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I've known John Ivison for years, back from 2003 when he was the National Post's columnist at Queen's Park.

But I'm not sure I buy his conclusions that Michael Ignatieff is off-side with the idea of defeating the government and creating a new regime.

This Ignatieff interview on Question Period today is probably the best I've seen the Etobicoke MP. He's confident and clear, and not taken off-message by multiple luring questions from Jane Taber.

But more than anything, he is rock-solid behind defeating the government and producing a new Ministry.

Sure, he makes the point that he is not privy to any negotiations, but that seems logical. In these uncertain times, the Liberal House leadership needs to negotiate with the leadership camps as much as the other parties.

But why would Ignatieff expose himself so publicly and so clearly defending the concept of defeating the government if he did not believe it?

He could just as easily duck media exposure on the topic by continuing a leadership campaign tour of distant ridings.

He could make the fact that he is not privy to negotiations his first and only talking point.

If the plan were to have enough Ignatieff-supporting Liberal MPs avoid the vote so the government survives, that would obviously trace back to Ignatieff and leave him culpable for any unpopular moves by the Harper government for the remainder of their term in office.

It seems to me Ignatieff would be highly motivated to support defeating the government. Even if he does not become Prime Minister immediately, it leaves him with a very strong prospect of the job in the near future and one in the hand is worth nine in the bush.

But more to the point, the opposition have that look in their eye people get when they have decided to do something. They seem entirely fed up with the Harper Ministry and committed to its defeat.

The opposition may blanche for a variety of reasons.

But if I were Stephen Harper, I wouldn't be investing my hopes in Michael Ignatieff being a fifth columnist for the Conservatives.

 

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