Ignatieff takes over as Liberal leader

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oldgoat
Ignatieff takes over as Liberal leader

Looks like the much anticipated poop-storm at Liberal Party Headquarters is finally hitting the fan. According to the Star, Dion might resign as early as tomorrow. LeBlanc is expected to step aside and support Ignatieff, and predictions are a quick caucus vote would favour Iggy.

 

 

Webgear

I think this coalition is going to quickly fall apart.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

After which, Iggy will join a War Cabinet with Harper.  They agree on most issues anyway.

 

All that will be needed than is for Harper to grow a big moustache  and start center-parting his hair, and Canada can party like it's 1917!

_________________________________________________________________
Our Demands Most Moderate are/
We Only Want The World!
-James Connolly

Webgear

Iggy, Jack and Stevie all on the same side, they might as well create one single political party.

Edited

Maybe Fidel's dreams of the revolution are here.

 

Ratbert

Iggy is going to be a dangerous player, unlike the bumbling Dion. It is by no accident that Iggy went to ground while the coalition was busy committing political suicide. After numerous polls that showed Canadians were less than anxious to tolerate this hasty coalition, Bob Rae decided to wear it  and allow Iggy an end run. Under Iggy, the Liberals will make another end run - right around the coalition toward a renewed Liberal party.

KenS

I have no idea what the Liberal rules are for leadership selection. But I would be very surprised if Bob Rae can be simply outvoted and have Iggy installed immediately.

It does look like Dion is as good as out. And that if he has to go he will want out of the humiliation ASAP. I'd be extremely surprised if Rae cannot veto a virtually immediate permenant selection. And my guess is that effectively he would also have to agree to Iggy being named Interim. I can't see Rae agreeing, or Iggy taking te risks of looking like hes seizing the reigns just to get the Interim.

Highlander

Webgear, the game is politics and to predict how people are going to act you need to stand in their shoes.  Ignatieff has far more to gain from the Coalition's success than its failure.  Failure brings with it a price but he will keep his powder dry and not invest much personal political capital into the project so as to be as untouched by any collapse that might happen.   Bob Rae will be the point person for the Coalition but make no mistake, Iggy very much wants it to succeed.

He's about to become Leader of the Opposition.  Nobody wants that job, they want to be PM.  The Coalition gives him his best chance of becoming PM and doing so within weeks.  Why on Earth would he want it to fail?!  Does he want to fight an election against Harper with no money and at a time and place of Harper's choosing?  Hardly.

Bookish Agrarian

Have you ever listened to Ignatieff.  The common touch eludes him completely.  He is impossible to watch speaking as he is continually making faces like he let an sbd and is afraid you might smell it too.

His best and most lasting chance at government is a coalition.

KenS

You have a flair for the overstated drama Ratbert.

The Liberals don't have to 'end run' the Coalition.

If they are going to ditch the Coalition the only running they will be doing is away. And if they do, it is possible they won't pay a price, but it would  hardly be the proactive and triumphal move you portray it as.

Stockholm

I'm not so sure that having Iggy become Liberal leader is such a bad thing. Its clear that keeping Dion is out of the question. He is a total fiasco. If not Dion, then who? Well, I think that the Liberals really need a permanent leader by Late january otherwise they could be stuck with a PM or a leader in an election who is only supposed to be there for three months - that just won't fly.

I'm not sure what makes people think there is ANY ideological difference between Iggy and Rae (or Dion for that matter). To the extent that he has anything to say on economic and social issues - its just the usual mainstreal Liberal Party pablum that all these guys say. At least Iggy doesn't have the kind of vicious anti-NDP personal emotional baggage that Rae has.

I'm also not so sure that the coalition doesn't continue with Iggy as leader. Face it - what he wants more than anything is to be PM of Canada. If he sticks with the coalition, he can become PM on January 28th and have the job for at least a year and a half and maybe much more. The alternative is to meekly surrender to Harper and not have another chance to be PM until an election a year from now at the earliest - and he may or may not win it either. I have to think that once he knows that he is the Liberal leader - it will be extremely tempting for Iggy to go along with the coalition and become Prime Minister of Canada next month.

Brian White

Pretty much sums him up for me too. i like dion because i know what he stands for .  I have no idea what iggie stands for.  

