Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ignatieff Puts Harper on Notice; Liberal Party Caves

In true Harvard professorial style, interim Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff announced today that (as predicted) the Liberal government will support the Cons' new throw everything against the wall and see what sticks budget as long as Harper agrees to submit 3 reports while being on probation over the next year. That begs the question: if Steve fails, will he get the strap?

So, what's this really about? Politics as usual.

Delaying a possible election until next year (really - don't expect the Liberals to vote against this government before that time) gives Ignatieff time to be rubber-stamped during the spring convention as the new Liberal leader. If the party had chosen to defeat the government now, Iggy obviously would not have any kind of track record to provide Canadians that might show what kind of PM he would be. If you listened to his press conference or read the transcript, you'll know that he referred to himself much more often that the party - a lot of "I" and very little "we". And if you really paid attention, you caught the fact that he's not all that schooled on parliamentary procedure - preferring to answer those types of questions with political philosophy or using slippery slope faulty logic such as, 'if we propose fiscal amendments to the budget, that process will never end'. Never? Really? C'mon now.

In other words, he needs time to learn what he needs to know to do his job as the leader of a party and as a possible future leader of this country.

As for the opposition coalition, as Jack Layton put it, "Mr Ignatieff has chosen to form a new coalition with Mr Harper." Duceppe called Ignatieff's "absolutely ridiculous" amendment "a smokescreen". Exactly. He's nobody's fool and formally announced, in response to the Liberal party's decision, that the coalition is dead. RIP.

As for the budget, what can you say about a finance minister who lied to the public about an upcoming surplus and who now says that the economy should show a turnaround by July? No one knows when the global economy will show real signs of recovery and the experts I've listened to are predicting possible progress in about 18 months at the earliest. In fact, today the IMF has predicted a "weaker Canadian rebound".

Referring to the IMF's 2010 outlook, Eric Lascelles, chief economics and rates strategist at TD Securities, said it is “the weakest figure we have seen, and it appears that the IMF has revised the Canadian outlook downward by the most of any ‘advanced economy.' “In the Canadian context, what is most noteworthy is that the Bank of Canada and the federal government are of the minority opinion regarding prospects for a short-lived period of weakness in the Canadian economy followed by a strong 2010 rebound,” said Derek Holt and Karen Cordes at Scotia Capital.

Throwing financial crumbs out to a starving public is no way to ensure a solid, timely recovery but that apparently doesn't bother the Liberal party enough to bring down this government. It's politics first. What else is new?

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