Because confusion and doubletalk worked so well for Martin and Dion


Toronto Star:

OTTAWA–Arguing that a recession is not the time to cut income taxes, the federal Liberals yesterday served notice on Prime Minister Stephen Harper that he risks defeat if he goes ahead with across-the-board cuts.

Ottawa Citizen:

While Mr. Ignatieff did not directly threaten to defeat the government over the budget, Toronto MP John McCallum, the party’s economic policy critic, told reporters that Mr. Ignatieff has frequently said a Liberal vote against the Jan. 27th budget “is still very much a possibility.”

Mr. McCallum said, however, Liberals want to see the budget before declaring whether they will vote for defeat, a move that would trigger another federal election or a request by the Governor General that the Liberals and New Democratic Party coalition, supported by the Bloc Québécois, be given a chance to govern.

880 News:

Liberal insiders say Michael Ignatieff would prefer more time to rebuild the party and prepare for an election, rather than possibly topple the government next week by refusing to support the budget.

Of course, the statements in every case are so exquisitely couched in maybes and possiblys that none of them can really be held to mean anything. If you’re an Ignatieff fan you’ll argue that makes it all even more clever. Bit of trivia: the Citizen story is filed under “Entertainment,” not national news. Fair enough: I’m entertained.


Because confusion and doubletalk worked so well for Martin and Dion

  1. Who are Ignatieff and McCallum trying to fool? The Liberals have no intention of voting against the budget. They are just trying to position themselves so they can pretend that they scared the Conservatives into more spending. They should not worry. The budget will contain enough spending on wasteful projects to make even the reddist Liberal happy. It’s likely going to be a sad day for fiscal conservatives.

    • It won’t be the the budget numbers per se, it’s the sneaky punches that may be attached to it that could start the opposition seething again. I’d say the conservatives better be honest and up front with their intentions or they will be zapped.

      • They will be zapped will they? And tehn what? Lose an election.

        Wells is right. This is all entertainment. Anything else and Dion won’t be the only Liberal leader out on his heels.

        • Better check the recent poll numbers….eh?

  2. I’m a bit surprised that the Liberals haven’t learned from the PM:

    Be very direct, unequivocal, and clear in your position.

    When you change position, be very direct, unequivocal, and clear.

    Make no reference to the change or the previous position.

    • Eastasia has always advocated tax cuts for Eurasia…

      • lol!

  3. I don’t see any of these three statements as being unreasonable or contradictory.

    Before accusing the LIberals of double-speak, how about accusing the media of relentlessly hounding Liberals with questions about “will you support/won’t you support” until they get the answer they want, and if not receiving it, finding some Liberal “insider” who will deliver, off the record of course.

    • I agree. There is no contradiction in these statements. The message boils down to “Ignatieff would prefer not to pull the trigger on confidence vote, but he will if he has to.”

      The reason people are accusing them of double-speak is that it is widely suspected that the Liberals have already decided not to defeat the budget, and everything else they say is pure political posturing.

    • Talk about double speak, Michael Ignatieff when he was teaching at Harvard advocated support for George W Bush sending troops into Iraq. ” Just like Jean Chretien sent a contingent of Canadian Forces into Irag and General Walt Natynck. Second Mr Ignatieff in Halifax stated at a Town hall meeting that Tax cuts to the middle class and lower class were are good thing. In Quebec he completely reversed that statement and said tax cuts are not the right thing at this time.

      Mr Ignatieff came out to Alberta, toured the Oil Sands development and stated that this was a good thing for Canada as this industry is what is driving the Canadian Economy. He goes back to Toronto and states we need to shut the Oil sands down for the protection of the environment. Here are two examples of LOL double speak. Talk about hypocrisy.

  4. “This budget has three simple tests that it must pass,” Ignatieff told Liberal MPs and Senators. “Will it protect the most vulnerable? Will it save jobs? And most important of all, will it create the jobs of tomorrow?”

