CanWest's Don Martin isn't pulling any punches when he describes Ignatieff as something of a Nero fiddling while Rome burns.
It's his budget, not mine," Ignatieff snapped of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's sharp lurch into a five-year series of new deficits, although the rookie leader did claim credit for all the good parts.
It's a shrewd move to reject a budget-backing coalition with the Conservatives, albeit transparently scheming with self-interest. This strategy does not reflect concern for the welfare of hard-hit Canadians, even though Ignatieff masked himself with a feel-your-pain wince to attack the budget's deficit of green initiatives, equalization fairness and child-care support.
The hard swallow of the Liberal's wait-and-see strategy is how it loops Parliament into a wearisome cycle of partisan brinkmanship when Canadians were hoping for unity of purpose to keep the economy moving.
But these are not normal times and if there's something, ANYTHING, this Parliament should be doing to ease the pain, it should be put on the table for discussion immediately. Waiting to capitalize on its failure for political gain is not an option.
Besides, I doubt the Liberals have much more than tinkering in mind when it comes to governing differently in rocky times. Ignatieff's boast that many of the budget's ideas would be right at home on the Liberal side of the House is correct and his objections were not terribly objectionable.
To take advantage of an electoral opportunity, putting the government in limbo at the peak heat of an economic meltdown, would be the height of political arrogance and recklessness, the very traits Ignatieff pins on the Conservatives.
Like Martin, I think Iggy is ducking a paternity issue. He claims to have shaped the government budget, says most of it would be just fine in a Liberal budget and then props it up by voting for it. After all that, he turns coy and says it's Harper's budget, not his. Oh dear.