Drama! Deputy NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair dropped the thinly veiled threat that is party isn’t going to wait forever on the coalition offer with the Liberals. And he’s all, ohmigod, if like, you guys don’t like hurry it up and see that we dump Stephen Harper, like, we’re so not going to let you eat at our lunch table in the cafeteria anymore. ‘Cause, like, we’re not just going to, like, wait around for you guys to become more popular before you decide to join forces with us, especially because we’ve got a ticking clock. Wait too long, and, like, Her Excellency isn’t going to automatically consider a coalition, and will be all, like, I think we should just go for another election. And if that happens, like, we are so not best friends anymore.
But seriously, it’s not a big surprise that Michael Ignatieff is going to try to wait out this coalition idea for as long as possible. Sure, for him, it’s a convenient tool to use as a threat he can hold over the Harper government should they decide to get cute with the budget and try to put through as many ideological or unpopular things, while at the same time delivering record levels of deficit spending in order to satisfy the demands for economic stimulus. And if Ignatieff can wait out the six-month time frame that is the conventional test for a Governor General to turn to the opposition to form a government rather than simply drop the writ and go to another general election, it gives him time to a) solidify his power-base within the party, b) get his party organised, which especially means fundraising, and c) capitalise on the wave of popularity in the polls that he’s currently riding. And given that, historically, voters are unkind to a government that has been handling an economic downturn, he knows it plays into his favour more in the long run than a coalition would.
And speaking of getting his party organised, it looks like Ignatieff’s team has just snagged a very senior advisor out of the Privy Council Office to move into their own office. Kevin Chan was the executive assistant and director to Kevin Lynch, the Privy Councillor (which is the country’s top bureaucrat for those of you not up on the Ottawa lingo). That means he will not only have had access to what’s been going on in PCO (not that he could divulge all of it, given secrecy laws), but he’ll also have a great deal of insight into the way that Harper’s team is organised in the PMO and PCO, and that could be of tremendous strategic advantage to the Liberal machine that appears to be awakening from a long and fitful slumber.