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NDP: Pragmatic Idealists

The normally very conservative Colby Cosh has written a delicious piece defending Jack Layton‘s position that he will continue to try to work with the government on the NDP’s ethics reform package, protection for pensions and the environment and a renewed commitment to public health care.  Stephen Harper is trying to paint Layton as a sell-out, and Cosh is having none of it.  He writes "on the premise that a party leader cares most about the ideas for which his party stands, no position other than Layton’s is remotely practical".  And he concludes with:

I don’t think anyone would hold it against him for too long if he (Stephen Harper), like Layton, were to present the Liberals with a list of ideological policy demands. But maybe that’s the real question: do today’s Conservatives actually have a wish list? (One, I mean, beyond No Queer Weddings In My Backyard?) Harper, after all, ran tacitly for the Canadian Alliance leadership as the man who was willing to treat the party as a vehicle for ideas rather than as a professionalized cabal of jobhunters hoping to win an elaborate game of Red Vs. Blue. It seemed like a good idea to some of us at the time, but somewhere along the line Harper accepted the values of a national press corps capable of comprehending and covering politics only as a spectator sport.

Does anyone have a spare petard around to lend Stephen Harper?  Some hoisting is clearly called for…

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