Gomery reports, Manatee writes about the NDP!

This morning the first report of the Gomery Commission was released. Though Martin has been exonerated, the Liberal brand becomes increasingly tarnished now that Justice Gomery has declared Chretien responsible for organizing and allowing an easily corruptible system, and now that Canadians can now read in plain language a credible account of the kickback scheme. It is clear, less than four hours after the report was made public, that this story will have enough legs to dominate the political agenda, likely until election day. The major players who have already spoken, the opposition leaders and Chretien’s legal team, will insure this.

This essentially should put the politicians into the next gear of campaigning. I think this allows us at Manatee and Gnomes, and others around the blogosphere to enter campaign mode too as we turn our attention away from the critique of public policy, to the critique of partisan strategies. OK… maybe we don’t have to turn very far. And here we go:

Jack Layton came out swinging, apparently shocked by what he had learned in the Gomery report and what the rest of the country had learned months ago. But when he fielded reporters questions he dropped the bat completely. When asked about his thoughts on bringing down the government it became clear that the Gomery report hasn’t actually changed the NDP strategy… yet. Yes, Layton is still keeping his options open (gain concessions from the damaged Liberals, or force an election), but he didn’t look very comfortable fielding questions about the latter option this morning.

I think the interest of the nation would be served if the NDP could get concessions preventing the increased privatization of health care, or acceptance of Ed Broadbent’s ethics package. (Shouldn’t the Liberals be interested in making motions along the lines of the ethics package?) However, I actually think the NDP has room to gain by being the party that brings down the Government. I never would have suggested this in the spring, because parliament was still young and Canadians clearly didn’t want an election. Now Canadians are going to get an election soon, whether they like it or not. A big challenge for the NDP in election campaigns is getting fair media attention, and the legitimacy that accompanies this . Bringing down parliament, combined with the NDP budget and the likelihood that the next parliament will be a minority should keep the NDP in the papers throughout the campaign. Of course, the ideal time to put this strategy in motion would have been this morning. By not explicitly stating that the NDP is willing to force a Christmas election Layton missed an opportunity, both to gain higher ground to negotiate from with the Liberals, and to position themselves as the having orchestrated the Government’s defeat, rather than merely being compliant with Stephen Harper’s strategy.

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11 Comments

  1. Anonymous said,

    Tuesday, 1 November 2005 at 1:01 pm

    Mixed messages from Layton were bad, but I disagree that he should want to force a Christmas election. Harper and Martin did what they had to do at their press conferences.

  2. O'Smiley said,

    Tuesday, 1 November 2005 at 1:40 pm

    Hmm, I think I was mistaken in my comment to Gnomes “Cry Wolf” post – Gomery wont be forgotten, and the Conservative prediction may in fact be the truth. I think that if anything will topple the government this will be it. I’m not sure if all of the recent Liberal ‘Gifts’ will be enough to persuade the person on the fence to lean toward the Liberal during the next election.

  3. Manatee said,

    Tuesday, 1 November 2005 at 2:06 pm

    I think the lack of palatable Conservative policy will keep voters on the fence voting Liberal, so disagree with you that Gomery has much of a chance of leading to a Conservative Government. But I agree with what you wrote yesterday saying Gomery was all the COnservatives have left.

  4. O'Smiley said,

    Tuesday, 1 November 2005 at 4:34 pm

    Manatee – I agree that this will not likely lead to a Conservative Government. I was just saying that if anything lead to a toppling of the government, that this would be it.

  5. Gnomes said,

    Tuesday, 1 November 2005 at 8:25 pm

    I don’t see anything in the report that isn’t good for the Liberals; at least, better than what was already floating around. A clean document that quantifies and cleans up the damage neutralizes worse charges from being flung around. It’s also considerably “sexed-down” and sterile compared to the heady days of the hearings.

    If people were willing to give Martin the benefit of the doubt during the last election, why wouldn’t they this time, when they have a report backing them up?

  6. Anonymous said,

    Tuesday, 1 November 2005 at 9:14 pm

    “If people were willing to give Martin the benefit of the doubt during the last election, why wouldn’t they this time, when they have a report backing them up?”

    True dat. Surely in ’04 the Liberals lost the votes of people who thought Martin was deeply involved. Some of those people should come back.

  7. O'Smiley said,

    Tuesday, 1 November 2005 at 9:33 pm

    I disagree; this report does nothing but flame the Liberal party. Those who left the Liberal vote in ‘04 did so expecting that the Liberals did exactly what the report said the Liberals did. If anything, it will be those who didn’t believe that the Liberal party was as involved as the Media/Opposition said they were, and the Report now proves they were, that are now going to leave the Liberal support.

    True enough, the report clears the PM, but you don’t vote for the PM you vote for the party, unless of course the PM is a candidate within your riding. The blame was definitely directed to the Liberal party, and the PM acknowledged that, otherwise 10 party members would not be getting the boot.

  8. Steve said,

    Wednesday, 2 November 2005 at 4:50 pm

    I really wonder what the overall effect of the report will be. In a dream scenario, people are so pissed off they do what would be the most shocking thing possible…they VOTE. Overall voter turn-out could increase and guess what…society wins because more people take notice of politics. However, I would bet this report will have the exact opposite effect. Voters who previously barely made it to the polls will be even more disillusioned by politics and voter turn out will reach an all time low. If a Christmas election is held this would only further damage politics in Canada. Anyone willing to bet gainst a low voter turnout next election?????

  9. O'Smiley said,

    Wednesday, 2 November 2005 at 4:59 pm

    not me

  10. Manatee said,

    Wednesday, 2 November 2005 at 6:06 pm

    “In a dream scenario, people are so pissed off they do what would be the most shocking thing possible…they VOTE”

    I’m not sure that this report will have a huge impact on voter turnout, but I’d be a fool to take your bet.

    How is this for a dream scenario? This report, and especially the next Gomery report lead to substantial changes to prevent this from happening in the future.

  11. Steve said,

    Wednesday, 2 November 2005 at 7:34 pm

    I won’t take that bet either.–>


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