Opposition Leader Bill Graham said he will not be afraid to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority Conservative government, even though the Liberal Party will spend much of the year in a leadership race.
Mr. Harper must either accommodate Liberal positions on key issues such as child care and income-tax cuts or turn to the New Democratic Party and Bloc Québécois for support in the House of Commons, Mr. Graham said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.
He placed the onus for avoiding a quick election on the New Democrats and the Bloc, saying they triggered the last election out of political opportunism.
"We're not in the business of propping up the government," he said. "We're the Official Opposition. And that is our role, and we will stick to our points where they are important to the future of the country.
I must admit, I am encouraged by the feisty Liberal tone, despite the obvious practicality that it is mostly bluster. In placing the responsibility on the Bloc and NDP, Graham imploys a prudent political tactic, because it gives the Liberals latitude to vote against legislation without the baggage of arbitrarily bringing down the government. Given the numbers, the Liberals can operate as an effective loyal opposition, while other parties will be forced to decide the Tories ultimate fate.
I don't really think Graham is serious in his threatens, at least for the first few months. Despite the claims that the Liberals can quickly go into election mode, logistics and monetary considerations betray the claim. However, it is essential that the Liberals stake their ground and look strong in opposition, otherwise it leaves the impression that Harper can use pressure tactics to enact legislation. Graham is posturing, but it sets up a scenario where Liberals can pound the government without much backlash.