Just when it seemed that one left-wing party was gaining (the Greens), the other one says "hey, don't forget about us!" While the Conservatives hover somewhere between 38-40% support, it looks like the NDP is gaining at the Liberals' expense.
Only about 4 points separate the Liberals and NDP in that poll, which is unusual, to say the least. I think it really speaks to just how frustrated the Left is with Dion's leadership, or lack thereof. They'll even turn to a guy with a mustache.
Layton has a tendency to be opportunistic and promise everything under the sun if he thinks it will play with the public. Most of the NDP's stated policies are nothing but feel-good socialist bromides. They are on the wrong side of the health care debate. The wrong side of the immigration debate. Their positions on the environmental debate are self-serving and cynical. And frankly, they are on the wrong side of fiscal responsibility.
The NDP may include as part of their platform "balanced budgets", but listening to Layton over the years, he has given little indication that he sees value in budget surpluses themselves, only an opportunity for more government spending. $5 billion going to pay down the debt would be a waste in his view, when it could be spent on social programs or handed out to organized labour instead.
Canada has made great progress in cutting our national debt burden, something that we as a nation should be very proud of. We are actually the only G-7 country currently running surpluses, and our debt to GDP ratio is down somewhere in the 30% range from a high of over 60% back in the nineties:
(Source: Public Works Canada, via The Bolt)
Our friends to the south could learn a thing or two about fiscal conservatism from us pinko commie Canucks. But not from the NDP.
I don't trust Layton to keep a balanced budget any more than I trust him to keep our military healthy or our economy strong. Nor, for that matter, do I trust the federal Conservatives, who are too obsessed with gimmicky tax cuts and making sure that Alberta doesn't have to share its oil money.