Is there any hope for a PM Ignatieff “supported either formally or informally by the NDP”?

Mar 23rd, 2011 | By | Category: In Brief

According to the Postmedia News report in the Vancouver Sun: “Election on the way … budget rejected by opposition … The Harper government is refusing to consider any amendments to its federal budget, which was rejected by all three opposition parties Tuesday, setting the stage for a spring election.” (Or, as Mark Kennedy observed in another Sun article yesterday: “The Tories insist they don’t want their government to fall. But who’s fooling who?)

On the other side of the country, in the Halifax Chronicle Herald a Canadian Press report explained: “Opposition parties won’t support budget … It didn’t appear to be enough … All three opposition leaders immediately rejected the document Tuesday, setting the stage for a non-confidence vote that will send Canadians to the polls within weeks … The highly politicized Conservative spending blueprint reads like a campaign platform,” even if the “actual benefits to select Canadians are modest”(to say the least).

Meanwhile, a full four hours before finance minister Flaherty officially introduced his campaign document in Ottawa, the Globe and Mail had presciently reported: “Budget won’t see light of day so ignore it: US economist.” This explained how Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, NY had just advised his firm’s clients: “We see no reason to invest a lot of time worrying about the economic impact of today’s budget” in Canada: “We doubt it will be implemented.”

Moreover (Mr. Weinberg went on): “we doubt that any likely combination of parties that might form a government or governing coalition … will change the conservative approach to the public finances that Canada has established since 1993.” (So much for the theory that the international investment community sees the current minority Harper Government, 2006—???? as something whose political defeat would somehow put the fragile economic recovery at risk!)

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For the moment the exact path through the forest, from here to the formal defeat of the government in the Canadian House of Commons, and the official calling of an election for early in May, remains shrouded in the political mists. As best we can make out, right now at any rate, the Harper Government may introduce its own confidence motion on the budget as early as this Thursday – to avoid defeat on a non-confidence motion motivated by the government’s contempt of Parliament, that the Liberals are still widely expected to introduce this Friday, March 25. But there also appears to be considerable room for other options and time frames.

However we finally get to the election, in a piece posted on the Globe and Mail site just after 11 PM ET last night, the excellent John Ibbitson prophesied: “the Tories have a decent shot at a net gain of 12 seats to bring them to the bare minimum required to achieve their coveted majority government … Even if they fall short, the odds heavily favour a strong Conservative minority government after May 2 or May 9, the favoured election dates.” Mr. Ibbitson also notes that the Ignatieff Liberals think they “can beat those odds” as the Canadian people meet their leader face to face at last in an actual election campaign, with a perhaps somewhat “realistic goal: to push their vote from the mid-20s to the mid-30s and form a minority government.”

And then, Ibbitson goes on: “There is another scenario, in which the Liberals gain enough seats to come within spitting distance … of the Conservatives. In that case, the swift defeat of a Harper government on its Throne Speech – no proroguing allowed in that situation – could see Mr. Ignatieff become prime minister, supported either formally or informally by the NDP.”

This last option, we think, would be best for Canada and its long-term future. We certainly agree that, given what the polls are saying right now, it will remain a long shot (albeit slightly more realistic than a Liberal minority government), unless and until the campaign that lies ahead starts to re-shape the political mood of the country, more in the direction of Mr. Igantieff and Mr. Layton. What we are hoping – and we hope not altogether against hope – is that the Liberals and the New Democrats at least don’t come out of the gate attacking each other with such ferocity, as to make this “another scenario” altogether impossible, regardless of who wins how many seats. Time will tell, no doubt.

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  1. No hope for Ignatieff. Harper will win. Every member in the cabinet, will get their salary’s doubled, if they support Harper. Harper is rabid to win, and will do what ever it takes to do so. If you Google: Harper delivers plans of, Global Governance for Canada, you will see his evil agenda. Everyone there , was shocked by his speech. This country is not safe with Harper, he is loathsome. Canadians would rather keep Canada sovereign. However, we know how greedy politicians are, they will line their own pockets first, and to hell with the people. Canada, has the worst crop of politicians now, that we have ever seen. However, corruption pays very well, especially at the top of the food chain. And, corruption and greed, wins every time. If Harper wins, we can kiss Canada good-bye.

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