Saturday, January 31, 2009

More reviews are in: The Aftermath

The first wave of progressive outrage at Michael Ignatieff's decision to support continued Conservative government was documented at the time. But the last couple of days have seen plenty more reason for anger at the Libs' abdication of responsibility - and no lack of commentators continuing to express their frustration. So here's another roundup...

Beijing York:
What really burns is to recognize that neither pay equity nor the failure to address the needs of the most vulnerable was not considered a "poison pill" by the official opposition.

Sadly, I was hoping that Ignatieff would prove me wrong and display some courage. Unfortunately, I was wrong. It seems that vulnerability is an abstract concept for this Ivy League "human rights" expert.
Woman at Mile 0:
My 18 year-old daughter called me last night at 11:06 pm and said she was reconsidering being a Liberal. This had me very concerned as she has always self identified as Liberal and she is a pretty smart cookie currently taking a business/environment studies degree. I asked her why. She said that it’s all over school that the budget gave the biggest tax cuts to the top 8% of Canadians. She believes this budget will cause serious damage and what could Liberals possibly be thinking to support it.

I was shocked and indicated this must not be true because the Libs would not vote for that when we are supposed to be focusing on low income-middle class Canadians. The rich are certainly the last ones to need a tax cut now, blowing us even farther into perilous deficit. Ignatieff said nothing about tax cuts for the highest income earners in his conditions for this budget.

Sure enough I visit the Star this morning and she was right. It does benefit the top 8% the most...I have moved from not supporting this budget to being thoroughly shocked and disgusted at the Conservative’s blatant audacity and complete disregard for the state of the economy, women, children, the environment, science, the unemployed/about to be unemployed, etc. It’s shocking, really shocking.
James Curran:
How refreshing. (Judy Foote) is actually sticking up for (her) constituency. You know. The people that actually sent her to Ottawa to work for them...

She also might want to vote no to the budget for the lack of any support for the equality of women in this country...

...Women's issues? Something our previous leader championed. But that was then. This is now.
Robert McBean:
One day later...

Harper is sneering and calling people names.

Ignatieff looks like an idiot.
A view informed by this earlier post:
The pay equity issue is huge for me and others. Unfortunately Michael Ignatieff has not mentioned it. Is this important to the Liberal Party? Please tell me it is. Denying pay equity resolution shows Harper is small minded, parochial and petty.
The Disaffected Lib:
This guy we've got now, he isn't much concerned about fairness. He's a one man show - he's the decider - and he'll gag his entire caucus to ensure his so very Harperesque iron-hand control of information. Let's face it, no matter whether you think Iggy is a conservative or not, you cannot deny that he likes Harper's style of running a party. We all found that contemptible when Harper did it but suddenly it's become just dandy when Ignatieff does it? Who actually gets the right to turn this Liberal Party of Canada's tap on and off? Did the job specification indicate "strongman" or "leader?" Here's a rule every Latin American knows by heart - never let a strongman in unless that's really what you want and unless you're willing to live with the inevitable outcome.

Now I am, for the first time in a long, long time, absolutely ashamed of the conduct of my party and its Members of Parliament. They've decided it's okay to pursue Harper not just to the right but also into the gutter.

And I guess that's where we part company.
If I'm understanding the current framing correctly, Liberals defending Ignatieff are claiming that he's a strategic genius who's going to hang the recession around the neck of the Conservatives, followed by a triumphant return to power at some unspecified point in the future. Right? Is that the deal?

Then, given this refusal to try to enhance EI payments, eliminate new tax breaks, keep pay equity in place as it is, and so on and so forth -- in other words, actually do things to, y'know, help people -- I think it's quite fair to say that the Liberals also want to make sure that Canadians really suffer through this one. That way, they'll be ever more likely to vote Liberal at that unspecified point in the future.

Montreal Simon:
Ignatieff understands what's wrong with the budget. Yesterday, he detailed some of its main defects – its failure to address the fact that most jobless people don't qualify for employment insurance, its refusal to deal with child care, the strings attached to its infrastructure spending proposals, its gratuitous attack on the principle of paying men and women equally for work of equal value.

Then, having listed the budget's flaws, he said his party would support it anyway...

The Coalition really was the best and most Canadian solution to the enormous and frightening economic crisis our country faces.

I hate attacking many of them are my friends. Everybody knows that I believe in uniting the left into a common front so we can drive the foul Cons from power FOREVER.

