Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sound and fury, signifying nothing

So, there it is. The confidence motion is defeated (144-117, with Jack and co. abstaining...if you care) and the government survives. Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on.

What happens next?

Well, more of the same he sadly said. Barring the unforeseen, the next domino is the budget, which could well be tabled in the midst of a recovery, post-Olympic love-in. That is several months away. Between now and then we are back with the same Parliament we have had with the same progress on the issues of today and tomorrow.

A lot of talk this evening and, I suspect, over the next several days about what happens next for the Liberals. Don Martin had some advice this morning and Chantal and co. on CBC's At Issue panel had some too.

If I were to single out one thing from all of this it would be the need for the Liberals to take this self-inflicted executioner's reprieve and use it to define themselves. Why should we vote for them? Start with answers to these questions:

  • Who is Michael Ignatieff. Surely he is more than an academic who lived outside of Canada for....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • What are the 3-4 things that Canadians can expect from a Liberal government? It can't be "we're not them". So what is it and is it relevant to Canadians? Today's deficit and tomorrow's economy - what's the plan? Ditto for health care and the environment. Focus.

  • Show me your team. Get Canadians used to them. Strike that balance between controlling the message and providing profile for your team.

If this requires staffing changes or an office re-org, do it. Show us you mean business by taking the tough decisions. The question people will otherwise ask is how can you run Canada is you can't manage your party.

By the way, did anyone notice the lengthy, prominently placed "Canada's Economic Action Plan" commercials this evening during the first period of Hockey Night in Canada (eastern and western games)?

Please, do not taint my hockey with this sort of thing.

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