The ’04 leaders debate


Mr. Harper says the Conservative party “allowed” Mr. Martin to govern after the 2004 election. Mr. Duceppe says what Mr. Harper says now is the opposite of what he said then. Mr. Layton says Mr. Harper was prepared to form government.

“What Mr. Harper was intending to do, it’s absolutely crystal clear to me, was to attempt to become prime minister even though he had not received the most seats in the House. And that letter was designed to illustrate that such an option is legitimate in Canadian constitutional traditions and there was no question about it,” Mr. Layton told reporters Sunday morning in his first new conference of the election campaign. “I was in meetings where this was discussed” … “For me it’s a question of trust. I do not believe you can trust Mr. Harper with his word,” Mr. Layton said. “And I think this recent position that he’s taking now that the idea of parties working together is somehow contrary to Canadian institutions and totally unacceptable is a false outrage because he was willing to do that himself when he would have become prime minister.”

Mr. Ignatieff seems not to have much sympathy for Mr. Harper. This from a meeting with reporters a short while ago here in Montreal.

The person who’s got a problem with a coalition is Stephen Harper. He’s got to explain what he was doing in Toronto hotel rooms with Jack and Gilles. I don’t have that problem. I don’t go to hotel rooms with Jack and Gilles, I haven’t had those kind of happy conversations. So it’s his problem not mine. I was very clear right out of the gate: we’re ruling out a coalition. We’re ruling out a coalition. What we want to do is accept the verdict of the people. We’ve made clear exactly how things would go. And the reason that Mr. Harper keeps waving this coalition stuff around is so he doesn’t have to defend his choices. Thirty-billion-dollars on fighter jets. Ten-billion or something on prisons. Corporate tax cuts to corporations that are already making good money and have a competitive tax rate as it is. His absolute inability to tell us, credibly, how we get the deficit down … Mr. Harper wants to wave a coalition around so he doesn’t have to explain a bunch of bad choices.


The ’04 leaders debate

  1. Wow…Harper is having quite the bad day on the campaign trail. I have to say I wouldn't have bet on him losing control like this.

  2. So now he's confusing the CPC with the GG??

  3. I tweet from Fife.

    "Heated exchanges with reporters and Dimitri Soudas over persistent questioning of Harper on his talks with BQ and NDP in 2004."

    CPC seems to have a little problem with their preferred narrative.

  4. Ignatieff has come out very effectively the first 2 days. Mr. Coyne said on Twitter that Ignatieff should not be underestimated on the campaign trail. I think if the first 2 days are any indication, this is being borne out.

  5. It's little wonder Harper and his handlers are trying to limit reporters questions to 2 at a time or whatever ridiculous # it is. He gets unhinged very quickly when his narrative is disputed.

    He not only has contempt for Parliament, but contempt for democracy.

  6. I just watched him come out from his meeting with the GG full of venom and calling Ignatieff a liar and wondered how long this man was going to hold it together. Of course, with Harper you never know. Maybe the venom is all an act.

    Seems Harper has bought into the pop psychology that says if you just keep repeating the same word over and over and over and over, people will end up in a robotic state under your control.

  7. Mr. Harper wants to wave a coalition around so he doesn't have to explain a bunch of bad choices.

    Why his advisor was a disbarred lawyer who served jail time? Why four Federal Court Judges and the CEOC say the amount reported for a candidate's share of a pooled advertising expense cannot be arbitrary?
    Why he cancelled the long form census so he could spend an additional 30 million dollars on a survey with doubtful results?

  8. It's a technique imported from his Neo-Con friends in the south – fear broadcasted 24-7 in an appeal to our baser instincts. I hope the majority of Canadians choose the more positive message coming from the other parties, but as Karl Rove has shown fear-mongering can be really effective. As more Canadians tune-in during this election I hope that people reject Harper's negative and incoherent messaging and demand something better from our PM.

  9. I hope the media holds Harper's feet to the fire on this. They're taking the gloves off for Ignatieff, so there's no reason it should be any different for Harper. The media shouldn't allow Harper to exert the same control over questions he does as PM, they're essentially speaking for us during this election and I think we should demand a higher standard than Harper has given us the past few years. If Ignatieff can answer questions from the public, why can't Harper do the same?