I also suspect that Ignatieff will live to regret his moment of moral cowardice.... his moment of idiocy. And it will be his worst punishment.
April Reign:
Sure the budget wasn’t worth the cost of the paper it was printed on. Sure women received absolutely nothing. Sure ordinary working class Canadians were once again told to stuff it in favour of an estimated 3 billion to paid to those who not only can afford to keep their homes but renovate them too, sure there were reports of infrastructure payments –oh did we mention they got the idea from a spam scam? ya– you put up the money first and then we’ll give you riches…sure the budget held all this and more but Ignatieff voted for it anyway.
Red Tory:
Someone asked me this morning why the Liberals are supporting the government’s budget. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a good answer. When I heard yesterday that the Liberals would be proposing amendments to the budget I didn’t think that “putting the government on probation” (to use Ignatieff’s expression) would be sum total of demands that would be made. Really… is that it? How utterly disappointing...

It’s bad enough that we’re stuck with a government that’s more intent on playing cheap political games than it is in taking care of the nation’s business, the last thing in the world we need is an official Opposition similarly focused that continues to support Tories against the wishes of its own membership.
Watching them "like hawks"

Except apparently Iggie missed this part...

Putting thousands of jobs at risk doesn't sound like good stimulus. And pulling the rug out from under "some of the most promising medical research" doesn't sound like policy calculated to make Canada stronger coming out of the recession than it was going in.
Apparently I've been labouring under a misapprehension. I assumed our so-called "official opposition party" had a responsibility to do more than just ride shotgun and observe the carnage while the Tories drive our country down the highway to hell...

The marketing we're getting from the LPC is simply ridiculous. They have no actual power to leash the government or put them on probation. Without the co-operation and goodwill of the NDP and the Bloc, the Liberals are just as toothless as they've been since Paul Martin fell to defeat. All the Liberals can do is posture and spin and hope Harper screws up enough that they can go up in the polls. Their entire strategy is dependent on Harper failing...

As for the arguement that progressives have no choice but to support the Liberals because they're "better" than the Tories, I have to say that's turning out to be a load of empty spin.

I think it's time for progressives to put the Liberal Party of Canada on probation.
Le Daro:
Michael Ignatieff has a soulmate

Yes, he is a complete doormat to Stephen Harper. They were made for each other.
Thoughts on Climate Change:
What a downer! All of Dion's idealism and coalition-building, all of Ignatieff's bluster, and it has come down to this: support for the Harper's budget, conditional on mere progress reports...

The whole thing was clearly just a face-saving move by a Liberal leader who wanted to avoid bringing down the Conservative government -- while appearing to be tough with empty talk of "Conservatives on probation". Instead of real progress toward a sustainable economy, we will have four more wasted years of Harpernomics HarperIggiocy.

Now that the Liberal-NDP coalition is sadly R.I.P., it is time to take the pro-coalition badge off the sidebar of this blog. The only federalist opposition in Parliament to the new Conservative-Liberal Coalition Alliance Mish-Mash is the NDP.
And one more from Montreal Simon:
Well I can't say I'm surprised. Just disgusted.

Michael Ignatieff had a chance to do the right thing, and stand up for the rights of poor Canadians, women, and children.

But instead he sold us all out. He'll blow Stephen Harper and "swallow hard" for the price of a meaningless amendment...

The Coalition for Change offered us all kinds of new possibilities. A chance to topple Stephen Harper's foul neocons before he damages our country even more and shames us further in the eyes of the world. A chance to unite the progressive left, and reclaim the Canada we've lost.

But instead Ignatieff opted to collaborate with Harper, by putting his Party before his country, and stabbing the dream in the back. So now it's No We Can't.

Instead of Yes We Can...
Update: the Militant Dipper (formerly the Militant Liberal):
(T)here really is no place in today's Liberal party for anyone who leans left. The Bay street wing is firmly in control and really always has been. Michael Ignatieff and his supporters really must be congratulated on reversing the Chretien, Dion coup attempt. They run that pathetic husk of a party now and I say let them have it...

Any one who stands opposed to Stephen Harper has only one choice...The Liberal, Conservative coalition government can only be opposed by New Democrats. Left leaning Liberals I implore you, stop taking abuse from your own party, stop apologizing for Gaza and for Afghanistan and join me at my new party. It's great to have a leader who you can agree with once in awhile. The blood is already coming off my hands too.

Edit: fixed wording.

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