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Very pleased to see Ignatieff's stance on coalitions clarified.

..and that he’s more or less taking the stance I’ve been advocating that he and the Liberal leadership should be taking:

Michael Ignatieff says coalition governments are “perfectly legitimate” and he’d be prepared to lead one if that’s the hand Canadian voters deal him in the next election. But the Liberal leader says it would be disrespectful to voters and damaging to his party to try to strike any deals with the NDP before voters have spoken…”Co-operation between parties to produce political and electoral stability is not illegitimate. It’s never been illegitimate, it’s part of our system,” he said, noting that coalitions have been formed in parliamentary democracies around the globe.

…the right way to do it is to run your flag up, (opposing parties) run their flag up, you fight like crazy, you put your choices clearly to the Canadian people, they make their choices and then you play the cards that voters deal you.

Also note this part:

Ignatieff insisted he still believes the Liberals can win the next election. But should no party win a majority and the numbers make it feasible for a Liberal-led coalition to provide “progressive, stable, compassionate, good government,” Ignatieff said he’d “make it work for Canadians.”

That wording is important; the “running to win outright” line is what was repeated by Cameron and Clegg and Gordon Brown  before the UK election, and the “looking to form a strong stable government” line was repeated ad nauseam after the election, when they were talking about looking to form a coalition government.

Mr Ignatieff has decided to pick up on that, and rightly so (and should repeat this line over and over again if the scenario pops up after the next election).

Hopefully, his public declaration that he is open to coalitions, but that they should only be negotiated about post-election, not pre-election, will now end the public musings and some arguing by some Liberals publicly on what the Liberals should or shouldn’t be doing come a post-election scenario involving no clear majority.

Bravo on Iggy for that stance and for making his views clear on the topic.

UPDATE: Other Liberal supporters are pleased, and even other progressives not inclined to support Iggy approve as well.

UPDATE 2 @ 11:30 am: An NDP blogger’s take.

UPDATE 3 @ 12:16pm: Another progressive blogger not normally friendly to the Liberals or Iggy approves, and another Liberal bloggers’ take. While in general agreement, I slightly disagree with him on one point; I think Iggy said what needed to be said for right now.

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5 comments to Very pleased to see Ignatieff’s stance on coalitions clarified.

  • kmartin

    I was very impressed with this post. Iggy finally took a stance on something. Maybe he can get his poll numbers above Stephan Dions!
    Face it. Canadians are either not interested in federal politics to the degree you are or they just find Iggy not appealing. I think its a very good combination of both.

  • Anon ABC

    One other point: The Cons will now likely try to put the fear into voters by claiming that the “losers” will try to replace the “winners”. It is important that the opposition parties clearly explain to voters that there are no “winners” in a minority Parliament situation and that all are “losers” because no party got a majority. Harper’s new best friend, Netanyahu, would be a “loser” by Harper’s definition and should not have the right to govern. So why is Harper throwing Canada’s support behind an “illegitimate” Israeli government if Harper is to be believed?

  • Anon ABC

    Ignatieff is to be congratulated for finally clarifying this. The stand that he has taken, running to win a majority pre-election but willing to consider forming a coalition post-election if that will lead to a stable govt, is perfectly acceptable, legitimate and appropriate under our Westminster system. This is what many of us had been advocating for some time.

    By doing this, Ignatieff has finally confronted the Rovian strategy of turning your opponents strength into his weakness that Harper had apparently been following. The post-election coalition among the non-Cons parties is the single biggest threat to the Harper govt losing power and, before this, Ignatieff had allowed himself to be manipulated into denying that the Libs would ever do this. Finally, it would seem, Ignatieff is gaining some political acumen, and mojo.

    Just two suggestions. First, Ignatieff should repeatedly state that coalitions are legitimate, that it is not required under our Westminster system to preannounce any coaliion plans pre-election(remain coy if asked about details), and state that the Cons are misleading voters big-time if they claim that it is illegitimate not to preannounce coalitions(state that Harper had already misled voters by claiming that losers do not form coalitions). Second, Ignatieff should strongly challenge Harper whether the Cons themselves ever intend to form coalitions with any party and remind voters of Harper’s letter to the GG in 2005 to replace the Martin’s govt without an election. Voters need to be reminded, ad infinitum, of what Harper had tried to do then which is apparently very different from what he is claiming now.

    And yeah, it would definitely help if Ignatieff keeps to the message today and not confuse voters by saying contradictory, or apparently contradictory things, in the coming days. And make sure Scott Reid says the right things too. His message on this issue had been unclear at best. LOL.

  • billg

    Its the only answer he could give, and, its the right one, but, with a week to go in the next election how does he answer the question he’s going to get asked when its apparent the Libs will finish 2nd and the NDP 3rd? This question was a softball, how does he answer.. “the polls indicate a Tory minority sir..will you tell Canadians if a coalition with the NDP is in the works?”. How does he answer that? Which is why simple minded people like be never understood the insane logic of 2008’s coaltion attempt which at the time hurt the Libs, cost a good man his leadership position and, saddled the party with coaltion questions for the next 2 elections.

  • William M

    Ignatieffs stance is logical. Run on your policy planks, see what the voters say, and then horse trade if you have to.

    Now Mr. Ignatieff, those policy planks please.

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