Layton does a Dion

Jack Layton probably assured his electoral doom and may have handed Michael Ignatieff undeserved legitimacy. By propping up the Tories of smilin’ Steve Harper in the Canadian parliament, New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton is following in the footsteps of erstwhile Liberal leader Stephane Dion. Meanwhile Michael Ignatieff, he who replaced Dion, can sit back smugly in opposition to the government even though it’s been his Liberals that have served in a virtual coaltion with the Conservative government for the past year.

Layton insists that he achieved needed employment insurance reform for Canadians. That’s very small beer. In the coming weeks, if Layton and his NDP members are the only thing that stands between Harper and defeat, they have to bring down the government. On Friday, the NDP was joined by the Bloc Quebecois which supported the home renovation tax credit scheme. The next time the Harper government’s life is on the line, the Bloc won’t be so accommodating. If the NDP supports Harper under those conditions, it will have done its best to make Michael Ignatieff the next Prime Minister.  And perhaps that’s the outcome Layton seeks – few Kneedeepers see their party as a prospective government. Perhaps in his heart of hearts Jack just wants to help Iggy out by making him appear to be PM-in-waiting, a lone wolf standing staunchly in opposition to Harper.