Scratch Your Head Time

On Wednesday, January 22, 2003, President Bush gave Prime Minister Chretien a call. They talked for fifteen minutes...

On Friday, January 24, 2003, the Globe and Mail printed the following lead headline on the front page:

PM to Bush: Hold off on war (Canada will break with U.S. if it hits Hussein without mandate from UN)

The same day in the Toronto Star, front page, lead headline:

Chrétien supports U.S. push for war (Another U.N. resolution not needed: PM)

The two papers are in boxes, side by side. I'm left standing on the sidewalk, scratching my chin in wonder...

So, the New Democratic Party has elected Toronto civic councillor Jack Layton as their new leader. Good choice.

Jack Layton is a good man. I know him, however tenuously, as my city councillor back when I was still living in Toronto. I've watched his performance and, while he has been pegged as a loony lefty, behind his lefty rhetoric beats the heart of a pragmatic consensus builder. How else could he have been the force that he was on a very centre-right city council? In the past four years, he has been a strong advocate for the homeless and, as president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, brought several voices speaking together, bringing urban issues much more to the forefront of federal affairs.

Yes, the NDP took a bit of a gamble electing somebody who won't be sitting in parliament until 2004 at the earliest, but when you're in the state the federal NDP is in now, what do you have to lose? Layton is intelligent, fluently bilingual, knows how to campaign and I think has the ability to unite the factions on the left into a credible opposition force. And, left or right, it's about time that the opposition in this country regained some credibility. Now if only the moribund Conservatives would revive...

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