Blogs & Comment

Government won't fall on EI reform

I wish Michael Ignatieff would have been my dad when I was a kid. I’d mess up, he’d threaten me with a punishment, but instead of going to my room we’d just hang out and watch TV. If we’ve learned anything from Iggy during the 264 days since he became the leader of the opposition it’s that he’s not so good at following through with a threat.
It wasn’t long ago that Iggy was making some major waves about EI reform. He said, very vocally, that if Stephen Harper didn’t change the employment insurance program he could very well bring down the government. Well, in Friday’s Globe and MailLiberal senator David Smith said this:

I don’t see an election being fought over unemployment insurance. It’s an important issue and it’s an issue that we want to address … but I don’t see that as the defining issue that would trigger an election.

And with that comment goes any significant EI reform and a fall election.
It’s not the first time Iggy’s talked big only to balk when it really mattered. In the summer, when he was raising a fuss over EI, he nearly called an election. Or at least he wanted us to think that he was minutes away from sending Canadians to the polls. Instead of pulling the trigger, he decided the Liberals and the Conservatives would talk about reforming EI together, like one big happy family. If things didn’t go Ignatieff’s way, he’d consider forcing an election in the fall.
Well, now that the fall is around the corner, and the EI joint panel continues to discuss changes ( or are they? No one really knows), Ignatieff once again backs down.
Whether or not the Liberal leader should call an election or not is up for endless debate. But what Canadians don’t like is a leader who waffles (Paul Martin anyone?).
The economy remains fragile and people continue to lose jobs, so Ignatieff has a very small window where economic conditions may still be used against Harper. But, if he really wants to be the next PM he needs to make a plan already and stick to it.