While we wait for the Stephen Harper Action! Plan Update ...

… which will kick off sometime around 1:30 pm Atlantic time — that’s 12:30 pm in Ottawa, for those of you who are, like ITQ, a wee bit timezone-challenged, and yes, the plan is to liveblog it, although via television and not, alas, from an Irving-owned machine shop in Saint John — a question for the ITQ breakfast club: Was it, in retrospect, a critical strategic error for the Liberals to have agreed to break for the G20 just days after the fall session had officially begun?

As far as she can tell, it was: it pretty much stalled any momentum the Liberals, at least, could have whipped up in advance of the stimulus update, not to mention the motion of non-confidence that would follow.

The fact that the prime minister would likely not have been in the House is not sufficient reason to call off QP for the week; there are other ministers, after all, that can — and should — be held accountable. Michael Ignatieff and Gerard Kennedy could still have taken off to Burlington to accuse the government of favouring Conservative ridings in allocating stimulus dollars, which would only have been intensified had there been a full contingent of Liberal critics back on the Hill to push the same message with the national press.

Most importantly, at least from the Liberal perspective, it would have given the opposition a far better chance at competing with the Conservatives for control of the news cycle, which the prime minister wound up dominating with ease, although not, it’s fair to say, garnering universally positive coverage. In exchange for that, the Liberals — for which one should read “Ignatieff”, since he was the one at the negotiating table —  got what, exactly, in return?

Then again, it’s possible that the government made that particular provision a deal breaker, which, if true, would suggest that they knew exactly how crucial that week could be in terms of giving the Liberals the opportunity to build their case for moving non-confidence in the government.

Your thoughts, commenters?