Joseph F. Turcotte, PhD

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What Iggy should have said

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Blair Gable/Reuters

So the Budget of the Government of Canada came down today and, I must say, it’s a rather underwhelming document. With all of the cheery words and the optimistic tone that came out of yesterday’s Speech from the Throne, today’s budget is just disappointing. It does little to address the crisis of the moment and fails to lay out a coherent vision for the future. Now and in the future, these are the most pressing issues that Canadians are and will be facing.

To be frank: the world is changing. Emerging countries are reshaping the global world order and Canada, a traditional middle power that has grafted to the US empire, is a challenging position.

Because of the Global Financial Crisis, Canada does not have the resources necessary to invest in the programs and initiatives that will shape our future. Needless to say, this is a pivotal time in our country’s history.

That’s why Michael Ignatieff’s response to the Budget is so promising. While some may label it as a “weak-kneed response”, Iggy has done what’s best for the country—and coincidentally, best for his party and his political prospects. By not voting against the budget and bringing down the government, Ignatieff and the Liberal Party have shown that they are serious about shaping a coherent and legitimate policy vision for our country.

At such a crucial time in Canada’s history, bold and innovative ideas are what we need. But these ideas must be fully fleshed out, they cannot be the thing of knee-jerk reactions. These ideas will be the foundation of our country moving forward; they, therefore, need time to be crafted fully.

While Ignatieff’s message may be valid, the way that he is presenting it leaves something to be desired. Perhaps this is because he is uncomfortable making complex points in sound-byte style. Instead of trying to do so, Iggy should speak in a frank and straightforward manner—and if he needs more words to do so, so be it. These are big ideas and big times, brevity is not the answer.

So with all due respect, here’s my humble suggestion about how Iggy could have responded to Evan Solomon on CBC News Network’s Power and Politics today:

“Evan, these are challenging times that need complex and well thought out responses. Bringing down the government would do little to address the structural problems that our country now faces because of the Harper government’s ineptitude. That’s why, we Liberals, will take the strong and principled position to stand against the budget, which is a deficient document, but not bring the government down. The citizens of Canada have told everyone that they’re not in the mood for an election, unless one will bring a credible alternative that will provide the future prosperity our country needs. That’s why we will participate in the Canada 150 Conference in Montreal and refine Liberal ideas about how to address the problems of today in a way that a stronger Canada can be nurtured. This government is failing to do this. So as the Official Opposition we will play our parliamentary role and oppose the governments failing policies and work to refine the viable alternative that our country craves.”

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