Everybody knows a bad contractor. We’ve seen them on the home-renovation disaster shows. He’s the kindly guy who breezes into your house with promises that go beyond your expectations. You believe this guy. You want him to succeed. Invariably he does a bad job with shoddy materials and lack of know-how. To make matters worse, when caught on it, he begs your forgiveness and promises to fix everything – just given a bit more of your time and money. At the end of it, the contractor takes off and the homeowner is left out of pocket and with a breakfast nook resembling an Iraqi checkpoint.
This week, Stephane Dion got caught on it. Given the choice of sticking to his principles or backing Harper’s agenda, he chose the latter. But now that he’s been caught backing Harper, he’s begging Canadians to believe that he’ll get it right . . . next time.
Jack Layton is having none of this. This weekend, the NDP leader has written a op-ed appealing directly to Canadians who have been let down by Dion’s Liberals.
“Mr. Dion cannot have it both ways. He cannot in good conscience complain about the negative effects of Mr. Harper's agenda one day and then see to it that it passes in Parliament the next. Increasingly, this is what is wrong with politics. More and more Canadians are seeing that this is what is wrong with the Liberal party.”
If the home reno shows have taught us anything, it’s that it's not good enough to take someone at their promises. You need to hire the person who not only knows what he’s doing, but who has principles and believes in what he does.
That job description fits a leader like Jack Layton a lot more than it does a unprincipled vacillator like Stephane Dion.