Monday, June 27, 2011

NDP stood up to bulldozer without getting crushed

Tim Harper, Opinion, The Toronto Star:

Jack Layton took his NDP gang of rookies and wide-eyed Parliamentarians to the top of the double-diamond ski run over the weekend.

But did Layton cave after 58 hours of debate over legislation forcing postal workers back on the job, as some of the instant analysis would have you believe?


Because sometimes it’s better to make your point, ski off to the side and not break your neck.

Today, all Canadians care about is that their mail will be delivered again.

After the longest filibuster in Canadian history over back-to-work legislation, they will be getting it.

But while they weren’t looking, as the House of Commons calendar stopped at Thursday — even as it became Friday, then Saturday, then Saturday night — Canadians missed something extraordinary.

Real debate broke out in the House of Commons.

But two sides with deeply entrenched ideological views took the concerns of the voters they represent and eloquently, and often passionately, brought those views to the floor of a chamber that has too often in been used for insults and juvenile taunts.

The federal New Democrats stood with workers in this country and they did so knowing full well that — according to one public sounding last week — seven of 10 Canadians backed Harper and just wanted their mail.

But Layton’s caucus did something that a Conservative majority allows them to do.

They stood on principle, without having to factor in the minority mindset about what this might do to them in a campaign that could break out at any time.

They ignored the prevailing view in Ottawa, again brought on by the minority mindset, that there must be a political score at the end of the day, a winner and a loser.

Continue reading here.

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