A few thoughts on Ignatieff's press conference. You don't want to get carried away, but there is no question in my mind, a new era has begun in Canadian politics. What I heard was a leader, on every question, a blend of thoughtfulness, vision and firm, firm resolve.
A master stroke to put the onus completely on Harper- you started it, you get us out, or I'll take you down, the Liberal Party is not your life raft. Furthermore, to demand the government come clean on the deficit, "we don't believe the numbers", means that the Liberals will smoke out the government, they will wear THEIR deficit, no more Ontario's Jimbo. Above all, a sense that the Conservatives will be held to account, they will not dictate to the Liberals.
On the question of attack ads, Ignatieff's response was wonderful. Basically warning the Conservatives, that with a crisis in our midst, it would be a mistake to engage in partisan nonsense. The high road, if you choose different, expect the Liberals to identify to Canadians. Clever.
Speaking of the Liberal challenges, Ignatieff was frank but optimistic. I particularly liked his Quebec analysis, essentially telling reporters the Liberals are back, not cocky or presumptive, but a calm confidence. Ignatieff's most substantive answer revolved around the rural/urban divide, within that, a deep urning to connect with Western Canadians. Calling "the west" Canada's future, lavishing praise on the entrepreneurial spirit, it's a small step, but it came with a genuine respect which will be helpful. Again, nobody is getting carried away, but I sensed a desire to begin, a long view, with a goal. Respect.
On the coalition, clear and concise, we've made our view know, "walk down the hill" or all options are on the table. Harper has an opening, the Liberals will always act responsibily, but the government must regain the trust it squandered. In my view, the perfect position, the Liberals need not marry themselves to anything, keep ourselves nimble.
I must say, I feel like a weight has been lifted, the Liberals really do have a fresh opportunity. You can sense it in the media play, predictable sources aside, that Ignatieff has greater stature than Dion, the pundit class buys him as PM material. What comes of it, entirely impossible to predict, but nobody doubts that Ignatieff is a serious player. Further, with a caucus behind him, the pundit class will see a new air around the Liberal Party, and nobody should understate the importance of perception.
I think Ignatieff nailed it today, taken in totality. "I like the smell" too.