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Sunday, December 07, 2008

The path between 

I think Iggy is getting it right.



Today in CTV's Question Period, Michael Ignatieff provided a sensible -- ie, Liberal! - - frame for the next several weeks, a path between belligerence and withdrawal.
I don't have a transcript of what he said, but here's a few of my notes:
"Coalition if necessary but not necessarily coalition" . . . "it is important to have the option . . . to spare us another national election" . . . but "Canadians would not forgive a party" which would not even look at the budget before declaring it would defeat the government.
He stressed where the responsibility for the crisis lies -- with Harper:
"We're in a crisis caused by a prime minister behaving irresponsibly"
But he also talked about the importance of Liberals working to re-build the national unity which Harper has destroyed:
"We need to bridge some of the gaps . . . the key issue is the national interest, the economic interest of Canadians . . . we need to read the budget brief but if [Harper] fails to produce a budget in the national interest, he will go down"
The country is going to need a national unity message -- reading Devo's description of the Halifax Conservative rally yesterday it is upsetting to realize how divisive this has become:
* Conservatives are spitting mad and absolutely hate Liberals, New Democrats and, especially, "the separatists". . .
. . .
* I am a communist and a sore loser, not to mention any number of other things that I would prefer not to repeat here...maybe it was my 'STOP HARPER' button;
* irate well-dressed middle-aged gentleman . . . between expletives and name calling, told me that Bloc MPs are not legitimate members of the House of Commons and, therefore, incapable of forming a coalition;
. . .
* Canada is more divided today than it has ever been at any time in my life.
There has to be a message of unity for the country to grasp, and the country will respond, I think, if this message comes from Ignatieff.
Jeff highlights today's Toronto Star poll showing how people would vote with a change of Liberal leadership:
Now -- with Rae -- with Ignatieff
Conservatives: 42% -- 41% -- 38%
Liberals: 22% -- 26% -- 33%
NDP: 18% -- 15% -- 13%
Bloc: 10% -- 10% -- 10%
Green: 7% -- 6% -- 6%
I think it is striking that only with Ignatieff are the Liberals even close to the Conservative numbers -- close enough to fight an election on, I think, if that's what we need to do at the end of January.

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