Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Did Ignatieff Cave?

... or is there a more coherent plan afoot?

Yesterday, the government was able to pass its emergency stimulus fund without the accountability provisions that the Liberals had been demanding.

On the surface, it appears as though Ignatieff has caved in here and backed down from what is a perfectly reasonable demand. Certainly one that any reasonable PM would have acceded to as a "political bargain"

If I was to step back for a minute from this and ask myself "why did the Liberals let this one go by?", I come up on a couple of reasons.

The first is purely tactical. Financially, the Liberals are not in great shape yet. Triggering an election when they are in a bad financial state could easily trigger exactly what Harper has been aiming to do for years - wipe them out. Harper has said on many occasions in the past that he wants to eliminate the opposition parties - especially the Liberals, and he's certainly made plays for this in the past.

The second reason is more strategic. If you are looking for a chink in the Conservative armor, it's Harper's hypocrisy on accountability. If the Liberals play this right, the HarperCon$ are apt as not to walk into a trap of their own making. The first pieces of that puzzle fell into place with the Budget amendments which the HarperCon$ agreed to. This is a second piece of that same tactic - demand that the government be accountable in fact, not just claim, to the House of Commons (and therefore the public at large) on another large spending bill. Harper has fought this accountability issue tooth and nail. There's lot's of room in there for casting doubt on Harper's motives during an election ... and all of it comes falling forth from Harper's own mouth.

Whether I'm right in this guess is hard to say ... I hope I am, it would be good for North America to shed the last of the NeoCons from positions of power.

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