Monday, February 02, 2009

Video: Michael Ignatieff on CTV's Power Play

Liberal interim leader Michael Ignatieff was the first guest today on the debut edition of Power Play, hosted by Tom Clark, the successor to Mike Duffy Live. Topics of discussion included the budget, equalization, the Liberal Newfoundland MPs, himself, his goals, power, and the NY Times piece over the weekend.



Speaking of the budget, the Liberal amendment passed tonight. Here's a partial transcript of Ignatieff's scrum comments after the vote:

THE FEDERATION CALCULATES RESOURCE REVENUES. IT'S A TECHNICAL ISSUE, BUT ON THE 27th OF JANUARY, BOOM, OUT OF THE CLEAR, BLUE SKY, NEWFOUNDLAND WAS INFORMED THAT THERE WERE SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES. INTO THE FEDERAL TRANSFERS THAT THEY WOULD RECEIVE, AND IT LOOKS LIKE, AND THIS WAS CONFIRMED BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE TODAY THAT THAT'S ABOUT A BILLION DOLLARS OVER THREE YEARS. I SAID TO THE PRIME MINISTER, YOU CAN RUN A FEDERATION THIS WAY. UNILATERAL WITHOUT WARNING, CHANGES. IT MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE TO BUDGET. IT MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE TO PLAN AND IT MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE TO RUN A FEDERATION PROPERLY. I SAID WOULD YOU PUSH THE PAUSE BUTTON ON THOSE CHANGES? AND RETHINK HIS APPROACH TO GET GREATER NATIONAL UNITY IN A TIME OF CRISIS, AND HE SAID NO. SO THAT'S WHERE WE ARE.

Harper said no. Well, colour me surprised. Why would he say yes, exactly? Harper wants to stick it to Danny Williams for obvious and personal reasons, he has calculated we're not prepared to go to the mat over this, and he's not particularly inclined to help out out Newfoundland Liberal MPs. All that's left is to let our Newfoundland MPs vote as they wish, and hold it up as an example of how free and open of differing opinion and regional concerns the Liberal caucus is, vis a vis the Conservatives.

We continue to push for changes on equalization as part of our wider push around making parliament work and giving the Conservatives a chance to succeed or fail. And then if they don't correct this we roll in into out wider messaging when we do pull the plug on Harper, as a time and on issues of our own choosing.

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8 comments:

Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

Rob Silver makes several irrefutable points re. letting MPs have free votes on confidence measures, like budgets.

We are now tied to this budget through Iggy's silliness. Steele has recently buried a couple of crucial analyses of what that could (I'd say will) mean for Liberals at the bottom of blog posts, similar to my own, with us as the pro-nationalist QC party now, Cons "standing up for Canada" (vs. Iggy & his expat history. remember) and the kicker: popular budget? Cons get credit. Unpopular? We get killed along with them (and more, because we forced them to it, etc.)

Any Liberal who still has any Liberal principles is going to be in tough, philosophically & electorally, sooner, rather than later, unfortunately.

lyrical said...

Voice in CTV Control Room: "Gee, this Ignatieff interview's going pretty good."

Director: "Yeah...maybe TOO good. Hey graphics, let's scroll the Health headlines over the last couple minutes here."

Graphics: "Oh THOSE. Are you sure?"

Director: "Yup."

Graphics: "OK...here goes."

Iggy after watching the interview
(quoting Jon Stewart): DAMN YOU, CTV!!

Socially Active said...

" AND HE SAID NO. SO THAT'S WHERE WE ARE."


When did Michael and Harper become? "WE!!!"
------------------

Going into this Michael and the Liberals has the support of the Coalition. Which would have give Michael and the Liberals the leadership position. And if the NDP or the Bloc acted irresponsibly and brook the Coalition or make unreasonable demands.
The Liberals would be in an excellent position for a majority in the event of an election.

Instead now Michael and the Liberals, when they do bring the Government down need to explain why they supported them in the first place.

Either the Liberals really did support Harper in the first place, if so there is no reason to vote for the Liberals when you can have the real deal Harper.

Either the Liberals were stupid to support them in the first place, then the Liberals are just plan stupid and double crossers.

Which is it?

A BCer in Toronto said...

Oh for the love of the holy one SA, that's not what he meant by we and you know it. You're trying too hard, but then you don't have much to work with.

Eugene, I've seen few points that can't be refuted. I'll let you know when I see one. For now, I'm confident that, while as I've said I'd have pushed for several amendments, Ignatieff has correctly read the mood of the Canadian people.

Jason Hickman said...

All that's left is to let our Newfoundland MPs vote as they wish, and hold it up as an example of how free and open of differing opinion and regional concerns the Liberal caucus is, vis a vis the Conservatives.

As a Nfld'er in exile, I feel for those MP's, believe it or not. Going up against Danny W is never easy, whether you agree with him on the issues or not.

But I'm wondering if you think the Libs - or any party, for that matter - should permit caucus members to vote against their party on budget votes. Because you can expect other MPs to argue that this sets one heck of a precedent.

And while it's fair to say that Ignatief's decision re: the Nfld MPs contrasts with Harper's on budget votes, it's not just a Liberal-Tory thing - honestly, what do you think Chretien's response to this sort of situation would have been? Or heaven help us, Trudeau's?

A BCer in Toronto said...

Jason, first I'd say if it's an ongoing issue its a relatively inside baseball one, although it could go wider.

I think this was the best way out of this situation. If someone tried to claim precedence in the future to vote apart from the party line, we should evaluate it on its merits. We either decide to let them, or we tell them No, vote with the party or face the music.

It's impossible to pre-judge a future occasion not knowing the circumstances. But in theory, I have no problem with saying bite me, the NFLD thing was a one-time deal.

Jason Hickman said...

It may be harder to say "bite me" if a Liberal premier who's close to the federal Liberals tries the same sort of trick (Dalton McGuinty, call your office...)

That's the problem with these "one time only" deals - not everyone agress on the "one time only" part. And playing fast-and-loose on how your caucus can vote on a *budget* vote could be a pretty big deal.

For now, I agree: inside baseball, and all that. But if nothing else, MI has given Danny Williams a stick to use in the future. How big a stick, and when will DW use it, *and* whether other premiers will try the same trick, all remain to be seen.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Philosophically Jason I don't disagree. We'll just have to wait and see how it plays out. Heck, there may be a time where it's helpful for us to say bite me, dalton. Jack-up the indie cred... But seriously, time will tell. But I think that as power (hopefully) comes closer, it will be a little easier (and more necessary) to bring people into line.