Jack Layton’s costly mistake (post updated)

I have been a loyal member of the New Democratic Party for several years and very supportive of the hard work of our leader, Jack Layton. However, these past few days my loyalty has been severely tested, due to Layton’s alignment with Stephen Harper on excluding the Green Party’s leader Elizabeth May from the televised leaders’ debates.

Whatever possessed Jack Layton to side with Harper on this? Excluding Elizabeth May from these debates speaks volumes about the Old Boys Club in Ottawa.  When did Layton become a member?  Are these men  afraid to let a strong, outspoken woman debate our country’s issues with them?

Since I am very active in the community, I hear the same views expressed by many people, including those ‘fence-sitters’ who are seriously considering casting their vote for the NDP.  This latest action by Layton has just lost those voters and may prove to be a very costly mistake.

I am appalled by these actions of my party’s leader and have written letters urging Jack Layton to admit his error in judgment, apologise to Ms. May and speak out to allow her to be included in the debates. Our country faces uncertain times and important issues that transcend divisive partisan politics. In order to restore his credibility; the confidence of large segments of his own party; and for democracy to be served, I hope that Layton listens to the grass roots of his party and publicly reverses his misogynist stance.

Let Elizabeth Speak! Demand Democratic Debates!

**UPDATE: Canada Votes – Election 2008

It seems that Jack Layton paid attention to the grass roots of his own party and backed down on excluding Elizabeth May in the televised leaders’ debates. So that leaves Stephen Harper as the ‘lone ranger’ stubbornly sticking to his stance. I don’t think the Progressives in his party are impressed.

And I still think that Jack Layton should publicly apologise to Ms. May.

Read this article in the Edmonton Sun: Layton backs down on blocking May from debates

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jack Layton has backed down in his opposition to having Green party Leader Elizabeth May participate in the federal leaders debates.

Layton says the issue has “become a distraction” and he does not want to continue “debating about the debate.”

“As long as Stephen Harper takes part, I don’t care who else is on the stage,” he said Wednesday on his campaign bus in the Toronto area.

Layton came under fire from his own supporters after saying May, who is closely linked with Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, had no place at the table.

The five-network consortium that runs the debates — CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV, Global and TVA — has said some leaders threatened to boycott the events if May was included.

It was later revealed that Layton and Prime Minister Stephen Harper had threatened the boycott.

May said now that just one leader opposes her participation, there’s no reason to exclude her.

[…]

Read rest of this article here.

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4 Responses to Jack Layton’s costly mistake (post updated)

  1. jennessex says:

    Elizabeth May shouldn’t be in the debates for a whole bunch of reasons some based on principle and some politically strategic and none of them having anything to do with her gender. Her former strategist Dan Baril sums up a bunch of the reasons (www.danbaril.com).

    Did you know that there are 4 other national parties that have women as their leaders? I grant you that they don’t garner the support of the greens but I could make the argument to Elizabeth that she should be demanding the inclusion of the Marxist Lennist Party and the Animal Environmental Protection Party, blah blah.

    I think that you are a great blogger, I read you all the time but as a middle aged woman I don’t think that it is particularly productive for us to throw around accusations of racism or sexism when they aren’t warranted. I have lived through a number of different squirmishs between women of colour and white women, or between pro and anti censorship feminists between progressive men and women between gay men and lesbians. I think that it undermines not only the left but our culture in general and impoverishes us all.

    On happier news the Angus Reid poll released today has the NDP statistically tied with the LIbs and blowing past them by 6 points in Quebec where we are now third. http://angusreidstrategies.com/uploads/pages/pdfs/2008.09.10_FedRace.pdf.

  2. verbena19 says:

    Thank you for your comment. Because of my anger, I did get somewhat carried away. I was totally unprepared from that kind of action from Jack. But in my opinion, Elizabeth May and the Greens can’t be compared to the other parties you mentioned for many reasons, which time doesn’t permit me to go into now. Suffice it to say that if we had Proportional Representation, this would never have happened. The Green Party garnered enough popular votes in the last election to be included in national televised debates. You are right, Jack is not a misogynist. But I think Harper is.

    According to today’s Globe and Mail, Jack Layton realised the folly of his rash decision. Harper followed suit shortly thereafter, otherwise he’d be the lone man standing on the issue of May’s exclusion. I’m simply too tired to rewrite my post. I did put up a subsequent one about the Greens’ inclusion.

    The latest Angus Reid poll is indeed good news. I hope we can keep it going. Hence, Jack can’t afford any costly mistakes. He stands for ALL Canadians. And I hope he won’t be patronizing & condescending toward Liz May and will treat her with due respect. While you and I may not want to use the sexism card, believe me, women all over the country — of ALL political stripes — will be watching for just that. (Like I mentioned in my post above, I’m out in the community and hear lots of opinions.)

    Thanks for saying that I’m a great blogger. I appreciate the praise. btw, I’m a middle-aged woman too…. actually, just past ‘middle age’ wherever that is… 😉

  3. harpervalley says:

    right on annamarie! we have to know we’re watching them ALL like hawks and undemocratic, unfair behavior and actions or innactions will not be tolerated!!!

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