Listening to senior Liberal MPs John McCallum and Scott Brison yesterday one certainly gets the impression that their new leader, Michael Ignatieff, has encouraged them to tone down their rhetoric. Out is their mock outrage and hyperbole directed at the Tories; in is their more thoughtful, conciliatory reaction to recent bilateral talks with the Tories that seem to be finding common ground.
Socialist leader Jack Layton has apparently sniffed the changing winds and is preparing an escape route from the bring-down-the-Conservatives chant of the past couple of weeks. Jack seems to get that the Liberal-NDP coalition is a non-starter with Ignatieff and with the majority of Canadian voters. He now sounds more conciliatory himself.
All of which leaves separatist Gilles Duceppe to carry the banner for a coalition of which his party is not even an official member.
Such are the vagaries of Canada’s political scene. A scant few days ago, Jack Layton was all set to take a seat in Stéphane Dion’s Liberal cabinet; today, events have shunted Jack and his puffery to the sidelines, totally irrelevant in this latest Tory-Grit rapprochement. And that is where an overwhelming majority of Canadian voters would like him to stay.