Liberals rule out unpopular coalition idea
By Randall Palmer
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's Liberal Party moved to distance itself on Friday from the idea that it would still be willing to forge a coalition with the two other opposition parties to try to replace the Conservative government.
As political rhetoric heats up and the country increasingly appears on track for an election later this year, the Liberals and Conservatives have squared off over the inflammatory coalition concept -- an idea that won little public support when it was originally aired last December.
"Let me be very clear. The Liberal Party would not agree to a coalition," leader Michael Ignatieff told a Friday news conference, which was supposed to be about employment insurance but in which he concentrated on squelching the coalition idea.
The Liberals signed a pact with the left-leaning New Democratic Party and separatist Bloc Quebecois late last year in a bid to topple the minority Conservative government -- which they charged was doing too little to battle the recession -- and seek to install a coalition.
It was a move that Ignatieff supported at the time, but it proved highly unpopular with voters so soon after the October general election.
On Friday, however, Ignatieff said Canadians should look at the fact that he did not follow through with the idea when he had a chance in January.
"I have a certain credibility on the coalition issue. I could be standing here as the prime minister of Canada. I turned it down. We turned it down in January," he said.
"I don't think I have to give further proof of my feeling that that's not what Canadians want. I agree with Canadians." Continued...