Mr. Ignatieff is correct in taking a cautious approach to his up-coming confrontation with Harper and his thugs. He is smart not to appear to have judged a budget that has not been written. He has nothing to lose by suggesting that he is ready to work with the Tories if they write a decent budget; one that is not simply an ideological attack on democracy. This is a kind of Pascal wager because if he is wrong he has lost nothing and made himself look as though he is ready to be cooperative.
Ignatieff is particularly free to take this approach because there is such a slim chance that the Tories will come up with anything meaningful. It is generally accepted that Harper is the most fiercely partisan Prime Minister in Canadian history. He is mean spirited and obsessed with destroying his political opponents to the point that he will end up destroying himself. His budget will only pay lip-service to the financial crisis and he will surely be unable to resist his desire to add a number of neo-conservative attacks on worker’s rights, freedom of information, women’s rights, and other basic elements of democracy. Ignatieff’s only real concern is to determine how to ensure that the people of Canada see Harper and his policies for what they are; a Machiavellian effort to make the rich richer and shaft the rest.
I guess we will see what happens. But we know that the Tories have already begun to work on efforts to portray the new Liberal leader as an undemocratic leader who was parachuted into the position by elite Liberals from Ontario and Quebec. But they are not dealing with Dion anymore, and I suspect that Ignatieff will not be so easily cornered. I get the feeling that he is ready to fight back in a way that Liberals have not done for years. Liberals have good reason to celebrate today, and hopefully we will all reap the benefits if Ignatieff can unseat Harper and his evil regime. The problem is that to defeat the Tories Ignatieff will have to resort in part to the same tactics that Harper and his bullies have used for the past few years. I just hope that once they destroy Harper, Ignatieff can give up that seductive strategy and bring some civility back to Canadian politics.