Stephen Harper, in an interview with Peter Mansbridge, unveils the next stage in the Conservative divide-and-conquer strategy to destroy the Coalition for Change (and cling to power):
Harper called on all the “big national parties” to work together going forward, suggesting that he too was looking forward to a better relationship with Dion’s replacement.
“I hope the next Liberal leader, the first thing he’ll do, will be willing to sit down with me and have that kind of discussion.”
By know you’re all likely aware that “the next Liberal leader” is Michael Ignatieff, who, as many have pointed out, is rumoured to be “lukewarm” at the notion of forming a coalition government with the NDP (despite previously indicating in writing his support for the coalition accord).
Mr. Ignatieff is better postioned [sic] to debate on serious economic matters, being no fan of interventionist Green Shift carbon tax schemes and more likely to share Harper’s forceful view on military matters and foreign affairs.
He’s expected to surround himself with the younger brasher MPs who rarely got the chance to shine under Mr. Dion and embrace fiscal policies that might not find favor with coalition-partner New Democrats or the Bloc Quebecois.
That’s undoubtedly why Ignatieff’s always been so cagey about the coalition, choosing his words with deliberate precision to ensure they will not come back to haunt him.
He has little intention of bringing the coalition back to life as a shared power grab except in an emergency, opting instead to position the Liberals as a single-party alternative government.
Mr. Ignatieff might even take Prime Minister Harper up on his offer, repeated in a CBC interview Tuesday, to contribute Liberal ideas for inclusion in the budget. OK, perhaps that’s the dreamer gene in me, but Mr. Harper did pledge to “look at different kinds of arrangements” with Mr. Ignatieff. Surely that’s an olive twig, if not a branch.
It should be clear by now that those of us who represent the 62% majority need to fight if we are to have any hope of making Parliament work. Via The Canadianist, here is a tool to contact your MP and register your support, courtesy of the CLC. Tell your MP that you support the coalition.
It is especially imperative that Liberal coalition supporters make their voices heard. Don’t kid yourselves: you can’t trust a man who is, as Impolitical puts it, “totally oblivious to and shameless about the turmoil he’s caused” to work with the Opposition (even a “big national party” like the official Opposition) in good faith, “olive twig” or not. As Murray Dobbin presciently observed prior to the hurling of Flaherty’s now-infamous ‘economic statement’ stuffed in a partisan Molotov cocktail, “Stephen Harper’s ultimate objective is not just a majority government. It is to destroy the Liberal Party as a contender for power [emph. mine].”
One hopes Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party will keep that paramount consideration in mind before seriously contemplating any deals with a silver-tongued devil.