Wednesday, September 02, 2009

So What's the Election About, Michael?

Michael Ignatieff to push for "wait and see" election

Yesterday, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff essentially told Canadians to brace for an election. Maybe.

"I cannot support this government any further," Ignatieff announced. "We will hold Stephen Harper to account and we will oppose his government in Parliament."

"Mr Harper, you have failed all four tests," Ignatieff continued. "You've failed to protect the most vulnerable. You've failed to create jobs. You've failed to defend our health care. You've failed to produce a plan to restore our public finances."

Which is odd, considering that most Canadians didn't know Canadian health care was even at risk.

And odder still when one considers that it's Ignatieff's party that has a history of slashing billions from health care funding, and considering that Ignatieff's proposed election platform positively screams deep cuts to government spending.

"We've inherited a $50-billion hole from Mr Harper and we will clean it up without raising taxes," Ignatieff added. But when asked how he would do that, Ignatieff could only answer "wait and see".

Which is very likely a theme of this election push. Canadians will have a difficult time figuring out what, precisely, this election will be over.

They'll very likely have to wait and see.

After all, it couldn't be about employment insurance. The Liberals recently said they didn't find EI to be an important enough issue to fight an election over.

"We're not having an election on [Employment Insurance]," Liberal party campaign co-chairman Senator David Smith said last week. "I don't hear Canadians clamouring for an election on this issue."

"I don't think there's a presumption that every time there's an opportunity to have an election that you have to do it," he added. "You can't push the election button every time ...I think that is irresponsible."

So with the NDP echoing Ignatieff's election rumblings, it seems that only one more opposition domino -- the Bloc Quebecois -- needs to fall in order for the Liberals to have their election.

Canadians will almost certainly be wondering: how will you erase the deficit without raising taxes, Michael?

Wait and see.

Canadians will almost certainly be wondering: what's the election about, Michael?

Wait and see.

The truth is that this election is really about getting to the polls before the Liberals slip as far behind the Conservatives as they were this time last year. But don't expect to hear that from Michael Ignatieff.

Expect to hear a lot of "wait and see".

Other bloggers writing about this topic:

The Ryan Coke Experience - "Not Another Election!"

Curiosity Cat - "The Two Liberal Elephants"

Politics, Powder, Profit - "The Liberal Machtprinzip"


  1. Anonymous8:22 PM

    Wrote an article on this myself today. I don't think a lefty like Iggy will make deep cuts to social programs, I think he thinks his new "continental" cap-and-trade program will pay for all this debt.


  2. I think all Canadians are in agreement that the best way to increase government revenues is to increase the amount of taxable wealth being created in the country, not to suck in a greater portion of the wealth that already exists.

    That, to me, is the great folly of proposals like the carbon tax (Ignatieff's idea, by the way) and of cap and trade.

  3. I'd also note that Ignatieff isn't really a hard-boiled lefty by any means. There are deep veins of conservative thought within his thinking on many issues -- particularly foreign policy.

    Thinkers who tend to be conservative on foreign policy, by my count, have often tended to be conservative on economic issues as well.


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