It’s Trudeaumania, without the Trudeau

Or the mania. SCOTT FESCHUK on the summer of Ignatieff’s bus tour and Harper’s trickery.

by Scott Feschuk

Bloomberg/ Getty Images; Photo Illustration by Taylor Shute

Michael Ignatieff, accustomed to summering abroad in style, is spending his July and August travelling across Canada on a bus. For this, we must give him Points for Trying. As any campaign veteran will attest, travel by political bus ranks in comfort and charm somewhere behind travel by air, train, car, flatulent burro and car with John Baird in it.

Week after week of Timbits, barbecued wieners and awkward photo ops in which the Liberal leader has felt inspired to move his limbs in a series of gestures that could charitably be described as “dancing”—clearly, Ignatieff has officially entered the I’ll Try Anything phase of his political leadership. Maybe next he’ll grow a moustache or wrestle a bear. With the support of just 28 per cent of Canadians, he has nothing left to lose but his pride, his dignity and, the way things have been going, the support of 28 per cent of Canadians.

That said, the Liberal Express bus tour has so far been something of a success, both as a PR stunt and as a trial run for a campaign. Ignatieff has been well-received in most cities and towns. The media have remarked on the fact he seems more comfortable as a speaker. Some have gone so far as to say it’s been a bit like Trudeaumania, albeit without Trudeau. Or the mania.

At one event, a middle-aged woman actually fainted. Sure, it had everything to do with the heat and nothing to do with the oratory—but she fainted in Ignatieff’s general vicinity. That counts! Tally up one on the Swoon-O-Meter.

And yet much work remains. A recent poll found that the Liberal leader is considered by Canadians to be “less responsible, less efficient, less confident, less determined, less brave, and less insightful” than Stephen Harper. (In Ignatieff’s defence, the pollster failed to ask whom Canadians considered more “eyebrowy.”)

More than a year into his leadership, Ignatieff is still struggling to connect with Canadians, partly because of little things—such as the words that come out of his mouth when he opens it. “I like politics,” he said as the Liberal Express stopped south of Quebec City. “I like respectful contacts with people.”

Ah, yes, nothing energizes the masses quite like a “respectful contact” with a political figure. I believe Barack Obama put it best when he rallied a nation behind his slogan, “Yes, We Can Have a Series of Polite Interactions.”

Ignatieff demonstrates a curious ability to further entrench perceptions about him while trying to dispel them. What about the popular belief that he’s haughty? Nonsense, the leader replied. “Little by little, people will get to know the Ignatieff I am, that I have always been.”

What a delightfully patrician way to put it: “the Ignatieff I am.” The Ignatieff I am prefers Bordeaux to Burgundy! The Ignatieff I am speaks in the third person! The Ignatieff I am admires the stylistic nuance of your ascot! You sometimes get the sense that Ignatieff isn’t just visiting Canada, as the Conservatives allege. He’s visiting Earth.

While the Liberal leader attempts to reveal the Ignatieff ?He Is, the Prime Minister remains the Harper He’s Always Been—the man who knows better than anyone else, even when anyone else is pretty much everyone else.

On one hand, Harper’s decision to banish the mandatory long form of the national census has been condemned by statisticians, economists, provincial and municipal governments, CEOs, labour organizations, charitable and religious groups, dogs and cats, and a spokesman for the numbers three through eight. But on the other hand, those people can suck it.

According to a report in the Globe, Harper ordered changes to the census out of “deep philosophical conviction.” He’s a libertarian, you see. Hates government in all its forms.

In fact, Stephen Harper so despises the clutchy talons of government that he increased the budget of his own office by an astonishing 20 per cent last year. He hired more people. He spent way more of your money. It is only through bigger government that the Prime Minister is able to accurately communicate how much he opposes bigger government.

Michael Ignatieff can journey across Canada in a bus all summer long. But Stephen Harper is still the master at taking us all for a ride.




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It’s Trudeaumania, without the Trudeau

  1. Yeah, baby, yeah…. This picture of Ignatieff is priceless, hahaha….

  2. I didn't know Ignatieff could dance! Oh, if only he and Harper could get along… maybe do a charity performance for flood relief, with Harper playing piano and singing, and Iggy doing an interpretive dance. I think everybody would love to see that!

    • Trudeau is there to meet an existing legal agreement with Macleans that guarantees his right to be included in at least 51% of all photo spreads.

  3. Amother example of serious journalism from the 'right-wing' Macleans.

    Groove is in the heart…

    • Deee-Lite

  4. CONTEST with MAJOR PRIZES!

    Please help me finish this joke.

    How is riding in a car with John Baird different from riding on a flatulent burro?

    • Because a flatulent burro can feed a family of four? Oh wait, wrong joke.

      • giant, smelly, burrito joke next week I promise.

    • Its a trick question, if you roll down the car windows there is no difference.

    • the burro's (greenhouse gas) emissions are non-toxic

      • Stewart_Smith, I think Susan just won your contest.

    • the burro deserved to be Parliamentarian of the Year

  5. Feschuk – I think caption contest would have been good with this photo. Claudia Lemire (Yeah, Baby, Yeah) and NiceGuy (Groove is in Heart) both have good suggestions.

    My suggestion is:

    Yeah daddy is sleepin' and mama ain't around
    We're gonna twisty twisty twisty
    'Til we turn the house down

  6. Feschuk, you jerk. I've been in bed all day recovering from the flu and then I read this. Laughed so hard I started feeling faint. Funniest thing I've read all day. Keep it coming bra.