  10. The NDP has provided excerpts from Layton's political memoir. I expect Harper's use of the word "coalition" is going to drop precipitously. Wonder what Harper's new strategy will be. I can't see just going with slow-and-steady-on-the-economy without a scary boogeyman to complement the slow-and-steady but no real content approach.

    "Stephen Harper, while less inclined to brinksmanship, nevertheless warmed to the seduction of Mr. Duceppe's strategy. Under this scenario, Mr. Harper would become prime minister in an informal alliance with the Bloc. Unthinkable? Not to either Mr. Harper or Mr. Duceppe. The Bloc leader was willing to strategize for Stephen Harper to become prime minister, despite the Conservatives' many negative policies – policies completely contrary to the desires and values of most Quebecers. While shocked, I could not say I was surprised.

    "Mr. Duceppe and the Bloc would have been key players in any Harper coalition, demanding significant dismantling of our collective capacities as Canadians as the price for his support. That dismantling was something that would coincide nicely with Mr. Harper's ideological and visceral distaste for any federal government oversight or ability to intervene in any social or economic programs administered by the provinces but utilizing federal tax dollars.

  11. I bet Stephen Harper does not want to sit across the table from Jack & Gilles and have this topic come up during the nationally televised debates.
    Imagine being called a liar, right to your face.

  12. If people are ready to believe that the two agreements are exactly the same thing (which is false), then Harper loses the credibility angle. BUT…

    The more everybody plays up that everyone was trying to make a "Deal with the Bloc!" the more that helps Harper. It was a dumb idea then. It is still a dumb idea now. It never happened then. But now…?

    Ignatieff has to be careful. He has already stated he won't make a deal with that devil. He cannot go too far trying to convince Canadians that everybody thought that it wasn't so bad back then. Because Canadians know better.

  13. I expect the Tories to drop the coalition bit soon anyway. It's not entirely clear to me that they even need it (Mr. Ignatieff's argument aside) and this is where it starts to get to the point where the blow-back isn't worth the reward.

    For every mention of the clear, unambiguous, signed Coalition agreement and the meeting between the three 2008 leaders that everyone saw on T.V. there will now be mention of the slightly less clear 2004 letter (which strongly hints at a coalition) and the meetings between the three 2004 leaders that no one saw on T.V. because they were held privately, away from the cameras, in hotel rooms.

    What damage the coalition attacks are going to do has been done as far as I can tell. I'd walk away from it now if I were the Tories. The more time Layton and Duceppe spend attacking Harper over his characterizations of the 2004 talks the more time they spend attacking Harper. I'm sure Layton at least would like to spend some time attacking Ignatieff, and if I were the Tories I'd give him the room to do that. Plus, separatist or not, Gilles Duceppe is widely respected, I believe, even in the ROC. People may not like his political stance, but I think they believe it to be an honest stance held openly by an earnest and honest man. Having him calling the PM a liar every single day just isn't going to help the Tories (of course, he may end up calling the PM a liar every single day on some other file or another, but at least take this particular attack away from him!).

    (BTW, I realize of course that this post may make me seem like a bit of a "concern troll", and fair enough. I was just arguing with someone the other day that they were doing that, so by all means have at me on that point if it seems appropriate!).

  14. I wonder if the Tories persist in their strategy if they risk Duceppe saying one day (in the heat of battle mind you) "The only difference between me and Mr. Harper is that I want Quebec to be separate from the rest of Canada, and Mr. Harper wants EVERY PROVINCE to be separate from the rest of Canada".

    After all, we are talking about the Prime Minister who once said “Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion“.

  15. That's a start; the list is far too lengthy to commit to memory.

  16. What damage the coalition attacks are going to do has been done as far as I can tell. I'd walk away from it now if I were the Tories.

    It's good advice but I don't think the Tories really have a lot of other tools in their kit.