Bookish Agrarian wrote:

Have you ever listened to Ignatieff.  The common touch eludes him completely.  He is impossible to watch speaking as he is continually making faces like he let an sbd and is afraid you might smell it too.

His best and most lasting chance at government is a coalition.

JeffWells

Ignatieff's "coalition if necessary but not necessarily coalition" quip today makes it clear enough that he sees it as a bargaining chip, one he'll be happy to cash in as soon as Harper presents his impression of a stimulus package. I'm quite sure Iggy would rather sit for a year or two as leader of the opposition during the worst economic storm in living memory than govern joined at the hip to New Democrats, when he means to recover votes lost to the Conservatives.

Stockholm

I'm not so sure. Anyone who gets this far in politics is very ambitious and the thought of being PM NOW - not in two years maybe - but NOW DEFINITELY - will weigh heavily on Ignatieff.

I also think that Harper has probably learned nothing from this whole episode and will try to humiliate the Liberals by not giving them any face saving way to support the budget. Once again Harper will miscalculate and Iggy will be PM on Jan. 28th.

Once Ignatieff clinches the leadership - I would not be surprised at all to see him suddenly embrace the coalition because its the fastest way for him to be PM. He wasn't crazy about it before because he saw it as complicating his campaign to lead the Liberals - but once he is the Liberal leader - things could change very quickly.

It was a good move for his leadership ambitions to be pro-coalition but not quite as outspoken as Rae - this way Iggy can get support from all factions of the party. But its all about winning the leadership - once he has that in the bag - it will be very tempting for him to move right into 24 Sussex Drive.

Highlander

Ratbert, you are such a hoot.

Rae and Iggnatief were personal friends.  Rae's best chance to win the Liberal leadership was last time out and had Dion not become the "compromise" candidate, he might well have done so.  His train left the station a while ago but the Liberals were never going to refill their party coffers without a leadership race selling gobs of "instant Liberal" memberships and you can't have a race if only one candidate shows up at the starting line.  The competition between the two of them is a fraud and so is the current "schism" over the Coalition.

The Budget will be the means but the "reason" given to Canadians for arrogance and crisis-addicted style of the Prime Minister.  The fact that he has not stepped down as PM will be reason enough to vote non-confidence in the Government. 

Iggy's speech to Canadians will be much more focused than Dion's (I know, but I couldn't resist) and will be much more effective.  I predict it will go something like this: 

"My fellow Canadians.  For the second time in less than two months Prime Minister Harper is going to ask the Governor General to rescue him from a political crisis of his own creation.  This is the same PM who asked for an election in October because the House was unworkable.  He returned to a new Parliament promising to work cooperatively with all parties and then provoked a consitutional crisis within a week.  It is clear to all by now that it is not Parliament that is unworkable, it is the current Prime Minister.

We have serious work to do.  PM Harper has demonstrated time and again that he is not the man to do it.  He is either incapable or unwilling to make the compromises and avoid the rank partisanship that is needed to make this Parliament work.  It is, quite simply, a gross failure of leadership.

We in the Liberal Party have put our differences aside.  I know the personal sacrifice my leadership opponents made to withdraw from the race for this job.  All Canadians are proud to know that they put the needs of Canadians before personal ambition.

Mr. Layton and the New Democratic Party members have similarly agreed that what Canadians need now is less partisanship and more statesmanship and I look forward to working with all Coalition members in the days, months and years ahead.  We disagree on many things, and do so passionately but when we debate policy in this, your Parlaiment, we will do so in a manner that is democratic.  The Coalition will never threaten this Parliament or Canadians with a needless, expensive election for crass partisan gain.

Mr. Duceppe, leader of the Bloc Quebecois, and I could not disagree more about the future of Quebec within Canada but I will never question his commitment to democracy.  I do not agree with the goals of the Bloc or their supporters but I would never tell millions of Canadians that their votes are somehow less worthy of respect or that their duly elected representatives do not deserve to be heard in their Parliament.

When the leader of the Bloc Quebecois shows more committment to making Canada's Parliament work than the current Prime Minister, it is time for that Prime Minister to step aside.

