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Iggy’s first day

BY ANDREW COYNE


 

Iggy's first day

Ignatieff’s first press conference as leader was a fascinating performance: often impressive, sometimes ponderous, occasionally comic, with the world’s longest answer (on the need to reach out to rural Canada) thrown in for good measure. Some take-aways:

He’s taking the party to the middle. “Moderate… middle of the road… neither left nor right … beyond the ideologies of left and right…”, the message was hammered home at every opportunity.

He’s looking for an excuse to avoid bringing down the government. The olive branches were coming fast and furious, albeit phrased as threats. “Mr. Harper needs to walk back down the hill… The ball’s in his court… He has to make the running… He knows where he can find me…” Translation: make me an offer!

At the very least, he wants to be seen to to be open to persuasion, which in itself marks a change of tack. He pointedly declined to take up Jack Layton’s line that Harper “can’t be trusted” and must be defeated. He was careful to say he was “prepared” to vote no confidence, catching himself before saying “I will” vote that way. He said his party would vote no confidence if “we do not get a budget that responds to the national interest.” But: no party “can have the confidence of the country if it decides to vote against a budget it hasn’t even read.”

He doesn’t want an election. He was asked in English and again in French if his party was ready for an election, and both times ducked, referring vaguely to it all being up to the Governor General.

He recognizes the party needs to rebuild in the West. This was perhaps the best moment in the whole thing: the need for Liberals to “regain the trust and confidence and loyalty” of people in “the beating economic heart of our country’s future,” ie the West, whom he hoped would “forgive and forget ” his party for “the errors of the past.”

Put it all together — a centrist party, open to compromise with the government, reluctant to defeat it, focused on rebuilding, respectful of the West — and it sits uneasily, to say the least, with the ambitions of its coalition partners. Which is to say: the coalition is now a polite fiction. It exists solely on paper. He has no intention of becoming Jack Layton’s puppet. To which I say: huzzah.

NOT THAT IT WILL DO HIM ANY GOOD:

“He’s going to wear that coalition in the next election whether he wants to or not,” said a Conservative source.

NICE TRY:

Fife also said senior Liberals have told him that they may not need a coalition to form a new government.

“If they do defeat the Conservative government … Ignatieff will go to the Governor General and say ‘We think we can form the government but we don’t have to do it with a coalition,'” Fife said.

Fife noted that the NDP and Bloc would have to support the Liberals because they already have expressed opposition to the Conservative government.

Riiiighhht. You have one-quarter of the House, barely half as many as the Conservatives. You go to the Governor General, and you say: okay, we don’t have a coalition any more, though we gave you a signed undertaking that we did just a few weeks ago — sorry, changed our minds, can’t be helped — but we think we can browbeat the parties to the agreement we just ripped up into supporting us anyway, even though we’re no longer giving them cabinet seats or anything, because they’ve already said they’re opposed to the Conservatives so if they didn’t, you know, they’d be contradicting themselves. Of course, the only reason we’re trying to form a government is that we can’t possibly face going through another election, so if they do threaten to take us down we’d probably cave in to whatever they were demanding, but you never know, we might not, it depends…

And on that basis she’s going to hand you the keys to the Government of Canada?


 

Iggy’s first day

  1. “and it sits uneasily, to say the least, with the ambitions of its coalition partners. Which is to say: the coalition is now a polite fiction. It exists solely on paper. He has no intention of becoming Jack Layton’s puppet. To which I say: huzzah.”

    Again, this analysis seems slanted towards Coyne’s personal hopes, rather than the reality. I really have a hard time reading that into anything Ignatieff has said. Certainly not a “polite fiction” and I guarantee it will do more than merely existing on paper a month from now….

  2. “He’s going to wear that coalition in the next election whether he wants to or not,” said a Conservative source.
    Indeed a nice go away present from Dion that Ignatieff accepted with open arms.

    First line of CPC attack. ” A vote for the Liberals is a vote for a coalition with separatists”.

  3. He’ll cave as soon caucus members respond negatively again when he tells members that he isn’t too warm on the coalition. They booed him before.

    Tiptoeing lightly around Liberal divisions.

  4. Hack! *I* was the Conservative source.

    *snort*

  5. Is this a diary? or a 2009 wish list?

  6. Don’t worry, Coyne. The Libs will pick John (Lieber)Manley at their May Convention.

  7. I think he also made it clear that he’s not completely going to roll over for the Tories and will force them to come clean on their budget numbers.

    I for one welcome our new Aristocratic Russian Dark Overlord of the centre-right (oh, right, centre-centre. middle of the road).

    If the Tories bail out the freeloading automakers, they’ve lost my confidence as a force for economic liberalism. If we can’t get an economist to follow his own fiscal judgment, we might as well get someone with a sense of history and global affairs.

    Another Harvard guy? We might finally get a PM who recognizes that the Americans aren’t our enemies.

