The Globe and Mail: NDP-Liberal talks went down to wire
OTTAWA -- Tory Leader Stephen Harper's hand was forced yesterday by a tentative deal cooked up between Paul Martin and Jack Layton on Sunday night in a suite at the Royal York Hotel. The NDP Leader arrived on the subway; the Prime Minister came by limousine.
Organized labour pushed the deal aggressively, threatening to withdraw its support for the New Democrats if Mr. Layton favoured an early election.
Oooh. We're back to the NDP being the explicit puppets of labour, rather than the quiet partners thereof again, are we? That may play well for CUPE and CAW members, but will the rest of the country be so forgiving? If it's clear that this deal was, in effect, between union goons and backroom Liberal bagmen, what are the optics?
I doubt there are many people besides union bosses (and those members so hardcore they seem to think they're still in 1919, in an apocalyptic battle royale with top hat-wearing monacled plutocrats) who think increased influence of organized labour on government is a good thing. I suspect there have been too many strikes over petty complaints, too many specific bad experiences with the thuggish side of unions, for even the apolitical centre to be any more charitable than purely indifferent; it is painfully clear that unions have more power than they should, and tend to hold the (country|province|municipalities) hostage whenever they feel like it. I'd be curious to know what NDP sentiment is about Buzz Hargrove jerking them around so. Fear of a Green vote split is getting more evident than last time...