Sunday, October 22, 2006

Good for Jack

This weekend's Globe & Mail has an article, "Layton demands MacKay apologize or resign," which says, in part:
Peter MacKay should apologize or step down as Canada's foreign affairs minister for sexist comments he allegedly made towards female parliamentarians, the leader of the federal NDP party said Saturday.

...During a speech to the Ontario NDP provincial council, Mr. Layton also slammed Mr. MacKay for a previous comment in which he told NDP MP Alexa McDonough to "go back to doing her knitting" after she raised questions about Afghanistan.

He suggested Mr. MacKay is often aggressive, patronizing and patriarchal during debates and that he clearly demonstrates a lack of respect for women.

"His apology should go to all women members of parliament and members of the country because I'll tell you one thing, it's certainly going to discourage women from seeking public office and in that, he's done a great disservice," Mr. Layton said.

I am deeply impressed by Layton's statement for several reasons:

* The Conservatives are trying to paint MacKay's harassment of Stronach as a fake issue dreamed up by Liberals. Someone outside the Liberal party needed to step up and call them on that.

* Too many people are letting their opinion on this issue be colored by their opinion of Belinda Stronach or their opinions on who broke up with who. Layton has changed the discussion by showing that MacKay has a pattern of inappropriate behavior towards his female peers.

* The Liberals, NDP and Bloc all have similar values and our values are in opposition to those of the Harperistas. We need to stand together more.

* I think the NDP should have a valuable role in Canadian politics as a party of ideas and conscience, but Layton has been too preoccupied by partisan politics. If he doesn't get back on the ball, the Green Party is going to overtake the NDP as the alternative party, and I don't want to see that.

I heard Green Party leader Elizabeth May (who I think is fabulous) talking on the CBC today, and she said that the environment was not mentioned in the last election. That may be true at the national level, but at the all-candidate meetings that I went to in my riding it was mentioned a lot, and the discussion was co-opted by the ridiculous Green Party proposition to install a flat tax/pollution tax thing. It was one of those stupid ideas that was designed to solve one problem but would be ineffective and would cause ten other problems. That's what you get from one-issue, fringe parties. The NDP has been so busy of late trying to destroy the Liberals (I mean that literally; Layton actually thought he could do it) that he didn't notice the Green Party sneaking up his backside, and now they're standing at 9% in the opinion polls. Jack Layton has to get back on track and start sounding like a leader. I know he can do it.


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