  8. So the CONs won’t be running on ‘Mob rule for everyone!’? Or ‘Harper – Leadership When I’m Good And Ready’…

  9. I guarantee it will do more than merely existing on paper a month from now….

    Well, even in the absense of any logical reason why this might possibly be the case, that guarantee is good enough for me.

  10. Can someone please explain to me why this guy is touted as such a great leader? I’m just not seein’ it.

    Thanks!

  11. The coalition was born out of necessity – the necessity to stop the agenda that Harper clearly signalled with the fiscal update. Let Ignatieff ‘wear it’ during the next election campaign – it’s another ‘gift’ from Harper. The Liberal campaign message has written itself – Liberals put the best interests of Canadians ahead of the best interests of their party; the Opposition was united to protect Canadians from Harper’s vision of this country.

  12. Can someone please explain to me why this guy is touted as such a great leader?

    Everything is relative.

  13. “with the world’s longest answer ”

    LOL

    I didn’t see it but I gotta admit that’s funny.

  14. This is just churning. I think I will come back to blogville after somebody does / decides to do something.

  15. Ignatieff will be interesting to watch. It does take a few previous arguments out of the Liberal arsenal about the Conservatives being to cozy with Bush, but frankly, that’s a good thing. It’s about time the Liberals dropped those preposterous attacks, that were nothing more than white noise to the average undecided voter last time around.

    In terms of the next election, I have no doubt the Conservatives will attack the Opposition on the coalition, but unless he either a) makes a mistake so apoplectic that it can’t be forgiven or b) leaves on his own volition, the Liberals should give Ignatieff more than one election to win. Now, a lot can happen between now and the next election which I expect in the Fall of 2009, but if the Conservatives do win the next election…give Ignatieff a second shot. Constant leaderships are of no help really. I know I’m way ahead of myself, but the Liberals have made looking ahead to the next convention an absolute must the last few years.

  16. Paul Martin made a big deal out of reaching out to the West too. In the end, it didn’t happen. In the end, when he got into trouble, he skulked back to his base. Mr ignatieff had better understand that the West is conservative, and no amount of reaching out will get him anywhere if he doesn’t call off the socialist, environmentalist, Quebec-centric elitist hordes who seem to despise us. We are for conservative values and prosperity here. You can always elect a Ralph Goodale or two under any banner but he can’t attract good candidates or win over support on any scale if he continues the Liberal tradition of power first at any cost.

  17. On the All Liberal Channel with the Liberal apple polisher Newman asking questions Iggy seemed to say he is not willing to have input to the budget and not planning to seek to consult with Harper on the budget or meet with him. After all Christmas holidays are here. Even Newman was taken aback and had Iggy change his statement that he might work over Christmas as it might be in national interest.

    In January he seems set to defeat down the budget and be PM. That way the taxpayer could pay for the Liberal convention as it would really just be a cabinet meeting

    Perfect !! Iggy might be the last Liberal leader :)

  18. The coalition may be seen as a liability now, but only the threat of a coalition keeps Harper from playing partisan hardball.

    I believe that it is imperative for the opposition to present a united front even if they do not plan to form a coalition. If Harper can get one party to vote for his budget while the others vote against it, and therefore succeeds in breaking the potential coalition, he’ll immediately go back to Plan A (i.e., Crush The Enemy).

    This will require Ignatieff to perform a delicate balancing act. The NDP has nothing to lose by proclaiming as loudly as possible that the coalition is still on – it’s the only way they’ll get a share of power. So, if the Conservatives actually produce a palatable budget that he can vote for, Ignatieff will have to persuade the NDP and the Bloc to vote for it too. I guess we’ll see whether he really is a good leader or not.

  19. Gabe: “Liberals put the best interests of Canadians ahead of the best interests of their party;”

    Ummm…..I’m going to counter that with “prove it”.

  20. I think we can expect the puffin to become the Liberal party’s official bird.

  21. Ed B writes: “Mr ignatieff had better understand that the West is conservative, and no amount of reaching out will get him anywhere if he doesn’t call off the socialist, environmentalist, Quebec-centric elitist hordes who seem to despise us.”

    And, on the other hand, Mr. Harper had better understand that urban Ontario and Quebec are not conservative, and no amount of reaching out will get him anywhere if he doesn’t call off his partisan attack dogs who probably actually *do* despise us.

    It’s unfortunate that the Canadian electorate is so polarized. I suspect that there will be a lot of elections in our immediate future.

  22. Ed – Tommy Douglas was a preacher from Saskatchewan. Many of the favoured policies of the left originated as compassionate ideas from people who would nowadays be referred to as social conservatives.

    Most rural people I know were happy to have government controlled institutions to help them out in the 1970s. I don’t think they’re that ideological.