  7. In the middle picture he looks like he IS the flatulent burro.

  8. Iggy just seems to try way to hard, and that pic is bloody funny, did he really make these poses.But i have been sort of wondering when the liberal media would start comparing him to Trudeau as if that will rally anyone besides some 1970's liberal has-beens.Has anyone asked Iggy about all the green house gas's he has created on his bus tour?

  9. Yes, he's a long way from Trudeau, but I would rather have him in charge than Harper. Ridiculing him doesn't help move the Tories out of Ottawa. Oh, please, the other guys use buses too. When I was in Orillia recently you wouldn't believe all the buses I saw coming and going from Casino Rama. Should the casino be shut down to spare the air? So lighten up on Iggy. He may be our last hope.

    • "No. There is another."

  10. Wonderful sarcasm… the main thing is you are talking about him…

  11. *snicker*

    Necro-posting now? That's a new trick from the Maclean's leftie-swarm.

  12. Well, the only absolute thing one can say about Mr. Ignatieff is:
    Never, ever has he made a mistake while in the position of a Prime Minister. I won't count him out until then! That's the beauty of a democratic country…You don't like them – throw them out and keep doing it until there is a general satisfaction and a comfort among the people. Governments are responsible to parliament, Parliaments are responsible to the people! Democracy is as simple as that.

  13. Dear Patrick,
    I went to see and meet Michael Ignatieff, and before I met him on this Liberal Express Tour I felt and as an advanced toastmaster, I felt Michael was on the stiff side, formal, polite and very much on the side of being very proper. I must say the Michael I saw and met this time was relaxed, and both an excellent communicator, quite animated, and a very effective communicator. I am 73, and have been involved in my community for many years. I recognise the great lack of experience in your criticism, and would hazard to guess you might be shooting of your lip, for the want of something better to do." Empty Barrels do make the most Sound" Why not admit you are a confused Harper stooge, who upon learning that your hero is a fibber, and a liar, a disgrace to our generous caring sense of fairness as Canadians, and for the first time in my life in Canada which I chose to become a citizen of ,I feel ashamed of what Harper and his gang of Religious zealots have done to political life in Canada. It figures, does it not that the church which preaches love on the one hand, and smear and venom on the other is using the same guttersnipe tactics,used by a man name Adolph in his march to power,before you were born. Harper will not be successful ever using such nasty stuff, of fear and smear, but will reap failure as all who negate the path of decency and respect for our institutions which have served us well. Take care learn from a much older man than yourself. David

    • Yawn.

      Like yourself, I met Michael Ignatieff before his Liberal Express tour as well. I met him before he was Liberal leader (although following his entry into politics).

      My experience with Ignatieff confirms that much of what he does is politically calculated.

      As for "Harper and his gang of religious zealots"…

      Yawn. Just yawn.

      The theocracy argument jumped the shark when it never happened. The only reason people like yourself keep recycling it because you aren't creative enough to come up with anything new — or based on reality.

    • you are the perfect example of a zealot. why don't you find another cause and give the PM a rest.

    • Iggy may well be a wonderfull guy, but look at the company he keeps; yourself included.

  14. Has anyone ever, or could anyone ever, explain Canadian fascination with PETrudeau? He seemed to many of us as dull as dishwater, and a poseur to boot.

    • I totally agree with you. Trudeau's arrogance, ugly mug and irritating mannerisms made my skin crawl, I don't get this big hero worshipping fascination either. Plus, being from the west, I never liked him because of his Central/Eastern leanings. Not to mention the damage many of his decisions have caused Canada. Yuck!

    • The wonderful Pierre was just the kind of authoritarian leader the country needed, and thats something you Cons just don't get. Canada's history and it's English institutions and traditions had to be denied, distorted and destroyed, and Pierre was just the guy to do it. Pierre understood that Canada needed to have a massive debt imposed, along with the imposition of tribal, identity, politics on the national sphere. Pierre's love and affection for dictatorial regimes around the globe made him the perfect person to run Canada, and thats something you Cons just don't understand. I'd rather live in the cult like world of Pierre than a free country any day. Long live the Trudeauvian Republic of Canuckistan.

  15. Hardy,har,har . You're a real card Feschuk .Bozo is still the dumbest PM in
    the ,entire, history of Canadian politics .
    Keep it up and maybe he will actually answer a question for you .
    Suggested: What key do you sing in ?

  16. looks like he ripped of a few of Elaine"s dance moves from the Seinfeld show, Definately Iggymortise.

  17. When is someone going to post Scott's latest column on cats???

  18. A politician being phony?!!! Stop the presses!!!

  19. I wonder when Iggy is going to take his trip to Cuba and meet Comrade Castro and shout Vive Cuba! To late to meet Mao! The former Soviet Union of Socialist Republics is now former! Hard to get Trudeauie with all of these political changes, isn't.

    • Okay, make fun of Iggy and the mystical Pierre all you want, but something us Liberals have and you Cons don't, is one of Trudeaus kids… Steve or Dave or Michelle or whatever his name is, and he's the greatest person that has ever lived!! One day the son of Pierre will be championed by the media, again, and we Liberals will be the kings of the world once more. That's something you Cons just don't get! Oh, and before you say Pierre's kid is unqualified, so what, his name is Trudeau and thats whats important.

    • Perhaps you should talk to Trudeau's ex, Margaret, she obviously has a different opinion of Pierre, she may even give you some pot to keep you hallucinating.

      • I love pot. As far as Pierre being a wife beater, shhhh, don't kill the myth that Trudeau was infallible. C'mon, be like a Liberal and ignore all the destructive, unnecessary, undemocratic things Trudeau imposed, and just drink the Kool-Aid already.

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