Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Liberals "Grumpy"

For what it's "worth":
After consulting late Tuesday with his caucus, the Liberal leader appeared poised to try to wring more concessions out of Harper before guaranteeing his party's support.

Ignatieff, who is to announce his decision Wednesday morning, did not overtly tip his hand during what was described as a "grumpy" caucus meeting. But Liberals left with the impression that he intends to propose an amendment to address some of the deficiencies his MPs identified in the budget.

A senior Liberal confirmed it's unlikely Ignatieff will choose to support the budget without any changes.

"I think it could even be a flat no or there could be an amendment," the insider said. "But those are the only two options".

Liberals privately suggested an amendment could include a proviso that municipalities receive their share of federal infrastructure funding, even if they can't afford to ante up matching funds. It could also specify that the unemployed must receive jobless benefits immediately, doing away with the two-week waiting period.

23 comments:

Scott Tribe said...

Interesting.

Interesting amendment as well. If the Cons say no to it, It would give Iggy further justification on ditching the thing (if he isn't going to already).

Steve V said...

Sounds like pretty solid amendments, that people will see merit in. It presents a neat dynamic, because if the Conservatives reject, then all the pressure is on them, if this thing falls apart. It's a serious response.

Anonymous said...

Rae's a hawk others thought let Harper hang himself, we'll give him all the rope he needs.
It's so nice to finally have the upper hand over this tyrant.
Sitting on our hands no more.

Steve V said...

anon

It does have a "taste of your own medicine" flavor to it.

Joseph said...

Personally, I love it. I'm quite comfortable with them rejecting outright but if they wring out changes that's as good as gold politically with the carnival Harper is running.

Steve V said...

This budget tells me a lot about Harper's conversation with the GG. I have a gut feeling, he will accept further concessions, because he knows an election isn't an option. Plus, the nature of these demands aren't exactly outlandish, protecting workers and ensuring the infrastructure money is delivered.

Mike said...

Jim Flaherty's time as finance minister is finished. Flaherty would be compelled to resign if Harper allows these amendments.

If Harper doesn't allow these amendments then his time as PM is finished too :).

Mushroom said...

I would be interested if the Grits can wring concessions from Layton in order to pursue the coalition route. Maybe one that calls for the implementation of a carbon tax or a commitment to support the Afghan mission up to 2011.

Just posturing, but something that would weaken Layton if he decides to defect.

Mushroom said...

Mike,

You gave us a brilliant idea. Throw Flaherty under the bus with a Grit poison pill. Demand that the Cons give a tax holiday on income trusts. Pensioners need a break and why not do this?

Flaherty's legacy as Federal Finance Minister will be mud if Harper is forced to climb down on this issue.

Personally, I like the tax on income trusts. It is a corporate tax exemption no matter what you think of it.

Oemissions said...

They won't reject. They are afraid to.
If I'm wrong, well, I'll eat my words.

Anonymous said...

"I would be interested if the Grits can wring concessions from Layton in order to pursue the coalition route. Maybe one that calls for the implementation of a carbon tax or a commitment to support the Afghan mission up to 2011."

Your about seven weeks too late. The NDP already agreed in the coalition agreement not to insist on a withdrawal from Afghanistan.

janfromthebruce said...

Last time I checked Mushroom, Canadians were not interested in a carbon tax and it fell off the liberals radar screen. Fruther, re: Afghanistan, they already agreed to "put aside differences" and not play political games like grown-ups do when there are adult matters to deal with. Considering that Afghanistan is done by 2011, Liberals would just look immature and thus in the public eye not ready to take power. If liberals did not like the "poison pills" and political games played by Harper in the recent budget, it would be political stupid to do the same. As one knows,"imitation is the first line of flattery", so I really don't believe that Iggy would want to be perceived as aping Harper and the cons right now. But perhaps I am wrong, in terms of political optics.

Mushroom said...

"The NDP already agreed in the coalition agreement not to insist on a withdrawal from Afghanistan."

Good, then I expect Layton to support a Canadian troop surge in Afghanistan if Obama and Gates ask Iggy, Denis Coderre, and Dawn Black for more reinforcements.

