|Jack got the infamous rubdown here.|
Too soon to tell if a "happy ending" is in store for the rest of the NDP
However Layton's reaction to the story, the timing of which is obviously political, that in 1996, police found him naked in a "house of ill-repute," is further demonstration, if any more was needed, that the NDP leader is not fit to be the head of Canada's government.
Aside from the obvious lack of judgement demonstrated by a well-known city councillor, as he was in the 1990's, in receiving services of any kind at a bawdy house, Layton's response to the news of it does not bode well for his ability to react to pressure with grace.
Sex has got a lot of men into trouble over the years and most politicians are men with a lust for power, so the term political sex scandal is almost tautological.
There are ways to handle it and there are ways to deal with it effectively and what one does shows a lot about leadership skills.
Layton went to the book on this scandal by immediately claiming "smear" and having his wife issue a statement of support. If that sounds familiar, it's because Bill Clinton did much the same thing. The difference was that in Clinton's case, his scandals didn't break two days before a general election.
And unlike Layton's, Clinton's excuses also had the advantage of not making him look stupid.
Layton has claimed that he went to the massage parlour, pictured above, to get a "shiatsu."
He said he believed the location was a legitimate massage parlour and that he did not receive any sexual services there. That might be true.
But look at the facade of the massage parlour in question, in a seedy part of Toronto's Chinatown, an area that Layton would have been very familiar with, since he was the municipal representative for that area.
If you told me that place is a "legitimate" massage parlour, I'd laugh at you.
There's also a certain incongruity, which is my polite way of saying hypocrisy, to someone who wanted to ban lap dancing and said, "a strip bar is not a petting zoo" who then goes to the sort of place where the clients are the ones being petted.
Layton's reaction was to be rattled, to decry a basic component of the political process that he voluntarily and heartily pursues, and to look and sound beaten.
Being Prime Minister is about leadership. Layton himself has made leadership a central issue of his campaign. Lame, implausible excuses, self-pity and bad reactions are not the way leadership is best exercised.
Canadians are lucky they found out what Jack Layton's version of "Canadian Leadership" is before it's too late.
UPDATE: In a song-and dance interview with the CBC about his little visit to The Velvet Touch Massage Parlour (now if that name isn't a giveaway!), Layton casts more doubt on the veracity of his story than if he had the good sense to keep his mouth shut.
The NDP leader, responding to reporters' questions, said he went to the clinic around 9 p.m., recalling that it was probably after a workout.
"I went for a massage at a community clinic"You can see the alleged "community clinic" above. Does that look like a community clinic? Have you heard of many legitimate massage clinics that are open at 9 PM?
Harper talked about Layton being all smiles and snake oil. He got the smiles right, but that would be massage oil, Steve.
(h/t to Blazing Cat Fur for the update)
UPDATE 2: It looks like "Velvet Touch" is a popular name for massage parlours. Here's one I found in Edmonton. And here's one in Youngstown, Arizona, and another in Melbourne, Florida. And here's a Miss Velvet Touch in Niagara Falls who offers massages (among other things)! I bet the clients of these other Velvet Touches all mistook them for 'community clinics' too!