  17. If people are ready to believe that the two agreements are exactly the same thing (which is false)…

    “Exactly” the same? Perhaps not. Then again, no two things are exactly the same.

    But are they sufficiently similar to make Harper look like someone who was perfectly eager to do a version of what he now says is totally abhorrent? And does Harper now regret banking so heavily on the “coalition” meme? I certainly think so.

  18. It appears to me his handlers have adopted the typical front-runner's strategy: avoid uncontrolled encounters with the press or unscripted moments in public, appear only in settings where the crowd has been pre-screened and whose responses are prompted, stay away from potentially thorny (or, indeed, any) discussions on policy or parliamentary ethics.

    In short, Ali's old rope-a-dope style, at least in the early rounds.

  19. Yeah, I wonder what else they have. Last election they could milk the carbon tax idea the entire election. This coalition idea is not going to cut it for that long.

    They'll try the slow and steady economic hand angle, but the Liberals pushback that the money spent for prisons, fighter jets and further corporate tax cuts could go to programs to help more Canadians turns it into an argument of what one what's to spend money on. Of course, that is an excellent argument for Canadians to have. They should have it. But I don't think Harper actually wants Canadians to debate issues that matter with real information at their disposal. That would seem to play into the Liberals' hands.

  20. The thing is, I think they've carefully crafted the "coalition" meme through so much of what they've done for the past 8 months or so, that, even if they could come up with some other strategy, they may not be able to turn to it quickly enough. Ads, flyers, etc., probably already made while outside the campaign limits and stuff like that.

  21. To be fair, his contempt is only for accountability. Now accountability is certainly a cornerstone of democracy…

  22. To be fair, his contempt is contempt for questions. All of those other things – democracy, accountability, Parliament – are merely symptoms.

  23. Judging from their other ads. those boats of starving refugees that show up every other year or so in the hands of a dozen or two hardened criminals are going to kill us all if we dare elect the Liberals.

  24. The way things are going, Harper will only be taking questions on hockey by the week's end.

  25. The fact that the opposition and the leftist media wish to continue to focus on an event from 7 years ago is a benefit to the Conservatives. The average Canadian finds this obsession with 2004 mind-boggling. What matters is now.

  26. Funny how Tories always say the opposite of the truth. The Canadian press is owned and controlled by tory business and any educated, plugged in Canadian can easily see that. We know that they continually whine that the press in not on their side so that the public believes it, but if the Canadian press were any further up Harpers ass they would see George Bushs feet! For instance the CTV network or Conservative Television Network have more Senators than any other company in Canada. Pam Whalin? Mike Duffy, Minister Bev Oda and if thats not enough to convince the Canadian voters that our press is controlled by tory business did you ever ask yourself how Ben Mulrony got his CTV job! I will end with this "the CTV reporters do not aspire to be great reporters, they aspire to be Senators!
    PS. Why do you think Tories want to kill the CBC? Its the only press they dont own!

  27. Funny how Tories always say the opposite of the truth. The Canadian press is owned and controlled by tory business and any educated, plugged in Canadian can easily see that. We know that they continually whine that the press in not on their side so that the public believes it, but if the Canadian press were any further up Harpers ass they would see George Bushs feet! For instance the CTV network or Conservative Television Network have more Senators than any other company in Canada. Pam Whalin? Mike Duffy, Minister Bev Oda and if thats not enough to convince the Canadian voters that our press is controlled by tory business did you ever ask yourself how Ben Mulrony got his CTV job! I will end with this "the CTV reporters do not aspire to be great reporters, they aspire to be Senators!
    PS. Why do you think Tories want to kill the CBC? Its the only press they dont own! BEWARE OF THE RIGHT WING PRESS AND THEIR MADE UP POLLS!!!

  28. From today's National Post:

    “They did it before, they'll do it again,” Jason Kenney, the Tory MP and ethnic-outreach point man, warned after playing a video of Mr. Ignatieff's 2008 comments about how he was ready for form a coalition government and “lead that government.”

    “It's obvious they will do it again,” Mr. Harper said, telling the audience this is the real reason the opposition has forced an election: a plan to seize power following the vote.


