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Tories try again to tar Ignatieff with coalition fear-mongering

Stephen Harper's Conservatives is accusing Michael Ignatieff of scheming about a coalition government with his socialists and separatist colleagues.

"Today, Ignatieff is once again out talking about coalitions with the Bloc Québécois and the New Democrats," according to Conservative Party talking points circulated today to MPs and supporters.

To bolster their conspiracy/coalition theory the strategists compiled several recent statements from prominent Liberals: "Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said he's always been prepared to work with other parties to form a coalition … ( Hill Times, May 17, 2010.)"

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"And former Liberal backroom strategist Warren Kinsella confirmed the idea of a coalition is alive and well," according to the document: "Kinsella said the federal Liberals and NDP are inching toward some sort of co-operation … ( Edmonton Journal, May 16, 2010.)"

The Conservative strategists, who perhaps read Norman Spector's blog, note in their memo that while the opposition is plotting a coalition, they are very busy. They argue they are taking a more virtuous course - working on making sure Canadians have jobs and the economy is strong.

The Liberals are laughing this off, pointing out that when Stephen Harper was in opposition in 2004 he asked then governor-general Adrienne Clarkson to consult with he and other opposition leaders if prime minister Paul Martin tried to dissolve his minority government: "We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation," Mr. Harper wrote in his letter.

"We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority."

A senior Ignatieff official adds: "Saying that you want to work with other parties is just showing an understanding of politics that eludes Mr. Harper. It is obviously something Stephen Harper hates to do - unless forced by the Speaker. (Oh no! Because of the Speaker's ruling, they made a deal with the separatists! With the socialists! And even those darn Liberals! Let's have a PMO press release denouncing that.)"

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About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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