Wednesday, June 17, 2009

PM Ignatieff set for third meeting..

This is from the Globe and Mail.

This is all just a charade to dodge the Dion type ultimate vote that will occur on Friday when Ignatieff will support the Conservatives. Harper will throw him a few crumbs that Ignatieff can then claim show that he (Ignatieff) can make even a Harper government work for the benefit of Canadians particularly those who are unemployed. Of course Harper has already treated Ignatieff's original EI demans with disdain. Harper conveniently suggests that he meet with Ignatieff over the next few weeks, after the crucial Friday vote. This presupposes that Ignatieff will support the Conservatives on Friday! Ignatieff looks worse and worse to me every time he opens his mouth.

PM, Ignatieff set for third meeting

Brian Laghi and Jane Taber
Ottawa — The Globe and Mail, Tuesday, Jun. 16, 2009 08:48PM EDT
Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff held a second meeting tonight at the Prime Minister's residence at 24 Sussex Drive as they continued to work for common ground to avoid a summer election.
The gathering followed on an hour-long tête-à-tête earlier in the day, both of which were characterized by aides as productive. A third set of talks have now been scheduled.
“The Prime Minister and Mr. Ignatieff had a second productive meeting and will speak again tomorrow morning,” Mr. Harper's spokesman, Kory Teneycke, told The Globe in an e-mail message.
Jill Fairbrother, Mr. Ignatieff's spokeswoman, described the meeting the same way.
The two men are trying to finds ways to head off a collision this Friday when the House of Commons votes on the future of Mr. Harper's government.
Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Harper, along with their top advisers Ian Davey and Guy Giorno, first met for about an hour this afternoon in the Prime Minister's Langevin Block office, located across the street from Parliament Hill where MPs were sparring in the daily Question Period.
Further details of that discussion and the evening talks at 24 Sussex were not immediately available.
The two leaders had reached a temporary détente last night after hours of high drama and political posturing in which it appeared the country was headed toward a summer election. Mr. Harper's office called the Opposition Leader's office to offer the meeting, concluding a day of back-and-forth negotiations conducted through press conferences and over the public airwaves.
By late Monday afternoon, the election hype had become muted, with Mr. Ignatieff climbing down from his threat to defeat the government on Friday by voting against its spending estimates if he did not get answers on four key issues. That was just after the Prime Minister gave a news conference in which he offered concessions, including a meeting this afternoon with the Liberal Leader on his most important demand – changes to employment insurance.
“I am not sticking to a Friday deadline,” Mr. Ignatieff said on CTV after listening to Mr. Harper's remarks.
The Liberal Leader said he heard a “couple of small yeses” from the Prime Minister, which means “we are making a little bit of progress ... progress toward making Parliament work.”
One of those “yeses” involved changes to employment insurance that would allow self-employed Canadians to pay into the program. Mr. Harper cautioned, however, that it is too big a change to do quickly.
“That's a very major design change we are looking at in the fall,” Mr. Harper said at his news conference. “Those kinds of changes and other major changes cannot be done on the back of an envelope in a few days. They do require some careful thought.”
He said he'd be happy to meet with the Liberal Leader “any time over the next few weeks to see if we can find some common ground” on EI.
Mr. Ignatieff has repeatedly asked for a temporary employment-insurance national-eligibility standard, which the government has said would cost too much. But the Liberal Leader told CTV Monday that he is willing to “look at anything responsible that will actually help Canadians.”
“If he can convince me that helping the self-employed targets those who can't get EI more effectively, I'm willing to listen,” said Mr. Ignatieff. “I'm trying to make Parliament work for the benefit of those unemployed people. ... But he's got to listen to me with respect.”
Mr. Ignatieff's other key areas of concern are stimulus spending on infrastructure, a timetable for getting the country out of deficit and a plan for dealing with the medical-isotope crisis.
With a report from Campbell Clark

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