Rent a Socialist

CP reports on what it took to bribe Jack Layton, leader of Canada’s socialist New Democratic Party.

The Liberals are desperate for a few more months in power, so what’s a few billion in taxpayer money?

Prime Minister Paul Martin has bought himself what he hopes will be a $4.6-billion [30 pieces of silver $US] political lifeline.

Martin’s Liberals reached “agreement in principle” Tuesday with the NDP that would see the New Democrats support the fragile minority government against efforts by the Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois to bring it down.

Details of the agreement were still being worked out, but NDP Leader Jack Layton said it involves a guarantee of $4.6 billion in new investment in “people and the environment,” plus an increase in foreign aid.

The money is in exchange for the support of 19 NDP MPs in a confidence vote likely to take place soon. Mr. Layton is looking ahead to an election where he may be able to increase the number of NDP seats sufficiently to hold a possible Liberal minority government hostage.

Make that “further hostage.”

Now I know you wouldn’t think blatant logrolling and greedy pork projects for one section of the country at the expense of the rest would endear the NDP to Canadian voters, but most of the money is earmarked for the “people and environment” of the eastern provinces.

It is naked theft, but it is remarkable in the sordid history of Canadian transfer payments only because the contempt for voters is so thoroughly unveiled.

Layton will benefit in the east – “He may be an opportunistic jackal, but he’s our opportunistic jackal” – and will probably pick up votes elsewhere from those who just can’t bear to vote Tory.

The good news is that the Tories will have to make common cause with the Bloc Quebecois to bring down the government.

This can only help Alberta’s chances for independence, and Jack Layton is already blaming the Tories for the specter of provincial secession – as if he didn’t cause it by selling his 19 votes to a man who is arguably the most corrupt politician this side of Turtle Bay.

What kind of country is being preserved with him and Martin running it anyway?