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The Most Powerful Person in the Country? — take your pick.

This Magazine Staff

David Kilgour, MP for Edmonton Beaumont.

This Globe story has Kilgour, a former Liberal but now an independent, being the essential link in the chain that could see the Liberal Party defeating a non-confidence motion next month and clinging to power just long enough to pass some crucial legislation, now all tempered by a possible deal with the New Democrats.

There’s almost too much to talk about here. Do the NDP really want to be seen to be propping up a government widely held to be horriby corrupt, even if it means ditching corporate tax cuts and seeing real advancement on national child care? Layton is showing remarkable confidence in the ability of the Canadian electorate to discern subtleties in the process, especially when the Conservatives are chomping at the bit for a telegenic, one-issue vote—corruption vs. anti-corruption.

Can Layton really expect Paul Martin to honour his word in any deal?

I think it’s worth the gamble for the NDP, but here’s a nightmare scenario for you. The deal is done, the Liberals drag their heels on socially progressive legislation as they always do, Martin gets to call the next election on his own terms and in the meantime runs a fairly skilled damage control campaign, taking his licks on Cross Country Check-up, mea-culpa, etc. Meanwhile, in the months leading up to the election, several Conservatives say things that make them look like wingnuts. Then the Liberals once again steal seats from the NDP by pointing toward the Conservative bogeyman and whispering “Beware, a vote for Layton is a vote for Harper.”

Bingo. A new mandate for the Liberals and no ongoing scandal to bring them down early—followed by a budget full of corporate tax cuts.

I know, I know. I’m not factoring in the Bloc and Quebec. It’s Monday morning. My head hurts.

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