Sympathy card for Jack Layton

He won't be able to live up to his promises

Kind and thoughtful Canadians might consider sending Jack Layton a sympathy card. His peculiar ability to speak in two directions and in two languages at the same time — to the East (particularly Quebec) and to the West — have landed him in several difficult political situations.

In 2010, the Conservatives sought to recognize the rising population in several provinces by introducing fairness for electoral representation. Ontario would get 30 more seats, Alberta five and B.C. seven. 

Knowing that more seats for the “growth provinces” would proportionately reduce the voting power of the other provinces, the NDP proposed the bill be delayed, knowing full well that an election would effectively kill the proposed change. 

The NDP’s concern was for Quebec, which already holds 75 constitutionally protected seats no matter how far its population falls! So much for Layton’s talk about fairness.

Layton went farther when he argued Quebec should be given more seats “because it is important to find a balance between adequate representation and ensuring the influence of a founding nation.”

On April 26, campaigning Layton said he was willing to open talks on the Canadian Constitution in an effort to get Quebec to sign the document once there was a “reasonable chance of success.” Everyone recalls the Meech Lake and Charlottetown constitutional efforts but Layton, in overweening confidence, believes he can reconcile Quebec interests and feelings with those of the rest of Canada! He had better be ready to explain to his caucus — which has a Quebec majority — his inability to deliver the goods.

The NDP also introduced a bill that would have required that only fully bilingual judges be considered for future Supreme Court appointments. That would exclude probably most of the best legal minds in the West. 

The NDP idea was designed solely to increase its popularity in Quebec. It passed in the House of Commons supported by the NDP, the Bloc, and the Liberals. Fortunately it was defeated in the Senate by the Conservatives who had just established a majority there. 

Lastly, Layton has even proposed that Quebec language legislation be extended into areas of federal jurisdiction — far from the bilingualism that was intended to be restricted to federal institutions.

So if Layton’s words speak louder than his actions can you imagine the rancor that is likely to develop in his caucus as his promises collapse? He will need a sympathy card.

Nestor Gayowski

Qualicum Beach

 

Just Posted

The Parksville Civic and Technology Centre at 100 Jensen Ave. (PQB News file photo)
Parksville 2020 annual report now ready for public feedback

Documents can be viewed online; comments or questions to be submitted before noon on July 5, 2021

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased in Parksville

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read