There's a new Sheriff in town. After sitting in Parliament for just 14 DAYS since June, Canada's MPs WILL sit down and work on solutions to an economic crisis that has existed for well over a year (but which our Conservative government denied until a few weeks ago).
Mr. Ignatieff has shunned political games, and has forced Harper to can his. Any "gamesmanship" by Harper, at this time, will be construed as a slap in the face of Canadian voters.
The "update" provision is VERY big. While some say it is not much of a demand, they forget the media focus on this. I personally feel that there isn't very much except for massive infrastructure programs which will revive the economy, and MOST importantly, put Canadians back to work quickly. This plan doesn't do this - meaning the updates won't show Canadians getting back to work. The recession is definitely longer than fiscal 2009, so the Cons will be wrong on that count as well.
The biggest factor pointed out by the updates is how the dollars aren't getting to municipalities in the new infrastructure plan. Cities DON'T have money to chip in a third of all infrastructure costs. Shovels will NOT hit the ground right away. The first several progress reports will show this clearly - to the detriment of Harper and his Cons.
We need to remember, also, that Mr. Ignatieff listened to the Provinces - who were lukewarm but accepting of this budget. One would look like a buffoon (a'la Layton) to outright reject a plan when almost all Provinces want to give it a shot. One would also be silly to oppose something that sounds like a plan when Canadians don't want an election or more political games.
"Probation" sounds like a position of strength. It is. The leader's decision outlines, as well, that we Liberals can work "with" the government - as well as the other opposition parties. This is good news for Liberals. It makes us look like the "bigger person". Certainly the Conservatives (Harper mainly) will try to play their games in a few months. You can count on that... But, we are much better positioned to slap them down. We have a leader who is seen as a consensus builder - a great leadership quality.
With a government on probation, we have served notice that we will topple them on anything that we find unpalatable. This is brilliant tactics. We have reserved the right to act, without forcing our hand right now. Remember too, this keeps the updates and the "Harper solution" very visible in the public eye - which lets us "rub it in" every time it doesn't work. In the past the Cons would "address" an issue with platitudes and angry rhetoric - then let it slip away from the public memory. Any time it came up again, they would jump up and down and say the other parties were just being "partisan", and that they had "addressed" it. No more of that now. The public will expect the updates - and the Liberal reaction to it - all the time putting Mr. Ignatieff in the public spotlight.
Brilliant. Not necessarily "accepting" the budget in full, but letting it move ahead on a case-by-case basis - while holding Conservative feet to the fire. Sure Harper retains power (for now), but he will also "wear" the recession - without any opposition complicity.
We Liberals can focus on fundraising (which has seen a marked upswing since Mr. Ignatieff became leader). And Parliament gets to work again.