The '04 leaders debate - Macleans.ca

The ’04 leaders debate

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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.