To my friends in the Conservative benches and their supporters accross the country.  I want you to know that there are many, many good, honest, patriotic and committed members who are dismayed by what their party leader, PM Harper, has tried to do.  I wish them godspeed in selecting a new leader who can restore the dignity, decorum and passionate debate that this, your Parliament, deserves.

Mr. Layton and I have both sent letters to the Governor General advising her that should the Government lose the non-confidence vote set for tommorow that there is a viable Government that can be formed from the coalition members in this, your Parliament.  A coalition formed of democratically elected members of Parlaiment and that can hold the confidence of the majority of House.  The parties that have committed themselves to the stability of the Coalition and the continued work of this, your Parliament, represent over 62% of the votes cast in the October Federal Election.

Prime Minister Harper has demonstrated, repeatedly, that he has little interest in making your Parliament work.  Canadians deserve better.  I pledge to the Governor General and to you, the people of this country, that the Coalition can put an end to the games and the politics of crisis of the current Government.  The time-out is over, it is time for the games to be over too.  There is much work to be done and no more time to spare.

Good night."

 

Unlike Dion's fiasco, Jack should get time as well, not as much as Iggy but some.  Duceppe isn't part of the coalition so he doesn't.   Given that the NDP are part of the communication team now I bet that this happens.

Jack's speech only needs to echo three things.  1) Harper can't work with anyone.  2) The NDP supports the coalition and pledges to work with this, your Parliament (see the theme here).  3) We will work passionately for what we believe in but we will respect the will of the majority of members in this, your Parliament.  Unlike the current PM, we will not subject Canadians to the brinksmanship politics of the current PM or drag Canadians through another, needless election.

Jack too can echo that he and his caucus have sent a letter to the GG advising of their support for the Coalition and believe that it can meet the House and demonstrate the confidence of the majority.

 

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

Either the coaliton works , pickings it's Prime Minster,cabinet and agenda or the Liberals fracture, as the right wing goes Harper.. Assuming the Liberals go with Iggy as leader right now, , does  that mean they have rejected the Coaliton, the Rae approach,? does that mean to passively go with Harper-accept the budget by sitting on their hands- or do they  go all the way and form a Unionist style  governemnt -non Progresive Conservatives and right wing Liberals.Ifi the Liberals bail on the coaliton and prop up Harper in january, how can they refuse to prop him in Febrary and March and....

But the coalition can still work. GO, JACK, GO!!

JKR

Ignatieff is portraying the Coalition as a tool to force Harper to produce good government. So Iggy has left the door wide open to the Liberals supporting the Conservative  budget.

Iggy describes his position as  "coalition if necessary, but not necessarily coalition."

 

I see two possibilities:

1 - Harper produces a budget that Iggy thinks will be popular with the public. In this case Iggy will support the budget and wait for the economic downturn to do the Conservatives in. Iggy will say that he continues to support the Coalition as a mechanism to keep the Harper government in line. 

2 - Harper's produces a budget that Iggy thinks will be unpopular. In this case Iggy will want an election ASAP. He will say the people must decide.   

Either way the Coalition will NOT take power.

How should the NDP react to this?

 

http://tinyurl.com/652lab

Dion continued to promote the coalition at a rally Saturday in Toronto where he shared the stage with NDP Leader Jack Layton, while Rae attended a similar rally in Winnipeg.

Ignatieff has been more ambivalent, describing his position Sunday as "coalition if necessary, but not necessarily coalition."

He said the power-sharing deal is serving a useful purpose by keeping the pressure on Harper in advance of the budget promised for January.

But he also said the Liberals have to be prepared to look at the budget before making any final decisions.

There was no comment from Layton and the NDP on the latest turn of events among their erstwhile partners in Liberal ranks.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Ratbert wrote:
Under Iggy, the Liberals will make another end run - right around the coalition toward a renewed Liberal party.

How will making it impossible to stop Harper from implementing reactionary legislation that the Canadian people don't want lead to a RENEWED Liberal Party?

They hardly have anything to gain from Canada's political spectrum and the range of political options available to future Canadian governments being pushed permanently to the extreme right.

_________________________________________
Our Demands Most Moderate are/
We Only Want The World!
-James Connolly

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

self-delete.  Dupe post.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

peterjcassidy wrote:

do they  go all the way and form a Unionist style  governemnt -non Progresive Conservatives and right wing Liberals.

