View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – Iggy’s Clever Twist of a Word – March 27, 2011

View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – Iggy’s Clever Twist of a Word – March 27, 2011

Ottawa ON – An interesting choice of words from the Liberal leader, but people who follow politics know that politicians chose their words very carefully. That one sentence allows Ignatieff considerable wiggle room should he wish to form a government with the support of either the NDP or the Bloc or both.

“I will not seek a coalition” does not mean “I won’t support a coalition” like Ignatieff did in 2008, even going so far as to sign a letter confirming he did.

Ignatieff’s choice of words will also allow him to respond to a coalition offer from the NDP. Voters may recall that it was the NDP, not the Liberals, who were the ones that initiated the coalition discussion last time. Ignatieff saying that he will not seek a coalition is accurate if he is responding to an NDP request. I didn’t hear him say “I will rebuff any attempts or offers to form a coalition”.

“I will not seek a coalition” also permits Ignatieff room to work out a nonaggression pact with the NDP or Bloc that would be similar to the one the Peterson Liberals negotiated with the NDP in Ontario. Such an agreement would allow Ignatieff to be Prime Minister without the necessity of offering MPs from another party some cabinet seats. I didn’t hear Ignatieff say that he will not enter into any agreement, written or verbal such as a nonaggression pact to form a government should the Conservatives fall short of a majority. Incidentally, the Peterson agreement was worked out with Bob Rae, Ignatieff’s potential successor should Ignatieff step down after losing the election. Ignatieff’s words would not prevent Rae from forming a coalition.

The Liberals are desperate to get back into power. Ignatieff is far from being a strong leader with a vice-like grip on his party’s MPs and political apparatus. Just how long do you think it would be before Ignatieff bowed to internal pressure to make a deal at any cost to try to form a government? His option would be to eat his words and be Prime Minister or face a party revolt.

Ignatieff chose his words very carefully and for good reason, he still has plenty of wiggle room to cut a deal.

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails.

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14 Comments on "View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – Iggy’s Clever Twist of a Word – March 27, 2011"

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Reg
Guest

The Con-Cons (contemptuous conservatives) sure have short memory when it comes to forming coalitions but long when it comes to attacking someones ancestors. Bev Oda didn’t have to opportunity to insert a “not” in the letter from Steven Harper to the Bloc suggesting they form a coalition government to replace the minority Liberal government.

Jerry
Member

Coalition governments are legal in Canada as they are in the UK. Even Harper agreed with this until it can be used against him.

PJ Robertson
Member

Choice of words: “The Liberals are desperate to get back into power.”

Correction: the democratic opposition parties, including the Liberals, are bent on getting the anti-democratic Harperite usurpers out of power.

Destructo
Member

I don’t care…I would rather have a coalition government than give Harper and his weasels another kick at the can…

Stan
Member

Interestingly enough, Michael Ignatieff (Liberal) said “I will not seek a coalition”. Someone told me that they heard on CFRA (Ottawa) Lowell Green show that a coalition agreement was signed previously and it runs out sometime in July 2011. If that is so then it’s true what he says. The clever twist of a word would be construed as a lie if the agreement exists presently.

smee
Guest
It would appear the media has already placed an idea in the minds of people which truly holds no merit in an election. Should we not be asking and pushing for what they plan to do tomorrow and not something that sounds like a school yard arguments over who did what? Who really cares what happened regarding a coalition discussion in the past? This is nothing more then a redirect to confuse voters away from the real issues. In previous elections it was blatant smear campaigns now it is semantics based on the he said she said scenario. The allegations… Read more »
Furtz
Member

Excellent post Smee. I don’t agree with you, but excellent none the less.

willie191
Guest
Health Care and Seniors Health Care must be a priority in this election. The Conservative and Liberals have talked about health care for over 10 years. Sadly, there talking has shut down hospitals throughout Canada. Unfortunately, it is something you only see when you are in need of medical care. My mother, who was in the care of the CCH, was left unattended, and had to sit in her own soiled garments due to lack of staff. Fortunately, my sister was able to assist my mother during her final months with us. That was almost 3 years ago. Lets fast… Read more »
Eric
Guest

If there is going to be a coaltion, I think voters should get a chance to vote on a ballot question, not three leaders choosing for us.

Anyway, I want to hear about health care, immigration, refugee, language fairness, less tax and less government. Rules, regulations and laws are taking over our lives…..and are a big adminstration cost.

smee
Guest

willie
health care is provincial not federal.

willie191
Guest

smee, then we should dissolve Health Canada. You seemed to miss my point. but, that’s ok. I wish you good health, we will all need it.

willie191
Guest
On September 11, 2000, First Ministers agreed that “improvements to primary health care are crucial to the renewal of health services” and highlighted the importance of multi-disciplinary teams. In response to this agreement, the Government of Canada established the $800M Primary Health Care Transition Fund (PHCTF). Over a six-year period (2000-2006), the PHCTF supported provinces and territories in their efforts to reform the primary health care system. Specifically, it provided support for the transitional costs associated with introducing new approaches to primary health care delivery. In addition to direct support to individual provinces and territories, the PHCTF also supported various… Read more »
smee
Guest
willie you missed my point, the issues at CCH are local and provincial. Health Canada’s Mandate, it says nothong about running a system only that it will provde and support one. Health Canada’s mandate is to help Canadians maintain and improve their health. Among other activities, Health Canada’s responsibilities for health care include setting and administering national principles for the health care system through the Canada Health Act and delivering health care services to specific groups (e.g., First Nations and Inuit). Working in partnership with provinces and territories, Health Canada also supports the health care system through initiatives in areas… Read more »
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