Yesterday, Dion went back to the previous posture, the one he adopted before the period where he was gung ho, after the period where he laid out his "demands" (hard to keep track):
OTTAWA–Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion is backing away from his tough talk about provoking a federal election at the earliest opportunity.
Talking to reporters yesterday, Dion was repeatedly pressed about whether he'd use his power as Opposition leader to trigger the defeat of the government soon after Parliament resumes Jan. 28.
"I have no plan to do so for now," Dion replied.
Instead, it now seems that the Liberals will be content to wait and see what's in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's next budget – expected in March – and then judge whether to topple the minority government on a budget vote.
It was only a little more than a month ago, in Montreal, when Dion told Liberal riding presidents to be ready for the plug to be pulled on Harper's government as soon as possible.
In fact, Dion told reporters that February represented a symbolic bar of sorts for the electorate, since it will mark the second anniversary of Harper assuming office in 2006. He appeared to be saying that the Liberals were ready to call an end to their controversial fall approach of abstaining on make-or-break votes for the government.
But it seems that there has been a change of mind over the Christmas and New Year's break.
The Star article points to Decima holiday poll to try and understand the different posture. I'm not sure I buy that reasoing, but then again, there does seem to be a definite co-relation between the polls and the Liberal rhetoric.
I don't think the Liberals do themselves any favors with the confusing statements, and it only feeds a negative impression of Dion. Dion's best chance in any election is too present himself as genuine and principled. The "moving the goalposts" routine that we have seen for the past 5 months work against that perception, making the Liberals look self-interested and calculating. If I could offer some advice, get a consistent posture and don't waver, no matter the wind's direction, at a given moment.