Harper’s uneven performance during an interview with Mansbridge offered many clues for the Liberals moving forward. It’s imperative to stay ahead of the Conservatives, as their strategy clearly attempts to box the Liberals in, Harper the “olive branch” leader, looking for a good faith partner in the name of the economy. Harper’s attempt at revision, to now position himself as conciliatory, in the wake of his self-inflicted crisis, must be responded too forcefully.
The Liberals need to frame the outreach for what it is, namely an after the fact attempt to remove responsibility for an objective failure on the economy. It was this government that presented an unacceptable economic update, that was provocative and insufficient, one that completely failed to “reach out” to the opposition. To offer co-operation now should be framed as nothing more than a desperate attempt to cling to power, a political strategy to cloud ultimate responsibility. The onus is not on the Liberals, it is not up to us to step up to the plate, it is up to the Harper government to bring acceptable measures to the table.
Ignatieff should meet with Harper immediately and make clear to the public, that any concept of stimulus is a Liberal thrust, if Harper chooses to agree, then he is adopting our day one policy. Within that, Liberals should continually hammer the point, Harper is not too be trusted, any outreach is tactical, all part of the typical passive/aggressive behavior. We can work on the economy, that’s what we’ve wanted all along, it’s the Prime Minister that’s late to the party, and his new found spirit of co-operation is more political necessity than genuine desire. For the sake of the economy, we will get down to work, but let’s not forget how we got here.
Harper screwed up, and now he looks to the Liberals to provide cover and save his government. No matter the ultimate outcome, any sense of “good faith” is a political mirage, this Prime Minister is not to be trusted, he has failed. The Liberals will attempt to SALVAGE something out of this unnecessary crisis, but make no mistake, Harper’s actions have permanently soured this Parliament, don’t confuse concern for the economy with confidence. Sweater man is just a character, working together a ruse to get Harper out of HIS bind. Let’s keep our foot on the snake.