The Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is no leftie—at least, not in my opinion. How then can he possible see a Liberal-NDP coalition as an option? If I am right, Mr. Ignatieff would prefer to let the Jan. 27 budget pass and seek an election at a later, more advantageous date.
Initial support for the coalition was a tactic used by Mr. Ignatieff to promote solidarity within the Liberal Party at a time when he was contesting the leadership (he appeared cool to it when the coalition was formed last November, and was the last of his fellow Liberal MPs to sign the agreement). And I believe Mr. Ignatieff would much prefer to see the Liberal Party return to the political centre and perhaps slightly to the right of it. Such could never be the case if he had to share the stage, and cabinet, with Jack Layton and five of his socialist comrades.
The prospect last November of the Liberal-NDP coalition taking power propelled the Conservatives into majority territory in the polls. And, having got so close to a formal coalition with the socialists, how convincing will Mr. Ignatieff be in the next federal election, when he tries to convince Canadians that a vote for the Liberal Party is not a vote for NDP-style government?
Only time and some very clever political maneuvering will allow Mr. Ignatieff to regain for the Liberal Party a reputation of being a centrist party, thus giving the Grits another shot at governing the country.