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Jim Travers to Liberals: get feisty (sort of).

Jim Travers’ Op-Ed in the Toronto Star this Saturday AM leads with this attention-grabbing line:

Stephen Harper says he’s ready to fight an election over a (3 billion $) Conservative slush fund. Michael Ignatieff should call the bluff.

However, he later says an election wouldn’t be in the national interest now… yikes, make your mind up, Jim. šŸ˜‰

But, he does suggest before the LiberalsĀ  pull the plug, they should give the Conservatives a way out, by demanding thatĀ  independent accountability isĀ  there to oversee the spending of this 3 billion$ as a precondition to supporting the financial statement:

As a condition for continuing Liberal support of the budget still making its way through Parliament, Ignatieff should insist that the $3 billion fund be transparent. One caveat would guarantee that (Parliamentary Budget Officer) Page gets the funding that he was promised and needs to do his job. Another would force the immediate creation of a website to allow the timely tracing of public dollars all the way into private pockets. If the Prime Minister has nothing to hide, he has nothing to fear.

That sounds perfectly reasonable to me. If the Conservatives refused this condition, the Liberals would be able to bring down the government and have an instant election issue on the Conservatives secrecy,Ā  and their refusal to have public accountability and traceability on their spending. Combine that message with pointing out again that the Conservatives engage in pork-barrel politics in the worst manner – most of their public infrastructure funding done so far has goneĀ  to Conservative held ridings – and that’s a powerful indictment against the Conservatives;Ā  they have no idea how to manage this economy, and what spending they’ve done so far is done to try and give advantage to their electoral fortunes, not for the good of the country or to aid the economy.

10 comments to Jim Travers to Liberals: get feisty (sort of).

  • Roll Tide

    There will be no election for a long while, Ignatieff and Harper both know it. The Liberals have no money.

  • Joseph

    oops – that should have been “economic storm” (not story ; ).

  • Joseph

    I have been thinking about this off and on since yesterday when I first read the reports in depth about what was being proposed and how Harper and Flaherty were beating the drum on the matter. I honestly think Ignatieff and the Liberals have nothing to lose and much to gain by simply stating, “We won’t support this funding without proper oversight and an approval process of where the funding will go to ensure the wisest use of the funds to help all Canadians weather this economic story.” Period, end of story. Just make it clear as day that there will be provisions before they’ll support it – or they won’t support it.

    If Harper decides to try to “force an election” over the issue as he and Flaherty were hinting at yesterday, all Ignatieff has to say is it is time for the adults to run government and that Harper’s petty brinksmanship has long grown stale.

    I would love Harper to have to run an election over his “right” to have a secret slush fund. What a glorious election it would be to watch unfold.

  • MoS

    Yeah, instead of “recovery.gov” we should have http://www.recovery.ca. Put all details of the infrastructure/recovery spending on the web – just like Obama’s doing.

  • Anon

    Perhaps someone should start a top-10 things Harper could do with a 3B slush fund contest?

  • The moment Ignatieff decides to pull the plug on the Harper rĆ©gime, either the Bloc or NDP will prop up Harper. Those two parties will not want to give Ignatieff exclusive rights to defeat the government on his own time.

  • Greg

    Great idea, too bad Travers says we can’t afford an election right now and so the Liberals shouldn’t cause one. How in the heck are the Liberals supposed to have any leverage if Harper knows there will be no election?

  • The Liberals cannot afford to fight an election right now, and for that reason, Iggy will never vote against anything the Tories come up with, no matter how odious. Mark my words, Harper will determine the date of the next election.

  • Good idea, but I doubt His Igginess will insist on the conditions Travers proposes. He make make noises that sound a bit like it, but they’ll amount to nothing substantive.

    BTW, I like the new look, Scott! Colourful, easy to read. Three columns rather than four. Crisp, clean.

  • foottothefire

    That is a gem of an idea. A 3 billion dollar slush fund in the hands of a PM who has violated every feature of his own propaganda on honesty in government, is not something that sits well.

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