Ignatieff Resigns

After a night of surprises, something that’s not.

“There must be somewhere out there, possibly in the room this morning, or possibly watching on television, who thinks – he didn’t get there but I will.”

At least now the Liberals will have a lot of time to rebuild and rediscover itself. It’s time for a new generation to take over the party.

Aftermath Update: The early morning wrap-up from CBC.

All Over But the Voting

A quick scan of the papers indicates that press has rendered its verdict on the outcome of the election – the only questions now remaining being ones of degree. How large will Harper’s victory be? How much will the “orange wave” translate into new seats for the NDP? And finally, how long before the Liberals head into yet another leadership campaign?

Stumping in Montreal, Michael Ignatieff gamely draws a hockey analogy suggesting that many a reversal of fortune has been realized late in the third period and people need to stay tuned until the final siren. A comment that prompted John Ibbitson to whisper in the ear of a fellow reporter that “some people do turn off the TV when it’s 6-0.”

Meanwhile, over at the Globe & Mail, Jane Taber is already performing an autopsy on the Liberal campaign, citing various possible causes of death. So far, her findings are inconclusive, but are trending to “all of the above” as being the most likely culprit.

Tricky Dicks

Now, I ask you… is this the face of a lying douchebag?

Or (not to go all Glenn Beck on you here), perhaps just that of a more-than-willing “fall guy” for an elaborate hoax? After all, this weird little flap is, as Ignatieff rightly said “bizarro” in every respect.

According to Sun TV’s “star” bloviators and squad of sleeveless fembots, they should be commended for having performed the bare minimum of due diligence needed to arrive at the totally fucking obvious conclusion that the rather strange photo and concocted story attached to it was patently bogus. Moreover (again, according to Sun TV), they should be lauded for then refusing to print or broadcast it as “news” on their pathetic right-wing agit-prop channel… Bravo, Sun News!

At the same time however, in classic tabloid fashion, they sort of got to screw their cake and eat it too in terms of puffing up this ridiculous allegation for a few days worth of reckless discussion casting vague doubts about the Liberal leader’s past activities vis-à-vis the Iraq War, suggesting perhaps he was even a nefarious “secret foreign agent” of some kind… yet all the while ostentatiously pretending to take the journalistic high ground and distance themselves from the accusations being vigorously hinted at.

What a brilliantly played little charade.

Ignatieff’s Town Hall for Canada

For others like me who don’t have a television machine…

And in the interest of being “fair and balanced” [sarcasm alert], here’s a video of Stephen Harper speaking in the fenced backyard of someone in Victoria, re-announcing his promise to introduce a $500 tax credit for children’s arts programs.

Gotta love the intro: “The strongest economist… principled to the core.” Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Post-Election Speculation

Peter Mansbridge talking to Jack Layton and Michael Ignatieff about past and future attempts to form a “coalition” or some other working arrangement between the parties in a minority parliament scenario:

From the outset of this election, it’s been a hazardous issue for Ignatieff. Even though he flatly ruled out any talk of forming a “coalition” with the NDP and the Bloc – a decision not arrived at quickly enough for some like me – he’s obviously still got to leave the door open to such a possibility in the event that the Conservatives don’t succeed in getting their coveted majority and should Harper then fail at his “first try” to gain the confidence of the House.

The Harper spin is that unless he gets an absolute majority then the deck will be stacked against him… The opposition parties will band together, vote down his budget and then attempt to form what you can be sure the Conservatives will describe as an “illegitimate” government instead.

Of course, that imaginary scenario conveniently overlooks one significant part of the equation: what Harper may do should the Canadian people once again deny him a majority. If he’s willing to compromise with other parties in the House and incorporate some of their policies into his Budget, then he can easily diffuse the situation and remain in power.

It actually wouldn’t be a tremendous stretch to accommodate some of the proposals from the Liberals and NDP on say, pension reform, student loans, public financing of elections, etc., along with promises for more transparency on tendering of certain military contracts, or whatever… There is lots of room to manouever and a lot of different cards on the table he could play. Question is whether could bring himself to seriously engage with his political opponents in that way.

A Stylistic Contrast

Not that either leader is exactly “radioactive with charisma” (to borrow a description from Rex Murphy), but it is interesting to draw distinctions between Michael Ignatieff and Stephen Harper from their performance on the stump.

Here’s Ignatieff speaking at a town hall meeting in Victoria the other day, talking about a wide range of issues with an emphasis on education and the environment (go figure).

And here’s Harper speaking on the lower mainland at the Kerrisdale Legion on the same day (or thereabouts) talking about his party’s “tough on crime” agenda.

I suppose there are all sorts of different impressions that can be drawn from comparing the two performances… Rather than offer up my own opinion, I’m much more curious to know what you think of them.