Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff understands and respects representative democracy. He has shown those qualities of character by the way he consulted and enabled those Newfoundland and Labrador members of his Caucus to take a stand and vote against the Harper budget. The wanted to take such a stand because the Harper budget serves to single out and punish their region and their constituents. Good for him and good for them.
Old line partisans who think political leadership is about dictating to Caucus in all circumstances and punishing transgressors will call this enlightened approach a mistake and a sign of weakness on Iggy’s part. Nothing could be further from the truth. The ultimate consequences of those 6 members taking a stand and representing the interests of their constituencies are insignificant in the large scheme of things but symbolically important to them and their people.
Politics is all about perception and the Harper cons will mule and mock as is their wont about this action shows Iggy can’t control his Caucus. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The overarching perception that needs to be appreciated here is the flexibility and wisdom of Iggy in accepting the principled position of those 6 disgruntled Liberal MPs. These PMs are supposed to represent the best interests of their region, an area of Canada that is being screwed by the Harper government – yet again.
The luxury of opposition is that the same level of party solidarity is not as necessary for the governing party. The risk in a minority government situation is too much of this self-actualization of MPs could actually unwittingly topple a government. Well that was undoubtedly considered at the MPS met face to face with their leader to discuss the situation and work out a solution. No fear of an inadvertent election happening in this case. This situation shows us Ignatieff’s superior wisdom, judgment and leadership qualities, not to mention his demonstrable personal respect for representative democracy.
You sure can’t say anything close to that about Mr. Harper. Last time Harper had a dissident MP was Bill Casey. His principled stand was to vote against the Harper position on the Atlantic Accord that screwed Nova Scotia where his riding is. Casey was drummed out of the Harper Party Caucus but got his revenge in the last election when he ran as an Independent and won his seat again.
Now the shameless Harper Cons have filed a bogus complaint to the RCMP against Casey making unfounded allegations of election spending irregularities. Bush-league Rovarian tactics are still alive and well in the bosom of the Harper Cons.
Compare the leadership qualities of Harper and Ignatieff in these two parallel circumstances and ask yourself why you ever voted for Harper in the first place. Don’t make the same mistake next time!