Monday, May 11, 2009

Michael should stop talking about the coalition, and Maclean's should get a clue

A couple of related coalition thoughts this morning. First, I’d like to comment on Michael Ignatieff’s comments in Montreal this weekend:

"I'm in politics to unify people, not to divide them," Ignatieff said.

"There was also a question concerning the legitimacy of the coalition that troubled me."

The power sharing deal between the Liberals and New Democrats, with support from the Bloc Quebecois, was not undemocratic, Ignatieff told the crowd of some 150 Montrealers gathered in a downtown theatre, but it would nonetheless have given Canadians the feeling that the parties had "in some sense or another stolen power."
For one thing, Michael, why are you even talking about this at this point? And in Quebec, of all places, where the coalition was rather popular. It makes no sense for us to be talking about this at this point, there’s no upside.

If it was a question, pivot back to how it forced the Conservatives to make major concessions and we’re now focused on continuing to ensure this government takes the economic crisis seriously, and brings Canadians the help they need. And then segue nicely into employment insurance.

In other words, stay on message.

But if you are going to talk about this, or not deflect the question, then for Pete’s sake why are you playing-up the false Conservative narrative about its legitimacy? If you are going to go down this road, it should be to attack the false Conservative propaganda, playing West against East, English against French, as the true cause of the divisiveness around the issue.

I’m not saying the decision to leave the coalition behind after the budget wasn’t the right decision. It was. But that doesn’t make the coalition any less legitimate. And who knows what the future may hold. Helping the Conservatives discredit the very idea of parliamentary coalitions isn’t in Liberal interests.

And then there’s Maclean’s. I’m a few issues behind in my dead tree issue reading again, and on the weekend I read this editorial from the May 11th issue praising, of all people, Jason Kenney, for his righteous crusade to raise civic literacy.

Jason seems to only be concerned with the civic literacy of new Canadians, while Maclean’s wants the campaign to go population-wide. In principal, I’m find with that. But here’s where Maclean’s lost credibility with me. In the middle of their love-letter to Jason Kenney, the Maclean’s editors offer this:
Nor do we understand how our government works. The various parliamentary and constitutional issues raised by the Dion coalition last December caused mass confusion, with many Canadians mistaking normal political gamesmanship for an attempted coup.
Indeed. And who exactly raised that confusion? Who fanned the fires of division, who spread misinformation about our parliamentary system, who raised the rhetoric by falsely calling the coalition an attempted coup? That’s right Maclean’s, it was your BFF Jason Kenney and his Conservative colleagues.

Kenney and Co. breathlessly and maliciously spread misinformation about the workings of our civic institutions, dramatically setting-back the civic literacy you insist he’s just the man to advance, exploiting the civic illiteracy of rank and file Canadians for narrow political ends.

Sorry, Maclean’s. You need another hero.

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penlan said...

Right on! I'm afraid Michael is going to continue to shoot himself in the foot, along with the rest of us, if he doesn't keep quiet or focus on what the Cons did to cause division in the country in regards to the coalition. The blatant lies & name-calling in HoC by Harper & his MP's was outrageous & THAT is what should be addressed in relation to the coalition.

Michael Harkov said...

It is conflicting soundbites like this that will make easy election ads for the Tories that will resonate with Canadians and make Michael look like an unprincipled hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post Jeff. I agree he needs to stay on message, we all do.

Unknown said...

Good for you Jeff.

Michael is so self-absorbed he doesn't realise he has thrown his entire caucus under the bus with his comments.