It seems people search for the definitive comment, that puts it all to rest, when the fact of the matter the various scenarios never allow for something so unequivocal. At best, snappy lines that blunt the questioning, and here I admit some disappointment that our answers aren't more tailored, YET. That said, maybe that assessment is harsh, because how can you give a definitive answer to a complicated host of hypotheticals. What if Mr. Harper has 10 more seats, then what? What if you and Mr. Layton form a majority, then what? What if you and the NDP have more seats than Harper, but not enough to form a stable gov't, would you then seek agreement with the Bloc. And on, and on, and on, and none of it is reality, it's all speculation, you can't put a cute bow on it and call it a wrap.
Stories can only sustain themselves when new information is provided. In many regards, this PMO inspired in depth discussion is really a rehash of already digested scenarios. People say Ignatieff has had two years to come up with lines, which also confirms, nothing NEW has happened on this front in two years, the same questions, same scenarios, same fear mongering. Do we just keep going over this ground, or do we actually do the unthinkable- move off theoreticals to practicals, things called ISSUES. I think this story is peaking right now, if history is any guide, don't expect next week's columns to focus on this angle, primarily because there is NOTHING NEW coming down the pipeline, there is no oxygen to sustain. One wonders then, when we get down to the last week of the campaign, polls that more clearly define possible outcomes, if this issue will have the steam to resurface with a vengeance or will the PMO have played the fear card to early? Reports are going to ask the same question for a five week campaign? I guess there is a FIRST time for anything.
Maybe there is no "perfect" answer, even the "no coalition, no way" line still doesn't bring closure, as Maher so aptly points out. If you accept this reality, then maybe the best course is to just tell reporters, I'm not going to get into hypotheticals, that is a STANDARD answer, used for milieu, and to great effect I might add. I would rather deal with realities, the issues, the things Canadians are concerned about. I give no thought to a coalition, I've never discussed it with the NDP, period, let's talk about things that matter to Canadians. Something of that order, that's as good as you're going to get. Reporters want more, but there isn't more, there is consistent answer to a host of conflicting scenarios. Threats that reporters will keep asking are just that, you get the same answer everyday, you look about foolish beating a dead horse. Doubt me, recall the THOUSANDS of times the Conservatives have done just that, on a host of files, some more important for that matter. If I'm wrong, this might just be the first time in history where the starting point discussion is the actual ending point focus. Day 1.
And Ignatieff just released:
Statement by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff: The rules of our democracy
Posted on March 26, 2011
This election is not just an exercise in democracy, it’s about democracy. So as we begin the campaign, let’s be clear about the rules.
Whoever leads the party that wins the most seats on election day should be called on to form the government.
If that is the Liberal Party, then I will be required to rapidly seek the confidence of the newly-elected Parliament. If our government cannot win the support of the House, then Mr. Harper will be called on to form a government and face the same challenge. That is our Constitution. It is the law of the land.
If, as Leader of the Liberal Party, I am given the privilege of forming the government, these are the rules that will guide me:
■We will face Parliament with exactly the same team, platform and agenda that we bring to Canadians during this election. What Canadians see in this campaign is what Canadians will get if we are asked to form government.
■We will work with ALL parties to make Parliament work, and deliver sound policies – even the Conservative Party in opposition.
■We will not enter a coalition with other federalist parties. In our system, coalitions are a legitimate constitutional option. However, I believe that issue-by-issue collaboration with other parties is the best way for minority Parliaments to function.
■We categorically rule out a coalition or formal arrangement with the Bloc Quebecois.
■If I am facing a minority Parliament, I will work like Liberal Prime Ministers Lester Pearson, Pierre Trudeau and Paul Martin did: to provide progressive government to our country, by building support issue-by-issue, and by tapping into the goodwill, generosity and common sense of Canadians across the political spectrum. These are the governments that gave Canada the Canadian Flag, Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, the Kelowna Accord and a National Daycare Plan. With the right kind of leadership another minority Parliament could strive for such heights.
That is my position. Now I have a few questions for Mr. Harper:
■Does he agree with how I have described the workings of our democratic system?
■Why does he insist on fabricating lies about an impending coalition, something he knows is false?
■Will he tell Canadians the truth about his secret hotel room meetings in 2004 with the Bloc Quebecois which resulted in a signed letter of agreement to the Governor General, proposing a Conservative-NDP-Bloc coalition?
■Will he finally acknowledge the unprecedented finding of contempt against his government yesterday in the House of Commons?
So, Ignatieff has ruled it out, which still leave Maher's "nobody will believe him" scenario. No matter, it's an answer, and a firm one at that, he's starved the issue of oxygen and we already have indication that the media will move on.