As I've said before, I respect the way Layton has run his campaign. He has confined any attacks to the behaviour of the other leaders and their policies, with none of the personal attacks of the Conservatives and Liberals. As a result of his campaign, his party has surged ahead of the Liberals in the polls, and Layton is now poised to be the Leader of the Opposition. He is close enough that, should he have another surge, he could take the election.
On the one hand, I hope the other parties are paying attention to this, and will perhaps abandon their negative attacks which have so debased the level of political discourse in Canada. Perhaps they should take this as a sign that Canadians are weary of the endless mudslinging and fear mongering of their elected representatives, and try and lift political discourse out of the mud into which they have trampled it.
On the other hand, this scares the bejeebies out of me. As I have pointed out, the party has a lot of bad ideas masquerading as good ideas. They want to tax the rich, the big corporations and increase spending elsewhere. And when the rich and the fat corporation then leave for other, less taxed pastures, then what? He wishes to introduce proportional democracy, which is a good theoretical idea, but bad in practice. We will no longer vote for our own, personal representatives, but for parties, who will then select our government members from a list we had no part in making. His plan for reducing personal debt by forcing credit card companies to lower their rates will only serve to increase it.
More than this, Layton himself is at least as autocratic as the other leaders. Several times when there has been a free vote in parliament during his tenure as the leader of the New Democratic Party (that's a vote wherein the members of parliament are free to vote as they choose, according to their conscience or the will of their electorate) he has ordered his party to vote as a bloc. His 'new' democracy is no democracy at all.
I would that every vote in parliament were a free vote, and that Canadians would get back to voting for the people who actually represent them, not the leaders of the party. I want to vote for my representative, not a list, not a party. If I were to vote for the NDP, I would not have a representative, I would have Jack. The same is true to a lesser degree for the other leaders as well, but they are at least willing to allow the occasional free vote.
Although he is the only leader for whom I have any respect in this campaign, I cannot endorse his party, his platform, or his representative. Were I to meet him, I would shake his hand and say thanks to him for refusing to degrade political discourse in his campaign. As for his policies and his party, for that I would withdraw my hand, say "no thanks", and walk away.