Jan, Canadians would support a carbon tax. Just not the watered-down Green Shift. A coalition is about compromises and getting some common ground. It takes weeks, if not months to hammer out. If you want to work together in the next election and defeat Harper, then let's start NOW. None of this zero-sum game posturing.

MississaugaPeter said...

If at the of this month Harper has neutralized the Economy as an election issue, like he skillfully did the Afghanistan issue last year, he deserves to continue to be prime minister.

If that happens, and the economy sputters even further and the Budget reveals to have been nothing more than a money pit, the Liberals will lose even more supporters to the Greens and NDP without gaining one single Conservative vote. The Conservatives will just say the Liberals made them do it.

Harper as prime minister, still flush with lots of cash, will again be able to control the daily headlines during the election. Sure WK and his war room will do everything they can, but with limited financial resources, and a MSM that tends to side with the folks who spend the most advertising bucks, the Conservatives will get their much dreamed about majority.

Take Harper out, when you can. Give us 18 months of a government that genuinely is concerned about the well being of all Canadians, and not a government that is genuinely only concerned about the well being of themselves.

Mushroom said...

MissPeter,

Iggy as Peter Parker, something that you can boast about in Gerard Kennedy's third and final run for the Grit leadership.

Miles Lunn said...

Sounds reasonable to me. The budget was not horrible, but not great either. It was one about survival not long-term vision at the same time when one considers all the groups asking for money, I don't know how you can please everyone. It definitely needs an improvement, but I would much rather it be amended then have an election or form a coalition. The Liberals have climbed enough in the polls under Ignatieff that given time, they can win the next election in their own right which I think is preferable to the coalition. I don't trust the Bloc or the NDP and having them holding the balance of power is not something I am exactly keen on. At the very least, if a coalition is formed, it should only be for the duration of the recession and once it is over, we should have an election.

Gayle said...

I am no economist, or political strategist, but I really cannot see how anyone neutralizes the economy as an election issue for the next year or so.

MississaugaPeter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MississaugaPeter said...

Gayle,

For example: The Afghanistan file was neutralized last year when the Conservatives accepted the Liberal amendments and the Liberals voted with the Conservatives to extend the Afghanistan mission from February 2009 to the end of 2011.

Angus-Reid came out with a poll on September 11, 2008 (a few days after the election was called). It revealed:

"34 per cent of respondents agree with the House of Commons’ decision earlier this year to extend Canada’s role in Afghanistan until the end of 2011. Conversely, 59 per cent of respondents disagree with this rationale."

The Liberals could not use the Afghanistan extension as an election issue, and had to stay on the side of the 34% minority, instead of representing the wishes of the 59% majority.

By supporting the Budget (even worse if they add amendments that the Conservatives accept), the Liberals lose their ability to criticize it or claim they would have done things differently.

Therefore, if an election were called in September 2009, Harper would have neutralized the Economy file, since the Liberals supported (and possibly added amendments to it) the Conservative Budget earlier in the year.

NOTE: That February 2009 to end of 2011 extension is expected to cost Canadian taxpayers between $5.5B and $11B (depending on whose numbers you quote) and will most surely cost the lives of many more brave Canadians.

NOTE: 17 Coalition soldiers died in Afghanistan in December 2008: 9 were Canadian, 3 were British, 3 were Danish, 1 was Dutch, and 1 was American.

Anonymous said...

I laugh at JanfromtheBruce - c'mon Layton is such a political whore - how can you trust Layton?

Steve V said...

"I am no economist, or political strategist, but I really cannot see how anyone neutralizes the economy as an election issue for the next year or so."

Exactly. Comparing this issue to Afghanistan makes no sense, in my view, although I understand why Peter might see it as a note of caution. This government will be bombarded, day after day, month after month, with bad news, and it will challenge their projections and their plan. Off the table? Try the main course for the foreseeable future, no matter what the Liberals do on this budget.

Anonymous said...

"This government will be bombarded, day after day, month after month, with bad news, and it will challenge their projections and their plan."

Yes, and if the Liberals support the budget it becomes their plan too. By supporting the budget8ing you also take blame when it doesn't satisfy people and doesn't stop the economy from going down the drain. This is the Tory plan - to tar the Liberals with their crap and make them share the blame.

Steve V said...

anon

That view just implies that we sit passively by, the Cons frame what they want. Doesn't work that way.