Hey now, there's a lot of things you could say about our Unionist, but you could never accuse him of backing a Liberal-Tory coalition.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________
Our Demands Most Moderate are/
We Only Want The World!
-James Connolly

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

The Unionist Party was formed in 1917 by Members of Parliament (MPs) in Canada who supported the "Union government" formed by Sir Robert Borden during World War I.

In May 1917, Conservative Prime Minister Borden proposed the formation of a national unity government or coalition government to Liberal leader Sir Wilfrid Laurier in order to enact conscription, and to govern for the remainder of the war. Laurier rejected this proposal because of the opposition of his Quebec MPs, and fears that Quebec nationalist leader Henri Bourassa would be able to exploit the situation.

As an alternative to a coalition with Laurier, on October 12, 1917, Borden formed the Union government with a Cabinet of twelve Conservatives, nine Liberals and Independents and one "Labour" MP. To represent "labour" and the working class, Borden appointed to the Cabinet Conservative Senator Gideon Decker Robertson who had been appointed to the Senate in January and had links with the conservative wing of the labour movement through his profession as a telegrapher. Robertson, however, was a Tory and not a member of any Labour or socialist party.

Borden then called an election for December 1917 on the issue of conscription (see also Conscription Crisis of 1917),
running as head of the "Unionist Party" composed of Borden's
Conservatives, independent MPs, and members of the Liberals who left
Laurier's caucus to support conscription.

Supporters of the Borden government ran for parliament as "Unionists", while some of the Liberals running as government supporters preferred to call themselves "Liberal-Unionist".

This tactic split the Liberal Party: those who did not join the Unionist Party ran as Laurier Liberals. The election resulted in a landslide election victory for Borden.

Borden attempted to continue the Unionist Party after the war and when Arthur Meighen
succeeded him in 1920, he renamed it the "National Liberal and
Conservative Party" in the hope of making the coalition permanent. The
Unionists had never been officially a single party, and therefore
lacked the structure of an official party. Meighen hoped to change this.

In the 1921 general election, most of the Liberal-Unionist MPs did not join this party, and ran as Liberals under the leadership of its new leader, William Lyon Mackenzie King.
Only a handful ran again as Liberal-Unionists or joined Meighen's
renamed party. Prominent Liberal Unionists who stayed with the
Conservatives include Hugh Guthrie and Robert Manion.

Following the defeat of Meighen's government, the "National Liberal
and Conservative Party" changed its name to the "Liberal-Conservative
Party of Canada", although it was commonly known as the "Conservative
Party".

During World War II, the Conservatives attempted to oppose the Liberal government of William Lyon Mackenzie King in the 1940 election
by proposing a "national government" along the lines of the previous
war's Unionist government. Accordingly, they ran in the election under
the name National Government party but did not repeat the success of the Unionist party and failed to make a dent in King's governing majority.

[edit]

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

I knew that was what you were actually referring to, peterj.  Just couldn't help playing with the double meaning of "Unionist" here in Le Monde Du Babble`

______________________________________________________________________
Our Demands Most Moderate are/
We Only Want The World!
-James Connolly

josh

"I'm also not so sure that the coalition doesn't continue with Iggy as leader. Face it - what he wants more than anything is to be PM of Canada. If he sticks with the coalition, he can become PM on January 28th and have the job for at least a year and a half and maybe much more. The alternative is to meekly surrender to Harper and not have another chance to be PM until an election a year from now at the earliest - and he may or may not win it either. I have to think that once he knows that he is the Liberal leader - it will be extremely tempting for Iggy to go along with the coalition and become Prime Minister of Canada next month. "

 

Iggy wants no part of the coalition, and its probably best that the coalition want no part of Iggy.  What he's angling for is a spring election.  He wants to be free from the "taint" of the NDP and the Bloc while going into it.  So, he and most of the rest of the Liberals will angle to bring down the government while ensuring that new elections is the alternative.

Why the coalition would want to lineup behind someone who supported the Iraq war and dreams of the right conditions to torture is beyond me.  Not to mention someone who opposed the coaltion from the getgo.

KenS

I guess this thread is the better place for a general discussion of the coalition than the Accord Vs. Coalition thread. But some of us expressed opinions there that however much Iggy didn't want the Coalition, its here and if it can make him PM, he'll take it.

