Home > Conservatives, Federal, Liberals, NDP > Dear Iggy: Coalition Will Be Useless As A Tool To Gather Concessions From The Conservatives

Dear Iggy: Coalition Will Be Useless As A Tool To Gather Concessions From The Conservatives

December 8, 2008

Michael Ignatieff doesn’t seem to get it.

Ignatieff wants to use the coalition as a threat against the Conservatives in order to gain concessions.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. You see, in order to be a continual threat against the Conservatives, the NDP would have to be willing to form a coalition anytime Ignatieff would like it to. However, the reality is this: if Ignatieff abandons the coalition once, the NDP isn’t going to come back to it again. It’s the “fool me once, shame of you, fool me twice, shame on me” principle at work here.

So Ignatieff has two choices on January 26th if he becomes leader. He can either stick with the coalition, or be the enabler of Conservative policies for years to come.

  1. Sean S.
    December 8, 2008 at 11:20 am

    I get the sense that Iggy is under the dillusion that the Liberals are a mere election away from re-gaining power with himself at the helm….

  2. Anthony
    December 8, 2008 at 11:49 am

    This is poorly argued.

    You are assuming the Ignatieff would be reliant upon NDP support. The different between him and Dion is he is a strong leader and can represent his party’s views on his own.

    Your disjunctive is also wrong. He can leave the coalition but press strong demands on Harper to give Canadians what they need. There is no reason to suppose this won’t work.

    Harper is more likely to listen to Ignatieff solo, than a Dion/Layton combo. Harper obviously would do the opposite of what Layton wants out of spit for NDPers.

  3. janfromthebruce
    December 8, 2008 at 11:49 am

    We call that fly by night friends, and no, that is not what a coalition is all about. We are not there when he thinks he needs us – sorry.

    I also think that Iggy might have bought into the myth of the “natural governing party” and well if that is what he thinks, he is readily mistake.

  4. December 8, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Sean S. – we ARE potentially one election away from replacing the complete incompetence displayed in since the Oct election. Longest minority gov’t in history? That gets credit. RUINING it within 7 weeks because of hubris? EPIC FAIL.
    We got stretched along during the first term because, frankly, the opposition was weak and readily communicated that to the nation. That is no longer the case. Canadians are furious at Harper for ignoring the economic catastrophe.

    We are one REAL election away from returning to strong Liberal governance (under MI). The low turnout rate for the last election speaks to Canadians’ exhaustion with Harper politics. The conservatives WANT Canadians to not care.

    And now what has Rae done in the last week? Shown us that he too is more concerned with winning than the effects of his actions of the Nation he plans to lead.

  5. Tim
    December 8, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    I think that Ignatieff has taken the much more responsible and intelligent approach to the coalition, in contrast to Rae’s head-strong rush to support it. Michael is not using the coalition as an empty threat – he expressed his support for the concept, and has set an extremely high threshold for Harper’s economic update next month.

    Rae saw the coalition as an opportunity to make some press, knowing that he has to take huge risks to make up ground in the leadership race. He set himself up as captain coalition, and he did so knowing that it is risky but without knowing the full extent of that risk. He has thrown himself headlong into defeating the government at all costs, regardless of what the best interests of the country may be come January.

    Michael has approached this in a way that is much more responsible and that is far better for both the Liberal party and the people of Canada.

  6. December 8, 2008 at 12:10 pm


    How is Iggy going to:

    leave the coalition but press strong demands on Harper to give Canadians what they need.

    I can see it now…

    February 6th, 2009
    After Iggy backs out of the coalition

    Iggy: “Harper, these are my demands if you want to survive as government.”

    Harper: “Really?”

    Iggy: “Yes, or else your government will fall.”

    Harper: “Go right ahead. There is now no alternate government to replace me, so there will be an election. We are higher in the polls, we aren’t in debt like you, and we’ve got the attack ads ready. No, Mike, here are our demands. HAHAHA!”

    Okay, maybe the above is a bit of a dramatization. But I’m not seeing that the Liberals have any leverage against the Conservatives alone – or else they would have used it by now.

  7. Sidney
    December 8, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Rae is suggesting the Liberals defeat the Conservatives at the first possible chance. It seems irresponsible and foolish to blindly fight without seeing what the other side has to offer, in a time of economic crisis such as this. At least Ignatieff is willing to put the interests of Canadians before his own political ambitions. It is sensible to wait and see what the Conservative budget will entail, before deciding on which action to take.

  8. Sean S.
    December 8, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    If Iggy has the support of a majority of the Liberal MPs, and all MPs backed the coalition even Iggy, what does that say?

  9. December 8, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Hi Anthony,

    I think NBC Dipper was trying to say that he can’t bring up the coalition threat three, four, or five months from now. It’s either the Liberals agree to participate in a coalition just after January 26 or not at all.

    No doubt Iggy could be a strong opponent against the Harper régime. If he wants to go it alone, that is up to him. Just don’t expect the NDP to support him five months from now.

  10. burpnrun
    December 8, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    I find it hilarious that you feel “used”, and will not put up with it. Crazily, that’s how an overwhelming majority of Canadians feel about the Coalition of the Unworthy, according to polls. It probably is how the Liberal party feels now that some (small) degree of sanity has returned to their ranks, despite their tiny and greedy brain cells.

    Moral: If you go to bed with a goat, at least one of you is going to feel “used” in the morning.

    Sorry, no sympathy here. Never had any for the Think Twice rabble who are behind all this, either.

  11. December 8, 2008 at 6:42 pm


    You make as much sense as one who would copulate with said goat.

    Which is to say, not much.

  12. Sean S.
    December 8, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    I would counter that “most” Canadians didn’t have the slightest clue what was going on last week. Instead they saw the man who was supposed to be their PM preaching heavy handed rheotric and lying through his teeth at every possible moment.

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