No country for good men

There is no stronger indictment of Canada’s political class than the treatment of Michael Ignatieff

Perhaps the cliché has it right and all political careers end in failure. But few end as abruptly, and with as much a feeling of missed opportunity, as that of Michael Ignatieff.

There is no stronger indictment of Canada’s political class than the treatment of Michael Ignatieff during the years from 2005 to 2011. Never has such a torrent of abuse been poured on any Canadian figure; never have the small-town and the small-minded been so united as they were in their joint attack on the son of George Ignatieff, the best Governor General we never had.  His torment by the Tory gang of cynics and liars, egged on by party hangers-on and cheered, too often and by too many of us in the press, testifies to the ongoing suspicion Canadians have with leaders who exhibit a modicum of intelligence, accomplishment, and worldliness.

It is hard for me, now, to think myself back to the enthusiasm I initially felt at the prospect of his entry in Canadian politics. More than any one else, and for better or for worse, Michael Ignatieff is responsible for my career as someone trying to find a place somewhere between philosophy and politics, between academia and the journalism. Before I met Mark Kingwell, before I met Joe Heath, I was reading Ignatieff’s work. I was given a copy of Blood and Belonging in my last year of undergrad, and it struck me at the time as exactly the sort of writing I’d like to do. Ignatieff’s excellent 2000 Massey Lectures, The Rights Revolution, only cemented my belief that he was a smart man who had something to offer the world.

Yet while I admired his career path, I didn’t always love his ideas. Ignatieff’s writing was not always as coherent (or as “tightly argued”, as they like to say in philosophy departments) as it should have been. He tended to hem and haw, especially when it came to touchy subjects like torture and the war in Iraq, and his frequent inability to come out and say exactly what he thought and why ended up seeming less like journalistic even-handedness, more like intellectual indecision.

Funny story: When I was teaching at Trent University in the early 2000s, I had the luck to teach a course on the philosophy of law and rights, and I put Ignatieff’s new book, Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry, on the syllabus. It wasn’t a huge success, partly because the book’s argument has some serious flaws, but more because my students thought it was a species of right-wing American imperialist propaganda. Later that summer I was talking to a friend who had taught the same book to some students at a college in New York. He laughed and said that his students also hated the book, for the exact opposite reason: they dismissed it as mushy-headed Canadian left-liberalism.

I’ve tried, on occasion, to mine from that anecdote a parable that will help explain precisely why Ignatieff’s eventual return to Canada was greeted with such immediate suspicion, even both those who might have been expected to welcome him. But the moral, if there is one at all, is simply that Canada and the US are different countries with substantially different political cultures, and that jumping into the former after marinating for decades in the latter was always going to be far harder than anyone, not least of all Michael Ignatieff, might have anticipated.

And that isn’t taking into consideration just how poisonous our political culture is. In the summer of 2005, I wrote an essay for the National Post that tried to frame Ignatieff’s return to Canada against the Liberal Party’s desperate search for a saviour “philosopher king” in the Trudeau mold. The piece was over-thought and over-written in bunch of ways, but I did flag two problems I thought he would face. The first was what became known as his “pronoun problem” – his habit of saying “we” when talking to both Canadian and American audiences.

The story of Ignatieff’s failure to properly deal with this issue is one major piece of the puzzle of why he went to such jaw-dropping defeat this week. For two years, the Conservatives hammered the airwaves with attack ads accusing him of being not really Canadian, someone who was “just in it for himself.” Someday we might get an explanation from the Liberal camp about why they allowed those charges to go unanswered for so long, and why they were never able to come up with a decent counter-narrative, a positive story that would place Michael Ignatieff’s return to Canada within the broader frame of his earlier career as a self-pronounced cosmopolitan, a global traveler and thinker whose interests for so long seemed to lie anywhere but within his home country.

