Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"What does he think he is? The king, here?"

This how does our Parliament work stuff has played out fairly well today. Voters saw two very different approaches on display:
Harper was asked today whether he would be willing to work with the other parties and table a budget they could support — as Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has said he would do.

"I don't accept the question," Harper replied in Riviere-du-Loup, Que.

"The only way to avoid it (a coalition) is to follow through our popular budget. We want a mandate of the Canadian population to put this budget in action and that's what I'm pursuing in this campaign."

Ignatieff said Harper's response shows that he loathes compromise and consensus.

"What does he think he is? The king, here?" Ignatieff said in Saint John, N.B..

"It's 'My way or the highway,' the whole time ... He has an obligation to present a budget that has the confidence of the House of Commons... The ruthless, relentless disrespect for Parliament is why we're having an election here."
"I don't accept the question." Amazing, a Prime Minister who has presided over successive minority governments still doesn't get it and reminds Canadians of some of his worst characteristics. It's an effective contrast once again. Intransigent, king-like arrogant guy. Or someone who is speaking the simple truth about our parliamentary system.

This was also interesting:
However as his daily question-and-answer session with reporters was winding down, Mr. Ignatieff suddenly became animated when asked about Mr. Harper’s comments earlier in the day.

“He must show a spirit of compromise,” Mr. Ignatieff said. “That’s parliamentary democracy. It’s completely arrogant to say the opposite. ... There’s a clear division between our positions. I’m ready to work in Parliament in an atmosphere of respect, and he’s saying: ‘my way or the highway.’”
As we've seen as this campaign has progressed, Ignatieff is comfortable when speaking about the democratic questions and encouraging people to think hard about the pattern of abuses with the Harper government. You see that again, above, the reporter noting his animation here.

It's not as clear that Harper is as comfortable speaking about these questions or that it's his strength, really, at the moment.

(h/t BCL, OB)

Update (5:35 p.m.): Video here. Like it.