The fissure between Liberal Party of Canada’s war room veteran and frequent defender of federal Liberal policies on CTV and CBC, Warren Kinsella, and the LPC seems to have widened into a chasm. In mid-May, we wrote about Mr. Kinsella’s departure from the federal Liberal party’s war room:
“We had some discussion of this ridiculous discussion of fusion of the two parties. No one has any authorization to even discuss this matter. It’s ridiculous. I am a Liberal. I am proud to be a Liberal. The people around me are Liberals.”
– Michael Ignatieff
“… Kinsella is out and will not lead the LPC’s war room in the next election. Apparently, he quit as head of the war room, at least in part, because he ‘was unhappy about the way in which some people [at the Opposition Leader’s Office] were dealt with’.”
Now, this break-up has gone public.
On the one hand, we have Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff denying categorically that there have been discussions by senior Liberals and New Democrats to merge their political parties—NDP leader Jack Layton has made a similar denial.
On the other hand, we have Mr. Kinsella swearing out an affidavit on Wednesday, claiming that Liberal Party president Alfred Apps told him on May 11 that “there is a lot of interest in merger with the NDP. There have been many discussions at a high level.”
Apparently, Mr. Apps has since accused Mr. Kinsella of “dramatically” twisting his words and that he was only passing on what he had heard from an “NDP friend.”
But, in apparent support of Mr. Kinsella’s version, later on Wednesday, Liberal Party member John Mraz also swore an affidavit claiming there had been discussions between the parties. He swears that Mr. Apps told him on June 3 that he’d been involved in discussions about co-operation between the Liberals and the New Democrats and that talks included Mr. Chrétien, former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow and former NDP leader Ed Broadbent.
We also have reports on the CBC website that seem to support Mr. Kinsella’s version of the Liberal-NDP merger talks.
“The comments [by Prime Minister Stephen Harper] come after many Liberal insiders confirmed to CBC News that discussions between the two parties are not just focused on forming a coalition after an election or co-operation before one, but on the creation of a new party amid rumblings of dissatisfaction over Ignatieff’s leadership and the party’s dismal position in recent opinion polls.”
Liberal party leader-in-waiting Bob Rae has reportedly said there was “no substance” to the rumours, and advised the media to “take a deep breath and get a grip.” This extraordinarily sage advice, flies in the face of Mr. Kinsella’s assertion to CBC News that, “serious people are involved in discussions at a serious level.”
The vise is closing, and the proverbial testicles clamped between its jaws are those of fumbling-bumbling Michael Ignatieff. It seems clear to this writer that the chief Grit is now in a fight for political survival.
If Mr. Ignatieff is being truthful that “no one has any authorization to even discuss this matter,” then the Liberal-NDP merger discussions are being held without his approval, or perhaps, even knowledge. And how can that be good for his prospects of remaining the LPC’s leader?