We Liberals & the other parties have no option but to oppose the Cons' cynical move on election financing, or sign our own death warrants. Should the government be defeated on a confidence motion, so soon after the last election, the GG would have to ask the 2nd party, the LPC, if they could command the confidence of the House. I think we could. Failing that, better to fight yet another Con-provoked election now, with their previous economic lies & mismanagement exposed, rather than allow ourselves to be bled to death before the next election. The Cons have two choices: back down or risk losing power. We & the other parties have no choice, we simply can't back down. No-one wants an election, but better one now, on a level playing field, rather than one later on a severely inclined pitch. Whatever the result, better we resolve ourselves to go with a bang rather than a whimper.It's clearly, clearly the case that the Conservatives want to put the Liberals between a rock and a hard place.
On the one hand, they cannot allow this bill to pass. CANNOT. Regardless of its merits, it would be crippling to the opposition, who had built their fundraising and financing strategies on this subsidy. They would likely not recover, and Canada would have Conservative rule for decades, perhaps, unless and until the left recovers and reorganizes. The NDP, Greens, and BQ can't support it either. The BQ and Greens quite literally face annihilation without public financing, and the NDP isn't doing so well that they could recover.
(It may not be the same Canada. The deliberate throttling of the BQ would likely inflame Quebec nationalists. It's one thing for the BQ to be seen as somewhat irrelevant, it's entirely enough to watch it get choked to death by the Calgary Mob.)
On the other hand, they cannot go to another election. They can't afford it, the Liberals don't even have a leader yet (oh, was THAT a great decision!) and the NDP are in dire financial straits themselves, considering they spent to the max in the last election and their core givers are likely in no position to give.
So there's this other option: go to the GG and create a Bloc/NDP/Liberal coalition. Would it be rickety? Hell yes. More so than most things you see out of Israel or Italy. And there's a good question about whether or not the Liberal party as a whole would even want it; Dion-as-PM might actually be a big success, he might change his mind about running again, and all of a sudden Ignatieff isn't looking so hot.
(Rae would be in a different position, as he's a bit more likely to produce policies the NDP and Bloc would like, but the NDP thinks him a traitor and the Iggy crew control most of the party apparatus. Which is one of the reasons Dion was so paranoid and distrustful in the first place.)
This cannot pass. It's profoundly undemocratic for a sitting government to change the electoral rules to benefit itself so completely. But the question of how to respond is one that the Liberals, NDP and Bloquists are going to need to carefully consider. And right now, I'm wondering if they should be talking about that coalition. To hell with "moving to the center." A left coalition might be the only thing that saves them now.