Thursday, January 29, 2009

Harper Ignatieff Chess Match Continues - Layton Winning?

I've been equating the on-going political drama to a chess match, Harper Vs Ignatieff In Political Chess Match . With Iggy's latest move of putting Harper's Conservative "on probation" I think the board is favouring the Liberals at the moment. Obviously Michael and his crew were not confident about the prospects of fighting an election on this budget, and I have difficulty in arguing with their logic. Harper and company would have been justifiable in saying they'd given the opposition Liberals pretty much everything they were asking for. So why subject Canadians to yet another election?

Ignatieff will now be able to defeat the government at a time of his choosing, assuming of course the NDP and Bloc are willing to play along. That might be a dangerous assumption, obviously Duceppe and Layton were hoping to have significant input with a Liberal led coalition government. But there were no guarantees Michaƫlle Jean would have chosen that option. Our Governor General might have been swayed by Prime Minister Harper to call an election. All this speculation though is moot in any case, the board has shifted and Stephen Harper gets to govern, with a Sword of Damocles hanging over his head.

The central point here is that Ignatieff will wait until public opinion shifts decidedly against the Tories, and I have no fear in predicting that as a near certainty. Flaherty has proved himself woefully inadequate at forecasting anything, and you can rest assured that there will be problems with this budget as the year plays out. Iggy will proclaim the government a failure and assuming he gets the support of the Bloc and NDP, the Conservatives will be toppled and we'll be heading to the polls.

What happens then? Do the Liberals romp to a majority or worst case scenario, (for them) a minority? Not so fast!
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There's an old saw in horse racing that goes..."When the odds are split between the favourites, bet on the long shot".

Jack Layton is doing a good job of pointing to the "New Coalition", that of course being the Conservatives in tandem with the Liberals. Ignatieff will be hard pressed to divorce himself from a budget he instructed his party to endorse. And make no mistake about it, this is a BAD BUDGET!!! This is a document from a government that is running scared and has no clue. Flaherty is attacking this economic crisis with billions of dollars, but in reality he's throwing everything he can out there hoping something works.

Giving assistance to those who are or who will soon find themselves unemployed is smart, its not only just makes sense. But giving tax breaks to those who will be unaffected and still working??? That makes absolutely no sense. But then little of what Flaherty tries ever does. Nickels and dimes in GST cuts only bled the treasury dry, now he's up to quarters. Do the Conservatives really think that putting a few extra dollars in working folks' pay envelopes each week will have any impact? All it does is deepen the hole they're digging for all Canadians, because those 3 or 4 extra bucks a week individually add up to billions collectively.

If Layton and the NDP are to benefit from this Jack is going to have to keep up the pressure. And he should avoid falling in love with pithy rhetoric, like the 'blue sweater' and 'kitchen table' crap from the last election. Once or twice is okay...but repeating the same pat lines over and over ad-nauseum just makes him sound like a tape recorder, or worse Sarah Palin in an interview with Katie Couric. Newsflash to all politicians, Canadians are smart enough to realize when you're running down your checklist of "talking points".

The Greens really missed the boat by not winning a single seat last time around. Elizabeth May's party badly needs exposure, exposure she would have gotten if she'd played it smart and picked a Vancouver or Toronto area riding to contest back in October.

Ignatieff and Harper better watch their backs, while they're contemplating which pawns to play the Jackster might just pop up from under the table and snatch both of their kings.

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