So Michael Ignatieff has decided that the Liberals are tired of propping up the Conservative government and is threatening to table a motion of non-confidence at the first opportunity. I am no fan of the Harpie and his merry band of Cons however, Ignatieff’s ‘reasons’ for the motion of non-confidence are spurious at best. There isn’t a big issue, like say a budget, to hang their hats on. Instead they are looking at the entire Harper record and deciding that they should force an election. When the Coalition threatened to bring the government down over the budget I supported that action. There were serious problems with that budget and they deserved to lose control of government. However this time it is different.
If the Liberals force an election it is going to be seen for what it is: a grab for power. I am not sure who is advising Ignatieff but calling an election now would be a really bad idea for the following reasons:
1. There is no galvanizing issue. Saying that the Cons have provided bad government for 4 years is not going to cut it. Those people who would support the Liberals would likely do so and those who support the Conservatives would probably still vote for them. It is the undecided voters who would need to be convinced. It is unlikely that the Liberals could command this group.
2. Generally speaking the party that forces the election is usually punished at the polls.
3. We just had an election. Frequent elections are a de-stabilizing factor on democracies. Given that our economy grew by a slight amount in the last quarter, an election may derail this nascent recovery.
4. I dare say that most voters are not really convinced that Ignatieff can actually lead the Liberal party. Personally, I find him ‘smarmy’, a bit like a used car sales person (no offence to used car sales people). I think he is a rush to fulfil his own ‘manifest destiny’ and Canada will not benefit from this. He should take a lesson from Paul Martin’s playbook – wanting to be prime minister just to be prime minister is not a really good way to lead a country.
I sincerely hope that Ignatieff changes his mind. I believe that if he forces an election now the Liberals would likely lose seats and then he will bring us one step closer to a Cons majority – a truly scary, scary option.