Monday, April 25, 2005

Name your pleasure, I will sell

Chantal Hebert, in the Star, makes a point I hadn't even considered about the possibility of a Liberal-NDP alliance: Since last week, the Liberals have been nibbling on Layton's line. All weekend, there have even been rumours of a counter offer that would see some New Democrats enter cabinet and the party strike up a coalition government with the Liberals. Even if the NDP was interested — and its strategists are adamant that they are not — that would involve a rather dramatic shift to the left on Martin's part. Over the past month and a half, he has argued that his budget — complete with corporate tax cuts — strikes the right balance for Canada. If he is now ready to rewrite it at the stroke of an NDP pen, his government's quest for affection between now and a winter election will likely know little or no bounds. One way or another, the developments of the next few days will say much about whether the Liberal government, in its desperate quest for a few more months in power, still has a bottom line. As usual, I've been handicapped by the assumptions I've made about the Liberals - namely, that they're so cravenly attached to power that they'd be willing to do anything to stay in office. That making concessions to the NDP would (rightly) be seen selling out on the budget Martin et al claim to truly believe in, possibly at the cost of damaging what little is left of Liberal credibility, hadn't even crossed my mind; of course they'd be willing to do that, if it meant even an extra month or three weeks in control. When your only principles are maintaining power for its own sake, everything but that automatically becomes up for negotiation, no?

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