Monday, September 7, 2009

Ignatieff, the NDP and Election Scenarios. . . .

It took me a few days to  realize what the Liberals must have been thinking when they decided to finally attempt to bring down Harper and his government. I guess I am a little slow this week. Ignatieff and his inner circle are surely thinking that even though they are not particularly high in the poles, with the economy slowly improving (at least by the traditional numbers) this is their best time to go to the poles. But they are not trying to force an election because they are thinking they must win. On the contrary, all they have to do is have a strong showing. If the Liberal Party were to win a minority they figure they can govern for a couple of years with only moderate cooperation from the NDP and the Bloc. But if Harper  wins a small minority (and I am sure that this is the best he can expect) he will once again find himself in a untenable position, unable to govern in part because of his epic ego and partisanship and in part because it will be his forth election and it will be clear at that point even with his own party that he cannot win a majority. So I figure Ignatieff is thinking if Harper wins a minority and tries to govern they can vote down the Thrown Speech and then go to the governor general and ask for their own chance to form the government. Such a request will be almost impossible to deny and the Liberals will find themselves in government by default. Then all Ignatieff  has to do is to make the Parliament function better than Harper was able to do (which should be easy) to maintain his government for a good while. At this point the Liberals can take credit for any recovery that may take place as well as for having smarter government and improving the tone of politics and they would have a good chance at a majority. 

Now given the reasonableness of this scenario, the only thing I can't figure is why the NDP changed their tune so suddenly. If this scenario panned out they would surely benefit and all the polling indications suggest that they could actually gain seats in an election. The only thing I can figure is that they actually want the election but don't want to appear that the want the election. Seeing Anne Magrath on CBC last night suggesting that the Liberals are being irresponsible by edging toward an election and running advertising at a time of economic uncertainty must be an attempt to position themselves as a sober and cautious alternative to the Liberals. Now this is probably a stupid and hypocritical game on the part of the NDP, unless it is specifically designed, with the blessing of Ignatieff, to distance the NDP from the Liberals during an election campaign in order to undercut any talk of a coalition by the Tories who want to continue to milk that cow because it is one of the only weapons they have left. 

By the way, wasn't that a bizarre news conference held by Mr. Kenney in which he unveiled a strange and inexplicable tape of what they say was Ignatieff saying nothing significant? It was sort of sadly pathetic. Of course if they realize the scenario outlined above, and they surely must,  they must be in a state of utter panic. If the only way they can continue to govern is to win a majority they have to know they are really in trouble. 


ADHR said...

I think you're missing the obvious. The NDP are positioning themselves against both the Liberals and the Conservatives. They're not the junior Liberals or what have you. They see an opening -- they're taking it. That's how multiparty politics is supposed to work.

kirbycairo said...

That is amusing ADHR. First of all if they did see an opening as you say then the NDP wouldn't be trying to appear to be opposing the election. And if somehow this sudden change of heart since the NDP convention represents them seeing an opening it is a duplicitous and hypocritical move on their part.