But this points to a second piece to the puzzle, and that is the fact that the Liberal Party of Canada is a complete disaster, and has been for some time. It was mid-way through Jean Chretien’s second term that people started to point out that the party had no real identity, no sense of purpose other than power for its own sake. And so Michael Ignatieff’s failure to tell a plausible story about his own candidacy for prime minister was the precise mirror of the party’s own existential conundrum: The Liberal Party of Canada has no idea why it exists, so it is hardly surprising that they settled on a leader who didn’t seem to have any idea why he was here.

What is so remarkable about Ignatieff’s tenure as Liberal leader, and with this past election campaign in particular, is how little he tried to take advantage of intellectual strengths and interests. Confronted with a cartoonishly small-minded prime minister acting as chief puppeteer over a caucus of frat boys, yes men, and idiocrats, surely there was an opportunity for a leader who would speak to those Canadians who see themselves as responsible citizens of the world. We spent much of the 2000s telling ourselves that “the world needs more Canada”, and if anyone embodied that slogan, it was Michael Ignatieff.

But instead, the Liberals spent Ignatieff’s leadership playing along with the Conservatives’ completely un-serious approach to foreign affairs. Here’s something a friend send me during the campaign:

It’s pretty weird: Here’s Ignatieff, whose life has been devoted to precisely the challenges and  “foreign policy” nuances that are front and centre in everything that’s happening of any consequence in the world today, in the so-called Muslim world. If he weren’t running for the prime minister’s job in Canada, he’d be one of the few go-to guys in the English speaking world on Egypt, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, the latest Hamas-Fatah deal. . . . and here we are in the middle of a Canadian federal election, with all these issues that make Ignatieff look totally world-class and massively relevant, and which make the Tories look stupid but make the NDP look infinitely worse, and we’re not supposed to notice that any of it is even happening. Like it’s an election for the Orillia school board.

Why did Michael Ignatieff – or more plausibly, the people helping devise his political brand and their electoral strategy – stay as far as possible from these issues? Probably because they believe that Stephen Harper actually has us pegged, that we are a nation of Tim Horton’s-addicted moral suburbanites for whom that “the world needs Canada” was always just a slogan for selling books and lattes to the elites downtown. But if the Liberals are afraid to speak to their natural constituency in their native tongue, and if their leader’s CV is largely a cause for quiet embarrassment, what does that say about the party, or the country?

Here are the closing paragraphs of my 2005 essay on Ignatieff:

In a profile published in these pages [National Post] back in April, Tony Keller suggested Ignatieff’s views could be “a bracing tonic for the Canadian body politic.” He would lead us out of our smug anti-Americanism and help us accept our global responsibilities.

This is doubtful. More likely, this sort of thinking will be rejected by the Canadian political immune system. Whether it is about health care, missile defence or the war on terror, Canadians are incapable of having an adult discussion, and woe to any politician who dares do anything so radical as obey reason. Our political discourse takes place in a dogma-addled environment that would swallow up an intellectual alien like Ignatieff, and it would be a shame to see him forced to mouth the banalities that are required for survival in Canadian federal politics.

Immanuel Kant was right when he opposed the notion of the philosopher king, on the grounds that “the possession of power is inevitably fatal to the free exercise of reason.” We should certainly be wary of any philosopher who would be king. But in the case of Michael Ignatieff, he should be wary of us.

Watching Michael Ignatieff resign yesterday, it was hard not to be moved by his parting hope that there might be someone watching, maybe a woman, who is looking at him and saying, “he didn’t make it, but I will.” But is there any chance of that? Having seen how Michael Ignatieff was treated, can any reasonably intelligent and ambitious person be ever expected to go into national politics?

As Michael Ignatieff’s uncle, George Grant, once wrote about John Diefenbaker: Nothing in his political career became him like the leaving of it.




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No country for good men

  1. Yes, because tossing around a Barney doll was just soooooo respectful of the Liberals when attacking Stockwell Day. And "Mr. Harper, do you love Canada?" and "guns. in the streets." etc. and the previous campaign with girls crying in corners and guns aimed at the camera.

    If you're going to dish it, you need to be able to take it in return.

