Ignatieff completely dismisses any pre-election agreements. I go back and forth on this concept, but I do applaud the unequivocal nature of Ignatieff's comments, because it brings certain conviction. This issue doesn't go away during a campaign, which means you need standard lines. This is the best counter, which could serve Ignatieff well during the debate:
“I can make all kinds of electoral arrangements work and people should have confidence that I can. I'm a unifier, I'm not a divider.”
The Conservatives will make a coalition an issue during the campaign. The above is an effective way to turn the whole discussion into a verdict on Harper's ability to govern. If Ignatieff can pivot, frame Harper as a divider, the current dysfunctional status of Parliament solely his responsibility, then he can take the mantle as the only man that can bring a new collaborative tone to Ottawa. People want politicians to work together, they want an end to posturing and bickering, they don't endorse the current circumstance. In this way, Ignatieff can position himself as the change candidate, but it will only be effective if it's articulated with repetitive intensity and laser-like focus. You're not making this case, if you devote a day here, day there, you have to tattoo the electorate with this idea that Harper is the divider, Ignatieff isn't the career politician, he can bring people together for the greater good. If you ask me, that argument is a powerful catalyst to attack apathy.
If you favor a coalition, Ignatieff leaves room for future arrangements. These statements aren't a complete rebuke, merely a horse and cart presentation. This stance, does however, ensure further debate during the campaign, because voters will be entertaining future Parliamentary makeups. If you want to use the last days of the British campaign, you will see how polling can dictate complete pre-occupation with what it will all mean, after votes are cast. What Ignatieff is saying, he will fight for every last Liberal vote, under our platform, and then if we have some sort of unclear result, Canadians can look to him as the "unifer".
Harper has presided over the most contentious Parliament in our history. The Conservatives will try and argue a majority is the only way to achieve "good government". The Liberals must ask Canadians if the Conservatives deserve a bigger mandate, given their behavior the past years in government. There is a certain absurdity with asking for more power, because you can't work with others. The Liberals place Harper as the problem, not the solution, and I see a whole new vein opening up during a campaign. If Ignatieff can position himself as the guy that can bring diverging interests together, it could speak to the country's mood.
Ignatieff's position don't completely reflect my opinion, but I do see how this stance can be advantageous moving forward. One way or another, the Liberals have to turn this coalition question around, and if we plant our flag on the "divider vs unifer" terrain, it's an exciting option.
It was the most intelligent thing he's done in a long while. Why, it's almost like he's showing leadership.
Since the Harpercons think the majority of Canadians are traitors for voting against him, I don't give a rat's ass how he plans on spending the election. I think we should get as many photos of the Muskoka Lake in a box we can and do video cartoons of Harpercons spending billions of dollars in an underground cave complex (I know there are no cave complexes in granite) full of prisons and oil slicks where his true agenda of blowing up the Canadian Shield and rearranging it according to all his hidden agenda items can be parodied. Make fun of Harpers inherent absurdity and don't stop.
Let the Liberals be true liberals, let them advocate a corporate-free enterprise platform if they've got the balls, we don't need phony, conservative-defined neo-liberalism, we need the true strain, the greatest equal liberty and opportunity strain, an ethical agenda, considered thought, and inclusive democratic reform - agreed to before hand perhaps with the NDP and the Greens - with or without a coalition - a 100 days of genuine action plan. No more of this lack of common sense reactionary 1935 school of conservative, give us a conservancy agenda, gives us all inclusive fair share cabinet based on proportional representation, and we the majority who are not traitors but defenders of the crown, commoners in a cause who proved during the prorogue crisis that we can force Harper we can get him to admit that his policies are "lost time" which always translates in economic times as lost money. We're coming for the money, we're going to find every corrupt hole the neo-corporatists are hiding our cache, Adscam is chump change to Harperscam. We are coming for you Stephen, you and your cronies, and we will stop you like we did RB Bennett and we will expose you like we did Brian Mulroney. Every time some troll posts Adscam we will write Harperscam. And we will show them principle when we defeat them, especially if we give them Fair Share Cabinet.
Agree with Jerry - but one thing worries me: will a significant vote for Greens in ridings such as this one hurt everyone but harper?
Anything to get rid of these clowns is a good thing.
He said exactly what I wanted him to say!!! Perfect position.