    The rural vote is a pittance anyhow. If the West is conservative it’s because of the disproportionate number of libertarian engineers in Calgary and professionals in general who don’t depend on corporate welfare for their livelihood.

    Ignatieff said that the future of Canadian economy is the West. I never heard a Liberal say that before.

  23. First line of CPC attack. ” A vote for the Liberals is a vote for a coalition with separatists”.

    Well, in English outside Quebec anyway.

  24. Oops I broke my promise that I’d always refer to him as His Royal Excellency Count Ignatieff.

  25. How ’bout those Leafs, eh?

  26. “He’s going to wear that coalition in the next election whether he wants to or not,” said a Conservative source.”

    While I’m inclined to think Ignatieff is a big step up from Dion, it’s fair to hang the coalition on Ignatieff — he signed on to it: To the letter written to the AG demanding the recently elected government fall and be replaced by the Liberal(Criminalist)-NDP(Socialist)-Bloc(Separatist) coalition.

    I hope Ignatieff leads his party in a new better direction than their past (as given by the description I gave them above).

  27. Ed B – not all the west is Conservative – certainly not here in Vancouver. My personal experience is that conservative values and prosperity are poorly correlated, so I tend to appreciate liberal values. But clearly I’m in the minority here.

  28. First line of CPC attack. ” A vote for the Liberals is a vote for a coalition with separatists”.

    Anticipating Conservative attacks is like parents worrying about what cruel nicknames their unborn child will be subjected when they’re trying to choose a baby name.

    If the Liberals were wily, they’d start staging gaffes to keep the Conservatives off-balance.

  29. Ed B had better realize that the west is more than just Alberta.

  30. Translation:

    Iggy has no clue what to do except to bide his time and wait for the Tories to be weakened by self-inflicted wounds and/or a faultering economy.

    The desire for power is the only focus for him and his party.

    He’ll have one hell of a challenge containing Rae, who is a match in search of kerosene.

    Consider Rae’s career — destroyed Joe Clark and Frank Miller, the Ont. economy and NDP; tried to destroy Harper and Iggy.

    This clown is a bomb-thrower who needs the thrill of constant confrontation and crisis.

    Agitation is in his blood and he won’t sit still and play nice for long.

  31. He’s going to wear that coalition in the next election whether he wants to or not,” said a Conservative source.

    That statement seems to suggest that we’re going to have that election sooner rather than later.

  32. If trying to make him “wear” the coalition is the best line of attack they’ll have then I think the CPC might be in trouble (depending on other factors). That’s an inheriently weak argument,no ones going to care about it by March, and even if someone does they’ll still have zero soundbytes of him proclaiming it greatest thing since sliced bread and a whole slewful of articules and reports from the chattering class about how he wasn’t gung-ho for it.

  33. Mark my words! Seriously, write my statements down and mail them to yourselves…

    Thia man will hang himself with his own tongue. He blithers and blathers too much when answering questions. He is trying to be the King in every way! He talks down in an aggravatingly arrogant way, with snake eyelids half open and his forked tongue slipping out speaking both sides of an issue. I watched the entire interview on CPAC and you would not believe the drivel of this guy. He’s like Paul Martin with an Encyclopedia shoved up his …

  34. “That statement seems to suggest that we’re going to have that election sooner rather than later.”

    Naturally. All 3 opposition parties keep threatening to bring the government down, have written a letter to the G-G requesting the government be replaced, and they’ve signed 2 documents to the effect that they have a coalition. So blame them.

  35. JF, if Ignatieff votes non-confidence against Harper without backing away from the coalition, and the GG refuses to give power to this illegitimate pack of characters, then he will most certainly wear this coalition in a subsequent election.

  36. “Iggy has no clue what to do except to bide his time and wait for the Tories to be weakened by self-inflicted wounds and/or a faultering economy.”

    That’s what he should do — we just had an election. His party lost. Ignatieff should “bide his time”, rebuild his party, and if the government makes disastrous mistakes, then he moves. In the meantime, he builds. That’s both sensible and responsible. Their should always be a government in waiting, remember?

    “The desire for power is the only focus for him and his party.”

    As both a Harper and CPC supporter, I don’t exactly disagree with that… however, Ignatieff’s first press conference was well handled (compared to Dion it was a masterpiece!) and I don’t think it’s improper of him to follow the plan you outlined in the first quote.

  37. “He is trying to be the King in every way! He talks down in an aggravatingly arrogant way…

    I thought he sounded as reasonable as he could under the circumstances, and I’m on the CPC side.

  38. Of course the parts where I think Ignatieff sounded reasonable are going to the parts that are causing left-wing Liberals, Bloc supporters, and especially NDP socialists to have conniptions.

  39. Darryl – I’ll grant you that Iggy is verbose and may talk himself into some damage. Somebody needs to send him to Bob Rae’s zinger coach.

