Friday, September 11, 2009

Ignatieff: Alienating supporters of electoral and parliamentary reform one stupid declaration at a time

So, responding to Harper's latest skillful bit of bait, Michael Ignatieff has declared he will never enter into a coalition government.

Delightful. In an era of perpetual minority governments, and deeply fragmented voter intentions, Ignatieff has decided that making a working parliament that actually reflects the spectrum of voter opinion is a bad idea.

If he wanted to alienate supporters of electoral reform and voters who actually think a Liberal-NDP coalition might be a good thing, he's done a bang-up job.

I wonder who the NDP and Green candidates are going to be in Guelph...

ETA: I miss Jean Chrétien.

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At 12:24 pm, Blogger janfromthebruce said...

yes, so now we know which parties support electoral reform and which ones don't.
Democracy and representing most rather than the fewest who got the most over only the next shows that elitism will remain in the hands of the few.
great post

At 12:29 pm, Blogger West End Bob said...

If he wanted to alienate supporters of electoral reform and voters who actually think a Liberal-NDP coalition might be a good thing, he's done a bang-up job.

My sentiments, exactly, Matt.

Great post . . . .

At 12:44 pm, Blogger pogge said...


At 7:32 pm, Blogger Chrystal Ocean said...

Your post says expresses it well. "I've yet to be convinced" Ignatieff doesn't care a fig for electoral or democratic reform. Why should he be convinced, after all? The system serves only two parties, his own and the Connies'.

At 1:04 am, Blogger Jennie / Jae said...

My loathing for that man grows stronger by the day.

At 5:34 pm, Blogger KevinG said...

Bah! He's alienated 6 people and made 600 feel better.

Besides, in these days, politicians are not held to the word so he has all the options available should it suit his goals at any time in the future ;)

At 12:19 pm, Anonymous MS said...

Ignatieff of course is just doing what every party does - he's running for a majority, but will end-up taking whatever he can get. No party (not even the NDP or Greens) will openly run on a promise of forming a coalition.

That being said, he could probably have been less unequivocal in his denunciation of a possible Red-Orange coalition, in light of recent polling.

Despite recent hubris, etc. on Ignatieff's part, the Liberals really are the only serious non-Tory option in Guelph. Federally the NDP are playing a cynical game and are wiling part in some informal coalition agreement with the Tories. Plus they don't seem to have any obvious candidates in Guelph. The two potential candidates for the Greens are no where near the calibre of Mike Nagy or Liz May, and so the party has pretty-much written-off this riding.

At 2:19 pm, Anonymous Eamon said...

Yeah, I'm sure that Iggy's comments offended all 5 of the people in Canada who would actually care for a Liberal-NDP Coalition.

I want political parties to work together as much as the next person, but Iggy is smart to understand the negative outcry last time a coalition was proposed. Plus, rejecting a coalition doesn't mean he won't work with the NDP, it just means he doesn't want any of them in the actual government.

What Iggy has done a good job of is wash his hands of the unpopular Dion Grit history, and positioned himself to criticize Harper for getting into bed with "socialists" after lambasting the Libs for doing the same thing last year.

At 2:44 pm, Blogger Matt said...

Eamon and KevinG,

I think you underestimate the soft left vote in Canada. A lot of NDP voters hold their noses and vote Liberal, if they think the Liberals might work with the NDP, or even form a coalition. But Ignatieff is making it pretty clear that he's not keen on that option, so they may stick with their guns.

The bigger issue for me is about electoral reform. I avidly dislike the first-past-the-post system, and think that coalitions are not a bad thing - and indeed are the logical outcome of a reformed PR or mixed system. Ignatieff basically slammed the door on any willingness to contemplate that arrangement or the parliamentary reforms that would lead to it, which is why I am upset with him.

Don't get me wrong - Jack Layton is hardly in my good books at the moment. But knee-jerk statements of the sort Ignatieff seems to be prone to making are not inspiring much confidence in my opinion of his leadership abilities, or of his capacity to beat Harper.

At 11:56 am, Anonymous Eamon said...

NDP supporters may hold their noses and vote Liberal if a coalition is possible, but I don't think that the left is where Iggy figures on picking up votes. The Liberals were strongest when they were in the middle of the spectrum, a place the Tories have now taken. I think Iggy has his eye on pushing the Tories out of the centre, and making them look like right wing crazies.

I'm also not convinced that electoral reform is a big issue in Canada. Don't get me wrong, I support a PR-style system, but I don't think the issue is important to enough most Canadians, as evidenced by the lacklustre referendum in Ontario. Supporting policy that the majority of Canadians don't care about sunk Dion, I don't think the Libs want to do anything to repeat that.

I agree though, I miss Chretien.


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