I think Ignatieff has said exactly the right thing here - no more and no less. In fact, I think that if Jack Layton were asked the same question he would give the exact same answers only he'd be talking about the NDP and not the Liberals (ie: we are running to win and we will work with what the voters give us after the next election and we rule nothing out).
Now that we know that Ignatieff and Layton are open to a "progressive coalition" people can feel free to vote either Liberal or NDP - whatever their hearts' desire - safe in the knowledge that electing an NDP or Liberal MP is equally good if you want to ditch the Tories. In fact if you would prefer that the coalition have Layton as PM rather than Ignatieff (as polling data tells us most Canadians do) - then just make sure to elect more NDP MPs than Liberal MPs!! Its all good.
What DL, is really saying is that the NDP, needs a merger or a coalition more than what the Liberals do.
What DL, is also saying that by Ignatieff ruling out a merger with the NDP, there is only one way to get rid of Stephen Harper.
NDP, voters who are desperate to get rid of Harper, will have no incentive to vote Liberal if they know that there is going to be a merger or a formal coalition anyway.
There is only one way to get rid of Stephen Harper, and Jack Layton and the NDP, are not it.
That is what DL really fears.
Pull your head out of your ass DL, your party spends more time attacking the Liberals, than it does attacking Harper.
Jack Layton, and the NDP, are a party with no principles. We lost Kelowna, and child care because of your hero Jack Layton.
The NDP, had no chance to form a government, or an official opposition. All the NDP did was help Harper.
And for what?
A few more seats in parliament.
The NDP, is still the fourth party with absolutely no influence in parliament.
When push came to shove last fall, Layton could not bend over for Harper fast enough, and let Harper have his way with him.
When Jack Layton, actually has to take any responsibility for anything, he folds.
He offers nothing but useless rhetoric and drivel, and can deliver absolutely nothing.
If the LGR, gets killed we can also thank Jack Layton, and the NDP.
Well DL, congratulations on supporting the NDP.
To see Jack Layton, and the NDP, stand up and say they represent anything progressive is an absolute joke.
Jack Layton, is an unprincipled prick, who will do just about anything, to attain a little bit of power. And he needs the Liberals to do it.
Jack Layton, and the NDP, unprincipled, and useless.
Thanks Jack, you have one hell of a record.
Thanks DL, for sharing your thoughts, which are as useless as shit.
It is funny DL, that you are always running down Liberals, but when you see an opportunity that you think will get your unprincipled prick of a leader into a merger or coalition with Liberals, you come on here and laud it, and promote it.
DL, you and Jack Layton, and the NDP, can go crawl back to Stephen Harper.
That is who you really are in bed with.
There you go again...I'm trying to extend a hand of friendship. I'm saying YES - let's work together and if the math works after the next election - let's form a Liberal/NDP coalition. But NO ONE that I know of has the slightest interest in the parties actually merging or even running partial slates of candidates. We will each run to win as many seats as we can - knowing that as long as the Tories fall short of a majority - the opposition parties can bounce them after the next election. This is a good thing and I'm glad that Ignatieff has come to his senses. Instead of spewing all this venom at the Jack Layton (who as you may recall tried to work with the Liberals to dump Harper in Dec. '08 only to have Ignatieff run off to prop up Harper) - maybe you should save your venom for Harper.
At some point Liberals have to decide what's more important to them - getting rid of Harper and installing a progressive coalition OR obsessing over make sure the NDP never gets a piece of the action even if it means Tory rule for the next generation. The choice is yours.
I agree with Gallahad completely.
Jack is the biggest problem for me too .
The NDP, is around 17% in the national polls. If Jack Layton was the preferred choice for Prime Minister, it is sure not showing up in his party standings.
I am happy to hear DL, that you think that a magic wand can be waved, a new party can be created, have Jack Layton, lead it, and automatically become Prime Minister.
That will never happen.
Sometimes, you have to put aside your ego, and think of the national interest, which is something Jack Layton never does. When he could not squeeze anything more out of Paul Martin, he immediately jumps over to side with Harper, and vote non confidence in Paul Martin.
Jack Layton also teamed up with Harper, and Duceppe in 2004, to write a letter to the GG, asking her to keep all her options open, if Martin should ask for dissolution. Under that scenario, the GG, would have turned to Harper, and he would have formed a government, which Jack Layton was more than happy to support.
We had Judy Alphabet waving around her RCMP, form letter in 2006, when she so proudly asked for an income trust leak investigation against Ralph Goodale. In the end which all came to absolutely nothing.
