...is the unfortunate ugly side of his party
Yesterday, during the closing days of the 2011 Election campaign, a story broke chronicling how NDP leader Jack Layton was caught -- naked -- in a Toronto massage parlour that was suspected of being a bawdy house.
Reportedly, police were in the parlour investigating reports that underage Asian girls were performing sex acts there.
For his own part, Layton says that he didn't know anything untoward was happening in the massage parlour in question. Frankly, there's very little reason to doubt him.
"I went for a massage at a community clinic," Layton explained. "The police advised it wasn't the greatest place to be, so I left and I never went back."
Layton's wife, Olivia Chow, hasn't been taken by even the slightest bit of surprise at the news.
"I knew about this appointment, as I always do. No one was more surprised than my husband when the police informed him of allegations of potential wrong doing at this establishment," she declared. "He told me about the incident after it happened. Any insinuation of wrongdoing on the part of my husband is completely and utterly false."
As it pertains to this story, there's really only two: one, that the media knew about this story for quite a while and refused to report it; the other is that it serves to direct attention toward the soft, ugly underbelly of the NDP.
As these matters so often do, it has to do with Vancouver-East MP Libby Davies.
In 2009, Davies voted against a bill that would have strengthened Canada's laws on human trafficking.
Davies did so out of her ideological opposition to mandatory minimum sentencing, apparently not understanding that human traffickers simply belong in prison. Full stop, and end of conversation.
For his own part, Layton voted in favour of that very bill. He understands this issue, and made the right decision.
Yet that he counts Libby Davies among the deputy leaders of his party leaves the NDP with questions to answer about this issue.
Frankly, when underage Asian girls turn up at bawdy houses in Canada, they're there because they're victims of human trafficking.
When Jack Layton is found in such an establishment, here's there because he doesn't really know what's going on there. That's not really his fault. Yet Libby Davies voted against making it easier to shut such establishments down. That is her fault, and Layton must call on her to answer for it.
It's too late to remove Libby Davies as the NDP candidate in Vancouver-East -- which, frankly, would be the right decision. Anyone who would vote against human trafficking legislation is not worthy to sit in Parliament. Keeping her as an NDP candidate is simply grossly irresponsible.
But, at the very least, Jack Layton can demote her promptly on May 2 -- something that should have been done two years ago.