    When the Conservatives were first elected in 06 they TRIED to be inclusive, and the "frat boy" BS they threw at Gwyn Morgan was abominable. We could have had a brilliant business mind for $1 per year, but no. The Opposition (all of them) behaved like monkeys in a zoo and trashed him beyond belief.

    After that, what did you expect?

    • If you're appointing someone as powerful as Morgan would have been in a minority context, it should be a consensus candidate who can be respected and impartial. Not a best bud of the PM. Would it be unreasonable to expect the government not to appoint a chummy Auditor General or PBO?

    • Point successfully missed. Well done…enjoy your double double.

  2. "We spent much of the 2000s telling ourselves that “the world needs more Canada”, and if anyone embodied that slogan, it was Michael Ignatieff."

    I am afraid your "we" is a pretty modest constituency. I think most Canadians are worrying about more mundane issues, and Harper has found a way to deliver on those. Y'know, trivial parochial stuff like taxes and so on.

    • All of us taxpayers work in a country where 78% of the market value of listed corporations are in resource, energy or finance sectors. All three of these fields are affected by international and global influences and events (more so than by domestic pressures). Hyper-localism may pay at the ballot box, but it carries no weight in terms of our economic reality.

      You can pull the sheet up higher over your head, but it won't hurt any less when the roof falls in.

    • Well said Sir. It always made me just about want to puke, listening to that drivel about how important we are in the world. The only thing even sicker was the lefts ranting about how Harper was ruining our "world class reputation" because we didn't pander to every request from the Euro-hypocrites to end the seal hunt, close down the oil sands, impose insane and useless carbon programs, or whatever their fave hobby horse of the week was. Well many European countries and now bankrupt and can't afford to subsidize the useless windmills anymore and are shutting them down. They are "green" with envy and would die to have our oil sands. And don't think for a nanosecond they wouldn't be exploiting them. Harper will have the budget in balance in a couple of years. They will not. Sucks to be them. Cheers.

      • "Harper will have the budget in balance in a couple of years."

        So he says. But Harper says a lot of things and then does the opposite. So I'll believe it when I see it.

    • But of those issues, what has the CPC delivered on exactly? Taxes? As if 2% GST cut really has the slightest impact on the economy. Or the Corporate tax cuts? Are we still to trust in the murky concept of 'trickle down' where businesses raise wages out of charity, or lower prices – which we've well seen does not actually take place in Canada – without any market stimulus?

      At the end of the day the CPC's tax plan has hurt us by effectively ruling out the possibility of income tax cuts which we actually need. But we're supposed to cross our fingers and hope ecnomic growth will take up the slack from corporate tax cuts – at a time when every country in the world is slashing their rates already cancelling any competitive advantage it brings. So instead of getting money out on the market to create demand and stimulate the economy we're left treading water while we rely on high commodity prices and the selling of our resources to keep the impression of ecnomic strength. Im not against tax cuts, but they are wrongly directed and mismanaged.

  3. So running in an election for the Orillia school board would be beneath such a "totally world-class and massively relevant" individual. Good grief! Are some democratic institutions more democratic than others? And while we're on the subject of democracy, talk about damning with faint praise: the best Governor General we never had. Stupid parochial Canadians: why didn't we elect his papa to that non-elected office?

    • Is anyone reading this article? Foreign Policy Cred is not an asset or relevant for the Orillia School board, it ought to be for a candidate for Prime Minister.

      • One asset that should be considered among many others

      • Democracy as it should be practiced, whether you are at the school board level or at the federal government level, should be the job of generalists. We don't live in a technocracy. That's why you shouldn't elect teachers to the school board, nor have as your minister of Health a medical doctor. Canada's foreign policy should be more than one man's Creds. You don't need a PhD or have spent your entire adult life abroad to understand the dynamics of international affairs. In that sense, I think my comment has validity. It's the looking down their noses at people who contribute their time and energy (is there not something important in running a good school system and education our young by playing a role that is asked of you?) to the rather pedestrian tasks required by a true democratic system that is out of order. A bit of respect for all those who participate in the democratic process as they see fit would be a good thing.

        • This is how 19 year olds get elected as MPs.

