Ghost writing (II) -

Ghost writing (II)


Mr. Ignatieff comes fairly close to echoing Rob Silver.

Michael Ignatieff says the proof that he’s not scheming to head a coalition government is that he rejected the prime minister’s chair in January.

Stephen Harper made it clear in a surreptitiously-recorded speech to Conservative insiders last week that he will campaign for a majority government by warning that the Liberals harbour a hidden agenda to take power in a coalition backed by the NDP and Bloc Québécois…

But as proof that is not his goal, Mr. Ignatieff points to the face that after he became Liberal Leader he declined to defeat the Tories eight weeks later on their January budget, killing off the coalition. “I could have been standing here as prime minister of Canada, but I turned it down,” he said.


Ghost writing (II)

  1. Its a start, but the questions will remain until he goes further, a la Silvers.

    Think about what Harper did at the beginning of th elast two elections.

    1) He spiked any discussion of Same Sex Marriage by saying the courts had ruled
    2) He spiked any discussion of afghanistan by saying 2011 was it.

    MI would do well to learn from him, make the announcement early so it doesnt come up again…..Dragging it out of him does him no good.

  2. This is ridiculous. Unless he thinks that he's going to get a majority, he'll need somebody to vote for his bills.

    Does he expect it to be the Tories?

    • If the Libs win this election, the fuse will have been lit and the Tory PCP+Reformers coalition will implode, starting with Harper who will surely lose his job.

      Actually, even if Harper wins, he will lose his job unless he delivers a majority. That look of desperation on Harper's face in that video where he pleads with his troops to push for a majority is that of a man who knows that his days are numbered whether he wins or not.

      Harper needs a majority to stay PM.

      • I wouldn't count Harper out yet. I thought he was a goner back in December regardless of the outcome, yet he's still around.

      • hmmm…not sure I buy all of that.

        I think the cons will break into open warefare if they outright lose, almost any party does that.

        As for Harper needing a majority…..anything less than 2 elections ago is a real problem, anything more than last time is not a problem at all. Cons like being in government, why would you shoot yourself when you are in charge. There is no meachanism to remove him within the Party if he is PM, ie he has "won" the election. A loss triggers review (this may have changed but I doubt it)

        He may face some demands from within his party that his path wasnt "conservative enough"…..but it will all depend on why…..if it is because the quebec seats disappear then I doubt he will face that challenge.

        Layton goes after this election, just because its time (unless there is a coalition). Iggy, depends, if there is no progress or a con majority Iggy goes back to harvard. Duceppe may actually finally go as well. Harper is there as long as he is PM, when he isnt he is gone, by his own hand.

        • I’m not sure he leaves, even if he loses. If Liberals slightly outnumber CPC, and LPC+NDP<majority then I think he sticks around, if only because Parliament is unstable and the other parties might take advantage of CPC disarray.


          LPC 117
          CPC 113
          BQ 48
          NDP 30

          No way Harper would leave in that situation…

    • You don't need to be in a coalition to govern as a minority government. You can seek the support of the house on a case by case basis. We've had many minority governments, but no formal coalitions.

      • But it's a good bet that whenever that happens, the Harperites will scream coalition again. It's not that they don't get it, they think Canadians don't get it – that's the way our system works…when it works.

    • That's an interesting point. If Iggy falls for Harper's fearmongering and paints himself into a corner should he win a minority, then he could find himself in Harper's position: headboy of a toxic dysfunctional house. He needs to finesse himself outof this coalition jam. Concede that the public will not tolerate any backroom deals with the bloc [ while explicitly distancing himself from Harper's toxic rhetoric re: separatists – you know the spiel..".they're Canadians too"!] but fiercely defend his constitutional right to enter into coalitions as our parliamentary system allows. Don't let Harper control the narrative. A lot of folks don't fully understand how our system works. [ including our PM apparantly] Iggy need to clearly demonstrate that he does.

      • Not sure that it's that easy to finesse. The fact of the matter is that with any Harper minority government comes the prospect of an opposition coalition. And I don't think people like the idea. In many ways, and has been suggested by Mr. Wells, the opposition has boxed itself into a corner on coalition. They've done it once when it most mattered, so why in the world wouldn't they do it again?

  3. I think Iggy would be best not to remind too many Liberals that he made a monumentally stupid decision in January.

    • Or too many Canadians that he thinks he could become PM without standing for election.

      • Hi, welcome to Canada. We have a parliamentary democracy. ANY MP can be PM if they gain the confidence of the House.

        • Is there even a requirement for the Queens first advisor to have a seat in the commons or even a senate seat. Isnt it just that "cabinet" has the confidence of the house?

      • Not elected? He was elected as the representative for Etobicoke-Lakeshore in 2008, as you’ll recall. Prime Ministers are never elected. The PM is the head of the party that forms government, and who forms government is determined by who can gain confidence in the House.

        • Show me one example, in the modern era (that is, after 1900) where a mature parliamentary democracy changed its government without going through an election. The only example I can think of was 1926, and it turned out so badly, they wound up having an election to sort out the mess. The constitutional convention in Canada is that governments are changed after elections, that is, only with the consent of the electorate. Harper clearly won the 2008 campaign by those rules. If Iggy thinks those rules shouldn't apply he needs to let us all know, right now, so there's no confusion. Of course, if that is his opinion, he probably won't like the reaction he gets back from the voters.

          • You seem to be suggesting that it would be illegal or improper for a coalition to form government if no party of the coalition individually had a plurality of seats. That, my friend, is a recipe for elections every few years. So either an election now is appropriate, or we should have elections until the deadlock is broken and a party that can gain the confidence of the House happens to have a plurality.

