What is unusual in this case, however, is that MPs are suggesting their presence in the capital will represent a protest of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to suspend Parliament until March, when a new budget will be brought down. Liberal House leader Ralph Goodale suggests the Conservatives’ move “borders on despotic behaviour,” and the Liberals will be on hand to make that case to anyone willing to listen. There is talk of “unofficial” committee meetings, even though witnesses could not be compelled to attend and would not enjoy the same level of legal protection.
In other words, the Liberals are considering more of the pointless political stunts that have alienated voters and damaged the party’s image as a viable alternative to the Conservatives. And all of it will be soaked in hypocrisy: As National Post columnist Rex Murphy writes elsewhere on these pages, the Liberals themselves have played games far worse than Mr. Harper’s — even shutting down a judicial inquiry into a killing — when they were in power, and it suited their partisan interests.
Voters may say that they oppose Mr. Harper’s decision to prorogue Parliament — if a pollster calls them at home and puts the question to them. And some youths may even put up Facebook pages denouncing the Tory tactic. But public interest in the issue is thin and fleeting. Mr. Ignatieff will be overplaying his hand if, once back from his current European vacation, he makes a gimmicky spectacle of himself in Ottawa.