Coalition-if-necessary-but-not-etcetera: Reports of its death …

… really are at least slightly exaggerated, as noted by Colleague Wherry earlier today. I’ve been alternately amused and bemused by the manic glee with which the media – including several of my colleagues – have been nearly been crushed in the journalistic stampede to declare it dead, dead, dead – deader than a dodo that met the wrong end of a doornail – on a daily, even hourly basis. Which may or may not eventually be the case, but at the moment, it just isn’t, no matter how many conveniently nameless Liberal MPs and “sources close to Ignatieff” may be deployed to argue the contrary.  

Later this afternoon, we’ll find out what the soon-to-be-officially-annointed new leader will have to say, but I am going to make a prediction right here and now: He’s not going to rule it out. He’s going to say that it is one of several possible outcomes that lie ahead for the bruised and battered 40th Parliament, depending on the budget that will be put before it by the government early next year. He will also stress that even if the government cobbles together a stimulus package that is acceptable to one of the three opposition parties — which, of course, is all that it needs, although it would be rather awkward if that one party turned out to be the Bloc Quebecois.

He will also, I suspect, make it clear that if the budget does pass, and the PM takes it as a blank cheque to govern as though he has a majority, it will be at his – and his government’s – peril. Confidence, after all, must be earned – and so far, as Ignatieff himself pointed out last week, when it comes to reminding the PM of his minority status, the threat of being replaced by the coalition seems to be  the only thing that has worked so far. Given that assessment, it’s unlikely that he would pull back from it now. Not that this will stop us from trying to trick him into doing so at this afternoon’s press conference, and every subsequent chance that we get, mostly because we tend to turn into petulant children – first wheedling, then threatening tantrums – when unexpectedly deprived of our favourite sort of happy ending: the kind that makes us look like we were right all along.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.