Ignatieff's bon/wrong mots - Macleans.ca

Ignatieff’s bon/wrong mots


Try as I might, I simply can’t get outraged at Michael Ignatieff’s pensées on the inevitability of Quebec’s independence. Safely ensconced in the fragrant embrace of academia, Mike has every right in the world to wax whatever about Quebec and its future in this “very strange hybrid called Canada”, and how one day, Quebec may well exclude itself from… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

Sorry, dozed off there for a sec. Let’s try that again.

As I said, Ignatieff has every right to say what he wants about Quebec to whatever television crew shows up at his door. He’s even allowed to get many, many things wrong, as he did in the BBC interview. “Quebec is master of its own house,” he said. “They run their own immigration policy.” [not really: Quebec has say over the selection of immigrants, but the overall policy is set by Canada. From the 1991 Canada-Quebec Act: “Canada shall establish annually the total number of immigrants for the country as a whole, taking into consideration Québec’s advice on the number of immigrants that it wishes to receive.”]

“They run their own natural resources development policy.” [True, but so does every other province, for the simple fact that natural resources is a provincial jurisdiction.]

“They run their own education…” [Ditto. See above.]

“…and health care system.” [Ditto. See above. This stuff is on Wikipedia, for chrissakes.]

And remember kids: this guy ran for Prime Minister. It makes me think that maybe his vision of Quebec separating itself from the Canadian dream is something of a zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

Sorry, there I go again. Stupid independence chatter-related narcolepsy!

Anyway. Iggy’s biggest whopper came courtesy of his misty-eyed take on his generation. “Je parle français,” he said  with a straight face, “and when I think about being Canadian, speaking French is part of it. But that’s not the way most English Canadians now think of their country. They might have 30 to 40 years ago when we thought we could live together in this very strange hybrid called Canada.”

Er, whah? Thirty to 40 years ago, many, many people were busy bitching and moaning about official bilingualism—Calgary Herald, circa 1970: Canada will be led “by a small cohort of bilingual technocrats [and] elite[s] running everything from defence to letter carrying”—and the indignity of having to eat French Corn Flakes and the like. And he’s got it backward: while the numbers certainly haven’t exploded, the percentage of bilingual Canadians continues to rise—and is higher today than Ignatieff’s supposed bilingual paradise of 30 to 40 years ago.

But what I’m really non-outraged about is how out of touch Ignatieff is on the current state of the Quebec nationalist movement. He seeems to think there’s a broad collective will behind the project, when there simply isn’t. Conveniently enough, Iggy’s comments surfaced on a day when La Presse released a poll noting how the Liberals are ahead of the sovereignist opposition Parti Québécois. Let’s put that into perspective: even though the Liberals have been carpet bombed with allegations of corruption, collusion and shady business over the last three years, and even though upwards of 75 per cent of Quebecers are dissatisfied with the current provincial government, the Parti Québécois still languishes behind. Pauline Marois’s party simply can’t capitalize, either because people aren’t buying, or simply don’t care about, what the PQ is peddling. Indeed, even with a supremely unpopular federalist government, only 36 per cent of Quebecers support the option. You might say that sovereignists are so desperate for fuel these day that they actually take comfort in the detached, demonstrably incorrect dribblings of a failed politician. It’s enough to put you to sleep.

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Ignatieff’s bon/wrong mots

  1. If what he said is so unimportant, why is everybody is a flap about it?

    • Because it makes the central canadian elites looks like complete idiots for choosing him as their standard bearer for prime minister.

      Most of us already knew that Iggy was just visiting, and an intellectual waffler par excellence. An egoistic narcissist. etc.

      Iggy is a social climber, and if he has to humiliate the central canadian elites to regain his place as a Anglo American talking head, he won’t hesitate.

      • Ummm no. He’s an intellectual and pondering on world events is what he does.

        What the hell do you care….he’s not even in politics anymore?

