About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's September 1st, and you know what that means...

...Fall election talk, partner! Yee-Haw!

I think that this headline from an article on the Globe and Mail's website says it all: "Ignatieff to Harper: ‘Your time is up'"

So it seems that Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has it in his mind to topple the Conservative government of Stephen Harper. “After four years of drifting, of denial, of divisiveness and discord ... Stephen Harper’s time is up,” Ignatieff said Tuesday to party members and national media during a campaign-style rally in Sudbury.

Party on, Iggy! Surely you will find support to bring down Harper in the other opposition parties. All they ever want to do is end the Conservative reign and get another election going, and good thing because you're going to need all three to bring this House of Cards down.

“If the government wants to start acting in the interests of Canadians, then perhaps we can avoid [Ottawa] foisting an election” on voters, NDP finance critic Tom Mulcair said.

Snap! Where's the NDP that will vote against anything Harper puts on the table? Even before they know what it is. But what of Giles Duceppe and the Bloc Quebecois? From Reuters, "Gilles Duceppe, leader of the federal party that advocates separation for the French-speaking province of Quebec, will speak at 4 p.m. (2000 GMT) in Laval, Quebec, on Wednesday, a Bloc spokesman said."

And Mr. Harper, what do you have to say? “The one thing that could screw this all up is political instability. We have a couple of parties in Parliament, the Bloc Québécois in particular, the NDP as well, they vote for an election every day of the week every time, they've got nothing to do other than fight election campaigns. There is a risk that at some point in the future, as we saw last year, that one of the major parties will try to appease those parties and do bad things to this country as a way of trying to get into office.”

Well, he's on the money about the NDP and the Bloc. I've always said that they have that luxury of opposing every confidence motion because they know their votes alone won't get the job done, and the Liberals are always gun shy about going to the polls prematurely. Plus it always gives the NDP and the Bloc the high ground by saying that there's no difference between a vote for the Liberals or the Conservatives since the one props up the other.

Is Ignatieff baiting the other parties, by preemptively issuing an ultimatum to the Conservatives? Is he daring them to call his bluff, or is he deadly serious about moving full speed ahead with a Fall election? Whatever it is, it's smart politics. Ignatieff has put both the Conservatives and the NDP on the defensive and forced them to maybe look at each other in order to save them both. Jack Layton has to choose whether he's going to follow Ignatieff's lead or risk looking the hypocrite by propping up Harper. The Bloc, meanwhile, face a similar conundrum as the NDP, but that's by no means the same kind of compromise required of the Conservatives should they decide to movie forward and try to and pursuade the Bloc to give them the assist.

Could the Bloc and the Conservatives reach an argeement? Probably not becuase the Conservatives would risk losing a lot of face with their western base. And as for the NDP, their requested concessions - usually more money for healthcare, education and other social programs - is sure not to go over very well with the Conservative caucus, especially in a recession economy. So it begs the question: has Ignatieff put his opponents in checkmate? Well, the first chance they'll get to bring the government down doesn't come until the end of September. An eternity in political life.

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