Perhaps the Liberals should have a genuine leadership convention before they try to topple the Conservatives. Ignatieff now has given the Conservatives carte blanche. He is just asking Harper to present him with a poison pill that will make him look even more unprincipled than he appears at the moment. Suddenly when the polls go down somewhat Harper's government is no longer so bad that it needs to go. This is a great Xmas present for Harper but Ignatieff could have waited a while before giving it to him.
Ignatieff retreats from trying to topple Harper
Liberal leader says they won't try again until spring election
By Andrew Mayeda, Canwest News ServiceOctober 20, 2009
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said Tuesday his party will no longer seek to defeat the Harper government, suggesting the Conservatives will remain in power until at least next spring's federal budget.
"We've said clearly we won't support the government but, at the same time, we won't try to defeat the government each time," Ignatieff told reporters Tuesday after making an appearance at a daycare in Ottawa.
Earlier this month, the governing Conservatives survived a non-confidence motion introduced by the Liberals. On Tuesday, Ignatieff wouldn't commit to tabling another such motion the next time the Liberals have the opportunity.
"I won't say but, as I've said, we won't support these people, because we're the opposition. But we're not trying to create opportunities to trigger an election," he said.
"Canadians have clearly said they don't want an election, and they haven't just said that to me, they've told that to all the parties, and we have to respect what the Canadian voters think."
Liberal officials sought to downplay Ignatieff's comments Tuesday, noting he has made similar statements in recent weeks. Nevertheless, it is clear the Liberal leader's tone has softened since early September, when he declared he would no longer support the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
"After four years of drift, four years of denial, four years of division and discord -- Mr. Harper, your time is up," Ignatieff said at the time. "The Liberal party cannot support this government any further. We will hold Stephen Harper to account. We will oppose his government in Parliament."
The Liberals hoped the hard-line stance would help them build credibility as a government-in-waiting. But in recent weeks, the party has slid in the polls as the Conservatives have climbed close to majority territory.
In an Ipsos Reid poll released last week, the Conservatives stood at 39% in national support, compared with 29% for the Liberals.
Opposition parties can introduce non-confidence motions against the government on so-called "opposition days" in the House of Commons. There are five remaining opposition days until the House of Commons breaks for the holidays in December, and the Liberals are expected to get their next one early next month.
The Bloc Quebecois supported the last Liberal non-confidence motion, but the NDP abstained from the vote, allowing the Conservatives to survive.
The NDP has said it will support the government until Parliament passes legislation to expand EI benefits.
A Liberal source said Tuesday that the party will wait to see how the political winds are blowing before deciding whether to table another non-confidence motion.
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