I’m already on the record with why I think we need to bring down the government over the budget, so I won’t rehash those arguments. But I will discuss another reason I’m annoyed with these comments from Stephane Dion over the weekend “hinting” the Liberals may let the budget pass and the government stand:
During a stop in Quebec City yesterday, he acknowledged he won't get what he wants in the budget and appeared to lower the bar for what he'd accept, saying he might let it pass if it's "not too harmful" for the economy.
"It won't be a Liberal budget. Unfortunately, the ideas I have put forward won't be in the budget," Mr. Dion said of the looming fiscal plan.
"But we also have to respect the decision of the voters in 2006," he said, referring to the Conservative victory in the last federal election.
"Therefore, if it's a budget that appears to us as being acceptable or at least not too harmful for the Canadian economy, we could let it pass and avoid $350-million in [taxpayer] expenses for an election," the Liberal Leader said.
Putting aside my desire for an election, even if what Dion is saying here is what he honestly believes, why is he saying it now? What’s the strategic benefit of showing weakness, and a willingness to settle for less, at this juncture?
If he is considering letting the budget pass, why not keep talking tough now anyways, say this is what we want, here’s our demands, this is what is needed for our support. If you want to later settle for less and declare victory, wait until we actually see the budget.
Showing weakness now only confirms to Harper we’re desperate to avoid an election. If Harper really wants a vote, he’ll do what he was going to do anyway. And if he wants to avoid a vote, he’s less likely to give in a little on our budget demands. We’ve caved already and shown desperation, so why would he?
So, while you could argue the timing of Dion’s comments is designed to temper the election drumbeat and soften the ground in preparation for a Liberal climb-down in the budget, I’d argue it’d bad strategy because showing weakness will only embolden Harper, and make any Liberal climb-down an even bigger fall.
Of course, we can get out of this hole if we just find our balls and vote the dammed thing down. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers