Low Blow

Jack Layton ratcheted up the rhetoric a notch yesterday when he declared that Paul Martin is directly responsible for the death of homeless people in Toronto.

“I believe that when Paul cancelled affordable housing across this country it produced a dramatic rise in homelessness and death due to homelessness. I’ve always said I hold him responsible for that.” — Jack Layton, Leader of the Jack Layton Party (the NDP)

Paul Martin says it’s a low blow and says that Mr. Layton’s comments reflect more upon Mr. Layton than they do upon him. Stephen Harper says that Layton’s comments were over the top.

This is not the first time that Layton has politicized dead homeless people against the Liberals. I remember watching a waterfront announcement by Liberal incumbent Dennis Mills (who, by the way, is running against Layton for the same seat). The press conference was upstaged by a throng of ‘activists’ making lots of noise. One reporter immediately suspected a Layton stunt and asked one woman about it. Her response? “Jack Layton? I don’t know uh… PEOPLE ARE DYING IN THE STREETS”. This woman not only yelled it, she howled it. Mills’ response to the demonstration? He calmly tried to explain that the money has been earmarked for the homeless, it just has to go through the bureaucracy first.

The stunt was particularly obvious and particularly sickening.

The issue of homelessness is concerning to everyone, yet there is a forum for constructive debate of the issues. Jack Layton’s brand of guerrilla activism and outlandish personal attacks debases not only the issue of homelessness, but also the very people at the centre of it.