        • I suppose a reason to care would be that the idiot remarks of Iggy reflects badly on those who supported him as our Prime Minister. If you are one of those who voted for Iggy in the last election, I`m sure you feel betrayed and ashamed today.

          A good example of a leader who did not become PM but has shown a lot of class and wisdom in his retirement is Preston Manning. Iggy would do well to follow his example instead of recklessly promoting separatism.

          • Well actually, he’s right. And telling the truth is a good thing.

            Nationally, ‘Wild Rose’ won…and Canada is paying the price.

        • He’s less of an intellectual than you or me. An intellectual would be someone who looks deeply into things and thinks about them. Ignatieff is a professional haircut.

          As for him not being in politics anymore, it is vitally important to kick people like this when they are down, so that the next time someone gets a bright idea to bring in a foreign TV pundit and run him for Prime Minister, they actually think twice about whether that’s a good idea (it isn’t).

          • Yeah…a Canadian trilingual world-travelled, respected professor and journalist with a PhD is a nobody.

            Why I’m sure your barber could do better.

            Cheesuz….talk about Tall Poppy Syndrome! Or Canadian crabs in a pot!

          • Emily for goodness sakes you must admit that as “a PhD, respected professor, trillingual world-travellor, journalist…”, not to mention the leader of the federal opposition party for a time, he should have an excellent handle on the history of the country and the current situation in Canada. When he gives an interview, the information he provides should be accurate. That is why they interviewed him…for his unique and thorough knowledge of both the UK and Canada.

          • foreign!! God you’re another trained seal. Did they teach you to sit up and beg too?

      • I doubt you knew any of things before they carpet bombed him. But boy did they do a number on you. Funny, but liberal canvasers said they same thing when they asked people at the door if they were influenced by the ads…apparently lots of them got all shirty, denying they had even seen any ads. There’s just no accounting for the capacity of human beings to delude themselves.

        • Imagine the praise these same would be heaping on him had he come in as a CPC member!

          • Probably. But it should be noted it was the LPC itself who first objected to Ignatieff being parachuted in. Not that it justified the vile slurs and lies the tories stooped to smear MI.

  2. Iggy never said that other provinces don’t run their own health systems, education and resources development policy. So no, he did not get those things wrong.

    I would agree with you about the biggest whopper though, and of course, that’s a symptom of being out of the country for a long time. He has no idea that the country is more bilingual now than it ever was before.

    • He wasn’t talking to Canadians, he was on the BBC and they have no idea who runs what in Canada

      And since he’s worked all over the world, and been in countries where 2-3-4 languages are the norm I doubt we appear very ‘bilingual’ to others, no matter what the ‘numbers’ say.

      • Are you sure you’re replying to me? I can’t see a connection.

        • Well, you’re talking about bilingualism, so I was replying

          Why it’s at the top of the heap though, I have no idea. Disqus has been springing surprises all day.

  3. Well i realized MI had misspoke himself, but that’s pretty bad. I wonder if he just didn’t think anyone would see the interview overhere, or think the BBC give a shit what he actually said.

    Talking Canadian head addresses Scottish issue – who cares if they are not remotely connected via history, culture or language…they both sound funny so just roll the f’king camera and get it in the can!
    Funny bloke, sounds foreign, woss is name..Ignatyiff or sumfing. Bit of a tosser really.Wheres he from again? Kanader eh!

    • Ignatieff has been on the BBC for years…had a documentary series on there in fact.

      • yeah but you’re ruining my funny.

        • Oops…sorry! ;)

          • S’ok. Wasn’t that funny anyway.

  4. test

  5. Thank you for the excellent article, Martin. For an acclaimed academic and a man who wanted to be prime minister, MI did not do his homework well….or he was trying to make the interview more interesting and presented information that wasn’t accurate to do so. Either way, it does not reflect well on him.

  6. MI never understood Canada, which is why no one voted for him. I doubt whether he understands Scotland any better.