Iggy on campus - Macleans.ca

Iggy on campus

Liberal leader kicks off “non-partisan” Canada at 150 conference at a university near you


In case you haven’t heard, Michael Ignatieff is coming to your campus. Why? Well, according to the Liberal leader, “Our country’s future is being shaped on our college and university campuses, by the energy and ingenuity of our young people.” The vast majority of young people never go to university, and they are scattered about the population mixed in with old people. So the easiest way to look like you’re in tune with the under 30 crowd is to go find a group of social science undergrads and have a “conversation” with them.

The cross-country campus tour is intended to kick off the Canada at 150: Rising to the Challenge conference, to be held in Montreal at the end of March. The conference, weirdly billed as non-partisan, is not to be confused with the 150!Canada Conference being held in Ottawa a few weeks earlier. My guess is if your tastes are truly non-partisan, and you only have the chance to go to one, you should go to the earlier conference, which is being hosted by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada.

Some people are pleased to see that the Liberal party is trying to play to Ignatieff’s strengths as an intellectual guy and supposed deep thinker. And, I suppose that insomuch that that is his strength it should not be hidden. But, I am just not sure that Ignatieff’s previous career as an academic and journalist should be a strength.

Canadian political leaders are tasked principally with leading the party in Parliament. The ability to gain the support of caucus, put together a coherent legislative agenda, or, as in the case of the opposition, provide a credible alternative legislative agenda, is what is needed. There is no reason to think that a career in academia prepares you for this. This is not to suggest that academics should not enter politics, but they still have to learn how to be a politician the same as everybody else. Academia might prepare you to analyze the workings of Parliament, but that is not the same thing as actually being in Parliament, let alone being prime minister.


Iggy on campus

  1. Yes, lets be cynical because one of our Political leaders wishes to engage young Canadians. How dare they.

    What a pathetic piece.

  2. Pingback: Time for Iffy to show he’s a leader « Blue Like You

  3. Ask him why he’s not stopping in Saskatchewan, home to the Canadian Light Source.

  4. Apparently he’s skipping one of the largest universities in the country (University of Alberta)?

  5. He’s going to U of Calgary. He’s one of the hardest-working, if not the hardest-working politician in Ottawa today. Too bad this writer can’t be generous enough to recognize that fact.

    Too bad this writer is such an obvious Tory supporter. One of the things that interested me most about Ignatieff, is that he has stated he wants the country’s young people to have access to whatever education they want to get; including university. Certainly – the majority of Canadian kids don’t go to University. Why? Because they can’t. Because it’s too expensive, and because the public school system is crap, and doesn’t prepare them.

    Harper is currently cutting back on scholarships, making it more difficult, and I’d like to find out where the favouritism lies in that area, who gets in, who gets scholarships — and which foreign countries have to pay more and which don’t. Ignatieff WANTS our young people to be educated, because he knows that’s the path to prosperity for the country. Harper doesn’t want them educated, because he knows that’s the path to an educated electorate, who would understand more of what he’s up to.

    Another Tory writer who’s trying to convince us that you don’t need an education to become a politician. Isn’t that great. So, I guess we won’t see Harper’s kids going to school?

  6. Iggy is desperately dredging for a sympathetic constituency by slogging about at universities.. where students are concerned about their next assignment, money or sex. Didn’t JustinT just announce he was going to do the same thing??? Sort of an overkill …!!!
    Of course it’s pleasant for Iggy to drop in to his campus stomping grounds … after returning from his European Holidays over Xmas & New Years … while PM Harper is staying to work in Canada getting the next Budget together and then going to the Vancouver Winter Olympics to cheer on our athletes from Feb. 12-28 … and then the Throne Speech and Budget on March 3-4 …. and then …….

  7. I agree with Evenflow. This is one of the most superficial political opinion pieces I have ever read and I’m disappointed it appears in Maclean’s which should pride itself on well-researched thought pieces. Since when do we think people who have dedicated their lives to learning and teaching have no desirable skills? Democratic politics are open to everyone. Harper wasn’t born a politician either and has also faced political defeat.

  8. Thank God the majority of students don’t go to university. Left-wing cesspool propaganda machines that they are. These ‘thinking’ students come out believing that terrorists are good, democracies are bad, AGW is real, Greenpeace tells the truth, capitalists are evil…..

