Friday night (February 18th) New Democrat Party leader, Jack Layton met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the new budget which needs to be laid out in about 4 weeks.
In the forty minute conversation, according to Mr. Layton, they discussed primarily the plan for tax cuts to corporations (ostensibly to encourage job growth), bringing back the tax credit for home heating and home renovations and the dearth of general practitioners in the country - 4 million Canadians, more than a tenth of the population are without a Primary Medical Doctor.
Mr. Harper needs one opposition party (Liberal, Bloc Quebecois or NDP) to agree to his budget for it to pass. If he cannot get that much, Canadians will go to the polls due to a defeated minority government.
A lot of people seem to be getting upset in CTV.ca comments that NDP’s Jack Layton is “interfering” and it’s not his place because he is not prime minister. No, honey, this is a minority government, and that means the party in power needs to play nice with at least one other opposition party (sometimes you have to play with TWO depending on how the numbers play out, O NOES) or you get ousted because every year you have to put out a budget that people have to vote for. Jack Layton is not “interfering”. Jack Layton is “negotiating” to get what he wants for Canada.
(disclaimer: I am generally an NDP voter in case you can’t tell)
I’ve noticed a few blogs also feeling that Mr. Layton is selling out by getting into bed with the Conservatives and - I don’t know. On the one hand - STRANGE BEDFELLOWS. But on the other - NDPs aren’t going to get a majority government or even a minority government (c’mon, we Canadians are too happy flipflopping between Liberals and Conservatives as if there’s an appreciable difference between the two to throw ourselves to the NDPs now) any time soon. And if we go to the polls and either end up with a Liberal or Conservative Majority, he won’t have as much bargaining power. So now is the time to negotiate for what he wants in return for Mr. Harper staying in power.
This is probably why there aren’t any tumblrs out there (That I can find) devoted to Canadian politics.
Instead of shouting: “SIT. DOWN.” in congress we go and have nice polite Friday meetings and then talk about it in the news the next day.