Dion said it will not matter if the polls suggest, as they did last spring when a bout of election fever evaporated, that neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals had enough support to secure a majority in a federal election.
"Never, as leader of this party, will I recommend to my caucus to support a bad throne speech or a bad budget bill," Dion said. "So even though we are tied or somewhere like this in the polls with the Conservatives, we are not obligated to vote for something wrong. There is no way."
He said if the Conservatives, in a throne speech, insist on proceeding with their green plan and kill the opposition legislation requiring a faster reduction of greenhouse gas emissions "we will not be able to support it and look Canadians in the eye."
"It's not that I want to go in an election but everybody will understand that as a man of honour, I cannot stand for something that I think is wrong."
There is absolutely no chance whatsoever that the Conservatives will accomodate the opposition on the environment file. As a matter of fact, a high profile battle is guaranteed, with no room for compromise. That fact makes Dion's statements all the more telling, because there is no wiggle room in his stance, he and his advisors know the landscape.
If you assume the NDP and Bloc will vote against the government, and all the recent rhetoric suggests they are ready, then Dion knows that his "demands" are anything but hollow. On the political calculation front, the announcement last week of the obscene first-quarter surplus, the revised growth figures for the fiscal year, translate into a government that will be awash in money come the next budget. Facing the prospects of a massive taxcuts, a goodie filled budget that will supercede this year's, the Liberals might see benefit in moving quickly.
Conventional wisdom assumes the party needs more time to fundraise, more time for Dion to get his bearings, but those shortcomings might fade in the thinking if you balance the advantages. The Liberals are very well placed on Afghanistan, wedged within the mainstream. Dion's primary issue is guaranteed to be on the frontburner if the government falls on the environment file. Couple this fact with a government trying to find their second wind, and you have a scenario which isn't that unattractive.
I take Dion at his word, as it relates to honor, integrity and the lack of concern over polls. Having said that, everyone is well aware that others in the inner circle are consumed with strategy and Dion's words are vetted to some extent. The odds of a fall election look more realistic, as the preamble to the return of Parliament unfolds.