It looks like Iggy is going to get to be Interim Leader soon. I'm of the opinion that doesn't substantially change the Coalition dynamic beyond finishing the cahnce it will be preented as going to vote against Harper regardless of what he offers.

I can't see how a communications push can be effective with a 'maybe' message. But lords knows what can come up next.

 =====================

 

Ignatieff makes his move.
Swayed by negative polls and discomfort with coalition, Liberals near agreement to oust Dion immediately.

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081207.wdion1207/BNStory/politics/home

KenS

josh wrote:

Iggy wants no part of the coalition, and its probably best that the coalition want no part of Iggy.  What he's angling for is a spring election. 

The angling for a Spring election part is flat out dead wrong. Whatever anyone might like to do in their dreams- this would be seen as a ridiculous stement from some backbench MP or fringie, let alone coming from a leadrship candidate.

josh

From the G & M article you linked to:

 

"Should the Ignatieff plan prevail, the proposed Liberal-NDP coalition could well be scuttled. Mr. Ignatieff was never an avid supporter of the coalition and had turned against it by Saturday, according to party insiders.

Support for the coalition from the caucus had also weakened."

KenS

Is that supposed to be inconsistent with what I have argued?

Its pretty much a statement of the obvious and has been for a while, if not from the beginning.

The question is what will follow.

Bookish Agrarian

Layton has neatly backed the Liberals into a damn if they do- damned if they don't situation.  Digging into the polls you can see the support for a coalition is there for the partisans (by and large) and that Harper is very disliked and damaged.  If the Liberals back away from a coalition and help Harper be the bully boy in an enabling kind of way they are sunk.  At this point, precisly because of Ignatieff's patrician leadership and comfort with Conservative policies the Liberals look fractured and in disarray.  That will continue either way, with Dion or without.  Ignatieff's only hope would be to embrace the coalition and provide good if not inspiring government.  It is the Liberals only hope at this point.  But will Ignatieff be able to overcome his inlination to be a Conservative clone on almost every issue but a few soical issues.  That remains to be seen.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Two things are certain:

First, Harper will produce an economic stimulus budget, to trap Iggy into supporting the Conservatives in their 'economic leadership' of Canada.

Second, that the Conservatives, immediately afterwards, begin the process of humiliating the Liberals with non-confidence votes to force through the most reactionary Conservative agenda possible. Not because Harper cares particularly about pandering to the base, but in order to force an election as soon as they've regained the upper hand.

The trap, or the coalition. Does Iggy get it? 

gram swaraj

Lard Tunderin' Jeezus wrote:

The trap, or the coalition. Does Iggy get it? 

Forward this thread to him and see if he pays it any heed.

sniper

Better Iggy then Dion....at least he can speak and I'm sure he could find someone to run a Video Camera!

Sniper

One Shot One Kill!

Ratbert

KenS wrote:

You have a flair for the overstated drama Ratbert.

The Liberals don't have to 'end run' the Coalition.

If they are going to ditch the Coalition the only running they will be doing is away. And if they do, it is possible they won't pay a price, but it would  hardly be the proactive and triumphal move you portray it as.

Well, Ken, with due respect, you have your own way of saying precisely the same thing I said without the flair. The end run I refer to is ditching the coalition by running away without paying a price.

This is Canadian politics and every weaselmove is portrayed as proactive and triumphal. Iggy can ditch the coalition until the Speech from the Throne, at which time he has the luxury of making a backroom deal with Harper allowing him time to rebuild or, resurrecting the coalition on even more favourable terms to the Liberals.

Cynic that I am, I think the Liberals will do any desperate deed to avoid watering their wine by jumping in the sack with either the Bloc or the Dippers. They can slough off any political poo sticking to their fur for ditching the coalition but giving government power to the Dippers or being held hostage by the Bloc will cost them dearly in an election.

As far as flair is concerned, would you prefer the mendacious personal attacks of the angry extremists? Meh!

mcgregok

 I guess the liberals are goint to appoint Ignatieff. To bad the membership can't have a say. What happeded to Bob Ray. Guess he tured in to cowpie!

Ratbert

Ken Burch wrote:

Ratbert wrote:
Under Iggy, the Liberals will make another end run - right around the coalition toward a renewed Liberal party.

