First we heard Ignatieff, now his surrogates meeting with Flaherty, the main thrust seems to be smoking out the government, disallowing rosy projections, based on sketchy math. Before the Liberals will put forth specific demands for the budget, they first want the Conservatives to "come clean" on our true fiscal state. Was there one person who wasn't surprised to hear the Conservatives would avoid a deficit in the coming fiscal year?
Instead of focusing on measures, it's a fairly shrewd tactic demanding to "see the books", ensure that we have an accurate picture of our fiscal house. In this way, discussions are contingent on the government essentially admitting that their surplus/deficit projections were an intentional ruse. Flaherty must be honest with Canadians, before the Liberals will consider negotiating (today's demand included full disclosure prior to Christmas). This move is about transparency, but really it's a political play, the Liberals don't want Flaherty to get away with a disingenious presentation to Canadians, particularly when those erroneous numbers can mask the magnitude of the problem through a probable next election.
The Liberals have a powerful argument, the government's own Budget Officer also smells a rat, as do most private forecasters, Flaherty stands alone with his projections. Forcing the government to come clean on our fiscal state will expose the Conservatives and it will challenge the notion of a "steady hand" at the tiller, because it erodes the trust factor. The Liberals can then take credit for providing Canadians with an accurate portrayal of real situation, while making the Conservatives wear their rightfully earned deficit.