Wednesday, December 10, 2008

'It's Up to Mr. Harper'

I'm certain that most of you have seen the presser that Michael Ignatieff held this afternoon. It was an impressive debut and left this viewer with no doubt that the Liberal party is unified in it's goal to take on Stephen Harper and all that he represents.

For me, Ignatieff not only spoke to the mess that Harper has put this country in vis à vis the economy, but he addressed the entire tone of the Harper government and the childish games that have been played since he took office. He was calling him out and denigrating the divisive tactics that the Conservative brain trust has employed for the past 3 years. It will be interesting to watch how the CPC reacts. Doug Finley, attack strategist extraordinaire, came out of the gate swinging earlier and I noted that many Conservative MP's were parroting his lines today. We'll see if that continues. If it does, it will tell you exactly what direction Harper intends to take.

Ignatieff laid bare just how ignoble Harper's actions have been. He made clear just how angry the opposition, and Canadians, are in view of that. It remains to be seen whether or not Harper will prove to be as craven as I believe he is, though to that end, he's put himself in a no win situation in my books. Harper pulled the curtain back on himself and there is no going back now.

Ignatieff, without saying as much, rebuffed Harper's phony act of extending an olive branch with a straightforward response. He said that the Liberals want to see the books, that they will read the budget before making a decision, but the PM has the department of Finance and a capable staff who were more than able to put together what the country needs at this time. Brilliant!

I received some e-mails tonight from friends who were heretofore uncertain and uncomfortable with Michael Ignatieff becoming the leader of the party. To a person, their fears were put to rest today. That is not to say that will not change in the future, but the sense I get is that people genuinely want to see the Liberal party righteously take the Conservative party to task. Ignatieff vowed to do that.

I also found it interesting how the media reacted to the new leader. Now it's fair to say that they may have taken it easy on him given that he had been leader for about a nano-second, but there was more than that. I think Ignatieff is going to change their game too. He called them out on the obvious with subtlety. He will have no part of the 'play to the lowest common denominator' trend that sadly has seeped into our national discourse and seemed to be stressing that it was time to get back to the grown ups table and deal with real issues. Oh how refreshing that will be if it holds.

One final thought. To those who supported another candidate and were upset at how the leadership race was shortened and modified, it may be useful to consider what benefit might come as a result. I've read complaints that there was no time to witness debates or hear platforms and those complaints of course are valid. However, because of that, Ignatieff hasn't locked himself into a specific mold or platform. Voices outside of his inner circle will be raised and will have to be heard. The atmosphere in which policy will be developed may well benefit from the truncated race, encouraging more consensus than may have been possible otherwise. Just a thought.

16 comments:

Red Tory said...

Good pic.

And an excellent summary of today's press conference.

knb said...

Thanks RT. It was an interesting press conference wasn't it?

I'm looking forward to his interview with Mansbridge tonight. You can be sure he will not look as nervous and uncomfortable as Harper did yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Come the budget vote, twenty some odd Liberals will be suddenly stricken with the flu.

knb said...

Anon, I suggest you keep yourself very healthy. The shock of the reality to come may prove too much for you otherwise.

Steve V said...

"Come the budget vote, twenty some odd Liberals will be suddenly stricken with the flu."

That is the verbatum comment I remember just after the economic update. I believe my reply was "your arrogance will be your undoing". Still oblivious I see :) Good.

Steve V said...

Oh yes, and well said knb ;)

Anonymous said...

The "mess that Harper has put this country in economically"??

Seriously?

So...Stephen Harper is actually responsible for the world-wide recession now taking place, is that the story you're going to go with?

Oh, please...grow up, okay?

It's fascinating to see the differences between Conservative and Liberal/NDP blogs. Sure, we may ridicule and laugh at you guys a bit (okay, more than a bit)...but we don't actually *hate* you the way you seem to hate us. What's up with that? A steady diet of bile can't be very good for you...

burlivespipe said...

Wow, what courage the CON-neutered have these days. Darn well defending their fearless but running scaredy-cat leader under the viseage of Anonymous. Yep, guess you don't wanna get on Prentice's bad side now, do you?
Oh and I think burning the contingency fund, making economically unsound sales tax cuts (as opposed to income tax cuts - he raised them to pay for the first gst cut, remember?) and then giving seniors and pension planners that first taste into 'recession redux' on the fateful halloween night. Ignoring all the advice and bringing in 40-year, 0-down mortgages. And let's not forget the spending binges, to Quebec of all places. Paying focus groups to the tune of thousands and thousands a week, keeping oda's limo parked and running at all hours of the day. Oh you get the picture. We can't blame the global recession on poor, gobsmacked Stephen but we can sure can point out how he gutted the house and threw out the baby and the bath water before he crapped the bed.

RuralSandi said...

Anon 12:20 - I see you haven't read the vile Blogging Tories lately. Want nasty, bigotry and hatred - go there for a read.

KNB - well said, as usual.

The fact is the numbers weren't there for Rae, as he said himself. I think if the numbers were reversed under the circumstances he would have done the same thing. Time was not on the side of the Liberals. Harper may have called another election while they were in the midst of the leadership race and the powers that be knew it.

penlan said...

Excellent post knb!!

I was extremely & pleasantly surprised with Ignatieff's presser & everything he had to say.

The huge difference I noted, as I'm sure everyone else did, was/is the proactive stance & one of being aggressive instead of defensive. Not a nasty agressive like Harper always is but a firm, assertiveness really.

I'm looking forward to the shift in dynamics, discourse & paradigms. May Harper's personal hell continue.

RuralSandi said...

I forgot the add - Ignatieff is INTERIM leader folks and it can be decided at the next convention if meets their expections.

Cherniak_WTF said...

So...Stephen Harper is actually responsible for the world-wide recession now taking place, is that the story you're going to go with?
No of course not.
BUT the portly one and his elf have stated that the economics were sound..... Even in the face of contrary information that they either lied about or just hid...

Harper is responsible for being irresponsible with the Canadian economy.

knb said...

Sandi, it's true that he's interim leader, but I don't expect he'll be rejected at the convention.

knb said...

anon @ 12:10, do you actually read posts before you comment? In fact, do you actually read what you write?

Unbelievable.

knb said...

How are you doing cwtf? I know you're not an Ignatieff fan. Are you able to see anything redeeming in this?

Personally I'm waiting to see where people like Rae, Kennedy and Martha H-F end up.

Cherniak_WTF said...

I know you're not an Ignatieff fan. Are you able to see anything redeeming in this?
A unified Liberal front.

You are correct, I don't like Ignatieff for various reasons.
It will be interesting to see where Rae, Kennedy, Driden and all end up....

I'm doing good - some election burnout and some personal turbulance of late...