    But (safe to assume you’re a Harper supporter?) you really wouldn’t be talking about his eyes if you had seen the PM’s interview with Peter Mansbridge the other day. Harper looks like the Prince of Darkness when he talks – Iggy only wishes he could be that menacing.

  40. Steve Wart, not only do we not depend on corporate welfare, we don’t want it. When the NEP came to an end, the oil industry said leave us alone, we’ll take the hard times on our own if we can take the good times too.

    But the NDP accuse us of obscene profits when the oil price is high, and want to tax it away, forgetting the industry reinvests most of its earnings in finding and developing new reserves. If its not that, it is grotesquely exaggerated claims of environmental degradation. (you can see the tar sands from space – woohoo – somebody discovered Google Maps satellite view). And if it is not that, then we are “polluters” according to Shifty Dion, while hydro power in Quebec and nuclear power in Ontario is the new Green, while tailings ponds are the new bird killers, displacing wind turbines, where avian mortality is quietly not mentioned anymore. The destruction of spawning habitat and flooding brought on by power dams and the nasty problem of what to do with nuclear waste is not talked about anymore by the green lobby. If it isn’t carbon, it isn’t environmental.

    As to the commenter who invoked Tommy Douglas? Well, that was then, and this is now. And if we’re going to reach back into history, I’ll reach back too, and find some example that corroborates my position that the west is conservative. Ralph Goodale, maybe. You can always find an expert that exemplifies your point of view.

  41. Steve,

    Thanks for answering my question. I have a feeling you may be right. I’ve been posing this question on several blogs, and can’t even find a Liberal that will give me a good reason?!?

    It’s weird. It seems as if, when you hang around for a couple years and don’t say anything, or do anything, people will call you a great leader.

  42. I found CTV’s Craig Oliver’s depiction of the Coalition as the “Three Musketeers” to be an insult to our democratically elected representatives……and to professional journalism itself…..of which there is so little to be found in Canada.

  43. It’s become a Liberal tradition. The leader makes sure he shits the bed before he leaves. Chretien left Adscam for Martin. Martin left a directionless party and broken fundraising mechanism for Dion. And Dion left “the Coalition” for Iggy. I wonder what Iggy will leave in his wake two years from now.

  44. How nice to have a PM….ooops!, A LEADER who is proudly intellectual, decent, can speak fluently in French and English, yet can and WILL eviscerate Harper when necessary.

  45. Mulroney left…well…nothing…for the Conservatives. Maybe that’s a tradition The Harpy will revive.

  46. Harper is such a colossal fool it’s really hard to fully comprehend.

    Are the Con sycophants so mindless that they will really allow him to keep dragging the party down without raising any objections?

    Control freakishness like Harper’s is interesting in the end game it usually presents. When the first crack does appear, the false loyalty Harper has created with threats and intimidation will turn on him in a heart beat.

  47. Andrew – aren’t we all missing the obvious? Ignatieff can’t stay with the coalition because the coalition agreement said the Liberals would only have 18 cabinet ministers. You think after the overwhelming caucus annointment he just received he could pick 18 to promote? Not bloody likely.

  48. Hey Andrew,
    An observation that is a bit off topic.
    Do you think that the thousands of people that emailed their Liberal MPs and The Leader of the Opposition last week will be solicitated for funds in the new year?
    Just curious.

  49. CorporalPunishment – Harper has already set the example, you don’t need to prove anything in a campaign ad – but that’s too easy.

    In my view, the best interests of the Liberal Party are served neither by being seen as moving to the left, nor as supporting the BQ. Many Liberal supporters take a very dim view of either. The Liberals stand to lose more than they gain by joining the coalition because the fallout could erode what little support they still have. And the consensus seems to be that the GG would not give the coalition the chance to govern, so we would be into another election, with the failure of the coalition target squarely on the Liberals during the campaign. Yet they put those concerns aside and joined forces with the other parties to stop Harper’s agenda, in the best interests of Canadians.

  50. To suggest Iggy will not have to ‘wear’ the prospect of a coalition is pure folly.

    The next time Canadians go to the polls, the question will not be “anybody but Harper”, it will be “Harper or else a radical left coalition, including the seperatists”.

    And when Iggy promises us he would never do that as he most surely will, we’ll pull out:

    1) his signature for all to see, and
    2) the last Liberal leader’s promise not to form a coalition.

    The game has changed. The “hidden agenda” finger is pointed the other way.

    And for that Harper will be in power for the foreseeable future – and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t end up with a majority in the near future (the election to get there will happen in the next several months).

  51. “If the Liberals were wily, they’d start staging gaffes to keep the Conservatives off-balance”

    Surely they must already following this strategy for the last 3-4 years (an appendix to the red book) because no one could be as incompetent as they have been without trying :)

  52. Neat how the CON talking-bots are eager and seemingly chipper about the Ignatieff question.
    Guess anything to distract the Canadian polling public on what Stephen Harper’s going to have to wear is essentially the theme of today’s Tory talking points?
    How about ‘democracy, but not necessarily democracy’?
    Or ‘A Prime Minister who Knows When to Take his Ball Home.’
    Even better: ‘Harpocrisy – Catch It!’

