Monday, March 29, 2010

About all that sudden coalition talk...

People might want to read this column relating an interview with Ignatieff that occurred in Winnipeg last week on the subject of a possible coalition. It's not favourable toward the idea but exhibited a co-operative stance toward parliamentary governance in the future:
"Unlike (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper, I will play the hand that the Canadian public deals me. He never talks to other party leaders. He never consults. He smacks his cards down on the table and says my way or the highway. That's not the way I would run a minority Parliament."
"I've never ruled out co-operative, collaborative arrangements with other parties, particularly the NDP... There are countless areas where the Liberal party and the NDP have shown they can work together, so I don't have any problem... But let's be clear. I'm running in the next election to win a Liberal government, period...
Raising the prospect of a coalition at this moment in time, in the wake of this weekend based solely on the corporate tax freeze proposal, seems like an out of place, forced consideration. There is a lot of optimism coming out of this weekend in the Liberal party, to inject coalition talk into the mix right now just doesn't seem to speak to the mood. It also seems unwise politically to telegraph your intentions well in advance of any outcome where the issue might actually be ripe. What's the political advantage to Liberals in terms of attracting votes in saying they'd welcome a coalition? It would harden the fragmented voting spectrum.

The above referenced piece is an interesting read for other reasons now, in the wake of Canada 150, as it kind of presaged the highlights. In particular this last quote:
"The Conservatives are saying there's only one question in Canadian politics and that's the deficit. And we're saying there's another question. What must we do to get ready for tomorrow. There's a deficit in education. There's a deficit in learning. There's a deficit in justice... I've put all the emphasis on learning because I think it is the most important investment government can make..."

He promises the Liberals will go into the next federal election with a "credible" plan to erase the deficit, but also with proposals for new programs in critical areas. "There are investments we must make... How do we clean up the mess and how do we prepare for tomorrow. We've got to create the fiscal room without increasing the burden on Canadians."
(h/t pb for the Free Press article)

Update: To be more clear, I don't think Wells was suggesting a coalition be actively considered now by the Liberals. But raising the concept immediately on the heels of the weekend does seem to have the effect of putting it out there as an issue right now, well in advance of an election and therefore begging for an answer.