According to Jason, everyone is wrong, there is no compromise, it's just words:
Mr. Dion does not need to get the wording right to get his policy on Afghanistan...
The exact words of a wishy-washy Parliamentary motion are all but meaningless.
This isn't word play, this isn't politics, this is the Liberal position, which Harper has deemed acceptable on certain levels. Ignatieff said the following yesterday:
"This is not a negotiating document. We put this motion together in the full expectation that the Liberal Party will be the governing party of Canada, and we will have to have responsibilities with respect to the mission. So we thought, how would we run the mission, how would we change it and how would we run it. I think the public should understand it in that sense."
There it is, according to Ignatieff our amendments are the Liberal position, which is something they will "run" on. Jason tries to argue that we have to wait for the other shoe to drop, we will only really learn if Dion want to end the combat mission in an election. Someone should tell Ignatieff, because those amendments are clear and they are now official policy.
Jason then holds on to this illusion, that Afghanistan is "our" issue, using Kinsella for backup. In trying to rationalize why Dion agreed to work with the government Jason offers:
The only reason I can think of for doing what we did, was that there were too many divergent opinions in caucus.
Jason acknowledges that the party was somewhat divided on how to approach Afghanistan moving forward. Nothing says "our" issue, something that could catapult us to an election victory, like a disjointed, divisive caucus. That reality undercuts any fantasy that the Liberals could effectively dictate the debate on Afghanistan, in fact I'm willing to bet Harper was counting on exploiting internal Liberal divisions, armed with a barrage of contradictory quotes, from various figures. Afghanistan was never "our" issue, it was always a minefield.
Proof of the Conservatives fear of an election over Afghanistan is offered in the timing of the various confidence motions. The budget vote is scheduled before the Afghanistan motion, which somehow means Harper was hoping to go down on the budget, and not have to deal with Afghanistan. Remember, the government moved up the budget date, earlier than previous years, which speaks to intent, a strategy. Think this through for a moment, you have the country plunged into an election on the budget vote. What issue is sitting there, unresolved, unknown, demanding clarification? Afghanistan the unknown is a far more powerful election issue than Afghanistan the largely resolved. It is for that reason that I think Harper, while wanting a resolution, purposefully placed the Afghan motion after the budget, because they had calculated they could fight the Liberals on this score. At the very least, not much worry that the Liberals would "own" the issue. Now that the Liberal position is clarified, there is less room for Harper to twist the ambigious to his advantage, there is a coherence which forces him to reaccess.
There was a compromise, that seems pretty clear, everyone isn't wrong. I know there has been movement because I now understand the Liberal position, whereas a few days ago it seemed an incoherent tight rope. Everyone moved somewhat, I would suggest the Conservative much more, if you look at the evolution over the course of the last year. That said, the fact it took Harper all of 30 minutes to react positively to the Liberal amendments speaks to their assessment that the Liberals did move closer, enough to move forward. It's okay to admit it, afterall who cares about the politics, isn't this supposed to be about trying to get it right in the end?