When words and actions don't match

Michael Ignatieff doesn’t like the federal budget the Conservatives revealed yesterday.

According to the CBC story, “Budget full of gimmicks: Ignatieff,” he had something to say about it in the House of Commons today:

The throne speech and the budget let Canadians down. They expected vision and got gimmicks. They deserved ambition and got drift. This is a tired government, falling back on its laissez-faire instincts, leaving Canadians to fend for themselves. The Conservatives are ignoring the major issues that matter to Canada. Pensions? Nothing. Health care? Nothing. Climate change? Nothing. Culture? Nothing.

So what’s he going to do? He’s going to have his party vote against the budget, but he’ll have enough Liberal MPs absent to make sure the government isn’t defeated. He says the public doesn’t want an election so he’s going to accept the budget.

Oh sure the Liberals will vote against the budget, but their leader will make sure that the dissenting votes are few enough to make sure the budget passes. Does this sound right? It may be a shrewd political move since the Liberals are second in recent polls, have no real platform with which they can run, and the public doesn’t want an election. So what the party represents takes a back seat. Despite their minority government, the Conservatives need only invoke a confidence vote and the other parties fall nicely into line. Ignatieff has nothing good to say about the party in power or their budget, but he’ll be a good little boy and go along. Maybe they’ll give him a cookie.

I want to hear no complaints from the Liberals about government spending for the next year. Bitch and complain all you want if you’re trying to do something about it. Don’t bitch and complain, then carefully craft your dissent to have no real effect. Or if the budget isn’t bad enough to vote down, don’t describe it in terms that make one think the apocalypse is coming. You can’t have it both ways and expect anyone to take you seriously.

I thought Stéphane Dion was bad. He couldn’t lead his way out of a closet but he appeared to not know what he was doing. It’s much worse when a political leader carefully crafts his ineffectiveness.

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