Saturday, December 13, 2008

If I were Michael Ignatieff...

I would be thinking hard about two things: 

1.) How I could have an extended honeymoon because the NDP will be loathe to criticize as long as the coalition was still an ongoing concern. This requires that Ignatieff keep the coalition at least breathing. And that he not criticize Jack Layton too much. But it also requires that he find some set of proposals which are publicly popular, anathema to the NDP, and not supported by Stephen Harper. This is difficult, but not impossible. If it can be achieved than Ignatieff can have grounds for arguing that a coalition may be unworkable.
2.) Whether I could form a government alone without giving the NDP any cabinet seats. I suspect this has been considered among his strategists. I will only note that single-party governments have been formed in other countries by parties with less than the 25% of the seats in Parliament. It's tough, but it's doable. 

That said, the smartest course of action is likely scrapping this whole coalition idea in January, reaching some compromise with the PM, and rebuilding the party for a year before forcing an election. If the opposition parties are correct that the PM is leading the country to hell in a handbasket then they'll have no problem assuming power in a year. 

Perhaps a post later on how I would think about the task of rebuilding. A preview: it's not some 308 seat strategy. 

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