  53. A minority gov’t with only 24.7% of the seats? I wonder how they can even say it w/o breaking into laughter! That surely would be a first in the history of any parliamentary democracy.

    I tell ya what would be a nice coalition … the federalist parties agreeing to divvy up seats in Quebec to choke out the Bloc. Unworkable, I know, but at least the intent would be honourable, unlike the current coalition proposal.

  54. I haven’t heard anyone wonder whether this whole shakeup was Harper’s way of realigning the federalist vote in Quebec? Harper has always maintained that scooping the federalist vote in Quebec was the only viable foundation for a national party, but to date he has worked with the autonomist/soft-nationalist/soft-federalist vote instead, b/c the staunch federalist vote was just that, staunch … staunchly Liberal.

    Just puttin’ it out there.

  55. Intersting how the Liberal supporters here get into a reflexive anti Harper tizzy when nothing but the bare facts are recited. How utterly dishonest that the fact that:

    Iggy signed onto the coalition, and
    the Liberals promised they would never do so in the last election,

    are being written off as some fictional conservative “talking points”.

    While I appreciate the desire to decend into dishonesty (given that the naked truth does not look kindly on the Liberals these days), but as a matter of form, it only proves your detractors right.

  56. With Iggy in, the liberals are a party of the centre. And the NDP can claim a sort of victory because they have united the left-they’re the only remainiing party which is 100% left.

    In time anti-American and communist liberals ( likely closet NDP er’s on a mission to hijack the Liberal party) will depart and go back to the open arms of Jack Layton, where they truly belong.

  57. Yes I signed a pact to govern with a socialist party.

    Yes I signed an agreement to bring seperatists into government.

    But I’m a centrist…….because I said so.

  58. Ed
    I’m a westerner too. No Alberta isn’t the west and no, not every conservative here is a frothing at he mouth Harper supporter. Yes, nobody can, or should run the country without the West along for the ride. AS for the oil sands, many here DO think it’s an environmental disaster – Peter lougheed ring any bells?

  59. Gabe: “Harper has already set the example, you don’t need to prove anything in a campaign ad – but that’s too easy…….”

    Seriously Gabe, all you offer is conjecture. You have no proof whatsoever of what either the PMs or the Liberals (Stephane Dion mostly since it appears that he hadn’t exactly consulted with his own caucus before springing this) intentions were/are.

    You simply appear to be projecting your world view on the events and the actors.

  60. CorporalPunishment, what part of my comments are conjecture? That many Liberal supporters take a dim view of moving left or being in a coalition with the BQ seems to be widely confirmed by polling. Most constitutional experts I’ve heard seem to have the view that the GG would be unlikely to give the coalition a chance to govern. It seems reasonable to assume that the Liberals were aware of these probabilities before they signed on to the coalition, even if Dion wasn’t, which seems highly unlikely given his background.

    It’s not my ‘world view’; it’s simply a logical conclusion to be drawn from the events as they unfolded.

  61. kody – His Excellency’s anointment is good for the long-term health of the Liberals, but it doesn’t solve any of their short-term problems. As you point out, it makes the coalition less stable which is a good thing for the Conservatives for now.

    I frankly think that the average Canadian will find this decision by the Liberals to be elitist and out of touch, and it will disrupt the coalition so lovingly crafted by the Honourable Count’s former roommate, socialist revolutionaries and Quebec nationalists. But he is saying things that all politicians should be saying.

    I would love it if Harper could reach out to the people of Toronto and Quebec the way the Honourable Professor and man of letters has spoken about his love of cattle and cheese farmers and his admiration for the entrepreneurs of the West.

    But there is hope. We have until January.

  62. BTW, did you know the French don’t even have a word for entrepreneur?

  63. In response to: TJ Cook
    Dec 10, 2008 18:25

    Darryl – I’ll grant you that Iggy is verbose and may talk himself into some damage. Somebody needs to send him to Bob Rae’s zinger coach.

    But (safe to assume you’re a Harper supporter?) you really wouldn’t be talking about his eyes if you had seen the PM’s interview with Peter Mansbridge the other day. Harper looks like the Prince of Darkness when he talks – Iggy only wishes he could be that menacing. <–

    I seen both interviews and PM Harper was dealing with Mansbridge who did nothing but try to corner PMSH and cut him off before he could finish his sentences; Harper handled Peter very well with reasonable answers.
    Iggy on the other hand says a lot about nothing (rhetoric that most people despise) and goes on so long he gets into trouble. For instance, Iggy, was talking about farm folk and how it is in his heart to connect to them and then he “steps in it” by saying he likes the smell, and then he pauses and realizes he gaffed and then when the reporters started laughing, he look relieved that they “thought” he actually intended to say that! I laughed and realized he is a verbose fool who loves to hear himself speak. Mark my words as I stated before, Iggy will get his mouth into trouble like he did with the Israeli War Crimes crack and many other gaffes.

