Jack Layton must find it hard to remember which party he is a leader to. With a father who was a Tory MP, and himself a young Liberal while studying at McGill University in his home province of Quebec, it seems odd that somehow he could end up as a socialist. Indeed, it is even more peculiar that he ended up as the leader of the Socialist Party known as the NDP.

Ambition has always played a role in Jack’s decisions. Ambition is not a bad thing, as long as you reach your destination with your integrity intact, and as long as you don’t adopt a “at all costs” mentality. In his high school yearbook, Mr. Layton proclaimed that one day he would become prime minister. As funny as that sounds to most of us, Jack is probably closer to realizing that goal than any previous leader of the NDP has been, and that is a bad thing for Canada. He is, after all, a socialist.

It is hard not to grow cynical of this man who has claimed that the Liberals are unfit to govern, yet empowers them to continue to be the voice of Canada and Canadians to the world. When one lets their ambitions get in the way of doing what is right, they no longer have the moral right to seek our vote. Jack has been clamoring to make a name for himself and is quite the “grandstander.” While he is no different than any other politician in this regard, that may be his problem. You see, Jack, Canada has enough politicians. We are in need of statesmen that put their own aspirations on the back burner and look out for Canadians first. We haven’t had a statesman in power for a very long time. With your performance over the last couple of months, you definitely fail to fall into that category.

Throughout the summer, the NDP have been groveling at the feet of Paul Martin and the Liberals. When you are hungry for power, I suppose you will take the scraps that the governing party will throw to you. While Jack has attempted to look like a power broker, he is anything but. The only reason he appears to have had any success in his dealings with Mr. Martin et al, is because Mr. Martin himself will say anything, do anything, and will buy or sell anything to remain at the helm of the rusty old, listing, HMCS Liberal.

Mr. Layton insisted that he would only help the Liberals, a corrupt government by Jack’s own appraisal, if they submitted to his blackmail. Call it a deal, a compromise, or whatever you want. Blackmail by any other name is still blackmail. It seems that Jack wanted to help those too poor to work, so he made an effort to steer money away from corporate tax breaks. Most of the spending in the areas that he demanded will never be made. Those promises are back-loaded, meaning they have been promised today to be allotted in years to come. The Liberals, of course, will no longer be in power at that time. The spending promises are hollow, and so is Jack’s supposed victory.

Mr. Layton must know this. There is no way he can be that slow on the uptake. Or is he? Another explanation is that Jack is bluffing. He figures if he comes out of his meetings with Paul Martin and declares victory, the press will buy it.

This week, we are once again hearing a lot of sabre rattling about a possible election call. Instead of ending the corruption, Jack is willing to prop it up for some concessions. Blackmail. Again. “You either tighten the screws on medicare, or I am taking my ball, and I am going home.” Mr. Martin has outright refused to do any deal with Mr. Layton. Our health minister, Ujjal Dosanjh has also rebuffed Jack, saying that the provinces have the last say. Sounds like they really mean it, doesn’t it?

Of course, you can really never trust a Liberal MP these days. What’s this? A flip-flop! It seems that the Liberals, in an attempt to thwart their demise once again, have capitulated, (for those of you in college, this means they have given in), to the NDP and their demands. While Mr. Layton has not stated whether he will continue to support the corrupt Liberal regime, I can most assuredly guarantee you that he will.

A man with character would bring down a corrupt government in a heartbeat. After watching Mr. Layton for a long time, since he was a councillor in Toronto some years ago, I can say with confidence that this leader will not find the courage to pull the plug on the current parliament. He just doesn’t have what it takes.

Mr. Layton is enjoying his time in the sun, since crawling out of the political shadows that his views have relegated him to. After living in the darkness for so long, it is hard to recede from the limelight. He is in a no-win situation of his own doing. He will either be ignored, and will receive a political black eye, or he will be remembered as “The one who propped up a corrupt regime.” The only way out would be to refuse to be the reason that this government continues. Do you have the courage to end this farce, Jack? I don’t think so.

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