Before BC NDP suporters celebrate Jack Layton/NDP’s rise in the federal election polls too much, they should ask themselves a very serious question: are they British Columbians first, or NDPers?
Because the truth is Jack Layton’s climb in popularity back East, especially in Quebec, is partly based on his willingness to trumpet Quebec’s interests … and turn his back on justice and fairness for the West and, in particular, British Columbia.
Surprised? That’s because the nature of most of our political reporting these days is largely compartmentalized: when leaders campaign, they deliver their national message du jour media clip on national issues, like health, jobs, and the economy …. and then, for local consumption, they also toss out a couple of regional issue references and platitudes.
But what doesn’t get much attention out here is what they say … and DO … in other regions of the country. And if you believe action speaks louder than words, Layton has shown more than once, he’s ready and willing to sacrifice justice for BC and the West to win votes in Quebec.
I have already blogged how it was the NDP that introduced and pushed that terrible Bill setting new requirements that only fully bilingual judges be considered for all future Supreme Court appointments…. expert enough to be able to hear and question extremely technical and detailed legal argumeents without the need for translation. It doesn’t take a judicial genius to understand that would exclude almost all of the best legal minds in BC (and the West) just by virture of that unreasonably high demand; and, of course, it would favour judicial appointments from Quebec, eastern Ontario, New Brunswick and a very small part of Manitoba.
The rest of the country be damned ..under the NDP Bill! But perfect to win increased popularity in Quebec. No wonder it was supported by the Bloc Quebecois, and, sensing the trap in opposing it, the Liberals as well: Michael Ignatieff reportedly ordered his MPs to support it, and BC’s Liberal lemmings went along without a tweet of dissent. So it passed the Commons!! And was only defeated by the oft-maligned Senate: in this case, the true guardian of Western Canadian interests.
Jack Layton sure didn’t stand up for BC on that one!
And it gets worse.
Have we forgotten the most grave basic injustice BC suffers in Ottawa: suppressed fair representation in the Senate and the House of Commons?
Now, admittedly, opening the Senate seat question is not something ANY of the major parties want to do … because of the hornet’s nest it would release in Constitutional wrangling…. not just for BC issues, but the preferential status of the Maritimes and Quebec based on population growth …or lack thereof.
But a year ago, the Tory government did move to bring a modicum of fairness, based on rising population, to the currently lopsided Commons. Ontario would get 30 more seats, Alberta five and BC seven. Is even that too much to ask for BC, with our huge population growth in recent decades?
Apparently for Layton, yes!
Because increasing the number of seats in BC, Alberta and Ontario based on growth, would PROPORTIONATELY reduce the voting power of the other provinces. The Maritimes did not object, nor did Manitoba … but Quebec, already Constitutionally protected with 75 seats even as its population DROPS, would have nothing to do with giving Ontario, Alberta and BC their fair share.
And one of their top allies in Ottawa on the issue (apart from Gilles Duceppe) was Layton.
First, the NDP leader “called for calm” according to news reports last April.
“This is part of nation-building and I think a careful and thoughtful approach s what’s needed,” Layton explained. “That is why we are suggesting it go directly to a committee.”
To a committee, in a minority Parliament, with an election likely in a matter of months? In other words … death!! The Bloc Quebecois would agree to that move; Liberals would be afraid to oppose it; Quebeckers would love it …. and BC, Ont, and Alberta? …. to hell with any justice or fair representation for us.
It’s just as former Liberal key campaign strategist Senator Keith Davie reportedly once said: “Screw the West; we’ll take the rest.”
Layton had apparently learned very well.
In fact, he even further. Despite Quebec’s stagnant or, arguably, FALLING population as a percentage of Canada’s total, Layton was reported even arguing that QUEBEC should be given additional seats “because it is important to find a balance between adequate representation and ensuring the influence of a founding nation.
In other words, keep BC’s power in Ottawa down, even as it’s population grows and grows, by giving Quebec more and more seats, even as it size, in relation to the total population, dwindles. Talk about the spoiled child of Confederation!
Incroyable!! (As they say dans la belle province.)
And yes, there is more.
Layton and the NDP back East have also supported the Bloc Quebecois’ demand that Quebec’s repressive language law be extended to include all FEDERALLY regulated businesses in Quebec. That would make French the ONLY official language of work … to hell with bilingualism!
So while the rest of the country takes the effort and pays the enormous cost of bilingualism … from providing services to packaging cookies … in both official languages, Layton sees nothing wrong with REQUIRING BY LAW that federally-regulated businesses in Quebec to use French as the language of work… not just bilingualism.
Still cheering, my BC NDP friends?
Well, you should answer my question: are you a British Columbian or NDPer first?
It is not an unfair request to make. Quebeckers have boldly and loudly answered that question for decades: they are Quebeckers first, second, and even third. And they have unabashedly voted federally for parties that have stood up for their interests; protected their power; and, brought billions of “extra” bucks and boondoggle federal contracts to them. And damn the rest.
For a long time it was the Liberals, then the Tories under Mulroney, then the Bloc Quebecois …and now, it’s the Nouveau Partie Democratique, the NDP. No wonder they’re doing so well in the polls back there.
But who stands up for BC?