I think Michael Ignatieff ought to send a lovely gift basket to Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe for the wonderful things they've done for the Liberal leader.
First of all, they've shown that all that bluster and indignation about the Libs propping up Harper was so much B.S. How many times did we listen to that sanctimonious bald-headed twerp demand Iggy stand up to Harper - until he did - sending Jack diving headlong into the deepend of the hypocrisy pool.
Most importantly, however, is they've taken Iggy off the hook. He can't trigger an election which is probably much better for the LPC than for the CPC. Here's why. No election means Harper isn't going to be able to duck Copenhagen in December.
Between now and December, Harper is going to have to formulate Canada's policy on slashing greenhouse gas emissions. If he does nothing meaningful, Canada will be seen as a pariah at the climate change summit. If he does come up with an effective, carbon-emissions programme, he's going to have to address the Athabasca Tar Sands problem. That, for Steve, is a no-win proposition. He knows it and that's why he's been ducking it since he came to power.
There's not much middle ground on this one, not enough anyway. Steve can't fall back on CCS (carbon capture & sequestration) any longer. The Oil Patch has been 'calling wolf' on that for much too long for it to be a credible dodge now. Even if it could be made to work, it would take decades to implement and it wouldn't be economically viable to Big Oil. That means the cost of CCS would have to be shifted to the Canadian taxpayer and how do you think that would be greeted?
Iggy has shown himself to be a really amateurish politician but the gods have given him this one, perhaps last chance to fix Harper in a totally vulnerable position. The rest of the world - including the European Union, the scientific community, the medical community, the United Nations, even China and India - will be going full-bore on climate change in the runup to Copenhagen. Harper is going to come out with some gossamer policy and Iggy, if he has any guts, will be able to poke holes right through it.
Let's put it this way. There are a lot more Canadians worried about climate change and global warming than those worried about how much bitumen can be processed in Athabasca. Iggy ignores that at his peril.