27 April 2011

Bloc NDP would change party’s NL position #elxn41

If the current trends hold, the New Democratic Party is poised to make record gains in Quebec.  EKOS is projecting that the NDP could win as many as 100 seats with a majority of those seats coming from Quebec.

The party’s new support in Quebec comes, of course, as a result of Jack Layton’s active campaign to court support from soft nationalists and sovereignists who had supported the Bloc Quebecois.

There’s no accident in this.  Layton knows exactly what he is doing and the model he is trying on is actually the one pioneered by Brian Mulroney in the 1980s.  Layton is even using the same language Mulroney used with his references to the idea that somehow Quebec is outside the constitution and needs to be brought in.

While national attention might be focused on the national implications of recent developments, there are some likely implications for people in Newfoundland and Labrador if Layton becomes leader of the opposition with a caucus half of whose members are from Quebec.

For starters, people who think the NDP will be able to represent interests of anyone in Newfoundland and Labrador on fundamental issues can think again. Such an NDP caucus would be driven by the fundamental division in its membership and the need to manage that relationship over time.

If people think the seven seats in this province count for little in the federal parliament any way, they can consider the implications of having an opposition leader whose position is based entirely on his seats in Quebec. 

Support for a loan guarantee? 

Gulf of St. Lawrence boundary?  

National electricity grid?

Money for energy infrastructure?

More federal money for Goose Bay?

Quebec soft nationalists and sovereignists would effectively control both the Bloc and the NDP on those issues.  Take three guesses how Layton and his crowd will stand on those issues.  The first two don’t count. That would be especially true on any initiative that couldn’t also be matched with a comparable cash outlay for Quebec.

T’would be interesting to see what happens if people in this province start asking politicians about these sorts of things.  Get ‘em on the record now.  Their comments could come back to haunt us all.

- srbp -