including former provincial Cabinet Minister Phil Gillies.

I’ve heard from many of you who have voted NDP, but are discouraged by their overly-partisan and negative tone, and by their tendency to be long on grievances and short on vision. If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. Many current and former New Democrats are supporting my campaign, including Cameron Miller, who worked directly with Jack Layton during his leadership campaign and is the past president of the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association.

These individuals and many others are able to come together for this cause for two reasons. One, because the Green Party’s vision for Canada transcends old-line politics, and presents a new proposition for voters tired by the left/right battles of the past. And two, because this by-election represents a unique opportunity.

We, the citizens of Toronto Centre, have the opportunity to send a strong message for change in politics. We have the opportunity to demand that our politicians offer real
vision and realistic solutions. And we have the opportunity to make history. I’m asking for your support in this by-election so that we can create that change together. I’m asking you to vote for a future voice, rather than for somebody—or some party—from the past.

Please contact me to let me know your thoughts on the important issues in this campaign, and browse this website to learn more about myself, my party, and the exciting path ahead.

Chris Tindal

ps. Successful election campaigns are not possible without your support. If you believe in what we’re doing, please request a sign, volunteer, or donate. Generous tax credits are available so the cost to you is minimal.