Brian Topp's chronology of last year's events in which federal opposition parties banded together in an attempt to take power from the minority Conservative government is a must-read for any political junkie, no matter your opinion of the deal itself.
Topp, a former NDP campaign co-chair and a coalition negotiator for the NDP, presented his take on the day-to-day drama in a six-part series in the Globe and Mail over the past week.
All the juicy details are there: Dion's desire to un-resign his leadership by leaping right into the Prime Minister's chair, the coalition's strategic error in closely associating themselves with the Bloc (which the Tories seized on pretty much within seconds of hearing about the plan), the Ignatieff team's tepid embrace and then rejection of the coalition, some funny moments of Liberal "entitlement" behaviour (for example, see Marlene Jennings's comments during cabinet negotiations), Dion's final big flop on national television and a whole lot of "big names" playing a role, among them Dion, Ignatieff, Layton, Rae, Chrétien, Broadbent, Blakeney and a host of others.
The series has created quite a stir among political commentators. See the reactions by Chantal Hébert, Rex Murphy, Paul Wells and Curtis at Endless Spin Cycle (whose earlier post I initially missed when composing this one). Jane Taber comments on how the Tories celebrated the one-year anniversary of the coalition's demise.
Photo: Competing protests in favour and opposed to the proposed coalition in late 2008.