Shoe’s on the other foot now
So, with the new Throne Speech, the Liberals are threatening to run the following campaign against Tim Hudak if he doesn’t support their agenda: “TIM HUDAK FORCED AN UNNECESSARY ELECTION SEVEN WEEKS AFTER THE LAST ONE.” Shades of Stephen Harper, there. (And another indicator that Harper wrote the book on how to deal with minority mandates.)
Hudak? He seems to be holding firm.
The battle for the hearts and minds of Ontarians is back on. After barely a day back in the Legislature, Tory Leader Tim Hudak reverted to guerilla warfare by threatening to vote against the throne speech, setting off fresh speculation of an election confrontation.
But the battlefield analogies only go so far, because this is more jaw-jaw than war-war. The Progressive Conservatives may be indulging in mere psy-op tactics as they try to position themselves for the next war, so soon after losing the last one. The truth is that they are as much allied with the government as against it, because they want cutbacks — just sooner rather than later.
Of course, timing is everything in politics, and the Liberals are wishing themselves a long life in power. Tuesday’s throne speech suggested the minority Legislature had a “four-year mandate.” Speaking to reporters later, McGuinty kept repeating his full mandate mantra, but his public musings sound more like dream-dream than jaw-jaw. McGuinty knows he serves at the pleasure of a minority Legislature, and the early signals from the Tories are ominous. If their ideas aren’t adopted, they will abandon the Liberals.
Well, we’ll see.
What do I think? I think Hudak should do what I think Ignatieff should have done — act as opposition leader, and oppose.
There’s something in how Harper behaved with Martin — hang back, negotiate something with the Throne Speech, initially let a budget pass for one’s own reasons, and then decide that the government needs to go, and stick with it.
But basically act this way: when you make an election threat, always be prepared to follow through.