Monday, January 26, 2009

Hardball. Ignatieff Up to Bat

Remember the Ralph Goodale/income trust leak scandal that allowed Stephen Harper defeat the Martin government? Weren't the Cons indignant and self-righteous back then? That was then, this is now.

The Cons, with Parliament locked down to preserve their power, are freely leaking budget details at every turn. They're openly admitting they're leaking the budget to garner public support that they hope will deter the opposition from showing them the door. But they're quick to add this isn't a "political game." Say what?

Harper and his minions are playing hardball. They're pitching to the public and the batter is Michael Ignatieff. This is a tactic to get at Iggy, to sap his will, to intimidate him. Pretty aggressive stuff that.

Ignatieff is being shoved around. I think Harper figures he's got the measure of Ignatieff and that all that remains now is to get Iggy to actually jump through that hoop.


Steve V said...


Don't forget one crucial point, Harper is playing games on our field. This budget shows absolutely no similarity to the fiscal update, in fact it encompasses pretty much every demand of the opposition (details and depth of commitments aside). Ignatieff hasn't been shoved anywhere, as a matter of fact he hasn't moved one iota. Compare what
Ignatieff said in November and that of Harper. Harper came to us, we didn't move at all. When Jack Layton says "Harper sounds like a New Democrat", "trust" aside, it's pretty hard to argue that we've caved here.

The Mound of Sound said...

Harper, as we have so often seen, is all about perception - form over substance. He came into power spreading the perception that he was a principled type who would cleanse the old ways and introduce accountability and transparency. We would have fixed election terms and an end to old-style senate appointments.

In embracing the Bush/Cheney/Rove playbook, Harper counts on public perception trumping reality every time. His very ambition to achieve a majority government hinges on it.

All these orchestrated budget leaks are an effort at building perceptions and Harper wants to create perceptions of Iggy as much as anything else.

Sure we can say that the budget conforms to every demand of the opposition, but what's important to Harper is that it's seen as HIS budget and that Iggy gets the perception of accommodating the Tories on it.

Steve V said...


I don't think any reasonable observer would conclude that this is HIS budget. All I've read or heard, is how the government has moved since November, really what were down to here is a question of "trust". That's Ignatieff's line, that's Layton's line, that's Duceppe's line. Of course, should the Liberals support, we will hear the "propping up Harper" angle, but I really, really don't see it resonating this time, people are more apt to just give a sigh of relief and move on.

The Mound of Sound said...

Ah, Steve, but there's your problem. You're a "reasonable observer" which automatically distinguishes you from the majority. Tell me, Steve, if everyone who went into the ballot box in the last election was a "reasonable observer" would Harper have garnered 38% of the vote?

Fish said...

Come on Mound, we musn't call a huge portion of the population unreasonable just because they voted for a party we don't like.

You're right to point out that the PM is all about perception, but in this case, the focus seems to be that iggy is the one doing the shoving.