Saturday, June 13, 2009

A summer election? Find out Monday

At least Layton has changed his tune and vowed to vote against the government. Earlier he was in effect giving signals that he wanted to co-operate with the government. No doubt Layton does not like the poll readings for the NDP. On the other hand polls are favorable for the Liberals and dismal for the Conservatives in relative terms and especially in Quebec and Ontario. Somehow I doubt that Ignatieff will opt to defeat the Conservatives.
It is hard to see that Ignatieff will look anything but foolish if he does not take this opportunity to defeat the Conservatives but I have little faith in Ignatieff on any point except that he will be a faithful supporter of US humanistic imperialism even moreso than Harper now that Obama is president. Ignatieff may turn out to be Dion with a better command of English and no commitment to a green policy but the same ritualistic criticism and then support of the Conservatives.

A summer election? Find out Monday - Canada - A summer election? Find out Monday

Michael Ignatieff will announce on June 15, 2009 whether the Liberals will vote to force an election over the Harper government's economic strategy.
Liberal leader taking weekend to decide whether to topple minority government
June 13, 2009 Les WhittingtonOTTAWA BUREAU
OTTAWA – Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff will announce on Monday whether his party will vote to bring down Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government over its handling of the economic crisis.
Ignatieff wants to take time to assess his next step and digest Harper's 234-page "report card" on the Conservatives' attempts to repair the economy, according to Liberal aides.
The Liberals said the Tory update released Thursday is full of holes and, most importantly, fails to show whether jobs have been created by the economic stimulus money the government says it has already dispensed.
But senior members of the party said it's up to Ignatieff to say whether the report indicates that Harper's economic strategy is so weak that the Liberals should vote to defeat the minority government, forcing an election.
"This report has significant numbers of deficiencies," Liberal finance critic John McCallum told reporters. "Whether that's sufficient for our party to accord it a failing grade at the end of the day is something that our leader will decide."
Liberal insiders were reluctant yesterday to speculate on what their leader would decide.
But Ignatieff, who took over his party in December, is aware the public has little interest in an election campaign in the middle of a recession.
The election showdown, if there is one, will peak next Friday in a confidence vote in Parliament. With the 36 New Democrats and the 48 Bloc Québécois vowing to reject Harper's economic strategy, the 77 Liberal MPs hold the key to defeating the minority government. The Conservatives hold 143 seats in the 308-seat Commons, there is one independent MP and there are currently three vacancies.
Harper signalled the political strategy he will adopt if the government faces defeat. "Nobody wants to see the coalition again," he told the media yesterday.
Last winter, when the opposition parties threatened to bring down his government, the Prime Minister whipped up a backlash against the coalition of Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc MPs by accusing them of trying to hijack the results of the previous election.
"The government's focused on getting all these projects delivered across the country. That's what Canadians want to see," Harper said yesterday after attending a Canadian Council of Snowmobiling Organizations conference in Summerside, P.E.I.
The government, which has promised to roll out $35 billion in pro-growth spending over two years, said in Thursday's report 80 per cent of this year's stimulus "has been committed and is being implemented."
But opposition MPs say the report fails to provide hard numbers on how much money has actually landed in Canadians' hands.
"The basic point is this notion that 80 per cent is under way is totally wrong because what counts for jobs and what counts for fiscal stimulus is dollars actually being spent," McCallum said. It only counts when the government provides money that goes into workers' pockets and creates jobs, he said.
Unlike in the U.S., where the Obama administration has a website that shows how much has been spent on specific projects, "here you can't find out anything that they've actually spent or any jobs that have actually been created," McCallum complained.
NDP MP Paul Dewar said his party hasn't seen anything from the Harper government that would justify putting off an election, even it comes in the summer. "They haven't done enough on EI (employment insurance), they haven't done enough to get the (economic stimulus) money pushed down into municipalities," Dewar said.

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