Columnist Thomas Walkom isn't mincing any words - Michael Ignatieff's Liberals are failing the country and those who elected them to become the official opposition. The proof, he says, is in the IgLibs' spineless refusal to oppose Harper's Bill C-9:
All three opposition parties say that to package so many disparate things in one bill is an outrageous abuse.
But the Liberals, desperate to avoid an election they believe they can’t yet win, are letting the bill move ahead anyway.
Most recently, the Liberals kept one of their MPs away from the Commons finance committee to make sure that Bill C-9 could get through that stage without their having to explicitly support it.
On Tuesday, Liberal MP and finance critic Bob Rae was on CBC Radio suggesting that the unelected Senate might be better positioned than the elected Commons to give Bill C-9 the scrutiny it deserves.
That’s an argument that doesn’t make sense (the unelected Senate is always loath to defeat a Commons money bill). But to be fair to Rae, it’s all he could say given the refusal of Liberal MPs to undertake the job they were elected to fill — that of official opposition.
The essential problem is that the Liberals don’t take the role of opposition seriously. Desperate for power, they are unwilling to do anything to spark an election until they are reasonably sure of winning it.
Yet given the current configuration of political forces in Canada — and their current leader — they cannot be certain of winning more seats than Harper’s Conservatives in the next election.
So they do nothing. They hem; they haw; they occasionally threaten. But in the end they back off, waiting for that elusive better chance.
That may be fine for them. But it’s not for us. The country didn’t elect 77 Liberal MPs so that they could sit on their hands waiting for the moment to regain power. We elected them — and the Bloc Québécois and the New Democrats — to rein in a minority Conservative government that most of us don’t trust.
There are a lot of Liberals who tolerate the Ignatieff malaise as a matter of loyalty. But, as Walkom points out, loyalty to whom? Does loyalty to their party always have to trump loyalty to their country?
I'll bet that many of the diehard Liberal faithful harbour a pretty good hunch that Ignatieff is never going to become prime minister, at least not without eating humble pie to court the support of the other opposition parties, just as they realize that the current leader of the opposition has done squat for this country. Coming in the wake of the failure he deposed, the inept and hapless leadership of the successor who was supposed to make everything right has to be an enormous and bitter disappointment.
These hard core Libs need to take stock of the situation before them. They need to accept that the brand alone isn't enough to get Canadian voters to restore their party to power. How many more times are they going to beat their heads on that wall?
Read Walkom's column here.