  29. That was such a soft-ball, nudge-nudge-wink-wink question – the journalist was obviously embarrassed to ask it. He even led the question with "I feel silly asking this…". I hope Terry Milewski keeps up his questions – he seems to be the only journalist interested in doing more than stroking Harper's gigantic ego.

  30. Harper and the Conservatives seem to be perfectly happy bringing up Ignatieff's family history for the past century, so it's pretty rich when they start to whine about Harper having to face his statements from 7 years ago.

  31. Hey who has constantly thrown 'coalition' into the oppositions face? Time to beat this Con loser into the ground with a weapon of his own creation.

  32. Like I said, this election, again, is a battle between the forces within the media.

    This election will not be about issues because the media won't let it happen, again!

    Listen to Harper what he says. We are on the road, once again, to take Duceppe's double talk as to be the truth what happened in 2004, whereas on March 25, in the foyer of the House Duceppe WOULD NOT mention the word coalition 2004? Has Canada become so protective of Duceppe? It boggles the mind.

  33. Has anyone else noticed that as time passes, day by day, Stephen Harper comes to more and more physically resemble Stephane Dion?

    I think it's the greying of the hair, the little professor spectacles, and the detached expression.

  34. Um. yeah, if you think that's a good tactic… go for it.

  35. I'm an average Canadian and i don't find it mind boggling. Try again.

  36. Well, it`s possible that my advice is stupid.

    It`s also possible that they`re stupid.

    It`s also possible that they think they can run with any line they like, `cause they`re going to win no matter what (which I also think is totally possible).

  37. Sadly, I`m not sure that would even matter.

    That said, it`s probably best to avoid the perception that they`re sticking with this argument because this is all they`ve got. This is the same party, after all, that didn`t come out with an election platform last election until being mocked in the Leaders`debate for not having come out with an election platform yet, and the party who arguably haven`t yet finished dealing with they`re first five big priorities from their first mandate five years ago.

  38. I think the Liberals WISH that what mattered was now. Seems to me they`re also still being battered for stuff that happened seven years, four elections and three leaders ago.

  39. LOL. How the Tories are doing so well with a leader who looks more and more like Dion and acts more and more like Chretien boggles the mind.

    Perhaps the one is balancing out the other.

  40. And what they did put out was something like what a grade 10 student puts together when they need a ten page essay and they left it until midnight the night before: big font, big margins, lots of pictures of Harper (from his personal photo portrait gallery in the government foyer, I'm sure).

  41. Isn't Duceppe pretty consistent on this? He's saying that in both cases the two federalist parties were discussing forming a coalition that would be supported by the Bloc, but in neither case was the Bloc supposed to be part of the coalition, partly because the Bloc itself is not interested in being in a coalition with federalist parties.

    I`m also not convinced that the media is trying to stop the Tories this time because they`re so upset with letting them win the last two times. After all, the last two times the OVERWHELMING majority of the media endorsed the Tories. If I`m not mistaken, in 2008 the Toronto Star was the only paper in the entire country that didn`t endorse the Tories.

  42. I find it particularly dispiriting as I myself refuse to consider voting Conservative as long as Stephen Harper is leader of the party.
    Meanwhile, the most likely successor is right there braying "they did it before, they'll do it again". Hardly inspiring.

    Personally, I think the Conservatives would be wise to heed your advice. I don't think the press is going to let go of this so easily; nor should they…….and personally, I hope they don't.

  43. What has happened to you s_c_f?
    Once upon a time you would have decried the CPC using such a limp bat to lead an attack.
    You approve of this line of attack, especially after MI disavowed it?
    I suppose the media calling Mr Harper on it is a conspiracy of the leftist media

    Read what the National Post says: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/03/27/sc

  44. All very true.

    They still won though.

  45. The continuing coalition talk from the opposition must be music to Harper's ears.

    The reason being of course, is this is not seven or so years ago.

    The time is now.

    And whether Harper did or didn't consider a coalition years ago (and whether he's being hypocritical now) is not what voters care about.

    They want to know the most basic of questions. Who they'll be voting for in a few weeks.

