Monday, December 29, 2008

Not hot: Jane Taber's analysis

I really don’t know why I read her column. I guess it’s like a car-wreck, you can’t look away. But this analysis from Ms. Taber though is particularly not hot:

Not: The coalition. The Ignatieff Liberals appear to be lukewarm to the idea of it. Cozying up to the NDPers does not seem to be something that Mr. Ignatieff, who comes across as a centrist, is comfortable with.

Perhaps sensing this, NDP Leader Jack Layton seems to be less committed to the idea, saying on CTV's Question Period last week that the coalition has achieved what it set out to do: make a better budget.
Actually, as a coalition supporter I’m pleased with this development, and actually amused at Ms. Taber’s completely off-base read of the situation.

Ignatieff’s messaging on the coalition has been consistent all along. It has worked, it has brought the Conservatives to heel, forced them to back down on their controversial attacks on their opponents, on pay equity, and on public sector unions, and forced them to speed-up plans for the budget and for stimulus. With Harper proroguing until the budget, now we need to wait and see what’s in the budget. If it does what Canadians expect, we’ll support it. If it fails the test of leadership, we’ll vote it down and move into government to give Canada the economic action it needs. But we can’t say we’ll vote down a budget we haven’t seen. It’s not about grasping for power, it’s about the economy.

That has been the consistent position of Ignatieff and now the Liberals, and I’m very pleased to see the NDP and Jack Layton are now onboard with this same messaging. The fact we’re both pursuing the same strategy would seem to speak to the strength of the coalition, and as I’ve argued before this strategy gives a potential future coalition a greater chance of success. A coalition needs public support to succeed, and to secure public support it can’t be about just grabbing power or voting down Harper no matter what: it needs to be about the economy.

Now the Liberals and the NDP are both working toward that end, from the same page. And that’s hot.

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1 comment:

janfromthebruce said...

And I agree with your assessment. Bravo!
What bothers me - is if the budget is supported - the window of opportunity is lost, and Harper just goes back to being a bully, puts the poison pills in later, pulls confidence motions after confidence motions, the depression deepens, public doesn't want a costly election, and Harper governs like he has a majority again.
I personally think he will put as little as possible into the budget, sweeten the pot so to speak, libs hold their noses and vote for it, and we are all back to two years ago.
I think that is a bad strategy.