May-Dion Deal is Scurrilous and Layton’s Refusal Principled

>The Dion-May deal is unscrupulous because it is completely cynical and disingenuous in the sense that it pretends to be:
1. not a “back-room deal”
2. genuine and desperate non-partisan concern for the planet (read the Green Party’s open letter to the NDP-plleease!), and
3. mutually beneficial. Green Party candidates and members were sold out by their Leader and have nothing to gain and everything to lose by this.

This was so transparently a dirty back-room deal intended to bleed the NDP and I wouldn’t have had any issues with the improprieties of the deal had it been presented as a united front against the NDP. I still would have thought it a dumb move and a good sign for the NDP, but not a scurrilous one. The corrupt heart of this deal was its deception and disingenuousness. I should say I am not in principle against backroom deals, nor do I think is any politician. I am against dirty, deceitful backroom deals.

So was Layton’s denouncing of and refusal to come to the table on this particular deal truly unprincipled? Obviously to the extent that the May-Dion pact was corrupt, then Layton’s refusal to participate was ethical and principled. I’ve desperately tried to understand the indignation over Layton’s refusal to deal with May, but I can’t. I think his rebuffing Elizabeth May and indirectly Stephane Dion was both pragmatic and principled. Perhaps he saw that he was being ambushed and chose not to be a willing participant! Perhaps he is sincere when he says “New Democrats don’t think that Peter MacKay or any Conservative deserves to go unchallenged. The Conservatives have a lot to answer for.” Since his party is in the best position to challenge that seat, why should he forfeit competing for it? I mean the charge that the NDP is not anti-Conservative is preposterous. The NDP is not only the sole voice of leftist party politics, but also the sole hope for any “progressives”.

Stephen LaFrenie, nominated Green Party candidate in Trinity-Spadina well enough understands what the May-Dion deal means and why Layton rejected it, why can’t the Liberals? Stephen is worth quoting in full:

“Jack Layton is an honourable man. Stephane Dion is NOT. Stephane Dion voted in line with liberal policy that has strangled Haiti. Joined in the liberal denial of human rights abuses and propped up a murderous temporary Government there. Stephane Dion voted against labour rights by not supporting the anti-scab labour bill to please the corporate power structure rather than actually thinking about what it meant. The Greens would have supported the bill. Stephane Dion did what he was told to do. Which is nothing but shut up and vote the way you are told when he was in cabinet and as leader has stated that he will impose the same rule of discipline. Vote his way or end your career. Stephane Dion was a willing participant in the liberal government of Paul Martin which did nothing but cater to big corporations and did nothing for the environment. The liberals with Stephane Dion’s support would have voted to extend the mission in Afghanistan if they had maintained a second minority government.

For the record it was Paul Martin who stopped cooperating with the NDP in the last minority government. It was Paul Martin who said he would call an election in March. It was Paul Martin who decided to continue the liberal policies of doing nothing for social justice, labour justice, working against everything the Green Party stands for. The NDP joined in defeating the liberal government because the liberals were simply going to use the spring budget to bribe Canadians with empty promises which was the liberal tradition for over a century.
Stephane Dion was elected leader by only a few thousand liberals who could afford to attend the convention. Even then he was elected by Rae supporters who wanted more to stop Ignatieff than support Dion. The liberals don’t even have the awareness to respect their own membership.

Jack Layton has a clear history of fighting for social and labour justice. Stephane Dion does not.Why should Jack Layton show Ms. May and ourselves courtesy when she has done nothing but insult him since becoming leader. She comes from a conservative mind set and has done nothing in her leadership to build the kind of cooperation she now claims to be trying. She has been a liberal sympathizer for many months with little consideration for the NDP. She has continued to praise the liberal record through her misguided support of Dion, a record that pales in comparison to the NDP record which is mind boggling considering they had the power and the NDP does not. Stephane Dion does not believe in electoral reform nor parliamentary reform. Like Stephen Harper he will ignore any and all reform that threatens the dictatorial power of the PMO.You guys are living in a delusion spun by both Ms. May and Mr. Dion that may yet prove fatal for the Greens. Stephane Dion will cast aside any cooperation with the Greens or the environment issues if he gets a majority government.

I continue to find the Layton bashing, partisan nonsense of many Greens on this site to be unacceptable. You are kidding yourself if you think the NDP is going vanish from the political landscape. If we continue to justify failed politicians and political parties like Stephane Dion and the liberals then we will only be seen as liberals and not an alternative.Either we stand for something or we don’t.”

(Stephen LaFrenie, nominated Green Party candidate)
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Posted on April 21, 2007, in Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada, Jack Layton, NDP, Stephane Dion. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Grow up. Dion is doing exactly what he said he would do, and this would not be the first time he called a shot on the basis of country before party. If you wander off into political Çolonel Blimp talk like this you will end up in the wilderness for sure. Do you want NDP or NDP policies, and once you decide that all will be clear. Meanwhile, grow up and support Dion. He is the best chance for sure.

  2. First, you can’t still be snowed by the country/planet before politics crap. Noone, not even Liberals buy that. Even Cherniak, you’re leading blogomoron recognizes the partisanship in the deal. If this were truly about the good of the country, then a truly consolidated anti-Conservative vote (clearly this isn’t about a consolidated “leftist” or “progressive” vote because neither Liberals nor Greens can stake claim to those terms) would mean the 3 parties getting out of the away of whichever of the 3 parties has the greatest chance of winning each riding. In Central Nova, wouldn’t that have meant getting out of the way of the NDP and throwing your support behind Louise Lorefice. Of course, this wouldn’t be much good to the Green Party since it doesn’t really have a chance of winning any seats, it would be reduced to supporting NDP and Liberal candidates (I guess in exchange for pushing for electoral reform which might see the Green Party eventually win a seat). So I think it’s pretty clear, based on Dion’s and May’s actions, tactically this isn’t about consolidating the anti-Harper vote.Second, if this were truly about the betterment of the country, then the three parties should arrive at some consensus as to which party would best serve the country as the official opposition. I mean you’re not still dreaming of forming the government are you? Perhaps we should give a shot to the NDP to serve as official opposition and the LPC could urge its supporters to vote NDP wherever possible. Is it self-evident that there’s room for only one of the Liberal Party or the NDP? And if so, is it self-evident that the LPC should prevail. Perhaps for the betterment of the country, we need a two party system. The LPC should disappear and be replaced by the NDP/Labour Party. The right-wing Libertarian Greens should become the Green flank of the Conservatives. All I know, is that the Liberal Party isn’t entertaining any such discussion on improving Canada. It is solely concerned with partisan self-preservation arrogantly assuming that only its continued hegemony of the anti-Conservative vote will lead to a better Canada. Third, at least you admit that the only time the Liberal Party is in any way progressive is when it occasionally (and might I add self-servingly)implements NDP policy. Still, I want a party that runs from the left and governs from the left, not one that campaigns from the left and governs from the right or as we hear of the Liberals these days, that campaigns green and governs brown.Thanks for your comments anonymous. Don’t worry about me, I’d be happy in the wilderness. Regardless of where you are, you get a better sleep when you cling to the truth. Take care of those bags under your eyes…

  3. Up is down. Down is up. Got it.Totally unrelated, but your blog would be easier to read if you put spaces between your paragraphs.

  4. Thanks for both points Rob.Put another way, recall this famous passage from Marx:The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It… has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”… for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation… Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones… All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.

  5. Ms May always seems to find a way to wriggle out of being accountable for her words. She was quoted out of context. She was misunderstood. That wasn’t what she meant. That wasn’t “exactly” what she meant. It wasn’t a backroom deal because neither she nor Dion were smoking cigars when they made it, etc.Thanks putting into words what many alienated Greens are feeling.

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