    This "everybody does it" talk from the opposition won't really sit well if the public doesn't approve of the coalition currently in play.

    And they don't like that coalition.

    Harper couldn't have asked for a better response by the opposition.

    Another day. Another discussion about coalitions.

  46. BTW, to get a sense of how raving left today's media is, just follow their twitters.

    It boggles the mind.

    Open contempt for Harper, and open cheering for Iggy.

    Sun TV couldn't have asked for a better environment to burst onto the scene.

  47. They got a nice boost from their sleeper media agents in that one (not to say Dion would have won, but that probably swung 2% of the vote right there)…

  48. I think you're seeing a pent-up press reveling in the fact that they're not pinned down by Harper's ironclad control of Q&A. You can tell that Harper is off his game – it's been so long since he's had to take unscripted, non-vetted questions that he doesn't know how to handle them. I'm eagerly awaiting the debates. Without his crib sheet to keep him on message I think the chances of seeing a Harper meltdown are pretty significant.

  49. Huh? Harper gets his share of a slapping there, and i didn't see anyone else squirm in that story. Perhaps you should put down the koolaid and take off the blinders… oh but they're part of the CON uniform, you say? Pity.

  50. Give Terry Milewski a call and see how much he was punished, like a little boy, when the CBC head honchos told him to lay off on Ignatieff, after Terry had the nerve, the nerve I tell you to ask Ignatieff to clarify his stand on the coalition and Ignatieff told Terry in no uncertain terms that he should not ask such a question because it was a Conservative concernm, not a CBC reporter's concern.

    Now Terry Melewski is told to go after Harper. Phone calls were made for sure.

  51. I heard today on CTV that the CPP and home heating demands by Jack Layton couldn't even been met because they are not entirely up to the feds to decide.

    Did Jack not know this when he made the demands?

    And if he knew that those demands could not be met, why did he still demand them?

    What is going on here? Why has the media not told us about this before????

  52. great debate we're having again, lord Kitchener.

    But then again, CTV's Graig Oliver opens his coverage of Harper's day with talking about Harper's tie.

    Graig Oliver who claims to be a senior news reporter and commentator, opens his report on Harper's day with reporting on Harper's tie. This conversation then goes on with Fife for a while, discussing Harper's outfit, before finally saying how angry, angry Harper looks.

    How are them attack ads working for you, Canada??

  53. I'm not sure what that first sentence means. Are you upset at Halo and I for engaging in a little frivolity in the comments to a blog post?

    I'm also trying to figure out if “Graig” is some sort of gargoyle or other somewhat insulting thing or if you really don't know the name of one of the longest serving and best known political reporters in Canada. I also think that Oliver fixating on Harper's tie is his way of NOT focusing on Duceppe and Layton spilling the beans about their hotel meetings in 2004, and Duceppe repeatedly calling Harper a liar. It's like when his co-host Jane Taber goes on and on in a column about how awesome Laureen is. If you're even suspicious of the friendly journalists I can see why the party thinks everyone is out to get them. You probably thought Mike Duffy was part of the conspiracy too.

  54. Not at all my Lord. Since most here on the blogsite have given up on Canada, I thought I might as well join the best of 'm. Since there is nothing to defend any longer which could possibly hold any honour, I might as well live a life of bliss also. Spewing none sense all day CAN keep the mind busy.

  55. Isn't this fun: Just in coming from CTV news:

    Jack and Gilles have decided long ago to run one weak candiate each in the other strong riding, giving one Bloc riding a shoe-in and giving one NDP riding a shoe-in to boot!

    Isn't forming coalitions in advance a lot of fun?

    See Lisa LaFlamma at CTV question period. We can trust her, can't we?? Or perhaps not; she talking bababababba about Jack and Gilles, can't be true…….

  56. You forgot to add 'welcome to today's tolerant progressive left.'

    There are standards to upkeep, you know.

  57. An average Canadian, mmm,,, you could be right.

  58. I'm even more confused by this post but it seems like maybe you're saying that a vote for anyone but the Tories is a sign that the voter has given up on Canada, which is… interesting.

