Well, after 25 minutes, they figured out how to plug in the microphones at the National Press Gallery.
Iggy starts off by pointing a lot of fingers at the Tories. Going to make it hard to justify propping them up.
He goes through a laundry-list of problems with the budget. Pay equity for women, and green spending come up.
Every thing in this budget that is good is something Harper was "forced into" by the Opposition parties. According to Iggy.
"This is a government more inclined to make commitments than to keep them".
He's going to amend the budget to try and force the Tories to hold to it. "We will require reports to Parliament in March, June and December. Each report will be an opportunity to withdraw confidence in the government."
Ignatieff says the Opposition is "putting this government on probation".
Is Harper going to go for that? I certainly wouldn't bet on it... but, it's his call now. Either the government falls because he won't go for what most Canadians would agree is a fairly reasonable attachment to a minority budget, and the coalition takes over, OR we're headed to another $300 Million election, because he won't go for what most Canadians would agree is a fairly reasonable attachment to a minority budget... or his government is on probation, and the Opposition can bring them down in March, June or December at their whim - claiming inadequate economic stewardship. It's a VERY smart play by the Liberals, aimed at staking out the middle ground as the "reasonable" party - which, by default if the impression takes root in the public consciousness, pushes the Tories into the role of "dogmatic" party. That's where the highly-paid PR hacks come in.
Check again, Stephen. Mate?
TPB: I doubt very much that one of those things that Harper wanted was to have fixed dates for confidence motions. Likewise for providing the Opposition with easy pretense for bringing down his government at their whim, or for seeming, in the public eye, to be "supervised" in his stewardship of the economy by the "sober, elder and ready to lead" Liberals.
I've got my doubts that the Tories will accept this - especially considering the coalition compact has been all but torn up by Layton and Duceppe, and the Tories are the only party with enough money to wage an actual election campaign right now.
That said... I really, REALLY hope I'm wrong. The last thing we need right now is another divisive, expensive election to end up with the same result.
On Probation?.... Kind of reminds of my Mom yelling at me when I was 14 years old, lol. At least it buys the Liberals some time.
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