Posts Tagged ‘Jack Layton’

Toronto Mayoral Debate 04/09/14

September 5, 2014
Toronto Region Board of Trade and The Globe And Mail newspaper sponsored the latest Toronto mayoral candidate debate yesterday. I watched it live on-line.
A bit of context for Canadians not living  in Toronto and those outside Canada:  many of you know of our city in recent years primarily because of Mayor Rob Ford.  His misadventures are well chronicled elsewhere. For immediate purposes know this.  Ford, whose political career would have ended in disgrace months ago in many jurisdictions, remains mayor of Toronto albeit with curtailed powers. He is also a viable candidate for re-election.
As for yesterday’s debate:
John Tory, an experienced broadcaster-business person-politician, did well. It’s as if he’s suddenly on political steroids. Good to see him being energetic and (amazingly) funny.
Lamentably, Ford did well (again.) He has the corporate, right-wing populist thing down to a T-dot. He’s overtly ant-intellectual, aggressive and refers to himself in the 3rd person like a professional athlete. His approach will continue to work with significant numbers of the disaffected and angry. The good news is that he did not flat out win this debate as he had done previously (very evident to those who watched.)
Olivia Chow who gave up a seat in the Canadian parliament to seek election as mayor seems about to make herself an also ran. She thinks being nice will make her mayor. Odd because her late husband Jack Layton, NDP leader and briefly federal opposition leader before his untimely death in 2011, was, among many other things, a tough, but usually fair and rational, political street fighter of the first water. Like Layton, Chow had a previous  career in Toronto municipal politics, the milieu where the couple met and first worked together.
Entrepreneur and former city councillor David Soknacki is smart and well informed but irrelevant.  Someone should tell him acronyms are meaningless to most people.
So…unless Chow throws her support to Tory in the next few weeks, it could shape up to a tight two person race. Team Ford clearly wants and expects a duel with Tory. Who better to slander with their ‘elitist’ tag?
 A poll from earlier this week showing Tory with a substantial lead is one of a kind. If that’s a trend, good. However, most polls that I have seen show Tory leading Ford by 3-5 points – that’s almost a statistical tie.
Scariest ‘take away’ from yesterday’s debate: addiction, homophobia, serial lying and misogyny are not at issue. Only in fordlandia.
It says here Ford can still win because he can out campaign and out bully Tory from here to the finish line.
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He Did Not Drool

April 13, 2011

Political debates are funny things.  It’s not so much who won, but whose team spins best.

Immediately following the event, everyone seemed to agree that the NDP’s Jack Layton had done very well and that the PM Steve Harper had more than held his own.

No one that I know or heard from in any way who saw the English language debate thought that Liberal Michael Ignatieff “won” the debate last night. No, he did not drool.  In that way, The Igster absolutely overwhelmed the expectations of anyone dim enough to have wholeheartedly imbibed the Tory character assassination by attack ad that preceded the election by many months.

Twenty-fours later, Layton is basically no longer part of the conversation in the English Canadian mainstream media.  Ignatieff, apparently, scored through the repetitive use of mind numbingly short sound bytes that have, sure enough, been repeated over and over as clips since the debate ended.

So…minutes away from the French language debate, English Canada seems programmed for the exhausted polarity of the past: Tory vs. Grit.

Perhaps en francais Monsieur Layton will claim and cling to  a seat with the grown ups. He and independantiste Gilles Duceppe can still play decisive roles in this election in a place called Canada.

Canadian election: The Igster & Steve Take Over

April 3, 2011

One week down and just over four to go in Canada’s federal election.  Some quick thoughts: while the ‘mainstream media’ expresses universal surprise and admiration at The Igster’s start out of the blocks, nothing has really changed in the polls.  Steve’s Conservatives are still perched at a near majority with a small increase in their 144 seats predicted. Monsieur Layton, leader of Canada’s kinda democratic socialists, on the other hand, may have reason to worry.  One must concede that The Igster and his team have made some inroads in framing the election, in ‘English Canada’, as a choice between the Grits and Steve’s hellcats.

Meanwhile, le suave Gilles is on cruise control in Quebec.  Barring a Grit breakthrough, the BQ will win 50+ seats on May 2. The Quebec independence movement is dead you say?  Just couple that result with a likely PQ victory over the decaying Jean Charest in Quebec’s next provincial election. Then, we’ll talk.

If you ever wondered just how dead environmentalism actually is in Canada witness the lack of collective moral outrage over the exclusion of Elizabeth May from the planned leaders’ debate. The Greens are officially a political non-entity on the federal scene. If they ever win a seat, we’ll talk.

Finally, regarding the debate: that will be The Igster’s one real chance.  Basically, all he needs to do is stand there and not drool in order to belie the Tories’ devastatingly brilliant caricature. If, in addition, the Harvard prof turns Pierre Trudeau for 90 minutes or so in both English and French – that is, an intellectual Canadians can stomach and admire, he could catch lightning in a bottle.  Very slim odds, but a possibility.

Failing the above, Canadian political junkies will spend the night of May 2 counting to 155.

Layton does a Dion

September 20, 2009

Jack Layton probably assured his electoral doom and may have handed Michael Ignatieff undeserved legitimacy. By propping up the Tories of smilin’ Steve Harper in the Canadian parliament, New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton is following in the footsteps of erstwhile Liberal leader Stephane Dion. Meanwhile Michael Ignatieff, he who replaced Dion, can sit back smugly in opposition to the government even though it’s been his Liberals that have served in a virtual coaltion with the Conservative government for the past year.

Layton insists that he achieved needed employment insurance reform for Canadians. That’s very small beer. In the coming weeks, if Layton and his NDP members are the only thing that stands between Harper and defeat, they have to bring down the government. On Friday, the NDP was joined by the Bloc Quebecois which supported the home renovation tax credit scheme. The next time the Harper government’s life is on the line, the Bloc won’t be so accommodating. If the NDP supports Harper under those conditions, it will have done its best to make Michael Ignatieff the next Prime Minister.  And perhaps that’s the outcome Layton seeks – few Kneedeepers see their party as a prospective government. Perhaps in his heart of hearts Jack just wants to help Iggy out by making him appear to be PM-in-waiting, a lone wolf standing staunchly in opposition to Harper.