Duck and cover – Michael Ignatieff is beating his chest again. Just days after all indications were that the Liberals were backing away from forcing an election this autumn, Ignatieff came out swinging today in a major speech during the party’s summer caucus retreat in Sudbury. And he said point blank that they could no longer support this government.
Remember those four points which he made a big fuss about in June, before he climbed down and accepted the EI “working group” as a compromise on not forcing a summer election? They all came back into play during the speech, saying that Harper failed on them. Protecting the vulnerable, answers to the stimulus spending, a plan to get the country out of deficit, and the isotope crisis – all laid out in the speech in dramatic fashion and the ways in which the concerns were ignored. And yes, he does apparently plan to move that motion of non-confidence.
Shortly after the speech, John Baird held a scrum in the foyer of the House of Commons, decrying Ignatieff trying to hold an election for his own benefit and not that of Canadians. However, when asked whether his party would accept the support of “socialists and separatists” to keep Parliament going, he didn’t answer, nor would he answer about just how this situation was any different when his government went to the polls a year ago for their own benefit (in contravention to their own fixed election date law, one might add). In fact, he got quite testy when confronted with those facts, and his scrum did not last long in the face of such obvious questions.
Oh, and the NDP? Totally unimpressed, and whoever has been writing their snarky press releases of late apparently was at it again when they released a statement which collected the previous bouts of Liberal chest-thumping. Justified snark for certain, but nevertheless I don’t see them positioning themselves as to whether or not they’ll actually try to bring the government down, since they seem to be dancing around that particular topic a lot of late.
Incidentally, there was a story in yesterday’s Globe and Mail where the Parliamentary Budget Officer criticised the government for not having a plan to get out of deficit – other than apparently closing their eyes and wishing really hard that the economy will turn around so spectacularly that the books will fix themselves on their own. Ignatieff referenced such a deficit plan in his speech, so it was probably icing on his speechwriter’s cake when he or she read it that morning.
And finally, the Conservatives are once again playing silly buggers with Elections Canada, this time trying to force them to take back a GST refund cheque cut to the party. Why is that? So that they can distort the way the tax refunds work, thus increasing their own spending limits at the expense of other parties. But hey, that’s “levelling the playing field” and changing the way that we do politics in this country, and all of that.