Friday, February 29, 2008

Columnist endorses Jack's campaign to take on Harper

If the cold air rushing up your nostrils stung just a bit more than usual this morning, it's because hell may have finally frozen over.

The top indicator: perennial talk radio vocalist Michael Harris used his weekly Sun column to give a boost to Jack Layton’s NDP, including – the stunning confession for the Sun - that the NDP “didn't ruin their provinces by winning” government.

“Who says [the Liberals] are the only government in waiting? There has been another party around since 1961 that has never been trusted to be the government of this country or even the Opposition, though in 1988 the NDP did win 43 seats. My proposal is this: Those hordes of urban voters who just can't stand the Conservatives should try a new option -- the NDP.”

Now those folks who build ball caps out of chicken wire and Reynolds Wrap will say that Harris is trying to help Harper by splitting the left-wing vote. Try again. Any real Machiavellian favoring the status-quo would consent through silence, or offer congratulations for the “moderation” Liberals are showing by rolling over to keep Harper in 24 Sussex.

Instead, Harris, like others, is coming to appreciate that our system only works when the official opposition has the honesty and guts to play for all the marbles – which the Liberals haven’t since their electoral defeat in 2006.

Jack Layton should be seen as a prime-minister-in-waiting not because Dion isn’t convincing as one, or because the Liberals have failed in opposition, or because the NDP will be matching the Conservatives dollar for dollar in the next campaign, or even because one or 201 columnists say so. Canadians will have a choice between Layton and Harper because the former has shown himself every bit as principled and honest a leader as this country has seen.

And that's the kind of change this country needs.

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