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No excuses from this corner.

I see Steve beat me to the blogpost lamenting the Liberals backing away from demanding some accountability for the Conservatives 3 billion$ “special fund”.

Look, if there are advisers in Ignatieff’s corner or if the caucus in general are still afraid to go to an election this early into Ignatieff’s tenure, and we were going to let this go through anyhow, there was no point of sending Ignatieff out there a few weeks ago claiming he would not give this government a blank cheque, when the Liberals did exactly that in my view (non-binding Liberal motion calling on the government to specify which departments and programs will have access to the $3 billion fund notwithstanding). That at the LEAST is bad optics.

There are plenty of things going wrong with the Conservatives right now. I would have been perfectly comfortable having an election writ dropped over their refusal to have any accountability with their 3 billion $ fund – a position Auditor General Sheila Fraser, the most respected person in Canada when it comes to government finances, SUPPORTED a couple of days ago, saying it was perfectly reasonable to ask for generalities on where the money is going.

So, you won’t be finding any excuses for what the Liberals did from this Liberal-supporting blog. I’ve been fairly satisfied with Ignatieff’s (and by extension, the Liberals) public relations performance, even as I’m a bit uncomfortable with some of the party’s rightward shifting on certain issues. This move however, was their first mistake on the former front, in my opinion. If you’re going to use strong words, back them up with strong actions when the time comes. Otherwise, there’s no point saying you’re holding a government to probation, when you don’t do anything when they break probation.

12 comments to No excuses from this corner.

  • Roll Tide

    If I was Harper, I would use the 3 Billion towards the debt, and be done with it. I am not sure he would show that kind of leadership, he has become too pragmatic towards the left.

  • MoS

    Harper is a damned poor leader but he has astonishing political instincts when he has the measure of an opponent. He now has the full measure of Michael Ignatieff and, mark my words, he’s now figuring out how to capitalize on that in ways that will make Iggy look even weaker.

    Harper is a lot like the Vancouver Island cougar. You don’t run away from them. If you do, they’ll see you as prey and then you’re finished.

  • We may let the odd thing “slip by” at this point, but the tone in which it is carried, and our ability to stand up for ourselves (on the PR front) is much better now… I think there are bigger fish to fry right now, and I think you’re seeing it: we’re latching onto the EI issue, the economy, and the general hypocrisy of this government. By making our thoughts felt on this one we are going on the record for where we stand (in Hansard), while we are waiting to watch the guillotine fall…

    There is deeper strategy at play. I think the AG is part of it… You say non-binding motion. I say “motion”. Potay-toe, po-tat-oe… The voter sees that we put forward a motion in Parliament to stand against the government on this matter. The commercials will be more telling…

  • I’ve been predicting this from the start, but it gives me no pleasure to see the Liberals cave again.

    I would also point out that when the stories of abuse of this money come out (and they will) the Liberals will be in no position to attack the Tories. In fact, they will be busy deflecting blame.

  • Big Winnie

    I’m confused. Harper introduces the “Accountability Act” in 2006 promising a more transparent and accountable government. Now he asks for, and receives, $3 Billion to blow on what ever he sees fit.

    But the Liberals introduce a motion (nonbinding) that asks for Accountability, which gets passed by the house (Cons excepted), and Toews goes on record saying that they will not abide by it….Hmmm…

    Where is the accountability?…None to be had!!

  • CWTF

    While those that follow politics closely should normally react like Scott, in the end this is a non-story to the voting population.

  • slg

    Ever occur to anyone that this gives ammunition for the Tories to hang themselves?

    The auditor general is none too pleased – if they do anything out of line with that $3 billion – bingo!

  • Roll Tide

    His Igginess has cornered himself a-la-Dion.
    As a Conservative, but not as partisan as you may think, I thought Liberals were on to something with this 3 Billion dollar stimulus. The problem is that the Liberals have no credibility on the issue, with the reign of pork the party has left behind.
    Its like the NDP demanding the Canadian Armed Forces do more to protect the Afghan citizens from the Taliban.

  • Marie

    Good post Scott. and I do agree with Anon. Now we are seeing who was the weaker link in the fiasco with Dion. When will they understand that the answer to all our problems is call a dame election if needed and let Canadians decide for themselves who they want to govern this country. Great post Anon. I totaly agree with you.

  • Anon

    Wonder why Iggy would go to all the trouble to distance himself from Dion (e.g. on the coalition, environment, etc) and then paint himself as another Dion by talking tough and then caving in when it comes to the vote?

    Seems that the Libs are going to great lengths to convince voters that they are only interested in coming back to power, not in doing the right things for Canadians in these troubled times (e.g. by demanding accountability for the $3b especially since the AG has already expressed strong concerns). I am really disappointed.

  • Sean S.

    I would suggest letting the budget pass without any oversight was the first gaffe, this would be #2. I wonder what the third backdown will be over?

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