I woke up this morning to find this on my twitter feed. Michael Ignatieff has officially ruled out a coalition.
Luckily for all of you, I happened to have a professional cameraman in the room at the time, so my reaction to the news was taped. Here’s the video:
That’s right. Not only did the news cause me to temporarily abandon use of the English language in favour of an endless string of incoherent vulgarity, it also made me so angry that I actually became a middle-aged Italian man and teleported into an alternate reality in which the room was filled with dead bodies. Really quite remarkable. Since calming down, I have tried to reproduce the effect by reading Conservative press releases and playing I Wanna Be the Guy, but have thus far had no success.
This is very, very, very bad news because the polls say that the Liberals cannot possibly take control of the government on their own. There are just too many regressive Conservative supporters across the country who will not vote for any party that does not plan on dismantling social services, slashing taxes, denying global warming, and putting refugees in prison. Michael Ignatieff has made the mistake of playing the Conservative game by trying to appeal to these people, and it won’t work. The only way to kick Stephen Harper out of office is to form a coalition of the country’s progressive majority. In the face of a united right, the divided left has to be willing to join forces.
I have written Michael Ignatieff an open letter to condemn his decision, and so should you. The only way he can possibly go back on this is if he can point to a massive groundswell of support for a coalition government that overrides his earlier statement. So please, please, please, take a moment to tell him how you feel. Feel free to copy and paste what I have written below if you don’t have the time to write an entire e-mail yourself.
Ignatieff’s e-mail is Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca (EDIT: This e-mail is not active during the election campaign). The party’s general contact address at firstname.lastname@example.org. Consider looking up the liberal candidate in your riding and getting in touch with them as well.
Without further adieu, here is the letter:
I am extremely disappointed by your recent decision to rule out the formation of a coalition government. Yesterday when you introduced the bill to bring down the government, you spoke eloquently about the abuses of democracy committed by the first Canadian government ever to be found in contempt of parliament. The logical conclusion from your statements is that it is absolutely imperative that when this election is over, Stephen Harper is no longer the Prime Minister of Canada. I think you will find that the majority of Canada’s left believe that all other political concerns are secondary.
Your party simply does not have the support to form government on its own. The polls are not in your favour, and it is highly unlikely that you can make up the difference between now and the day of the vote. If you continue to oppose a coalition, then your options after the vote will be either for you to go back on your word, or to once again allow the Conservatives to form government. The latter option, for reasons you yourself have articulated over the past few days, is completely unacceptable. The only way for you to replace Stephen Harper as Prime Minister is to form a coalition government.
By ruling out a coalition, you have put the interests of your party ahead of the interests of the country. That is not the kind of leadership that Canadians need, and it is not the kind of leadership that I will vote for. The majority of Canadians who do not support the Conservative party need somebody to stand up for them against the minority who do. I recognize that it would be very difficult at this point for you to reverse your statement, but I hope that you can draw on the massive public opposition to Stephen Harper in order to justify the move. Canadians want you and the other opposition leaders to put aside your partisan differences and focus on the most important goal: removing Stephen Harper from office.
Thank you very much for your time. On behalf of all sensible Canadians, I wish you luck in taking as many seats as possible from the Conservative party.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
I’m going to write a similar letter to Jack Layton and the NDP tomorrow. Please take a few minutes to join me in this effort. The opposition parties need to know the critical importance of their cooperation.
EDIT: I just got a response from Ignatieff’s parliamentary email saying that he