It showed up recently in the latest “send lawyers, guns and money – scratch that, just money would be fine” emergency five-alarm Defcon One anti-coup d’etat fundraising missive from Conservative Party bagman-of-letters Doug Finley, and in the less formal but still curiously consistent arguments put forward by various Tory talking heads of both the official and unofficial variety.
But according to the latest from Harris-Decima, it seems that Canadians – maddeningly mild-mannered failing-to-reactionaries that they are – aren’t buying the Conservative spin, at least as far as that party’s newfound concern over the plight of those disenfranchised grassroots Liberals who have been cruelly deprived of a long, drawn out, knockdown dragout kapowarific leadership fight:
Half of respondents to The Canadian Press/Harris-Decima survey said they reacted positively when the Liberal party last week chose Ignatieff to replace Stephane Dion at the helm. Only 11 per cent reacted negatively while 36 per cent had a neutral opinion about the change.
Ignatieff’s ascension garnered more positive than negative reviews in every region of the country, particularly Ontario and Quebec where a majority cheered the change. Among Liberal supporters, 69 per cent of respondents had a positive impression of the switch in leaders.
According to the poll, it is only Conservative-leaning voters who seem share their party’s outrage over the unseemly lack of unseemly internecine warfare within the Liberal Party:
“The change in Liberal leadership was favourably received in virtually all quarters but Liberals in particular are most positive about Mr. Ignatieff’s new role,” said Harris-Decima’s senior vice-president, Jeff Walker.
“While the numbers suggest some resistance to how Mr. Ignatieff was installed, much of this resistance is among Conservatives, with NDP, Green and Bloc voters being relatively content with the selection process.”
It’s rather sweet, really – a show of solidarity and support for democracy across party lines, that has, I’m sure, absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the Little Shop of Tories A/V Club won’t get to spend the next few months collecting clips of Liberal leadership contenders sniping at each other during debate.
An anecdote: On the very eve of the Ignatieff Era – after both Dominic LeBlanc and Bob Rae had bowed out, but before the caucus and party had made it official – I chatted with several Conservatives who assured me that it was a terrible thing for the Liberals: it would almost certainly spark an uprising against the elites by grassroots, rank-and-file party members. When I pointed out that it seems to be a law of political physics that a certain percentage of members of every party seems to be perpetually on the verge of revolution — just look at the recent Conservative policy convention in Winnipeg — they would hem and haw and insist that this was “different”. Oh, you crazy alienated grassroots. You’re always greener on the other side, I guess.