The meme that the is being pushed in the media now is that there is no difference between Ignatieff and Harper. It's based on um, nothing, as far as I can tell and of course it's a very old theme employed by the NDP and the Bloc at times.
As the story line goes, there is no difference between these two men and their policies. What is hilarious though, is that line is generally followed by, Ignatieff should put out some policy. So, his policies are the same, but we don't know his policies. Not terribly clever, especially when you consider there is more than one author taking this tack.
That said though, listening to his speech in the House of Commons yesterday, he laid out pretty clearly why he no longer has any confidence in the government. Did he lay out policy? No of course not, that is not what yesterday was about. But you certainly got a sense of how he would be a vastly different leader than the one currently in place, as well as a feeling for what kind of policy he would lean toward.
Should he put policy out? Well, that's the question isn't it? There are risks and rewards associated with that. As much as I'd like to see something, the chance of it being fairly debated in the current environment, with the current government, range from zero to none.
Don't get me wrong. I do not expect Ignatieff to be treated with kid gloves, but it would be nice to see some pushing in the public square for a civil dialogue on issues of import for the country.
In that respect, I thought his speech yesterday was really good strategy. He tapped into what most Canadians want from their government. That is, they expect it to be a force for the collective good. Obviously, that is not a new concept and one that the country expects, but until this speech, it hasn't been framed quite so clearly, that they are not receiving that from Harper.
Here, he started to do that by showing what a lack of vision Harper has. Indeed he went further and explained that Harper's vision, if you can call it that, is to back government out of the picture. The 'Starve the Beast' ideology is precisely what Harper is up to and I don't recall that being laid out quite so clearly before, ever. It's not a hidden agenda. It's one that is quite well known in political circles, but hasn't been laid out there for mass consumption. About bloody time it was.
Not only did he lay this out, he also revealed how it is not being challenged in the main. That is something that I want to follow and I suspect we may see some of that going forward. Here's hoping as they say, for more reality.
You've likely seen it, but here is his speech.
For the record, he got good reviews for the speech from corners I wouldn't have expected.