At the risk of having her gallery membership revoked, ITQ has a confession to make: Unlike pretty much every other person on or around the Hill, she really, truly doesn’t know what the Liberals are going to do, as far as this whole looming confidence vote/blinking contest/chicken game.
It’s hard — in fact, it’s downright impossible — to come up with a way for Ignatieff to retreat from his own ultimatum with anything approaching gracefulness, at this point — really, think “Siamese cat trying to pretend it hasn’t the slightest bit of interest in climbing down from that tree”, only with less dignity — but that’s what everyone seems to think he’s going to do. Then again, we all thought that’s what would happen last fall; instead, we ended up looking vaguely silly when The Madness ensued, although since the silliness was pretty much universal, we all just pretended that we’d been right all along, which is probably what will happen if it turns out that the Liberals — and for “Liberals”, you should probably read “The Only Liberal Whose Opinion Matters On This One” — actually do realize how ridiculous they’d look if they do give the government a passing grade on the basis of yesterday’s update, which didn’t come anywhere close to providing the hard numbers and detailed reports that Liberals – including TOLWOMOTO, have repeatedly demanded.
Even the columnist quoted by the prime minister yesterday as having “marvelled” over the speed at which those stimu-dollars were apparently being shovelled into the ground is now grumbling that, despite the central claim that 80% of the package has — or “is being” — implemented (and yes, he takes issue with the wording too), “by no stretch of the imagination could it be described as being “out of the door.” (Somehow, ITQ is guessing that line won’t make it into the next speech.)
And yet, we are certain that Ignatieff will wave the government on through to enjoy a leisurely summer of lazy, hazy oversized-novelty-cheque presentations. Of course, a few irritatingly attentive readers might point out that as recently as earlier this week, we were similarly certain that the Bloc Quebecois would never let the government fall, since it could cost some younger MPs their parliamentary pensions; we were also, ITQ can dimly recall, certain that the NDP would do anything – even prop up the Conservatives – to avoid going to the polls now, given their lacklustre numbers and dwindling party coffers, but this time, we’re not just certain, but hypercertain that we know what’s going to happen, and it doesn’t involve a sudden show of spine by the Liberals, a dramatic late night confidence vote, a subsequent jaunt to Rideau Hall or a summer election. Anything else would be unthinkable – probably.