Jack Layton zings Harper during the leaders’ debate in April: “I don’t know why we need so many new prisons when the crooks seem happy enough in the Senate.” (Sorry that this video includes the uploader’s spliced-in two second punchline at the end.)
Over at the Dish, Canadians continue to write in about the passing of Jack Layton. This reader articulates what many no doubt fear:
I frequently joke with my American colleagues and friends that they’d be better off with a parliamentary system. “At least then the party in power could get something done instead of this consistent gridlock,” I’d say. Well, I fear that those words will haunt me now with Layton’s passing. The Conservative PM, Stephen Harper, will now face a parliament where none of the opposition parties have a leader – a situation unprecedented in Canadian history. An unfailing political opportunist, he will not let this one pass without exploiting it to the fullest. Harper has been hell bent on moving Canada to the right, through undercutting funding to the opposition parties, recasting the entitlement structure that funnels money from richer regions (the ones his party overwhelmingly represents) to poorer (the ones the current opposition parties overwhelmingly represent), even returning “royal” to the names of the branches of the military, to name but a few examples.
What I suspect I and many other Canadians are reeling from is not only the passing of a truly remarkable Canadian, but the dread that our nation may be on the verge of a change we don’t want and that will irreparably damage the character of our country.
We lost him when we needed him most.