The Liberal Party of Canada has installed Michael Ignatieff as its leader.
Under the party’s constitution, the executive can appoint Ignatieff only in an interim capacity. However, both of the other candidates for the position have now dropped out of the race. Ignatieff will be confirmed as leader at the party’s convention in May, per the constitution.
So far, I’m delighted to learn that Mr. Ignatieff is sounding precisely the right notes:
[Prime Minister] Harper phoned to congratulate Mr. Ignatieff on his acclamation to the party’s leadership Wednesday and invited him to a get-together. …
“I made it clear I don’t want to get into secret negotiations or backdoor deals,” Mr. Ignatieff said.
“I’m there to listen to the Prime Minister because he’s the Prime Minister of Canada. And then we’ll decide what we have to do from there.” …
“I am prepared to vote non-confidence in this government. And I am prepared to enter into a coalition government with our partners if that is what the Governor-General asks me to do,” Mr. Ignatieff said.
“But I also made it clear to the [Liberal] caucus this morning that no party can have the confidence of the country if it decides to vote now against a budget it hasn’t even read.” …
“I think that after having lost the confidence of the House, after having triggered a national crisis, after having raised tensions between groups in Canada, it’s not up to me to reach out a hand. It’s more up to the Prime Minister,” he said.
“But I want to add something: I’m a responsible elected official, and I want to do the best for my country. I will do all that I can to get my country out of this crisis.”
Pitch perfect. (1) Keep all your options open. (2) Hold the Prime Minister’s feet to the fire. (3) Signal to voters that you intend to uphold the best interests of the country in a time of crisis.
The Liberal Party finally has a formidable leader: a worthy alternative to the current occupant of 24 Sussex Drive.