  64. How cute. Kody/Biff’s sock-puppets are talking to each other.

    That’s when it gets interesting, friends.

  65. “If we can’t get an economist to follow his own fiscal judgment, we might as well get someone with a sense of history and global affairs.”

    Just about every economist would say that cutting the GST (a sales tax) is the wrong thing to do, and what should have been cut (if cutting is to be done) is income tax. Same disapproval for small targeted breaks/credits – e.g. kids sports programs, transit pass, etc. The PM knows better, but also knows what has good optics.

    Having said that, if Iggy and the Liberals maintain the coalition, I’ll have almost no choice but to hold my nose and vote Conservative rather than see Jack Layton and crew get Cabinet positions. To bad the NDP are such unreconstructed socialists. If they could only break their ties to the unions and modernize a la the British Labour Party, I might see them as a reasonable alternative. As it is, I see them as anything but.

  66. It’s funny that Iggy is now saying that he “didn’t inhale” during the peace pie smoke-in between the NDPBlocLiberals… He signed the treaty, and he put the pie to his lips; what a bad start to being “honest” with Canadians. He slams Harper for everything evil under the sun, but cannot admit to watching this trial ballon (in the tradition of the Hindenberg) pop and get Iggy on everyone’s faces.

    I must mention again (“reiterate”, for all you Iggy-braintrust types) that Iggy will get in very deep trouble with his over-speaking (“verbosity”, for all you Iggy-braintrust types) to reporters on simple questions. Iggy wants to make sure everyone is in awe of his big-brain and even feign (“pretend”, to us common folk) that he has a heart, for common folk’s miseries. Remember the Liberals believe that we commoners are happy as long as we have beer and popcorn in plenty supply. He will make sure the supply lines stay open.

  67. I love how the Conbots are trying to say that coalition is illegitimate because the Liberals supposedly promised not to enter into one with the NDP last election.

    It’s like “But you guys promised you would sit back and let us pummel you separately! Come one! No fair! We just wanted to bankrupt you for a little while. Would that be so bad! You guys are MEAN!”

    I imagine quite a few Reformers and PCs back in the day promised they would never cooperate *cough*PeterMacKay*cough* and then thought better of it when new realities dawned.

    God, what hypocrisy. And, yes, this was directed at you Kody you tool.

  68. Jean you’re doing the name-calling thing again.

    You guys need to outdo the Orwell Diaries to keep me coming back and clicking on those advertising links.

    One egg.

  69. Jim R Just about every economist would say that cutting the GST (a sales tax) is the wrong thing to do, and what should have been cut (if cutting is to be done) is income tax.

    Technically you’re right. VAT aka GST aka poll taxes are the most effective ways to provide government revenue and in fact some economists (aka Thatcherites) recommend they replace income taxes completely.

    But most people these days despise economists. Even other economists.

    Cutting GST was a populist move and probably 10 years too late. I still wonder when our shopkeepers will get the point that it’s not going away and include the tax in their posted prices. It’s a uniquely Canadian thing to add the tax after you think you know how much something costs.

  70. Jean,

    you seem to be confusing the word “illigitimate”, with “wildly unpopular and hated by the vast majority of Canadians”.

    The former implies some form of extra legality, which it is not. Coalitions can be formed of course. But it is the latter that matters in politics.

    And in case you havn’t noticed, the polls – all of them – say the coalition was hated, say Harper was right on the funding cut off issue, show the public wants Harper to steer us through these tough economic times and show the Libs plummeting in support and the Cons skyrocketing.

    No amount of partisan Harper hating derangement will change those facts.

    Nor will any such derangement change the fact that Iggy put his signature to the hated deal.

  71. Let’s see. He came back to Canada, having left a trail of ruthlessness as he changed over the years, took over the riding, then created Dion and then took his job, and now he wants the country. Not so fast bud!

  72. “Jim R Just about every economist would say that cutting the GST (a sales tax) is the wrong thing to do, and what should have been cut (if cutting is to be done) is income tax.”

    No, just about every economist said the GST cut was wrong in 2006, when the economy was doing well, because its effects on saving and investment are minimal relative to an income tax cut (but still greater than the government spending the Liberals would have spent it on – I mean it is pretty rich for Martin to claim he wouldn’t have spent the surplus since he did every year). Our problem right now is that the bad economy is sending consumer spending down the toilet, spiking unemployment. If you want to address that problem with tax cuts, GST cuts are the way to go. Income tax cuts raise long-term economic growth, but don’t kick in right away.