      • Stop watching The West Wing. This is Canada. We don't elect our PMs.

  4. “I could have been standing here as prime minister of Canada, but I turned it down"

    Ignatieff is nothing if not far-sighted. After becoming PM in January, he would have governed for three months, gone down to the NDP-CPC coalition, defeated their budget calling for the nationalisation of John Baird's neckties, briefly gone into Coalition with the BQ, and finally formed his own non-coalition Liberal government after the great confidence showdown of September 3rd, 2009, featuring the unexpected streaking through (and subsequent ejection from) the House of Senator Finley, which turned the tides in favour of Ignatieff at the last moment. Man, we dodged a few bullets there.

  5. Heh. I scooped you, Aaron!

  6. The summer truly would have warranted all those stay-cations.

  7. Iggy can caterwaul all he likes about how "he's not scheming to head a coalition government" but will the voters believe him? Pols have long history of saying one thing during campaign and doing quite another once election is over. Dion is perfect example of this. Dion said he would not form coalition with NDP but he was quick to disregard any promises he made just a short time later.

    Also, Iggy's denial is a bit non-denial denial. I don't believe Iggy is scheming to head a coalition government either, I think he wants a majority, but I doubt he will say no thanks to GG if she asks him to form coalition government after next election.

    • Voters always believe the lies. Just look at how many conservative voters bought into the lie that Harper would govern as a conservative instead of a liberal.

    • Voters always believe the lies. Just look at how many conservative voters bought into the lie that Harper would govern as a conservative instead of as a liberal.

    • Actually, most pols have a long history of promising one thing during a campaign and simply not following through. Harper is one of a very few who have a history of promising one thing during the campaign and delivering the exact opposite once the election is over.

  8. I could have been standing here as prime minister of Canada, but I turned it down</e>

    Two things:

    a) He makes it seems as though it would have been so easy for him to be standing there as prime minister in an unelected coalition. Among other things, why wouldn't it be so easy the next time, too?

    b) For a guy who's trying not to sound arrogant, isn't he sounding awfully arrogant? Shouldn't it be up to Canadians, or the GG, whether or not you're prime minister and, well, not you?

  9. Oops, I hope I didn't screw things up by not closing the italics tags properly.

  10. The fact that Ignatieff turned down the chance to be PM in January only proves that he's sane and possesses common sense.

    Imagine the popular discontent if Iggy had somehow become PM in January, having never won a mandate from the public, having never even won a democratic contest to become party leader, having spent most of his life outside of Canada, and leading a party that just suffered one of its worst defeats in Canadian history, with a paltry 77 seats in Parliament.

    • Why in the world is it his choice to make in the first place?

    • "Imagine the popular discontent …and leading a party that just suffered one of its worst defeats in Canadian history, with a paltry 77 seats in Parliament."

      I think Jack's comment is a good summary of Mr. Ignatieff''s predicament last January. It is why it is not believable for him to now pretend that he had a choice. Sure he had a choice, but it would have meant the end of the Liberal Party as we know it in the following election.

      Presumably, Ignatieff's strategy in the next election will be to win enough seats for a Liberal minority since it is not realistic to believe that the Liberals will win a majority. Ideally, from a Liberal persepctive, this means enough seats so that the Liberal minority would only have to depend on one other party for support – either the NDP or Bloc – or even the Tories.

      However, the problem for the Liberals is that unless they win more seats than the Tories (unlikely), they will need to form a coalition (formal or informal) in order to have their minority. Otherwise, the Tories will form the government. That's my two yen's worth.

      • I think Jack's comment is a good summary of Mr. Ignatieff''s predicament last January

        Actually, that was my comment, not Jack's. Sorry for the confusion.

  11. Dammit! I did it again! This is CR, not Jack! Damn you, ID! I wasn't logged in again and the bloody thing remembered.

    • You mean I don't get credit? No wonder you're so far ahead!

      • The worst part is that I have no way of deleting it, because you have to be logged in to do that.

      • I just figured out how to stop it. I'm now posting under my own name without logging in, so hopefully it will remember, and default to my own name from now on.

  12. I'm guessing Jed Bartlett wouldn't be his cup of tea either.

  13. Iggy is being rediculously arrogant. He didn't turn down being PM, he turned down getting trounced at the polls. Had the Conservatives been defeated last January, the GG wouldn't have turned to the Opposition Parties to form a government, she would have granted Harper an election.

    • No, she would have turned to the Opposition Parties — the Tories had not passed a budget and had been in office for only a few weeks. You have to govern for a certain length of time, and/or pass a budget, before the House is dissolved in the case of a vote of non-confidence.

      • Actually, neither one of you knows what the GG would have done. I'm not sure the GG knows what the GG would have done.

        But I agree the whole thing would make for a good alternate history experiement.

        • Good point! Well, maybe we'll find out with the coming Instant Reply.

  14. It isn't… technically, it's the GG's choice. But I still think there's a good chance that if the January budget was defeated, Iggy would have had a shot at becoming PM, as he said.

    • That's nor for you or him to decide. It's for the GG to decide under the authority of our constitution, and we don't know if she would have given an undemocratically chosen party leader, who never went to the polls as a leader, the keys to 24 Sussex. In fact, I'm pretty sure that Canadians would have been outraged if she did.

  15. Isn't this all a little hypothetical? The only thing that will satisfy many of those who deplore a coaltion is an unequivocal statement by Ignatieff that he will never, under any circumstances, in any way shape or form, negotiate with another party, ever. Which is another way of saying that a Liberal minority government won't last more than a month or so.

  16. So, let me get this right: Ignatieff didn't turn things down – the uproar (over the coalition) in the country did. Or did I hear that wrong? I wonder what Ignatieff heard at the time.