          • No this is why we let 19 year olds run for election. They get elected as MPs because a majority of electors voted for them.

          • As of now. Harper has more real foreign policy experience than Iggy or any other canadian academic. He has governed while Canada is at war in Afghanistan and, more recently, participating in the NATO airstrikes in Libya. He attended multiple G8/G20 summits. Negotiated a border agreement with the Obama admin etc etc.

            Let's not mistake real experience in international affairs with being a prof teaching young students (not that teaching is bad in anyway)

          • Number of war zones Harper has worked in? Zero. Number of war zones Ignatieff worked in? At least two that I know of (Iraq and the Balkans).

          • Oh OK, so foreign policy credentials come from 'on the ground' experience in war zones?

  4. Good piece Andrew, but tell us what you really think of Harpo. A book by Gunter Grass that I'm reading now has reminded me that Germany's first Social Democratic Chancellor, Willy Brandt, was an illegitimate child who served in Norway's armed forces against Germany during WW2. I wonder what our Conservatives would have done to him.

  5. First of all, "saviour philosopher king”? Who the hell wanted that?

    Newsflash, Andrew: We didn't need saving. Whether or not you agree with the direction the Harper government was/is taking us, we are in no need of a saviour or a philosopher/king at this stage, thank you very much.

    Secondly, I wish Ignatieff well, and I don't like attack ads either, but let's not get confused and beat ourselves up about what happened here. It wasn't that he went to Harvard or lived abroad, for chrissake. It's that he lived abroad for 36 years and during that time rarely participated meaningfully in our country's political life. In what G8 nation could someone fitting that description, however learned or honourable, expect to get elected to the highest office in the land?

    Sorry your schoolboy dreams were crushed, but Lord, talk about missing the point.

    Rant finished.

    • "First of all, "saviour philosopher king”? Who the hell wanted that?" suggest you re-read the article, because I think that was one of the points AP was making.

      • His earlier essay suggested that we needed to be wary of philosopher kings, yet I read his piece as ruing the loss of one.

        In any event, I reject the "Canadian small-mindedness" thesis, however presented.

        • What evidence do you have to suggest your counterargument, that Canadian politics has not been small-minded?

          • My point was that rejection of Mr. Ignatieff is not evidence of small-mindedness. Rather, it was in large part a rejection of a parachute candidate for PM who was unable to demonstrate a sufficient connection with the Canada he was absent from for 36 years.

          • Yes. After they dive bombed him with spurious lying flying crap for two years. That's such a convient after the fact conclusion…hindsight such a helpful little prop aint it?

          • Believe what you want to believe. Blaming the attack ads and the "Canadian small mindedness" is a convenient excuse, I guess.

            You may also wish to blame the RCMP for Paul Martin's defeat, as I have heard David Herle do. I happen to think it had more to do with the "adscam" scandal, and Paul Martin's failures, and the general failure of the Liberals to face the challenge of a united right.

            In this campaign the ads attack ads that were most effective, in my view, were the ones that featured Ignatieff speaking for himself. As an American. Were these "lying flying crap", or did the Conservatives merely identify and exploit a stupid and ultimately fatal mistake by the Liberals in recruiting Ignatieff?

            I think that the answer is obvious.

        • Actually, you and your ilk continue to prove it. You've got four years to harness that 'hate' energy to do something positive. Please make it so.

    • "Secondly, I wish Ignatieff well, and I don't like attack ads either, but let's not get confused and beat ourselves up about what happened here. It wasn't that he went to Harvard or lived abroad, for chrissake. It's that he lived abroad for 36 years and during that time rarely participated meaningfully in our country's political life."

      What utter rubbish! That is what could and should have been pointed out; it was however far frome what actually occurred. Who's really living fantasyland here, and who really missed the point, really!!

