Saturday, August 27, 2011

Daily Digest August 27, 2011



Layton turns into a legend

 Jack Layton become a Canadian icon ­ Tommy Douglas and Terry Fox all wrapped in one?
In the blink of an eye, his virtues have been made greater and his short-comings forgotten. MORE...
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Subject: Some Thoughts on Jack Layton's Death and Funeral
From: John Anderson

Good Morning Joe:  Thought that you and your readers might be interested in the letter below  that I have just sent to the Editor of the Globe and Mail ...  Best Regards, John A.  ---------------  Dear Editor:  Some thoughts on Jack Layton's death and funeral.  First, it seems apparent, from the public's reaction to his death, that Jack Layton really did manage to get voters interested in the political process.  And for that we have to thank him.  But, second, let it be noted that Layton accomplished this by focusing on intensely personal "me" issues.  There is nothing wrong with this as far as it goes, and Layton was extremely good at it.  But Layton and the NDP never talked very much about the bigger issues relating to, for example, how to encourage and sustain enough economic activity to provide the tax base required to fund initiatives relating to those "me" issues.  Thirdly, I can't help thinking that Stephen Harper's offering a state funeral for Jack Layton was an exhibition of callous calculated political opportunism.  For one, it allowed Harper to collect all kinds of Brownie points for being "magnanimous" to a political opponent.  But I also suspect that Harper's minions calculated that, with Jack Layton no longer on the scene, the NDP will self-destruct in the near/medium term, so that giving extensive and priceless media coverage to the New Democratic Party now will in the end cost the Conservatives nothing.  And, at the same time, encouraging the media to focus on Jack Layton and the New Democratic Party ensures that Harper's real opposition, the Liberal Party, remains in eclipse, and there is nothing that Bob Rae can do about it.  But, fourthly, I can't help thinking that the NDP is also guilty of political opportunism.  What about all of those NDP Members of Parliament working the crowd that lined up on Parliament Hill?  Were they "Jack's friends" accepting condolences on behalf of the family?  Or were they making sure that Jack's NDP connections were front and centre in the public consciousness?  And then, fifthly, in conclusion, I think it is appropriate to salute Layton's widow, Olivia Chow.  No doubt she is a political animal as well but, by all accounts, the personal bonds between Olivia and Jack were deep and strong.  She must be really, really hurting, but her poise and dignity over the past days, weeks and months have been awe-inspiring. Olivia: I hope you are drawing at least some comfort from the respect and admiration that the public is showing for your late husband and his legacy.