I note the Conservatives have already released some kind of amateurish ad about Ignatieff forcing an election. It really is a bit odd to have a government who ultimately CONTROLLED their own destiny lamenting an election, they EASILY could have avoided. One simple fact, in a minority government, non confidence is a testament to the government's inability to secure majority support. All the more a government failing, when one tallies up the objectively understood reasonable, even small, demands from one party to secure their vote and survive.
Flaherty said the government doesn't operate this way, they don't negotiate on their budget document. That is complete and utter arrogance, but the statement also suggests NEGOTIATION prior to the budget. Can the Finance Minister produce his phone bill so we can track calls to the LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION? How many meeting did the Finance Minister have with Scott Brison, Tom Muclair? Where is this negotiating process prior the budget, where is this justification to now throw up your hands and say "we tried, but"? NO, what we have is a brief meeting with Harper, with the FOURTH party, no meeting with Ignatieff, no meeeting with Duceppe, basically a "negotiation" based on what is published in newspapers.
Compare and contrast with the last Liberal minority, and you will see what is required to pass a budget in this Parliamentary context. It is not a preference, it is a MUST to extend a hand to an opposition party, the democratic makeup means you control NOTHING alone! The Conservatives simply don't understand this reality, they don't understand our system, they snub the democratic will and just operate as though we gave them a majority. This budget process is symptomatic of the entire problem with the Harper government, the same rationale that explains withholding costs, shutting down Parliament, redacting legally required documents, etc, etc. Rather than an indictment on the opportunistic election, really we go to the polls because the Harper government simply lacks the capacity to "play well with others". Layton and the NDP were available, and you failed to secure their support, despite an easy swallow. What does that say about the government?
This is Harper's election, this is about a government that doesn't understand basic math, is so arrogant that they don't feel the need to operate with the democratic restraints. This is Harper government which has betrayed every core tenet of the old Reform Party, they piss on the populus roots and behave more like a despot than a democrat. This is Harper's election, it's all about Steve. If Canadians are upset we are going to the polls yet again, if they are sick of the poisonous atmosphere, you don't send back the culprit, you kick his ass to the curb.