  6. I've watched both Harper and Layton and have been appalled at how they treated people in order to win more political power (just to give one example each, one can look into Harper vs Alan Riddell and Layton vs David Oliver – two innocent people smeared for political gain, although I think they got some compensation through the courts). I didn't have as long to observe Ignatieff, but he never seemed like the type of person to purposely try to destroy an innocent person. Sadly, I've come to the conclusion that lacking that killer instinct seems to be what it takes to be a winner in current Canadian politics. At least for leaders. There are decent individual MPs, but even a lot of those got tossed out for candidates that seemed to have more of the killer instinct when it came to misleading others about your opponent.

    Run for public office? I'd rather have a half dozen root canals. Well, except maybe the NDP way – lying on a Carribean beach and watching the votes come in.

  7. There is such a thing as being clever without being smart.

    The NDP's "stupid" policies on Afghanistan and Iraq made boatloads of sense to the people who didn't want their kids to get killed there – though I understand in the halls of academia that's sneered at.

    Jack Layton's smart enough to say "torture is wrong" which is more than can be said of Ignatieff when it mattered. Why not ask Maher Arar whether that's "stupid" or not?

    • It's a volunteer army. I don't think very many families of the men and women who serve are the "run and hide" type. In fact, they are the kind of people academics often sneer at.

      The decision by two governments representing two major parties to send a couple thousand soldiers into combat (out of a population of 33 million) along with our NATO allies is not an unreasonable one. Various reasons are put forward to defend the choice, but for me, I would suggest it's the insurance premium for stability in Europe – i.e., proving that NATO still means something. We lost 100,000 men in Europe in the last century. Be damned if we have to go back and lose more.

      It's not like we are sending a mass army of a million men into combat and having thousands come back dead or maimed. Yes, every soldier's life is important, and we can never trivialize their contribution to our country.

      God give peace to the families of those we lose now in Afganistan – and let's make sure the Harper Gvt takes proper care of our vets when they return.

      • Amen brother. The men and women who volunteer to serve do so knowing full well the risks. The least that we can do is give them the tools that they need to do the job (and I don't mean untendered jet contracts here people) and, as importanly, the support systems they and their families need and deserve when they get back home.

        Torture is wrong, and I think that Ignatieff allowed himself to fall too far down the slippery "torture if necessary but not necesarily torture" slope. This is where my credit-giving for Jack Layton's foreign policy stance stops though.

        …and you know how I'll know when we've lost too many troops overseas? When Don Cherry doesn't have time to show me a picture of each individual on Saturday nights. The man's a loon, but God bless him for that.

  8. Probing the way "He tended to hem and haw [on the] touchy subject [of] torture… and his frequent inability to come out and say exactly what he thought and why ended up seeming less like journalistic even-handedness, more like intellectual indecision" (or incoherence) was one chapter of my MA thesis.

    Anyway, very much appreciated reading your second paragraph, scathing and true. The possible conclusion I keep coming back to from Ignatieff's performance in this election is that of a favourite Bart Simpson quote "well you tried your best and failed miserably, the lesson is: never try."

    • I should add that I say the above as someone who has never reallysupported Ignatieff, in this campaign or previously.

    • and given the fair and pointed criticisms levelled at the Ignatieff team/campaign in the second half of the article "tried your best" belongs in scare quotes.

  9. Yeah, I'm not going to comment on this article except to say that it made me profoundly angry.

    But not because I have any sympathy for Micheal Ignatieff.

    • Good! You are now 3/4 to being the perfect CON candidate in the 2015 election (now you just need one of the following: connections with brothel-visiting senior PMO advisor; ability to turn nose up at Canada's election laws; and the endorsement of someone who has or in the past has supported terrorism abroad)…

      • I'd rather be a Liberal candidate at this stage of the game. Lots of room to grow.

        • That's funny Yanni…i mean it too + 1

  10. Oooh thank you for this!

    It's the first thoughtful analysis I've seen of both Ignatieff, and the current state of our nation.

    There is a deep divide in our country, and while Ignatieff appealed to one, he did not appeal to the other. Half this country is quite happy with the Bob and Doug McKenzie image that Harper has given them, and the other half is astonished that a leader most countries would give their right arm for [PhD, world traveller, war correspondent, writer] was treated so badly….the disagreements not being on policy, but on stupid things. His eyebrows? His 5 years at Harvard? His use of the word 'we'?

