Jack Layton Steers West: The Complete Interview

In the latest issue, we interviewed Jack Layton about the NDP's prospects in an upcoming election and what it's like to have to work across the aisle from one of Canada's least loved PMs.

Our discussion went quite long so we had to trim a lot to get it to fit into the paper. Here are some highlights from the stuff that was left on the cutting-room floor....

"I remember going to Paul Martin when he was in government and I first met with him and said, 'Hey, we can work together. You haven’t got a majority, we’re perfectly happy to work together on some collaborative issues.' We never heard back from them. We kept trying to get proposals through. We weren’t getting a darn thing. And it was coming back from the Tsunami, when we got over to see that disaster, I said, 'You know, how come you haven’t worked with us, it’s been nine months.' He said to me, 'You’re two votes short.'"

"[We're] laying out an alternative vision for how we start coming out of this recession having learned something, which is that the deregulation, the unleashing of unrestrained greed as the modus operandi of the entire economic system didn’t work and we don’t want to go back to that. Let’s start thinking about some of the things we need to do, and can do, and should do together, through the institutions that we have in common. Namely, the government institutions. And it’s fantastic to see this grass roots response to the shutting down of parliament because people are essentially saying when they’re responding in that way, 'We believe in our government, our government institutions, our democratic institutions. And we don’t like when you disrespect them.'"

"I’d invite you to talk to Dick Proctor at some point about his theories about the federal NDP in Saskatchewan because his theory is essentially that when we’re in government, particularly the longer we’re in government in Saskatchewan, the more of a challenge it is for us to elect federal MPs. It’s a bit of a voting behaviour that the poli-sci profs have been talking about for years that people will offset one party at one level with another at another level. You vote one way at the provincial level, then another at the federal."

"We’re on the have-province side. But what we’re seeing is a lot of people in Saskatchewan being left behind in the boom. Therefore, this is a time for the kind of social interventions to make sure that everybody gets to have some share of what’s going on with the economy. And that’s what the NDP speaks to and works for."

And, like a DVD bonus feature to accompany the latest issue, here's the complete and (mostly) unedited transcript of our discussion with Jack Layton.

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