Writing in the Globe and Mail, Jane Taber condemns a recent Conservative Party memo musing about the return of a "coalition risk" to Canada as "fear mongering".
This is a little silly. After all, if coalition risk hasn't returned to Canada that's only because it never really left.
The memo reads:
"Given that Michael Ignatieff doesn’t have the popular support he needs to win an election outright; given his own pledge that he was ‘prepared’ to enter into a Coalition Government and to lead that Government; and given the urging of various Liberals to pursue a Coalition, it is clear that the Coalition risk has returned to Canada.For his own part, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff objects to the spectre of a coalition being dredged up again, suggesting that the Conservatives proposed a coalition government between the Conservative Party, NDP, and Bloc Quebecois -- although in reality they did not.
The Hill Times reports that the Liberals and NDP do not have popular support they require to form a Coalition without the support of the Bloc Quebecois. But that isn’t stopping senior Liberal MP David McGuinty from becoming the latest Ignatieff Liberal to speak out in favour of a Coalition.
A Liberal-NDP-Bloc Quebecois Coalition would be led by a man who left Canada for 34 years and professed his love for America. It would put our economic recovery in the hands of former NDP Premier Bob Rae and current NDP leader Jack Layton. And it would contain a policy veto for the Bloc Quebecois -- a party that doesn’t even believe in a united Canada."
Harper's 2004 letter to the Governor General merely called on Adrienne Clarkson to "consider all options" before dissolving Parliament. Compare that to Stephane Dion's 2008 letter which not only explicitly spoke of a coalition government, but even defined the form of said government.
But, at the end of the day, if the Liberal Party and their supporters don't like the omni-presence of their hare-brained 2008 coalition, they need to stop talking about forming one.
They need to have a little talk with people like Glenn Wheeler, who wrote a recent op/ed for the Toronto Star calling for such a coalition.
"It’s a concern that strikes close to home. As a Liberal and executive member of a Toronto riding association, I have some fear myself of being labelled disloyal. My day job as in-house lawyer for a labour union may provide more fodder for accusations that I am an NDP interloper and not a true Grit.As the President of the Toronto Centre riding (his riding is represented by Bob Rae), Wheeler is much more than simply a "peon" in the Liberal Party machine. Rather, as a Riding Association President, in the riding of the party's deputy leader, he wields a tremendous amount of influence.
But there are many other rank-and-file Liberals and NDPers who share my sinking feeling heading into the next election. It’s up to us envelope-lickers and door-knockers to create the political space for an honest dialogue about getting our parties to work together after the next election night. Unlike career hacks, we peons have little to lose, other than the country as we know it."
This is more than mere idle chatter offered by the party's "rank and file". Rather, it's serious discussion coming from a person of influence. Dicussion that echoes the incessant pro-coalition ramblings of individuals like Murray Dobbin.
If the Liberals and their supporters want the Conservatives to stop talking about the ill-fated 2008 coalition proposal that Canadians so thoroughly rejected, the Tories and their supporters will be more than happy to do that. But they'll have to do something first.
They'll have to stop flogging that dead horse themselves.