How will making it impossible to stop Harper from implementing reactionary legislation that the Canadian people don't want lead to a RENEWED Liberal Party?

They hardly have anything to gain from Canada's political spectrum and the range of political options available to future Canadian governments being pushed permanently to the extreme right.

_________________________________________ Our Demands Most Moderate are/ We Only Want The World! -James Connolly

I've addressed this question in the post above. If you have listened to Iggy, you will realise that he is not Dion. His 'cowardice' in not embracing this coalition is in fact,a strategic withdrawl which leaves his options open, rather than Rae's desperate embrace of a lost cause.

The next few months give Iggy a chance to show his stuff to the voter. His patrician bearing does not play well with the unwashed but he does have the parts to be PM.

I'm a social progressive/fiscal conservative - slightly to the right of center in respect to fiscal policy that needs to be well crafted and sustainable, rather than reactionary spending aimed at political gain. I've stated before that Harper is a sociopath who needs to go and Iggy may well get my vote.

 

The Bish

If the Liberals are smart - and that's certainly been questionable for the last little while - they'll realise that the coalition is their chance to get rid of Harper.  Probably permanently.  There's dissension in the Conservative ranks, Canadians are clearly unhappy with Harper even if they support his party, and Harper has badly overplayed his hand.  This is the best chance the Liberals are going to have to take Harper out.  If they don't he'll regroup and come back stronger.

As for the polls we've been seeing, they don't make much sense to me.  Either I'm missing something, or the polls are.  The first CBC poll that came out had the NDP losing support to the Conservatives.  That doesn't even begin to make sense to me.  What NDP supporter says to themself "Hey, now that my party finally has the chance to stand up for the things they said they'd do during the election, I'm going to switch my vote to the party that is most diametrically opposed to those things?"  It's nonsensical.  So is the Toronto Star poll that showed a big shift of NDP support to the Liberals if Ignatieff is named leader.  What NDP supporter thinks bomb-everything-that-moves, torture-is-A-OK Ignatieff is a good representative of their viewpoints?  It just doesn't make sense to me.

It's weird, the way these past few weeks have gone.  First I was outraged (when the fiscal update was first revealed), then I was hopeful (when it seemed like Harper's ego was finally going to do him in), now I'm just getting depressed.  I don't know if the problem is that Canadians are uninformed, or if they're just much more mean-spirited than I think they are, but when Harper prorogued Parliament I expected the country to be outraged.  Instead there's been virtually no outcry.  That's incredibly discouraging.

Politics101

" I guess the liberals are goint to appoint Ignatieff. To bad the
membership can't have a say. What happeded to Bob Ray. Guess he tured
in to cowpie!

It really is too bad that they don't teach proper spelling etc. in the Alberta education system but you forgot to uppercase the "L" in liberals and goint should be "going" and it's "too" not "to" and it's "happened" not happeded and its "Rae" not Ray and it "turned" not tured -  Gosh if they can't spell in Alberta what would they know about the running the economy.

 

oldgoat

I admire the courage of those above who believe they can predict what's going to come next in this unfolding drama.  One of you, by sheer chance, could end up looking pretty smart.

 

My own feeling is that this will be driven less by what the players on the Liberal bench want, however that important sub-plot works out, and more by Harper, who's starting to remind me a bit of Charles X of France. A tyical Bourbon, he was capable of learning nothing and forgetting nothing.  Were I to hazard a guess, it will be that Harper will make conciliatory noises through much of January, then attempt to kneecap the opposition as soon as he can and back them into a corner. Why? because it's too much part of his DNA not to. If Iggy goes with a coalition, it will be because he's made to, not because he wants to, and now, unlike in the last parliament, they know how.

ottawaobserver

Bookish Agrarian wrote:

Layton has neatly backed the Liberals into a damn if they do- damned if they don't situation.  Digging into the polls you can see the support for a coalition is there for the partisans (by and large) and that Harper is very disliked and damaged.  If the Liberals back away from a coalition and help Harper be the bully boy in an enabling kind of way they are sunk.  At this point, precisly because of Ignatieff's patrician leadership and comfort with Conservative policies the Liberals look fractured and in disarray.  That will continue either way, with Dion or without.  Ignatieff's only hope would be to embrace the coalition and provide good if not inspiring government.  It is the Liberals only hope at this point.  But will Ignatieff be able to overcome his inlination to be a Conservative clone on almost every issue but a few soical issues.  That remains to be seen.