    'the small-town and the small-minded' indeed. Anti-intellect, anti-science, leery of 'book-larnin' and only keen to 'have a beer with someone'

    Perhaps his image as a philosopher-king like Trudeau suffered from too much 'philosopher' and not enough 'king'. Kings have to be hard and ruthless a good deal of the time….Trudeau did that, Ignatieff did not.

    And that tribal instinct is still there, at least in some quarters, that a leader has to be tough, unforgiving, and willing to wield knives and do all manner of macho stuff.

    The result is, of course, that we will tend to get 'kings' in the future, not leavened by any pesky 'philosophy'

    • I'm starting to understand why Ignatieff was away from Canada for all those years. The country wasn't good enough for him.

    • Plenty of us here in "small town" Canada read. Enough to know when a leader doesn't care about us and only wants to speak to the audience of his Massey Lecture. The Canada you so patronizingly refer to as the "Bob and Doug McKenzie" set just picked your parliament. They didn't do it by accident, or based on which leaders would be the best beer buddies. Maybe now is the time to actually learn something about the other half of the divide instead of writing them off.

      • Yes, Bob and Doug McKenzie picked your parliament. Enjoy.

        • You continue to prove my point. As long as you continue to think you're somehow better poised to select a government than the rural or blue collar contingents of the country, you will continue to select leaders who get rejected. It's the "Pretend Progressive" viewpoint. You're painting a large component of Canada with a caricature. (and an anachronistic one at that) I live in a small town, and I voted Conservative, so I must be small minded and uneducated like the McKenzies. Funny how that is the same type of small minded prejudice of which people accuse the Conservatives. The irony is staggering.

          • You wanted Bob and Doug, you got Bob and Doug.

            42% of Canadians are illiterate.

            Don't blame me for your problems.

    • …a leader most countries would give their right arm for [PhD, world traveller, war correspondent, writer]…

      Emily, do you get an erection when you write about Michael Ignatieff? I was just wondering. You don't have to tell me if you don't want to.

      In any case, far less than half of us are astonished that he didn't win. In fact, I think that number is around 18%.

  11. When your second paragraph starts lamenting the electorate's resistance to "the son of George Ignatieff, the best Governor General we never had"…that's where it gets insulting.

    Were we supposed to bow and scrape for the pseudo-nobility appointed by (heh) deep thinkers like yourself, out of their sheer inborn superiority? Were we to worship the offspring of your hero, the captain of your fantasy baseball team, just because he seemed witty and oh-so-self-satisfied? And the claiming of joint victimhood as a fellow misunderstood genius of the Intellectual Class, whose brilliance just isn't appreciated, dammit by the drooling lumpenproles, bedazzled as they are by Tory half-truths and gorilla dust? Yikes.

    My God, get over yourself. Ignatieff was a terrible candidate whose arrogance and impatience with voters was palpable.His vision of Canada was one not actually inhabited by actual Canadians with jobs and mortgages and kids and expenses, but some kind of glorious candyland of the mind, where Deep Thoughts could be considered in a void. He was rejected because that smug sense of superiority was off-putting, and he was an empty shell without it.

    Cry about it all you like; your tears are delicious.

    • This is, truthfully, a fair counterpoint.

      • It's crap and should read more like this: 'Harper was a terrible candidate and PM whose arrogance and impatience with voters was palpable, except when he avoided Canadians like a coward for fear they would ask him a question.'

    • Wow, I wish to extend my sincere thanks for nailing on the head exactly what I thought of this piece and saving me the work of typing it out myself.

      We live in a DEMOCRACY people, that includes a vast majority of people who don't read Foreign Policy magazine or follow their favourite pundits on Twitter. This column, while well written ultimately reflects the sad alienation and insularity of the author and others like him. Canadians missed out on someone who would have been "world-class" on foreign policy? You wanna know who doesn't give a s*&t about something like that? Someone who doesn't have a job or is scared of losing the one they have.