    Where would we be if the majority of Canadians were fed this garbage after high school?

  9. Iffy can go to as many universities as he wants. After all that is his comfort zone. However, when talking to ordinary Canadians and particularly those who vote he is missing in action.
    Yes young people are the future but it is a well known fact that they do not vote. They are asking for changes to the political system and until they feel their vote counts they will stay home on election day.
    However, Iffy appears to be afraid to hear from the ordinary hard working Canaddians. He would rather go to Liberal universities and talk to them. To him that is making progress. Yikes!

  10. At least Iggy’s finally looking for ideas, since coming up empty himself. Sadly though, these “conversations” will just be children demanding more money for everything, with no credible way to pay for it. I have a feeling this tour will turn out very badly for Iggy.

  11. Well, Ignatieff goes where he’s the most comfortable. He is a professor, after all. But the students, endoctrinated in leftist ideology by mostsly leftist professors, may find Ignatieff a little bit too “conservative” for their taste. That may create a backlash and help Jack Layton on the left.

  12. As a subsciber to Macleans, I am surprised that they allow this kind of reckless partisan writer a forum to further his and his political masters agenda. The young of today are our leaders of tomorrow and should be made to understand that, When we elect politicians, they will inveriably shape the policies that will affect their well-being. Since Harper only speak to illitrates, hence we are in the mess we are in today and I promise you the worst is yet to come with these clowns running the show right now.

  13. Really ‘Nola’ – posting the same tripe under different faux identities all over the web is not fooling anyone. It never did.

  14. Poor Iggy. Because most of Canada and even most of the Liberal party rejects him, he is simply trying to return to “the good ole days”, where the only people that will give him the time of day or snore through his ramblings, are gullible, fawning poli-sci and sociology undergrad lefties – you know, our future welfare-is-a-career- choice “activists”.

  15. Great News! Iggy is the only one with any new ideas. He’ll be working hard. Harper closed Parliament for a 3 month vacation whilst he can teach his ignorant party the history of fascism.

  16. As Canada turns 150,Mr.Ignatieff will turn 70,as will Bob Rae.

    The Liberals better start filling their ranks with some much younger leadership blood,if it’s “young Canadians” they want to help.

  17. Uni is overrated and irrelevant, so Maclean’s will be scrapping the lucrative annual university rankings issue then?

  18. I’d sooner have an academic/journalist than someone like Harper who never had a real job in his life outside politics or lobbying. In the spirit of this highly partisan and superficial opinion piece, I’d say that Harper is utterly lacking in the integrity and respect for our institutions necessary for an MP much less a cabinet minister or PM.

  19. Why is arguing that academic skills are not necessarily transferable to Parliamentary politics a partisan argument?

  20. I don’t know Iggy. I had 2 sons in school and if they had any extra money to donate it was to the local pub. I wouldn’t expect them to help your membership drive. Not for another 10 years. Good Luck!!!

  21. Margaret, out of curiousity, which scholarships has Harper cut? In 2008 he replaced the Millenium Foundation with the Canada Student Grant Program, true, but this move was generally received very favorably by student groups–the CFS had been lobbying for this change to happen, for example. Most other scholarship funding is either provincial or university specific, neither of which are Harper’s jurisdiction…

    As far as Carson’s thesis goes, I think the general premise is correct: academic knowledge is not interchangeable with political sense. That doesn’t mean that an academic can’t also be a great politician or have good political sense, or someone with good political instincts can’t also be academically inclined. It just means that one doesn’t depend on the other. I don’t think anyone would argue that George W. Bush was an academic, but purely as a politician, he played his hand pretty well: he won two elections and pushed through pretty much every aspect of his agenda. Stephane Dion was pretty much the opposite: he had vision and some good ideas, but couldn’t sell them and was outmaneouvered at every turn by Harper.

  22. I saw Ignatieff speak today at University of Toronto Mississauga today, and he was wonderful. Every response he gave was carefully considered, and he was really respectful to the students. The questions ranged widely, from Climate Change to social profiling. I like him much more after seeing him speak, and I think this forum underestimates the quality of questions that the university students will have for him after what I witnessed.

    I have much more respect for him now that I see him live, and I am really tired of people saying he is over educated. Harper is prejudiced, and to my mind, narrow and provincial, and I would rather that Ignatieff sit down with world leaders to represent us on the world stage than Harper any day.