Who’s calling the shots for Iggy and the Liberals?

What’s behind the ignominious retreat of Michael Ignatieff? The federal Liberal Leader backed off the threat to cause an election this summer over the lack of job creation and access to unemployment insurance. And he voted for the corporate bail-out budget of the federal Tory minority government in January.

We got a behind the scenes glimpse of how the Canadian elite exert their power thanks to the well-connected federal Conservative Minister of Natural Resources, Lisa Raitt. It comes from the secret recording by her aide in which Raitt famously describes the shortage of medical isotopes as “sexy” and as politically advantageous to her career.

According to Toronto Star columnist Linda McQuaig who quoted from the tape, Raitt describes how three major bank presidents stood up at a meeting of the Canadian Council of (Chief) Executives in January and said, “’Ignatieff, don’t you even think about bringing us to an election. We don’t need this. We have no interest in this. And we will never fund your party again.’”

While Raitt was not at the meeting, she suggested that she may have heard the account from CEOs who claimed that Ignatieff was forced to tow the line.

And what was that line? The bankers were keen to have Parliament pass the Conservative budget, which included a measure called the Extraordinary Financing Framework that provided banks with up to $200 billion in loans and asset swaps.

Once again, the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie prevails over …. bourgeois democracy. -Barry Weisleder