Interesting that Ignatieff expresses pessimism that Harper will come up with a budget that the Liberals can support. Personally, I think that it is unlikely that Harper will come up with a government that the Liberals will not support. Ignatieff would rather moan and groan and swallow all sorts of crap rather than go to an electon. Remember it was Dion who was in power when the Liberals finally decided enough was enough. At this point in time I doubt that Ignatieff has the least wish to provoke an election or join a coalition if he can in any way avoid it. Unless Harper really goes off the deep end as with Flaherty's economic update he can rely on Liberal support or at least that they will not defeat him.
Interesting that Ignatieff seems to think that things have gone too far as far as govt. intervention is concerned and claims that governments actually control the banking system now. If government has such control why is it they do not own private banks themselves and why are they not able to force banks to lend instead of hoarding cash. Why do they not also force banks to lower their interest rates to the same extent govt. lowers rates?
Ignatieff warns PM against use of hardball tactics in Parliament
OTTAWA BUREAU CHIEF
December 24, 2008
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has issued a warning to Prime Minister Stephen Harper that he won't tolerate the misuse of confidence votes or hardball parliamentary tactics when MPs return next month to decide the government's fate.
In a year-end interview with The Globe and Mail, Mr. Ignatieff said he asked Mr. Harper during a recent meeting to instruct Conservative House Leader Jay Hill to try to remove ill will by meeting with Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale.
"The ways in which he makes everything a confidence motion is, in our view, unacceptable," Mr. Ignatieff said.
"He took the wrong signal from the election. The signal he took was that he could try anything he wanted to and he grievously underestimated the Liberal Party of Canada. We've got our act together, got a leader chosen, and he can't keep making these misjudgments of the mood of the House and hope to survive."
Mr. Ignatieff, installed as Liberal Leader earlier this month, expressed pessimism that the Harper government would unveil a budget in January that his party could support.
The Liberals have inked a deal with the New Democrats to take over government in a coalition, but Mr. Ignatieff has indicated he could back the budget if it delivers the appropriate economic help to increasingly anxious Canadians. The coalition came together after opposition parties were infuriated by an economic statement that, among other things, would have eliminated voter subsidies for political parties and suspended the right to strike of civil servants.
"The thing that frankly concerns me is that the autumn statement so failed the test of leadership that Canadians required of the situation, that I'm not optimistic that the government will come up with a budget that meets Canada's needs," Mr. Ignatieff said.
"But I live in hope, as it were, that Mr. Harper will rise to the demands of the hour."
Despite the tough talk, the newly minted Liberal Leader acknowledged in a wide-ranging discussion that his party has far to go before recapturing its former glory. To that end, Mr. Ignatieff proposed a new policy conference based on the celebrated Kingston get-together of 1960 and the Aylmer, Que., meeting of 1991, when the then-opposition Liberals met to sort out new policy directions.
The party, he said, needs to look hard at why Liberal governments have difficulty delivering on their best intentions, such as ideas for helping native people and building infrastructure.
Nonetheless, Mr. Ignatieff said liberal parties around the world are best positioned to take advantage of the current economic turmoil. International conservative leaders such as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush rode the wave of looser market regulation that has been blamed for sparking the global financial crisis.
"The market meltdown has been a moment of truth for conservative ideology, and a moment of validation for liberal ideology," Mr. Ignatieff said.
"Liberal parties have a view that the country needs compassionate, centrist government and, in tough times, Canadians look to government to protect the most vulnerable."
Asked whether his own party had lost some of its economic credentials in recent elections, Mr. Ignatieff admitted that Liberals need to figure out their direction on the issue.
"I think we have a lot of intellectual work to do, because I think everybody is uncomfortable that the pendulum has swung so far that governments are basically running the banking system of most industrialized countries," he said. "Nobody thinks that's a good idea in the long term."
Mr. Ignatieff said his party will come up with its own ideas on what it needs to see in the budget before deciding whether to support the government.
He added that Mr. Harper has not given him an answer on whether Mr. Hill and Mr. Goodale will get together in the new year, but he said Mr. Harper needs to let parliamentary committees do their job.
"He has been told in no uncertain terms there's a problem of confidence that isn't just constitutional, but a question of personal relations across the House," Mr. Ignatieff said.