    Is that all this budget has to do? I mean, I was hoping world peace would also flow from this budget and I am going to be really disillusioned if it doesn’t.

    I also like the hedging on tax cuts. Of course we are for tax cuts, say the Libs, just not now when people need more money!

    And in one of these articles, Iggy says he’s against tax cuts because the cupboard is bare. The Fed budget is around $220 billion I believe and Iggy’s saying that government doesn’t have much.

    In all this talk about the budget, I have not read one word from pols about reducing public spending in order to reduce the size of the deficit. What are Harper/Cons afraid of? They were re-elected a few months ago and one of their main planks was that they wouldn’t allow a deficit but now all we hear is a lot of talk about ‘extraordinary’ times and nothing about trying to balance budgets.

    • “They were re-elected a few months ago and one of their main planks was that they wouldn’t allow a deficit but now all we hear is a lot of talk about ‘extraordinary’ times and nothing about trying to balance budgets.”

      Well, obviously (to borrow the PM’s favourite word) they were lying through their teeth during the campaign. We’ve been careening towards a deficit (before one cent of additional stimulus is spent) for months. But a deficit of $12 billion or less is no good. That could obviously be blamed on the Harper Government’s poor fiscal management.

      They’re determined to spend as much as possible. A $30 billion deficit would be great, since they can blame the global financial crisis and the needed stimulus.

      • This may actually be the best explanation for Harper’s decision to run this huge $40 billion deficit – it covers up the inevitable $12 billion that he can’t prevent and does not want the blame for.

        So his reasoning is:
        1. Darn – we will have to run a deficit as we overspent.
        2. The liberals and chattering classes are crying for a huge stimulus.
        3. Give them the stimulus and hide the deficit.
        4. Blame them if/when it all goes wrong.

  5. They haven’t formally elected their leader yet, that is supposed to be done by acclamation at the convention in Vancouver later this spring.

    What is the LIberal platform or in other words, how do they intend to govern? Has Ignatieff unfurled a new policy platform? Nope. We can assume that it would be the same platform that was resoundly, and in hindsight, rightly rejected by Canadians last October, in other words 90 days ago. You know that carbon tax stuff when Dion and Iggy and May thought that global warming was THE government priority over all others. Dion was talking about that very thing again in his coup attempt video in December.

    How many times do they have to be told: the Liberal Party of Canada is in serious need of renewal in all facets of its organization. They need to do this before they think of taking over the helm. Any attempt to forego this renewal and trying to take power instead will end in disaster for them.

    Please someone tell me the Libs finally understand this?

    • No, Jarrid. I don’t think we can reasonably assume that their platform will be the same as in this past election. Since when do parties release their platform in the off-chance there might be an election? Your guy Steve didn’t bother to release one until after the advance polls.

    • Jarrid
      this may be the only time i’ve ever a greed with you. The libs need some more time out no matter what damage that does to their egos. Politically speaking let th cons carry the can, when hey screw up, because Harper has proven to be a fanatic and like all fanatics he’ll torch himself eventually. Of course i hope he doesn’t burn the house down while he’s at it.

  6. doesn’t that make them more cleverer?

  7. Dear Colleague Wells –

    At least you are showing a hint of possibly leaning towards wondering about future likelihood of the chance that matters will solidify in due time…
    Or – to quote Sir Humphrey…Sometimes one is forced to consider the possibility that affairs are being conducted in a manner which, all things being considered and making all possible allowances is, not to put too fine a point on it, perhaps not entirely straightforward!

  8. Can anyone tell me what’s going to be in the budget? And if not, can anyone explain to me why the Liberals should be unequivocal and unanimous in declaring whether or not they will support something they’ve yet to see? I have a feeling Harper and Flaherty won’t know what’s going to be in the budget until about 24 hours before it’s tabled, yet the Liberals are accused of confusion and doubletalk for being somewhat vague as to whether or not they’ll support… something… we’re not quite sure?