I find myself agreeing with Bookish Agrarian for the most part.  Lord knows I'm no big fan of Ignatieff, but I do believe he's better positioned on climate change than Harper, and I also believe he now has a somewhat different position on Iraq than he once did, so we'd be unwise to argue otherwise.

Still, there are some strategic pitfalls for the Liberals to overcome if they proceed down the path it looks like they're taking.

First of all, installing any leader now, but particularly Ignatieff, means that they will have done an end-run around the current membership, and given up the opportunity to do whatever cross-country party building could have been accomplished between now and May.

Secondly, and corollary to my first point, this means that their predominantly eastern party establishment will have selected the leader, without the adequate input of the party members and leadership from out west.  This has the potential effect of further marginalizing the federal Liberals as part of political debate in western Canada.

Third, it marginalizes Bob Rae within the Liberal party, saying in effect that no matter what he does, no matter how much of a team player he is, no matter what his political skills, no matter how willing he is to trash his former NDP colleagues in their areas of political strength, they will never let him live his past down.

Fourth, and following from my third point, it is becoming clear that the biggest fear for the Liberals in the path the coalition talks sent them down is not the liaison with the Bloc ... it's the NDP.  From sources as disparate as the "Calgary Grit" to Jim Karygiannis on CBC Newsworld just now, it is clear that legitimizing the NDP any further is something that Liberals fear more than Stephen Harper.  Most of the Liberals who are active now, got their start during a time when the NDP was weakened (ironically after the 1993 election and the aftermath of the Charlottetown Accord), and they have come to view the votes of NDP-Liberal switchers as rightfully theirs.  Structurally the Liberal Party has become even more reliant on those votes, owing to their grave weakness in Quebec, and more recently their waning organizational presence in western Canada.  They still believe the NDP should have been the junior partner, if not the silent partner, in their re-elevation to government, and are very conflicted about giving up their last strategic leg up on the NDP (our perceived unreadiness for government or fiscal responsibility).

On the other hand, the NDP of course, still faces its own strategic risks should the desire to rid the country of Harper gel around the Liberals.  But Liberals were shocked that they couldn't knock us down from our base last time, and truly are not sure how to do it this time either.

So, I agree:  Layton has achieved a pretty good strategic position, and kept his eye on the policy ball overall.  If Ignatieff backs off and winds up supporting Harper, he risks hurting the Liberals' positioning as an alternative to Harper; and if not, he helps the NDP overcome its biggest current strategic challenges, and hurts his ability to distinguish the Liberals from us.  And he will have foregone an opportunity to rebuild their own party infrastructure in the process.  Meantime, the NDP will elect a provincial government in Nova Scotia, and possibly BC, and look to be on the ascension in Canada.

Ratbert

Highlander wrote:

Ratbert, you are such a hoot.

 

....Iggy's speech to Canadians will be much more focused than Dion's (I know, but I couldn't resist) and will be much more effective.  I predict it will go something like this: ....

 

I've not yet begun to hoot but I will never presume to write Iggy's speeches for him.Innocent

For reasons of brevity, I've deleted most of your post. I don't disagree that what you write may come to pass but I still hold the opinion that Iggy will keep his options open. He is politically closer to harper than Layton and can forsee any embrace of the Dippers becoming his political shroud in the next election.

The latest Angus-Reid poll shows him only 5 points behind Harper as leader. harper's support also appears soft- based more on fear of the unknown than support for the PM.

Why would a proven wordweaselmeister like Iggy jump the broomstick with Layton when he can succeed without him?

Iggy as leader will pry open the changepurses of the Liberals and attract the soft center support of the CPC.

Mojoroad1

Good points both BA and Ottawa Observer..... I tend to agree. If the coalition fails the Libs wear it. Propping up Harpo, the Libs wear it, and will sit on their hands over and over again as the NDP points it out. If Iggy Thumbscrews thinks he's rather go to an election, trying to pull Con votes, let him. The NDP will be alone on the centre / left, and new NDP provincial governments will be not be lost on Canadians.

