Liberals and New Democrats told the Toronto Star they hope to use the so-called in-and-out election spending scandal and other missteps as the springboard to Election Day 2011.
“We want to fight them on our playing field. Why not fight them on their lack of ethics, scandals and political corruption. We want home field advantage,” NDP MP Pat Martin told the Star Tuesday.
“Why let them spin us with their own tax dollar (with the budget) when we can take them down clean and simple with rigged elections, forged documents, Stephen Hubris naming the government after himself,” said Martin, who added he plans to raise in the Commons further evidence of Conservative election fraud with respect to phony local polling during the 2006 campaign.
The same logic I argued the other day, the Liberals latest tactic makes it "morally impossible" as Hebert points out, for any opposition party to support the government. On the budget, there is room for negotiation, although I would submit the NDP seem increasingly resigned to no deal in the offing. On a question of ethics, wiggle room is at a premium and judging by Martin's comments, other NDP figures yesterday, they seem entirely prepared to support the Liberal strategy.
If an election looks likely, why let the government pass out goodies in a budget, when you can short circuit the process and take them out on ethics? Martin calls it "home field advantage", I see ethics as the chief Achilles heel, far more fertile than a budget springboard. The Liberal attempt means the NDP would have to side with the Conservatives on their ethical record, an almost unfathomable scenario.
There has been plenty of talk about divided opinion within the NDP ranks. Seems a reasonable storyline, considering the stakes and the complicated nature of budget support. However, the balance seemed to tipping to the pro-election argument, and now that the Liberals have opened up a new front, all indications are of a more "ready to go" NDP.
Again, things are changing quickly, but it would appear the NDP have crossed the Rubicon, hard to see how we pull back from here.