Mr. Ignatieff, installed as Liberal Leader earlier this month, expressed pessimism that the Harper government would unveil a budget in January that his party could support.At the very least, that kind of attitude keeps the pressure on.
“The thing that frankly concerns me is that the autumn statement so failed the test of leadership that Canadians required of the situation, that I'm not optimistic that the government will come up with a budget that meets Canada's needs,” Mr. Ignatieff said.
“But I live in hope, as it were, that Mr. Harper will rise to the demands of the hour.”
Ignatieff also commented on a possible future election theme, one that may resonate, although it's pretty involved:
“The market meltdown has been a moment of truth for conservative ideology, and a moment of validation for liberal ideology,” Mr. Ignatieff said.
I think you can make a pretty powerful argument now, for the benefits of regulation and government intervention in the market. People have a graphic example of the dangers of laissez-faire economics, the amoral market, that fails to put public interest ahead of self-interest. If one was ever to make the case against conservatism, Ignatieff has found his moment, but it must be a concise argument. Whatever the eventual budget, it is important to demonstrate that Harper revised, only as a matter of last resort, completely reactive rather than proactive. More an acknowledgement of philosophical failure, than doing what's necessary. It will be interesting to see how Ignatieff makes the case, because while it rejects the Harper ideology, it also breathes new life into the Liberal identity.