Sunday, March 22, 2009

Positive Initiatives, Questionable Strategy

I just watched an interview with Ignatieff, wherein he articulated that EI reform would be at the top of our agenda, moving forward. The idea that the current system isn't equipped or structured to adequately deal with the economic crisis. The Liberals will bring forth ideas to overhaul EI, so that workers are protected. I'm pleased to hear Ignatieff make EI reform a priority for the Liberals. However, I don't quite understand the logic in telegraphing our "strategy" moving forward.

Ignatieff said that in the "next six to eight weeks" the Liberals would present something to Parliament, in the hopes of getting reforms passed. It's hard for me to see the benefit, essentially tipping off the Conservatives, giving them a timeline of what to expect from our side. Particularly when we are talking about weeks, it allows the government to "prepare". Given what we know about Harper's tactics, we can fully expect the possibility that the Conservatives will act pre-emptively, if they see a potential issue which could cast them in a poor light, they will seize the initiative and present something on their own. Ignatieff essentially tells the Conservatives, in broad strokes, what is coming down the pipe from the Liberals, potential pressure points. Does anybody think the Conservatives aren't glad to have this information? Does anybody doubt that the Conservative strategists won't devise counters, won't come up with their own measures to neuter any call by the Liberals? I applaud the focus, but the public pronouncement is questionable at best.

12 comments:

sjw said...

The Chr├ętien government lifted and made their own many of Reforms policy initiatives. One would think Liberal strategists would be aware of this and know the exact scenario could likely happen to them.

burlivespipe said...

Let's just wait and see. Perhaps this is an integral start in demonstrating 'governability' -- while also tarring Harper as unable to make these basic and important policy decisions on his own. I'm sure there is a reason, and I'd expect it has a lot to do with the timing of the convention. Going into the big tent it would be appropriate to signal to non-members just something that we'd do immediately if we were governing today...

Steve V said...

I understand making it a priority, what has no upside, giving our opposition a timeline of what's coming from us. It basically says, this isn't just rhetoric, and the next showdown in Parliament will be over EI. It's unnecessary to present that now.

RuralSandi said...

Seems to me that it shows that the Liberals are putting forward their concerns for the people (cutting the NDP grass?).

The Liberals are being hounded because they haven't put policy out there - so perhaps this will keep the wolves away for now.

Just a thought.

Ryan said...

I think this is great it's basically proposing after the fact budget amendments as I seem to recall you wanted originally.

If the Cons want to go the polls over EI so be it, they'll lose.

If the Cons adopt the Liberal proposals then it will be OBVIOUS that they got it wrong in their own budget - how do they explain making changes to EI mere weeks after they could have just done it in their own budget?

This also neuters the Con frame they are using of "Iggy has no ideas and no plan".

Taking the long-term view I just don't see how this doesn't turn out to be a net-positive.

Steve V said...

I agree, but I would hold off on any announcement until we're ready to bring something forward in Parliament. What if, in three weeks, the Conservatives introduce some emergency measure? I think it undercuts, it allows the government to like they are proactive? If they see a trigger on the horizon, and they want to avoid a conflict, election, or the perception that the Liberals are dictating the terms, then we've given them the opportunity. I just think it's better to not pre-announce anything, unless we're ready to introduce it now.

JR said...

A little off-topic, but this is an interesting article on Ignatieff's team:

http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/front/article/610292

Steve V said...

Just to add, I'm ecstatic to see that we will demand EI reforms.

Frankly Canadian said...

I’m not sure I agree with you here Steve about the part where the Conservatives will be able to act pre-emptively. I believe we have seen this right wing leader of the Conservatives lean as far to the left as he possibly can, he has spent the last few weeks re-assuring his base that these policies are a necessity, and I personally think he is hurting because of it. A wishy washy leader constantly changing what he stands for and what his party can expect from him is causing him to sell to his base, any further hard sells regarding the left wing socialist policies of the Liberals, can only slip him further from that die hard conservative base. I believe that as Mr. Ignatieff and the Liberal party begin to hold the Conservatives to account with this budget and present positive alternatives to the failed Harper attempts, we will see a strong Liberal platform develop. For me I like the idea of watching Harper squirm every time he has to change his stripes it just shows how two faced he really is, and I believe the polls are starting to reflect this display of erratic behaviour.

Steve V said...

I hope you're right, but given that Harper has already sold his soul, nothing will surprise me now. EI could be a big election issue, so if he can take it off the table, his "principles" won't stand in the way.

Mushroom said...

"his "principles" won't stand in the way."

So the Grits can throw Kelowna Accord and National Daycare policy at the Cons next time. Something that goes against traditional Conservative ideology, whether it is Harper, MacKay, or Prentice.

Go ahead take EI off the table. Then the Grits can throw more crap at Harpo to show what a spineless politician he has become.

marie said...

I too think Iggy should not be release too much about the Liberal polices. It has been proven in the last few years that the Cons can not come up with good polices of their own and steal what they can. Right now it is the Cons that are governing the country and if they have to steal another parties policies, it merely proves that they are not doing a good job and should be fired ASAP.I say to Iggy, announce your plans driving the point over and over again that this is the way the Liberals would handle the EI file and would do it immediately like yesterday and obviously the Cons are grasping at anything even if its not part of their own stuff. Rub their noses in it at every turn.