Courtesy of Aaron Wherry (and getting some attention now in the Globe) comes another key statement in the campaign to note. Michael Ignatieff, speaking to reporters, cuts to the heart of the matter on all this coalition nonsense:
The person who’s got a problem with a coalition is Stephen Harper. He’s got to explain what he was doing in Toronto hotel rooms with Jack and Gilles. I don’t have that problem. I don’t go to hotel rooms with Jack and Gilles, I haven’t had those kind of happy conversations. So it’s his problem not mine. I was very clear right out of the gate: we’re ruling out a coalition. We’re ruling out a coalition. What we want to do is accept the verdict of the people. We’ve made clear exactly how things would go. And the reason that Mr. Harper keeps waving this coalition stuff around is so he doesn’t have to defend his choices. Thirty-billion-dollars on fighter jets. Ten-billion or something on prisons. Corporate tax cuts to corporations that are already making good money and have a competitive tax rate as it is. His absolute inability to tell us, credibly, how we get the deficit down … Mr. Harper wants to wave a coalition around so he doesn’t have to explain a bunch of bad choices.There is a note of simple, clear honesty that comes through with that statement.
Meanwhile, here's a Canadian Press report from earlier where Harper's back and forth with reporters is noted, along with Gilles Duceppe's subsequent biting commentary on Harper's remarks. It's all a bit of a mess.
It's harder to obfuscate a position than speak the truth after all.
Update (5:35 p.m.): Video of Harper responding to reporter's questions earlier. Harper's rattled demeanour is pretty apparent. He doesn't answer Terry Milewski's question at 2:30 or so. Why, in 2005, did he believe there didn't need to be an election in order to replace the Martin government, as expressed in his letter with Duceppe & Layton and expressed in video. And why does he now say the opposite? If he's going to keep talking about this issue, his past hypocrisy and politically opportunistic positioning is relevant and should be there for all to see.