Last week our Andrew Coyne argued that now is the time for Michael Ignatieff to deal honestly and directly with the deficit and the state of government finances going forward. In response, Glen Pearson wonders if the press gallery is ready to do likewise.
Let’s be honest: No political leader in their right mind dares to be as truthful as Coyne challenges because it would be the media itself that couldn’t withhold its skepticism long enough to truly investigate the merits of that leader’s case. Opposition parties would immediately pounce and all manner of bloggers, pundits and columnists would discuss the scary ramifications of such a daredevil proposition. I recall when Ignatieff came to London following a visit to Cambridge, in which he stated no leader would be worthy of the name if he or she didn’t place the possibility of raising taxes on a long list of future considerations if a deficit couldn’t be brought under control. Political staffers mulled around, worried that it would be taken out of context, which it inevitably was … The very next day in the House, Conservative members used every possible occasion to ridicule Ignatieff, calling him just another “tax and spend” Liberal. The media ate it up.