    I also think I maybe need to do my semi-annual “explaining my handle” bit, just to clear up any confusion. Rest assured that my handle is not an attempt to put on Lordly airs. I am by no means the great Field Marshal Lord Kitchener; my name refers to “Lord Kitchener's Own” the regiment set up in his honour in the Great War. Having been born in Kitchener I am, in a sense, literally one of “Kitchener's Own” and as the turn of phrase and coincidence always amused me, that's what I've always used as my handle. Not that I mind people referring to me as “my Lord” or “your Lordship”, especially if it's tongue in cheek, but I do periodically feel the need to explain the nom de plume in case anyone who hasn't seen the explanation before thinks I'm being in anyway elitist or snobby.

  59. Isn't that something. I was born in a country where people were not shy in having political discussions. Guess I moved to the wrong country.

  60. LOL, OK now you`ve totally lost me.

    I am sad that Canada has disappointed you though.

  61. Don't feel too bad about losing me.

    It would be better for you to feel sad for Canada.

    Do you people really not understand what is going on?

    (btw: it's a retorical question. It doesn't need to be answered. Not to me at least)

  62. I would hope so too. Especially since this apparent 2004 coalition agreement has remained a complete secret until a couple of weeks ago. Why didn't the media report on it at the time?

  63. "does Harper now regret banking so heavily on the “coalition” meme? I certainly think so."

    I doubt it. If I were Stephen Harper and the ballot question becomes coalitions, Harper will win his majority. I know that the left has convinced itself that Canadians are comfortable with the idea, but there is zero evidence that it would be any kind of a vote winner.

  64. Agreed. If the Liberals think they're going to win any votes by bringing voters minds back to 2004, then maybe somebody needs to remind them that that was the peak of the sponsorship scandal which ruined them.

  65. "typical front-runner's strategy"

    No! It can't be. It simply can't be, because only Harper has ever been such a big meany! Only Harper has ever done these really really big and really mean things that show how much he hates you, me, and every child under 10 not only in Canada, but in the whole world. Typical? How dare you brooster? How dare you indeed.

  66. I love how sometimes it feels like the only people not convinced that the media are conspiring to keep (or today, get) the Tories out of power are people who are convinced that the media are conspiring to get (or today, keep) the Tories in power.

    I think the best conclusion to draw is that the media are conspiring with everybody to do everything.

  67. To me, it's not a limp bat. Harper is just letting voters know the stakes. That's all. Harper has two jobs: campaign for the Conservatives, and let the voters know what their choices are. This is not about Harper at all (calling Harper on it???). This is about Iggy. If Harper wants to talk about Iggy's intentions, so be it. I hope he does a lot more than that during the campaign, but I'm also glad he's doing it, because Canadians should know about it.

    I also believe that Harper would have proceeded with a coalition in 2004 if there were any chance whatsoever it would have been supported by voters (I don't think he would have done so otherwise). But I don't think it has any bearing today. I have nothing against coalitions per se, I also have nothing against the voters being informed about a potential coalition. In fact, I think many people have acknowledged that the opposition will try to unseat a Conservative minority, even Wells and AC are saying so.

    This is what I think:



    It's unfortunate for Iggy that he has put himself in this extremely bad position, but he did. He did it to himself. If the Liberals had any hope in heck of winning this election, then perhaps this coalition discussion would not be so prominent, however, it's obvious what Iggy's intentions are, and if he won't say it, then Harper should. At times, Iggy seems to be completely bereft of strategy and common sense – whether it's hubris or something else, I don't know, but it's quite a weakness of his, not just in campaigning but in leading.

    If you want to know what I think about iggy, then: http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/03/25/iggys-coalitio

  68. You must inherently distrust Michael Ignatieff.
    I understand, I inherently mistrust Stephen Harper.

    Still, Michael Ignatieff has publicly ruled out a coalition. I don't see how hammering on this issue increases Stephen Harper's credibility. I think It makes him look paranoid and deceitful – bereft of the goodwill of "trust" – which is the very thing he is asking voters for.
    Pursuing this will undoubtedly bring up the 2004 letter, and Jack and Gilles will call Mr Harper a liar – reinforcing the theme that he is a hypocritical liar that can't be trusted. Is that downside worth the potential upside of hammering on this?

