There are times when doing the right thing isn’t enough.
As Lawrence Martin reflected upon intelligently this week, nobody knows this better than New Democrats. Indeed, if political success was measured by how often our political leaders demonstrated sound judgment, New Democrats would be peerless.
However, the party’s decision to support $1 billion in new support for 190,000 unemployed workers has been different. Unlike in the past, the initial canned criticism from the Liberals, the elites, and the punditocrisy has been muted and short-lived. Indeed only the Liberals are still left griping.
The reason: unlike some other decisions the NDP has taken in recent years, the vast majority of the public is already on-side with what Layton and his MPs are doing. What the NDP has done in this instance is another demonstration of what makes Jack Layton the best leader Canadians have at the federal level. Better than any other leader the country has seen in a generation, Layton has a real passion and ability to bring people together to get results. At a time when name-calling, silly games and brinksmanship dominates our politics, genuine pragmatism right now is deserving of respect.
Layton provides some from-the-heart insights into his way of thinking in today’s Star:
In the end, as we debated whether we would support the $1 billion for the unemployed or give Harper the election only he and Ignatieff seem to crave, I kept coming back to the faces of the many people I've met who asked me to help them. For them, the financial support will make a big difference.
I feel anguish right now, but it has nothing to do with the criticism that has been levelled at us. No, it is that we haven't been able to help more hard-working Canadians who are in need. It's going to be a hard, hard winter for far too many of them.