The NDP has jumped at the chance to step into a pro-war government. And we must be plain about how explicitly it has done so. By all accounts, a de facto embrace of the war was preqruisite for the coalition ("Off the table")--and one Layton and crew didn't blink at. This is more than aquiesence; it is outright embrace of the war for parliamentary gains.
For many rank-and-file NDPers, Canada's illegal war and occupation of Afghanistan is not simply one issue among many, another pragmatic concern. Opposition to the war is based on fundamental commitments. It is ideological in the sense that opposing imperialist wars will always be part of a belief system with deep roots (one which opposes dispossession, slaughter, torture, dedgradation, etc.).
For those (within or supportive of the NDP) who are fundamentally opposed to the war, I can see this pro-war, war-time NDP governing coalition taking two different lights.
In the first, it demonstrates that the NDP's anti-war stance has been shallow and cynical. We know it took the NDP leadership a good while to come around to condeming the war, and we have seen that Layton was almost completely silent on it as an election issue (until some unexpected news turned the issue into campaign capital in the lead-up week). It's worth noting that, during the election, NDP headquarters had been sitting on a press release (fingers crossed?), waiting on the 100th Canadian as Afghan civilian deaths silently mounted. Since the party leadership was never genuinely or credibly anti-war, little is lost in selling out the rank and file, who've never counted for much beyond their raw support and campaign legwork.
In another light, it's not the crass cynicism of the leadership that matters. It's the failure of the PARTY to hold onto *any* core values, and, even more, the failure of the fight WITHIN the party to maintain any such core values. The pro-war coalition, then, marks the culmination of the hollowing out of the NDP. As the chorus of approval mounts, it leaves those opposed to war with nothing but their own marginality for company. For imperial war and occupation is just another issue among many, to be sidelined for little more than some cabinet seats in a status-quo capitalist parliament.