You did so want a coalition in 2004. You did, you did, you did!
Tom Flanagan, the federal Conservatives’ former campaign manager and a one-time Harper chief of staff, told Postmedia News on Monday that the deal Mr. Harper described in 2004 as a “co-opposition” accord — but insisted then and insists now was not a formal coalition — was a “perfectly legitimate exercise” aimed at exploring whether there was “common ground for the Conservatives to undertake a minority government.”
Legitimate? Of course. But IOLIYAC.
At a news conference in September of that year, Mr. Harper sat next to Mr. Layton and Mr. Duceppe as he elaborated on the message sent to Ms. Clarkson.
“There has been some informal chitter-chatter around the Hill that if a prime minister were weakened by his own party or defeated in the House, that he could just automatically call an election,” Mr. Harper said at the time. “That’s not our understanding of how the constitutional system works, particularly in a minority Parliament.”
Not our understanding either, of course.
“It is possible that you could change prime minister without having an election,” Mr. [Mike] Duffy said on CTV on Oct. 5, 2004. “If you could put Stephen Harper — and this is some of the thinking of Conservatives — in 24 Sussex Drive, even for five or six months without an election, it would make the Conservative option much more palatable to Canadians because they’d see that they don’t have horns and a tail.”
Seven years later, more than a whiff of brimstone from the Langevin Block. Just saying.
[H/t James Curran]
UPDATE: Reader Kev draws our attention to this article. It seems that Harper was mooting coalition as far back as 1997! Seems to me it’s time for the PM to dismount from that particular high horse. Or, by all means, to press on.