    As for Jarrid’s call for the Liberals to announce a platform – patience. If memory serves, the Tories didn’t announce a platform last year until three quarters of the way through the election, after being ridiculed in the debates for not having a platform (it then took them, what, 12 hours after the election to start contradicting major aspects of their “platform”?). I’m all for the Leader of the Opposition explaining clearly, and in detail, how he plans to govern. Is it really too much to ask for some similar expectation of our Prime Minister?

    I mean, really, what should worry me and my fellow Canadians more? That we have no idea what the opposition parties really plan to do, or that we have no idea what our government really plans to do?

    • Lord Kitchener’s Own said- “I mean, really, what should worry me and my fellow Canadians more? That we have no idea what the opposition parties really plan to do, or that we have no idea what our government really plans to do?”

      Agrred. Im much more concerned with their lack of direction. They have turned 180 degrees from their rather late election platform. I often wonder why their shoe choice is ignored when they are the ones wearing flip flops…

  9. I think that response is the only reasonable one in the circumstances. It is pushing Harper to act like he has a minority government.

  10. I think tomorrow’s Globe has an article wherein 160 eminent Canadian university professors have agreed it is Ok for the Liberals to have contradictory positions on any subject.

    I suppose those neo-cons, true to form, will be divisive again and disagree. Luckily, our sharp friends at several major editorial boards will catch and call them on this, scolding them mightily for their un-Canadian values. Vigilance!

    • I think we’re spending entirely too much time talking about how the opposition doesn’t have a simple, elegant, non-contradictory response to the government’s plan for the economy that no one’s seen yet then we are on the fact that no one’s seen the government’s plan for the economy yet.

      I’m all for attacking a politician’s inadequate or contradictory response to something, I just don’t expect them to come up with a coherent and non-contradictory response to something that hasn’t happened yet.

      As I’ve said, what should concern me more? The government’s lack of a plan, or the opposition’s lack of a response to the government’s (as of yet in utero) plan?

  11. All of maybes and redundancies aside, it’s still not clear what the Liberal contingency plan is. The problems associated with a coalition government are not necessarily as self-evident as one may think, but it’s obvious that Ignatieff is at best lukewarm to the idea. If at the end of the day, the opposition can reiterate the parliamentary demography, then it’s satisfying enough for me.

    All the best,

    Public Post

  12. Well it is a bit like Shadow Boxing. Since the actual budget is a Shadow Budget, commenting on it is sort of like trying to nail Jello to ice cream (fun to watch, but fairly nonproductive and the results are pretty much inedible). To further torture this metaphor, the rubber of the actual budget will likely never meet the actual road since, as we’ve seen with the “Fiscal Update” everything now is Pending Approval By All The Other Guys, which means nothing proffered or recommended or optimistically hoped for, may actually be legislated into law or practice. Hints are – rather strong, in my opinion – that they have no actual agenda, rather proudly proclaimed that as a campaign promise, possibly the singular promise (other than that whatever Steve wasn’t he wasn’t that funny guy with poopy head) for which Himself presented a kind of “The Land Is Strong” edifice of silence, like one of those Easter Island Statue Heads, which the other debaters shouted at through the debates to their exhaustion, in several variations upon official languages (slipping into jazz mode), to far less result than what had been expected (by me, alas for the last time). Budget wise all is, of course, contingent upon seeing what our new – er, I meant their – President is going to do. Once the God has spoken the skies will open and enlightenment will beam down and He Who Must Be Obeyed will display a newfound confidence in, if nothing else, at least which way the wind’s blowing.

  13. Actually, it did work for Martin before he became Prime Minister…

  14. It must irk Stephen Harper that Canadians, and people from other countries, take notice of Obama when Harper stands by being the friend and ally of the US but can garner no support except from his small closed circle of his own MPs and their supporters.

    Stephen Harper is in for a surprise trip down the 10 Commandments lane. Hail fellow, well met! And good luck to you!

  15. Seems like Ignatieff did a little bit of talking to the Toronto Star yesterday….