Say I'm going to take on Tiger Woods one-on-one in a world televised match to determine the "ultimate golf champion of the Universe."
Now, let's say I cancel the first match because I'm sick. Then I back out of the rescheduled game because I have some business to tend to. Then, I cancel because it's Jean Lapierre's birthday, a holy day for Liberals coast to coast. After a while, Tiger is going to think I'm afraid of playing him. Worse, our worldwide television audience is going to realize that I know I can't beat the guy.
Well, that's exactly what this latest move will make people think. This is probably the most desperate thing I have ever seen a party in power do and it's only going to propagate the feeling that the upcoming election is hopeless for the Grits. Go to Blogs Canada and look at two most recent posts involving "Liberals": James Bow, saying the party needs to be defeated in order to rebuild and a card carrying party member saying the Liberals' goal should be to form a strong opposition.
The Liberal Party is dismayed, dejected, and divided. The Conservatives can smell blood and Harper is looking more and more confident with each passing day, quite shocking considering how tentative he's seemed this past year on everything from gay marriage to Goodale's budget.
To make matters worse, important policies like the Kyoto Plan and the Foreign Policy Review are being brushed aside as "electioneering" and aren't being debated on their merits. With an election a month away, what could be more important than an honest debate on the environment and foreign policy? But we won't get it because of a grandstanding opposition and a government that continues to shoot themselves in the foot to overshadow their own headlines.
Honestly, at this point, it's hard to say what Martin can do to save himself. But I'm going to go out on a limb and say that trying to shut down the opposition isn't likely going to help. One of the most successful political parties in the history of democracy looks like a desperate, spent force clinging to power by the fingertips.
Sad times to be a Liberal.
Wednesday Morning UPDATE: Chantal Hebert has a good story on this in the Star.