Background: Yesterday on CBC's The National, Michael Ignatieff was loathe to answer Peter Mansbridge's question on when the last time he and the Prime Minister met privately. Today, Paul Wells cautioned Iggy about Harper's legacy as a master manipulator in these settings. Oh, Iggy, no wonder you were so scared. If only you'd held off a little longer. Alas... ;-)
OTTAWA--In a surprise move that is rattling Parliament Hill to its core, Michael Ignatieff emerged from today's one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to announce that he is resigning immediately as Liberal leader to cross the floor and join the government benches as the Natural Resources minister, replacing MP Lisa Raitt.
It remains unclear where this leaves the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, as well as Her Majesty's loyal Opposition in the House of Commons.
All of Ottawa appears to be in catatonic shock, save for the Prime Minister himself. Harper spoke briefly to the press in the Commons foyer with a mute and serene-looking Ignatieff standing at his side, occasionally picking lint off his Master's jacket.
"Mr. Ignatieff and I agree that the best way to avoid sending Canadians into a summertime election campaign that nobody in their right mind wants is for him to subserviently become my dog," Harper told a stunned throng of reporters, and Robert Fife.
"However, since that's not physically possible, he has agreed to this other arrangement, whereby he will be sworn in later this afternoon as the Minister of Natural Resources, as well as the Minister responsible for Destroying All Opposition to Stephen Harper on Parliament Hill. Isn't that right, Igster?" Harper said, shooting a sly smile at Mr. Ignatieff, his fist clenching slightly.
Ignatieff appeared ready to speak, but meekly nodded his head, smiled and looked down as Harper thanked the press and led him away toward Rideau Hall, where the Governor-General was presumably making preparations for the swearing-in ceremony.
More to come as this shocking story develops.
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