Dion and Layton on the Economy

By Royce Koop on Oct 10, 2008

Since the English language debate, the media have essentially handed Stephane Dion and Jack Layton free passes to attack Harper for "not having a plan," despite that they are somewhat lacking in this respect themselves. This has led to some amusing episodes as the two leaders have tried to keep the spotlight focussed on Harper, and away from themselves. Failure to do so has led to disaster, at least for Dion.

But Layton has been the most reckless in attacking Harper. His plan to correct any coming recession is to discourage investment and expansion by abolishing Harper's corporate tax cuts and then sinking the money - plus any other necessary dollars - into a slew of new social programs. But never mind any wonky economic policy, because, claims Layton "I'll work until I drop to make sure that your homes, your pensions, your mortgages and your jobs are protected as best as we are able from this unfolding financial crisis."

That's right, Prime Minister Layton and his crack team of economic advisors are going save your job by brewing a pot of strong coffee and pulling an all-nighter at 24 Sussex. They'll even order in a pizza if they have to. And this says nothing about Layton's parallel between Harper and R.B. Bennett, thoroughly debunked by Neil Reynolds here. I've been impressed by Layton in this campaign, but he seems intent on convincing me that he really is pretty superficial.

The media have allowed Dion and Layton to get away with all this because their message seems to be crafted for media consumption. The Prairie Wrangler has done a good job of summarizing the feeling words associated with Harper that they have employed to justify this sort of superficial coverage: "insensitive," "show empathy," "feel our pain," "empathetic," and on and on and on. He then drives the point home: "He’s not your mom. He’s not your BFF. He’s the...Prime Minister. Personally, I don’t need Harper to nestle me to his (admittedly ample) bosom, stroke my hair and tell me everything is going to be alright."

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