Ignatieff held a media availability which I attended. One question concerned the recent change in tone coming from the NDP and Bloc camps, how that relates to election timing. Ignatieff's comments were interesting, saying he found it "mildly amusing" to watch the NDP suddenly "playing nice" with the government. This commentary was said with a wry smile, then Ignatieff referenced both parties "cozying up to the Conservatives", adding, as though he knew the answer "I wonder why?" The last quote was an apparent reference to the recent polls. Ignatieff reiterated the long held Liberal position that we would not seek an election, until which time Parliament could no longer function.
Ignatieff was asked "if the party is better off", given the lack of drama heading into this convention. Ignatieff reminded us, that had it not been for the personal sacrifice of Rae and LeBlanc, things might be much different. Ignatieff then thanked Harper the "master strategist" for being so offensive last fall that he effectively united the Liberal Party, allowing it to come to Vancouver "ready to fight" an election. This convention is now about building the party in every region of the country, letting delegates know that we have a 308 strategy, take the message home with optimism.
In a related comment, Ignatieff spoke to the improved fundraising and the retiring of the debt. There was a veiled threat with "the financial picture is signficantly improved and the other parties should take note". I took that as a warning to the Conservatives, that should they go negative, we have the resources to respond in kind. Basically, bring it on with calm confidence.
I was present when Ignatieff entered the convention hall to register and the commotion was compelling. I don't want to overdo it, but suffice it to say it was quite a scene and people here are quite pumped.
Jeff has put up a video of Ignatieff's speech today at the Council Of Presidents Meeting: