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Monday, December 20, 2010
You Call This Opposition?
I sometimes wonder why Michael Ignatieff even tries:
Upstaged yet again by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who took to the stage Wednesday night at the Conservative caucus Christmas party, the Liberals were up early grumpily emailing reaction.
“Not even one song in French,” a senior Ignatieff official told The Globe and Mail on Thursday morning. “One week after Quebec’s artistic elite (over 100 songwriters and singers) came to Parliament Hill on C-32. It shows that he is clueless about Quebec culture.”
It's pretty clear that the PM was both having a bit of fun, as well as trying to humanize his image. Being completely tin eared, this Iggy flack immediately went into talking-point mode. Stephen Harper might be "clueless about Quebec culture," as are most Anglophone Canadians, but at least he can take a joke. Occasionally.
Not only do the Grits suck at off the cuff responses - Iggy's Question Period performance can be reasonably compared to a hectoring fishwife - but also articulating formal policy. Take the example of the so-called iPod Tax:
The issue of Liberal support for an "iTax" hit a fever pitch this week with competing releases - the Liberals stating they are against it and the Conservatives releasing a radio ad that says the Liberals support such reforms. That led some to ask for evidence to sort out the competing claims. This post is an attempt to do that.
First, it is clear that the radio ad is factually wrong. The Liberals now unequivocally state that they oppose an iPod levy. The radio ad says of the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc "now they all back an iPod tax." There isn't much room for interpretation here - the Liberals have stated their current policy and the Conservative ad says the opposite.
Now when you see trouble, the sensible thing is to try to avoid it. The typical voter pays about as much attention to political news as to the speed limit signs on the way from work. That this tax is suppose to help support musicians, who are the victims of music piracy, isn't going to sink in. What most voters are going to hear is: Liberals Want to Impose iPod Tax.
That means you avoid the issue like the plague. The possible political benefits of supporting such a tax are limited, the downside enormous. Nor is it a matter of principle, as Liberals have no principles, being a centrist brokerage party. The Harper Tories understand this only too well. Take Devinder Shory, MP for Calgary Northeast:
"I can’t think of a single Canadian who wants to pay an extra $75 for an iPod, but Michael Ignatieff and his Liberal MPs joined with their Coalition partners in calling on the Government to implement the iPod tax,” said Devinder Shory, MP for Calgary Northeast.
Now whatever support the Grits might have offered for this tax, they now oppose it. The Coalition died its unholy death nearly two years ago, and Michael Ignatieff bitterly opposed it within the caucus. So much so Iggy helped to overthrow the then Liberal leader, Stephane "Kyoto" Dion. No wonder Conservatives govern as if they had a majority, they face no intelligent or forceful opposition.
Posted by Richard Anderson on December 20, 2010 | Permalink
Uh, good? Mr. Harper stopped Kyoto - that more than compensates for any alleged shortcomings. He is a national hero.
Posted by: Killer Kane | 2010-12-24 10:41:56 AM
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