Blogs & Comment

Iggy’s not talking economy

If you’re waiting for Michael Ignatieffto reveal his views on the economy, you’ll probably be tapping your toes and twiddling your thumbs for a long time. In an article I wrote for Canadian Business Online, it seems pretty clear that the interim Liberal leader – who will officially take over the party at this week’s convention in Vancouver– isn’t going to say anything about Canada’s financial future anytime soon.
His relative silence (he has commented on a few things, such as the Alberta oil sands), is due to a few factors. He doesn’t want to give the Conservatives any fire power as Dion did with his carbon tax plan; he’s waiting for Harper to make enough mistakes that Canadians will default to the alternative; economic conditions are rapidly changing, so why say anything when it will be out of date in weeks or months?
Another reason he’s keeping quiet, explains lawyer and Liberal insider Rob Silver, is that he’s not required to say anything at all. “His official role is to hold the government to account,” he told me in an interview yesterday. “In an election campaign Canadians have a right to accept a detailed platform from the guy. Typically, he’s not expected to have policies in place before an election.”
It’s a good point, but I’m with the view that Iggy should be a bit more vocal on the economy. He doesn’t have to go so far as to release an alternative budget, like the Republicans did in the U.S., but it would be nice to hear his thoughts on where the Canadian economy is going, what can be done to help it along and what he’ll really do to pay down the deficit. (Beyond maybe raising taxes.)
Still, Silver’s right, there’s pretty much no chance he’ll say anything substantial before an election is called it’s far too risky but let’s hope he at least speaks up when we’re getting ready to go to the polls. (And he might stay quiet even then, as you’ll read in my story.)
Link: Ignatieff quiet on economy