  73. I agree: Iggy will be saddled with the dirty legacy of the Unholy Alliance Putsch Junta Coalition, whether he is for it or against it. Both the Libs and NDP have damaged their respective brands (almost) beyond repair. Their “crime” was not the coalition per se, but the fact that they were more than willing to railroad democracy and voters in their grab for power (which had been in the works for a long time and was NOT triggered by anything the government said or did).

  74. ’ll always have fond memories of the show, because I worked on the show for about 4 weeks while the show was shot on location in Europe. I acted as a translator for Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Sheree J. Wilson and Cathy Podewell. It was fun.”

    Shut up, Patels.

  75. Kody – “you seem to be confusing the word “illigitimate”, with “wildly unpopular and hated by the vast majority of Canadians”.

    ————

    Actually I’m not the one confusing the two things. Pierre Poilievre today was still describing a possible coalition government as undemocratic (i.e. illegitimate). His exact words were: “Mr. Ignatieff is leading an undemocratic and un-Canadian coalition,” What…an…idiot. You guys really have to get him in front of microphones more often by the way.

    As for the coalition being illegitimate because it is seemingly unpopular that would be true if poll results were the source of legitimacy in our democracy. Luckily, thanks the lord, we are not yet governed by polls.

    As for WHY the coalition may be unpopular with some Canadians let me suggest that may have more to do with (1) the overheated rhetoric of the Conservative war room, and (2) he fact that Liberals were too distracted by internal leadership questions to properly defend and explain the idea. Finally I would submit to you that the coalition government might become a hello of a lot more popular if we actually see it come into being and Canadians see the contrast between how it governs and how Mr. Harper has governed, and when they see the contrast between Conservative scare tactics and how the coalition would actually govern.

    Did you perhaps notice how exactly on the same page the Liberals and the NDP were today? Layton and Mulcair were completely respectful towards Ignatieff and vice versa. What a refreshing change from politics as usual. Keith Martin even suggested that all 4 parties in the House negotiate the budget together with economic experts and NGOs. I thought that was a really novel and interesting idea as well. Of course the Conservatives would have to start the ball rolling by opening the books and giving Canadians the real numbers on the state of our governments’ finances. I’m sure Flaherty will be happy to do that :)

  76. Hah! As a benighted denizen of what I like to refer to as “Here Be Dragons” Liberal-style, I can’t help but laugh at the latest iteration of interest in Western Canada from a Liberal leader; though this one can speak both official languages, I can’t help but note he spent the whole of his professional life prior to 2004 not even gracing the St George Campus of U of T, much less the special hospitalities of Edson or Swift Current or Steinbach.

    I live in a province with one Liberal MP, in which the Liberals managed one second-place finish (for the record, this is SK, not MB–interesting how they, two Western provinces, might be confused in this). In at least two ridings I can think of off the top of my head, they finished fourth, behind the Greens. Now, their unelected leader, lately of Cambridge Mass, now, ostensibly of Etobicoke, reaches out his hand to me. This would be poignant, rather than bathetic, only if he revealed some barest consciousness that his party has all but ceased to exist as a national party between Barrie and Surrey, and for that matter, between Rue Atwater and the city of Moncton.

    For myself, I’ll wait till they can do better than muster the Islander Wayne Easter to instruct me in the virtues of a Canadian Wheat Board no one within 1800 miles of his constituents is subject to before I rush to take the “national” Liberal Party too, too seriously. Or until an unelected GG decides a man no one has elected to lead anything can be my PM, I suppose…….

    DM DeCoste

  77. Great comment, DM. Indeed, so far the Libs have not managed to eliminate their democratic deficit — time will tell, I suppose.

  78. This would be poignant, rather than bathetic, only if he revealed some barest consciousness that his party has all but ceased to exist as a national party between Barrie and Surrey, and for that matter, between Rue Atwater and the city of Moncton.

    Oh God, what pompous tripe.

    Instead of looking for a national leader to flatter your existence as a brilliant genius,,DeCoste, why don’t you tell everyone what you expect from your central government.

    Good God, who is breeding these obnoxious twits?

  79. Gabe – “It seems reasonable to assume” and “it’s simply a logical conclusion to be drawn”.

    Again, no facts or proof.

    If you want to use conjecture then, do you actually believe then that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had any realistic expectation of successfully crushing the opposition parties by withdrawing their public funding? Was this all part of a bigger Machiavellian plan to get a majority or was it simply a gross mis-calculation (regardless of the reasoning) on his part?

    Maybe the man is such a devil that it was all three, personally I like to believe it was a sacrificial lamb to be offered up so the rest of the mini-budget would pass but I will admit that I don’t know why he did it and most Conbots that I know agree that it was colossal screw up on his part.

