When Ignatieff announced that Harper's time was up and that the Liberals would oppose the government on confidence votes, the NDP, sensing an opportunity of sorts, revealed that they would be willing to operate with the Conservatives on a case by case basis. However, in an NDP understanding of things, they have entered into a coalition.
I do not believe this, but the NDP, if it is to be consistent and coherent, should. Back when the budget was passed, the NDP, hurt that their plans for a coalition with the Liberals fell through, claimed that a most unholy alliance, a coalition, had been established between the Liberals and the Conservatives. That there was no signed agreement between the two leaders was inconsequential and thus not addressed.
Fast forward again and the circumstances are similar for the NDP. There is no formal agreement, no negotiations have been carried out to guarantee the government support over a certain period of time. Instead, the NDP finds itself doing exactly what the Liberals were doing months ago.
Why would the NDP change its mind on what qualifies on a coalition? Simple really, last time it was the Liberals trying to avoid an election. Now it's us. Moreover, crucially, the NDP would probably lose seats and experience its first decline in this category for a long time. It is the Liberals whose fortunes have looked up in the opinion polls, it is the Liberals who are resurgent in Quebec.
Hopefully Layton will not manipulate the electorate again, using Tory-worthy tactics of deception, since he is finally engaging in what he so criticized. Let's hope so for the sake of the quality of political debate in Canada.
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- ▼ September (18)