Canadian politics is getting a wee bit weirder with the headline of today's Star: Jack Layton: How did his message of hope inspire you? Layton's daughter is asking Canadians to write in and talk about how wonderful her dad was.
For me, he didn't. As I said in the past, I have a little respect for Layton because of how he ran his last campaign. He was the only one of the three major leaders who actually spoke about issues, whereas the other two simply took potshots at each other. However, inasmuch as his solutions to the issues was idiotic, my respect for him has very severe limits.
However, I appear to be an anomaly, and after his death his party has been banking on his reputation and image to bolster their fortunes. When a new leader was elected- his name is irrelevant- the NDP released an ad with members of Layton's family saying things like: "Jack's legacy is in good hands." Jack, and not the current leader, seems to be the focus of the party and their PR campaign.
This seems to be a response to Prime Minister Harper's incessant attack ads on every possible challenger. Harper's party has already unleashed attack ads on the new leader of the NDP. The NDP's response seems to be that the new leader is not that relevant, because they are maintaining "Jack's legacy". In order to attack that, Harper would have to attack a dead man and run the risk of appearing petty and entirely without class. (I already believe that of him, so he should not hold back on my account.)
We are stuck in leader/party politics. As I have pointed out to my American readers in the past, Canadians only vote for the local representative, not the leader, unless a party leader is their local representative. Asking Canadians as a whole to vote or not vote for this or that leader goes against our electoral system, and distracts attention from the people for whom we can vote. We are being asked to vote for a party and its leader, not any one individual. We are being asked to no longer consider whom we wish to represent us, but only for those who will owe their allegiance almost solely to the party and its leader. Harper, in the last election, constantly called on Canadians to vote against someone only a few people could even vote for. If the NDP continue on this trend, in the next election we may be asked to vote for someone no one can vote for, on account of the fact he's dead.