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The Importance of Layton's Win
29/06/2004

In a piece discussing winners and losers, Radwanski (June 29 -- no permalinks) writes:

Then thereís Dennis Mills. For the rest of the country, Jack Laytonís victory in Toronto-Danforth was the best outcome. But the riding itself has lost a truly committed constituency MP and a genuinely decent guy. Dennis has his quirks, and he was out of sync with urban Toronto on certain social issues. But for all the mediocrities toiling in the Liberalsí Ontario caucus, itís a shame he had to be one of the few to go.

I disagree. In fact, I was thinking the opposite -- the City of Toronto may still be sending 22 Liberals to Ottawa, but the one NDPer who squeaked in could make a big difference for this city.

The Urban Agenda is one policy area in which the Liberals and NDP seem to agree, only the NDP seems more serious about it. Additionally, on several local issues of importance to Toronto, Jack Layton has been an advocate for the city while the Liberal GTA caucus has ducked and dodged.

This one victory is an opportunity for Layton to fight for Toronto (and municipalities in general), and I expect he will do more for us on local issues than the other 22 MPs combined over the past 11 years. Obviously what he achieves will be in conjunction with the Liberals, but it will be the NDP threat that keeps them focused.

If it goes well for him, it could provide an incentive for other urban NDPers to stick with their team next time. Simultaneously, Layton needs to shore up his rural base.

(I guess re: Mills, I should say that I'm not disagreeing about him being a decent guy. I'm just happy Layton won that seat. Radwanski is probably right that Mills may be better than some other Toronto Liberals. Although, writing this I'm reminded that another area where Layton's victory could have a significant impact is the question of same-sex marriage.)


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