This is Iggie's second test. His first test he flunked when he supported the budget. He pulled a modified Dion dodge by an amendment that would have the Tories issue periodic reports, an amendment he probably cleared with the Tories before suggesting it since they will support it.
It will be interesting to see what Ignatieff does in this case. Harper would simply turf the renegades out of the party. However, Ignatieff may be reluctant to lose his already small number of MPs and cause further dissension in the party as well. Not everyone is happy about his Dion II strategy.
Ignatieff's first test
January 31, 2009
Michael Ignatieff faces his first big test as Liberal Leader as at least two of his six Newfoundland and Labrador MPs are poised to break ranks and vote against the Harper budget unless millions of dollars are restored to the province. Judy Foote and Scott Andrews, have said publicly they cannot support the budget the way it is.
Mr. Ignatieff said this week his Liberals would support the Harper budget. But Mr. Andrews said he is prepared to face the consequences of voting against his party if it means standing up for his province.
"Either I'm going to get a good telling-off or I'm going to get the boot," the newly-elected Avalon MP told The Globe and Mail yesterday.
Mr. Andrews said Newfoundland is "getting the royal shaft" in the budget, which would take away $1.5-billion from the 1985 Atlantic Accord. He said he has spoken to Mr. Ignatieff about this and believes that the leader is "genuinely concerned."
Mr. Andrews has also spoken to Premier Danny Williams, who is asking Liberal MPs to vote against the budget. Mr. Andrews said that Mr. Ignatieff has been in conversations with Mr. Williams (just who is running the Liberal Newfoundland caucus?).
It was Mr. Williams's ABC (Anything But Conservatives) campaign in the last election that led to the Harper Tories being wiped out in the province.