The NDP, devotes most of their time, attacking the Liberal Party, it is what they live for.
The result is that we now have Stephen Harper. A man who should never have ever been allowed anywhere near the PM's chair. Arguably a man who is the most dangerous, and destructive PM, we have ever had in our nations history. A man who has no respect for democracy, parliament, or Canadian institutions.
Come next election DL, all you fear is that if NDP supporters know that there is no coalition or merger agreement on the table with the Liberals, they have no incentive to keep voting NDP, to get rid of Stephen Harper.
The NDP, has been around for yonks, and before them the CCF, and have never in their history formed a government, or an official opposition.
Because Canadians don't trust them with the economy, or taxation, or fiscal issues.
I wholeheartedly expect Jack Layton, to keep it up, and to keep attacking the Liberal party, all the while knowing he is helping Harper.
But hey if Jack, and Olivia, can maintain their seats and the cushy pay cheques they have come to rely on, to finance their extremely comfortable lifestyle, all is right in the world. So much for caring about the average working Canadian, or the "Little Guy" bullshit they always push.
The NDP, and Jack Layton, have inflicted as much damage on this nation as they can. They can not possibly do any more harm than what they have done.
Of course that is an understatement, because when push comes to shove, Steve, can always rely on Jack, the unprincipled prick.
Of course if you're a dyed in the wool Liberal Party supporter - then of course Jack Layton is a problem. Its always a problem when another party has a leader who has vastly superior political skills than the leader of your party. I'm sure the NDP thought Jean Chretien was a "problem" when he was being an effective leader of the Liberals and the NDP as stuck with Audrey McLaughlin. That's life.
That being said, seeing as its likely that Liberal and NDP MPs may be sitting together around the same cabinet table in the not too distant future - maybe people in both parties need to get over these old grudges and learn to work together - while still competing in elections but being good sports about it!
Gallahad and DL,
For the love of God you guys being at each other's throats is exactly what Harper wants. Give your heads a shake and attack me!
Here, I'll give you soemthing to consider...
This discussion is death to the LPC. They have 25% of the Federal vote, second in the nation and a princely sum, but instead of throwing their weight around they are busy looking for a dance partner. Under Dion it was Lizzie May and now you've gradutated to the guy with the 70's porn star moustache. A little too kinky for a CPC supporter. But regardless, get a room and keep this out of the media spot light.
I really don't want to know who you are sleeping with or after all the haggling, what it cost.
"Come next election DL, all you fear is that if NDP supporters know that there is no coalition or merger agreement on the table with the Liberals, they have no incentive to keep voting NDP, to get rid of Stephen Harper."
I'm worried about that at all - especially now that Ignatieff has announced that he's willing to form a post-election coalition with the NDP. Now Canadians from coast to coast to coast and elect as many NDP MPs as possible knowing that it all goes towards the progressive coalition government we all want! YAY!!!
Ignatieff goes to Joan Bryden of Canadian Press, kind of like Harper going to the Calgary Herald to give an exclusive.
He would have done better by holding a news conference. I would kind of like to see the whites of his eyes when he says these things.
Tomm, agreed, whites of the eyes.
DL et al, the Globe acknowledged that the Canadian government apologized to the natives before the truth and reconciliation commission filed their report rather than after - which is what Harper wanted - because Jack Layton led the way. I know Jack from Toronto Island and Broadview, I wouldn't necessarily follow Jack, but every now and then - like now - I try to get his back.
ALL: cooperation will go a long way, as will personal effort and empathy in a common cause.
To create a Canada that meets the needs of a super-majority of Canadians we need to get on with getting along through applied fairness.
Took me awhile to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It's always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I'm sure you had joy writing this article.
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For the love of God you guys being at each other's throats is exactly what Harper wants. Give your heads a shake and attack me!
Truer words were never spoken ...though of course we're not attacking you per say Tomm.
Back in the day this battling between the Libs and NDP was music to my ears; actually it still is provincially though not so much with Hudak leading. Too bad John Tory has the political skills of a sloth, but I digress...
DL & the entire NDP need to learn that the Grits are the primary target when they're the government - but you retract the claws and go after team-blue when they're in power. Shooting at the Libs only ensures their true arch-enemy remains in power.
Remember that saying about an enemy of my enemy DL?
Walkom has some interesting observations about coalition in this article:
Walkom: Tories are the real coalition partners for Liberals
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