Ratbert

Lard Tunderin' Jeezus wrote:

Two things are certain:

First, Harper will produce an economic stimulus budget, to trap Iggy into supporting the Conservatives in their 'economic leadership' of Canada.

Second, that the Conservatives, immediately afterwards, begin the process of humiliating the Liberals with non-confidence votes to force through the most reactionary Conservative agenda possible. Not because Harper cares particularly about pandering to the base, but in order to force an election as soon as they've regained the upper hand.

The trap, or the coalition. Does Iggy get it? 

I agree with your two certainties but the change in Liberal leaders and the ensuing six weeks of political theatre before the Throne Speech allow for considerable strategic and tactical leeway.

The PM is incapable of offering an honest legislative agenda and the big variable is the reaction of the voter to both his party and to a coalition proposal that can offer concrete policies over the next six weeks.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Interesting how you can agree, and then ignore the point entirely...

Ratbert

Lard Tunderin' Jeezus wrote:
Interesting how you can agree, and then ignore the point entirely...

 I'm not ignoring it, just not rushing in to embrace it. Like IggySmile

Ratbert

The stunts of the past 10 days - all aside from the fact they were conducted in the middle of the international financial crisis - have made politics itself offensive to almost every citizen. True partisans alone excepted.

Mr. Harper triggered this crisis. Let's be clear on that. But the opposition parties' mad dive into the strange carpentry they call the coalition was built on an arrogance as deep as Mr. Harper's but, ultimately, more dangerous.

Now that we have a pause, I'm sure those same citizens are perplexed. They wander into the Christmas season with the deep realization that, come Jan. 26, they don't know who in their hearts they really want to win.

Rex Murphy in the G+M

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20081206.COMURPHY06/TPStory/specialComment/columnists

It's Me D

Ratbert wrote:
Mr. Harper triggered this crisis. Let's be clear on that. But the opposition parties' mad dive into the strange carpentry they call the coalition was built on an arrogance as deep as Mr. Harper's but, ultimately, more dangerous.

Yeah, just supporting the outrageous partisan agenda laid out in the "Economic Update" would have been far better! Why can't the NDP just forget about pesky things like workers rights and take one for the (Conservative) team...

 

madmax

Dion Resigns..........

Half of it is pathetic, the latter half is much better......

 

still, too little, much too late

 

remind remind's picture

Oh wonderfull now we are supposed to listen to Rex Murphy to form our thoughts from! pffft...

___________________________________________________________

"watching the tide roll away"

remind remind's picture

Oh wonderfull now we are supposed to listen to Rex Murphy to form our thoughts from! pffft...

___________________________________________________________

"watching the tide roll away"

remind remind's picture

double posted for some reason?????

Hoodeet

Hoodeet (JW)

I'm concerned mainly with the concessions that
the NDP will have to make to keep the Coalition alive. (I know there's
another thread on this topic, but I think it's crucial to this
discussion.) And the Bloc. We've already heard the
deafening silence on Afghanistan. What else will they shelf or
kill?

As for the
will-iggy-sink-the-coalition-or-will-he-use-it debate, I am inclined to
think he'll try to outfox both Harper and  Jack L. I suppose he could use the coalition to sink
the gov't then work within it to push his centre-right agenda,
silencing the social-agenda Liberals and the NDP and the Bloc, as long
as Harper is head of the Cons. As soon as the other Alpha male is
ousted from that party, Iggy would call an election and sink the
coalition. I can't really trust Iggy any more than Mr. Herpes. At
least with Mr. H. we know what we're getting: mendacity and
bullying; Iggy has been cagier,  seeming to control his Alpha-male
instincts in public, so far.

So the pressure must come from the
rank-and-file of all three parties in the coalition, against the Bay
Street boys, the neoliberals and the pure pragmatists.

Ratbert

remind wrote:

Oh wonderfull now we are supposed to listen to Rex Murphy to form our thoughts from! pffft...

___________________________________________________________

"watching the tide roll away"

 

Your thoughts are fully formed. Don't waste your time on other views.

It's Me D

remind wrote:
double posted for some reason?????

 The oddest thing is the time-lag between the two posts... I read your first comment then recieved a new comment indicator and returned to read you second comment (of the same)!

Rex isn't so bad in person, its a shame someone went and put him on the air... 

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