Who said this?
“I believe we owe … people the truth. That's why my plan to lower gas prices raises fuel efficiency standards on cars; invests in alternative energy to end our addiction to oil; and creates millions of new Green Jobs while saving our planet in the bargain. That's the kind of change we need.”
ANSWER: Barack Obama, May 2008
And who said this?
“I’ve been talking about green-collar jobs for years – I even had a hand in creating some … We need a green car strategy that combines world-class fuel efficiency standards with job-generating incentives for building and selling more fuel-efficient cars in Canada. If we don’t build the green cars that consumers will be driving tomorrow, China will. And those jobs and that investment will follow. We need to end tax advantages to polluting industries … Instead, we should provide incentives to accomplish our desired outcomes –extending tax advantages for greener industry – like the clean-tech sector which is involved in alternative energy, recycling, and the production of new materials.”
ANSWER: Jack Layton, February 2007
Weird, huh? On building green cars in North America, Layton and Obama are speaking from the same script. And the same goes for creating green jobs – indeed Layton has been pushing these files long before he entered federal politics six years ago.
It is owing to the cyclical nature of policy as well as an ounce of serendipity that Obama has come along now with a such a similar message as the NDP.
But the policy similarities between North America’s leading voices on the centre-left aren’t going un-noticed. The San Francisco Chronicle quotes Jack Layton today agreeign with US Democrats that a new American and Canadian administrations should take a second look at NAFTA:
"Canadians believe NAFTA needs serious work," said Jack Layton, leader of Canada's New Democratic Party. The likely prime minister candidate told me he wants to reform the pact because it helps corporations overturn laws and because its lack of standards forces workers into a wage-cutting, environment-destroying race to the bottom.
But there’s more to politics than policy alone. Strong leadership takes both a vision and the ability to inspire.
On that count as well, Canadians are seeing double.
While savaging Dion’s bumbling and lack of policy coherence, let alone ability to evoke, columnist Michael Harris pays Layton the compliment:
“The one thing Dion has done is turn Jack Layton into our Barack Obama.”
Just like in the US, Canadians are looking to unite with a new leader with an inspiring vision for change.
“Yes we can, eh!”