The Prime Minister seems to have hit a Grit nerve earlier this week when he suggested that if his Conservatives did not get a majority in the next election the Michael Ignatieff-led Grits could end up governing in a coalition with the socialists and separatists. Mr. Ignatieff was quick to respond with:
“Let me be very clear. The Liberal party would not agree to a coalition. In January, we did not support a coalition. And we do not support a coalition today or tomorrow.”
But Mr Ignatieff did support a coalition with the socialists propped up by the separatists last fall, both before and after becoming leader of the Liberal Party. His support may have been rather tepid and somewhat reluctantly given, but it was clearly there.
And of course Mr. Ignatieff will once again accept the support of the socialists and separatists if it guaranteed that he could form a government—it is disingenuous to say otherwise. The arrangement would not have to be a formal coalition, but the effect would be the same.
Given what we see in recent polls, neither Stephen Harper nor Michael Ignatieff are likely to win a majority in a fall election, so if the Grits force one and hope to govern, they’ll have to do so while being propped up by the Dippers and the separatists.
This isn’t a scare tactic, as Mr. Ignatieff would have us believe, it’s a dose of reality based on common sense.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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