Rob Silver considers how the Liberals should approach inevitable questions.
We can get there before an election or we can get there during an election when we are forced to “clarify.” One option, I would argue, gives us a fighting chance. The other will be messier. We can wish that it was otherwise – that saying nothing or obfuscating will work – but I don’t see it.
And to be clear, it is perfectly legitimate for the Liberal Party to rule out a coalition with any or all parties. It is legitimate for us to say that we would never be part of a coalition that didn’t support the following policies. Perfectly legitimate positions. But even there, you’re bringing clarity to the table which to me is the minimum people expect today.
Complicating—or clarifying—matters in all these discussions are Mr. Ignatieff’s own words, uttered last September. You could attempt to parse those comments—maybe he was just talking specifically about the sort of coalition proposed in December 2008?—but all subsequent discussion would seem to have to start from there.