    I understand the Conservatives are ahead in the polls, but this is not a poll, it's an election. Lots of things can happen in an election. Mr Harper will have to relinquish his tightly controlled message to the unscripted questions of the media. I don't think that is something he is comfortable with.

    I don't agree that Mr Ignatieff's intention is a coalition. It is political hari-kari to disavow it, and then embrace it.

    I'll agree that Michael Ignatieff needs to address some leadership issues, but I think campaigning will bring out the best in him. If he does well, the party will rally around him. If that Dion odour starts to emanate from him, the race for "distance" may result in the trampling of innocent bystanders

    I don't agree that this line of attack is a strong one over the course of a campaign – the only thing it will do is distract from the real issues – and perhaps that is the real intention of the Conservatives. These $35 billion fighter planes are not popular with Canadians and Mr Harper's "point of no return" on their purchase could use the distraction a coalition.

    Regardless, it's going to be heated and interesting.

    I'll peek over the parapet and look for you once in a while – but not too big a peek, there's gunfire out there! :)

  69. "inherently distrust Michael Ignatieff. "

    Actually, I share AC's opinion. Ignatieff has been very careful to word things in a way that does not rule out all of his options.

    Also, I think Iggy has been forced into whatever pronouncements he's made… I believe that I am correct about his original intentions, and he's having a very hard time (as AC has pointed out) avoiding a highly specific declaration of them, but the media has forced him to say whatever he has said so far.

    I do see your point… to me there is some similarity with the "hidden agenda" theme the Liberals have tried for the last three campaigns (which thankfully is finally over with). However, history has shown the Liberals' willingness to enter a coalition, therefore to me that is where the biggest difference lies. I do think that's what they truly want. What Iggy says now is either backtracking, or he's being very selective with his words.

    I do believe a coalition was Iggy's intention, because he entered in an election campaign with the Conservatives peaking and his party 15 points behind in the polls, and he has no big ticket item that he's taking into the campaign. So to me, logic dictates that either the man is crazy, or a coalition was his intention. He seems to have no other reason to have called the no-confidence vote. If the Liberals were polling better I might have thought otherwise.

    "I don't agree that this line of attack is a strong one over the course of a campaign"

    I think it is one of many issues. Like I said:
    Harper has two jobs: campaign for the Conservatives, and let the voters know what their choices are.

    I really do believe the Liberals will engineer a way to remove Harper if we just end up with the same result following this election. They tried it last time, and this time Harper will be defenseless against such a maneouvre.

    "I'll peek over the parapet and look for you once in a while – but not too big a peek, there's gunfire out there"

    LOL… I expect this campaign to be especially vicious, in part because all the leaders have much to lose. Harper believes he will be unseated if he does not gain a majority. The other leaders may have their jobs at stake as well. At the same time I think many Canadians are more disengaged than usual, so yeah, there may be a lot of gunfire.

  70. How was it secret? Anyone who paid attention back in 2004 knew about it. I knew about it. Layton wrote about it in 2005 in his book. The media didn't report on it at the time because the Conservatives hadn't started their fear-mongering yet back then. By making such a bid deal of a coalition, Harper brought this upon himself. Couldn't have happened to a better person.

  71. The media didn't report on it, because it didn't happen. Layton says there was no coalition, Duceppe says there was no coalition, Harper says there was no coalition. They never voted non-confidence in the government. There was no signed formal agreement. All you "2004 coalition" types have is a joint letter to the GG asking her to "consider all her options".

  72. Dont listen to the conservative owned CTV. On Feb 9, 2011 the CRTC ruled that the Canadian media could "knowingly mislead" Canadians and low and behold, they now are! Did you notice the new polsters CTV is now quoting? They made them up!!! Canada lost our culture on Feb 9, 2011 and we can thank the right wing in this country for that. Get ready for American style FOX News!!!!

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