Politics from North of the 49th Parallel
Published on June 15, 2004 By IanGillespie In Politics

Given Gilles Duceppe's virtually uncontested victory in last night's french language debate, there's no clear momentum going into tonight's english-only showdown.

All the little Dippers from the NDP war room (except this one, I work nights) will be gathering at the party's downtown Ottawa offices to view the action.

Sadly, I can't say that they'll be playing James Bow's debate drinking game, but it's sure to be an evening of fun nonetheless.

As for the Big Media Moment (more lamely known as a 'knockout punch') I've got high hopes.

Jack Layton is likely to face two difficult questions: taxes and leadership.


The most effective political punchs are counterpunchs. On taxes, the other parties have telegraphed their punch: they will accuse Layton of proposing a massive tax increase.

Layton knows what punch is coming -- making it easier to counter.

And the nature of such a counterpunch could not be more clear:

We're cutting taxes. We're cutting taxes for working- and middle-class families. Not all tax cuts have be for the rich, do they?

We're cutting taxes for working families instead of Paul Martin's tax cuts for big corporations and wealthy. You can disagree with tax cuts for working families instead of tax cuts for the wealthy -- but is that the best you've got?


The leadership question will be tricky. Let's assume that Layton is asked about the more controversial comments he's made during the campaign -- and how he could be a credible Prime Minister.

This question likely means very little in the scheme of the campaign, as NDP voters are not necessarily voting for Jack Layton as Prime Minister.

But should the question arise, I believe it respresents a great opportunity -- an opportunity for Jack Layton to contrast his record of leadership with that of Paul Martin and Stepehen Harper:

In this campaign we've seen one leader purge his party for fear of it's strong members, and one leader distance himself from almost every member of party for fear of being seen as an extremist.

That is not leadership.

I've embraced the members of my party; I've embraced the strongest members of my party. Bill Blaikie, Alexa McDonough, Ed Broadbent -- the most popular leader in our party's history.

Our differences and diversity can be difficult, but that's the kind of leadership I believe in.

And if you expect anything less from the Prime Minister of Canada, you should vote for somebody else.

on Jun 15, 2004
I can't take credit for the drinking game; I think James Bow wrote it. I just fixed the HTML.
on Jun 15, 2004
Layton scored big I think when he busted Martin for suggesting only the Liberals or Conservatives can form the next government. Typical Liberal arrogance and cynicism.