Jack Layton has a knack for pulling people out of their trenches at the 11th hour to get results. Think back to his surprising NDP Budget and the deal to re-write Harper's lousy "Clean Air Act".
So it shouldn't be unexpected that Layton met directly with Stéphane Dion yesterday to appeal to the Liberal leader to come to the NDP’s position to end the Afghanistan mission.
“Layton spoke briefly to Liberal Leader Stephane Dion outside the Commons to convince him not to support Prime Minister Stephen Harper's efforts to extend the mission beyond its current deadline of 2009.
"Just as Mr. Harper has extended a hand to Mr. Dion for his approach, so too am I extending a hand to Mr. Dion to embrace our approach," Layton during a speech the University of Ottawa on Wednesday evening. "Mr. Dion has some decisions to make and I look forward to a continued dialogue over the coming days and weeks."
As the issue heads to a critical vote in the Commons, Layton and the NDP are pulling at Dion from one corner calling for a changed approach: withdraw from the combat mission and lead a process for peace and stability.
Pulling from the other corner is Stephen Harper and John Manley calling for more of the same – more troops, more military spending, and more time for a mission that even the Manley report acknowledges is worsening.
So, whose side will Dion fall upon? Layton’s line about a “continued dialogue over the coming days and weeks” suggests that he may know before the rest of us.