    Oddly enough without any proof or evidence most Liberals including yourself will see a “logical” path to Stephen Harper being un-Canadian, un-patriotic, un-democratic (or any combination thereof) and the Liberal Party as having the best interest of Canadians at heart.

    In reality none of us really know what either side is thinking and why the do what they do and that’s my whole point.

  80. Werner – “Great comment, DM. Indeed, so far the Libs have not managed to eliminate their democratic deficit — time will tell, I suppose.”

    ———-

    this comment is pretty rich coming from a supporter of a Prime Minister who ran to the Governor General to prevent a majority of the democratically-elected representatives in the House of Commons to express their non-confidence in him. From a PM who LIED to Canadians by suggesting that such a move was treasonous and undemocratic just to save his ass.

    Please tell us all about democracy. We have so much to learn from Conservatives about this.

  81. Mr Ti-Guy:

    Thank you for your swift recourse to the ad hominem. Is there anything about the passage you have cited, or the simple electoral facts to which it alludes, you hope or mean to contest? Are there facts relative to the electoral standing, or indeed, organizational or fund-raising standing, of the Liberal Party of Canada in these regions to which you are privy and which would rebut my scarcely implied point as to the radically circumscribed, and still more wildly condescending, nature of the Party’s reach and rhetoric?

    If so, I do, in all courtesy and readiness to be duly instructed, beg you to share them with me and our fellow commenters.

    Yours,

    DM DeCoste

  82. “It is on that basis that we are encouraged to believe it would deliver stable government, and not merely an escalating process of blackmail.”

    AC, stable government, as conceived by the competing political parties and their leaders, IS the smoothly escalating process of blackmail.

    See Bastiat, “The Law”.

  83. I’m still waiting for a good reason to vote for Ignatieff.

    Any ideas? suggestions? Anyone?

    Still waiting…

  84. The West is conservative – as if the West is only Alberta….sigh.

    If that’s the attitude of Alberta why reach out to them – they aren’t interested. They just want to whine.

  85. Irrespective of all the bravado on his first day, the question that remains is: Can the Liberals afford an election?

    Apparently they could not afford a leadership race. The parliament crisis became a convenient smokescreen to resolve that issue. The May convention will simply disappear.

    Ignatieff will continue to talk tough; talk is free and the media will soak it up and it should improve party donations. But come January 27th, if the poll numbers are still south, Iggy will vote with the Conservatives knowing full well that the Liberals cannot fund a quick election or ever win a later one after being carried by the coalition for any period of time.

  86. john – your analysis is interesting but it is based on the assumption that the coalition would be as unpopular later as it supposedly is now. and that, my friend, is the possible weak point in your argument.

  87. I encourage the Liberals and NDP supoorters to coninue to support and defend the coalition, that includes the BLOC.

    Like it or not this is toxic outside of salons and Quebec. You can sneer at it all you want, but calling Canadians in ROC, unophiticated and narrow minded isnt likely to win many votes.

    By the way, the idea that Ignatieff would go to the GG is not proper, unless the PM resigns. He can try to talk to her all he wants but until the PM resigns the Crown only talks to the PM, even if he loses a vote in the commons, kind of the way it works. The lost vote just triggers a meeting.

    So unless she takes the extraordinary step, and it really is extraordinary, of refusing the PM’s presumed advice of election on defeat of the budget then Iggy and the GG will be able to have conversations about art and his past as a journalist in the UK. No politics allowed, she is literally supposed to change the subject, walk away and/or not respond.

    One advisor at a time……but this is hardly surprising from a crack team that came up with a strategy that relied on everything following the Happy Path.

  88. Stephen – You have no clue whether the coalition is “toxic”…and you have even less of a clue about whether it would be toxic 18 months after it took power.

    And I agree that it would take extraordinary circumstances to have the GG invite the opposition to form a government…like for instance losing a confidence vote a few months after the last election, and after begging for prorogation in order to avoid losing said confidence vote. Yep, that might just qualify as extraordinary. We’ll see.

  89. “A new broom sweeps clean.” Hopefully this will apply to Ignatieff’s tenure at the helm of the Liberals. Certainly his change in approach from Dion’s hysterical “liar, liar pants on fire” retorts is refreshing.

    Now if only the Conservatives and NDP would follow suit and replace their leaders. I suspect that will be the quickest way to restore Canadian’s confidence in our political system.

  90. Doesn’t seem like Harper plans on governing past January if news that he will stuff 18 new Senators in before Christmas are correct. Sounds like a desperate man rather than someone focussing on Canada’s economy.

  91. catherine – excellent point. i think he’s desperate. he’s looking at the polls and is hoping to find some way to go into an election. maybe he’ll make it impossible for the coalition NOT to be formed then use his evil powers to try and make sure it fails and an election is called. you just know that’s the kind of stuff he’s thinking about instead of actually working on a budget or giving a damn about the priorities of ordinary canadians.

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