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Globe takes Layton to task, citing Glendon historian Michiel Horn

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You can't libel the dead – but you can disparage them, wrote The Globe and Mail Oct. 10. In the most demagogic moment of the federal election campaign, NDP Leader Jack Layton (left) erroneously compared Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper with R.B. Bennett, the Conservative prime minister during the Great Depression (1930-1935).

As historian Michiel Horn (right), professor emeritus at York’s Glendon College, observed in the Globe only a week ago, "the wily and able" [Liberal prime minister] Mackenzie King seriously misjudged the first months of the Depression. "Unemployment was rising but it always rose in the winter," Horn noted. "Periodic downturns in the business cycle were familiar events. [King] faced the election without fear." King was "unconcerned." Bennett, on the other hand, called the Depression "the great dark days" of Canadian history, wrote the Globe. He won the election with his promise "to take whatever action is necessary to end [unemployment] or to perish in the attempt."

From the October 14th edition of York University’s Y File


Published on October 14, 2008