      And if you think Ignatieff is some foreign policy whiz try wading your way through as one author put it "the level 5 mind fog" that you get when you read his New York Times pieces in support of the Iraq war.

    • best. rebuke. ever.

      fire potter. hire this guy instead.

      • Ditto. I don't respect Potter enough to waste time rebutting his drivel. AVR did it well.

  12. Potter: Three weeks ago, you described Ignatieff as a "gallivanting, sugar-spun cosmopolitan, who has finally decided he needs a country after all." You opined that "his job application True Patriot Love is such a cloying Via Rail portrait of Canada that it is hard to take seriously the idea that he actually believes it".

    According to you, while living abroad, Ignatieff "didn't betray any great concern for the land of his birth", and even when he said nice things about Canada, "it was with a dash of condescension". All this was in support of your thesis that neither Ignatieff nor the PM "has ever shown much interest in, or loyalty toward" Canada.

    How do you reconcile this with your indictment of Canada's political class for the "torrent of abuse" that was "cheered, too often and by too many of us in the press"?

    • Maieutics is how he would explain it. He got all midwifery on us to convince us that Harper was a disloyal Canadian. Who didn't stay in Canada for you. Besides, you're not suppose to remember what you read three weeks ago. Unless you're a Liberal with a PhD. In which case, it's probably not polite to point out contradictions to someone at the dinner table.

    • Perhaps this later effort is a self-indictment?

    • Hear hear, CR.

      I sensed the emptiness of AP's meandering argument without having read his earlier piece. Read side by side it's beyond empty, it's patently absurd.

      Andrew Potter, please read Andrew Potter.

    • Good question.

    • You know the answer to your question CR.
      Three weeks ago Potter only included Ignatieff in his piece to portray some semblance of impartiality. His only targets in that piece was Harper and Alberta. Ignatieff suffered only some collateral damage.

  13. And the treatment of Stéphane Dion by the Tory gang of cynics and liars, egged on by party hangers-on and cheered, too often and by too many of us in the press plus Mr. Ignatieff's backers in the Liberal Party …?

    • Since Dion had not been away for any length of time (except, to my knowledge, in Washington at the Brookings Institution and in France as a student), it was even worse, esp. the emphasis on his French accent and second (French) passport acquired through his mother. These things should have resonated with every immigrant and everyone with an accent.

  14. Like Andrew, I was hopeful about the possible impact Mr. Ignatieff could have. In those early years, I devoured pieces like Andrew's National Post piece, trying to determine whether or not Ignatieff was "the real thing." But in the end he underwhelmed: whether the fault was Ignatieff's or his advisors seems to matter little. Seeing this (formerly) esteemed intellectual peddle the "Liberal Family Pack" like so much fried chicken, seemed a fitting finale to a leadership tenure spent mired in parliament's inside baseball.

    • But I think I disagree with Andrew's thesis here – which I read to be that Canada can't have (or doesn't deserve) wise leadership. Instead, I think we need a kind of intellectualism that is paired with toughness.

      Think Trudeau: he was a smarty-pants, but also a SOB.

      We all saw Ignatieff as a smarty-pants, but I couldn't detect the tough-as-nails quality that Trudeau had. Now we'll never find out if he had it.

      On the other hand, we've all seen Harper's SOB routine. Is it possible, with his majority finally gained, that we'll see something of the hither-to-rumoured intelligence of our Prime Minister?

      • As Will Ferguson knows, all of our prime ministers are either Bastards or Boneheads.

      • Harper is a 'smarty-pants', too. Quintessential policy wonk, polisci major. He just wraps himself in smarmy populism.

        • He really, really doesn't.

          • GST cut, cigarillo ban, minivan-driving hockey dad shtick.

          • The GST cut was popular but it isn't populism. Cigarillo ban is largely driven by the anti-cancer lobby and health Canada bureaucracy, and the "everyday guy" shtick he tried early on proved so embarrassing that he has since stopped.

            You can accuse Harper of many things, but a populist isn't one of them. Nor would I call him socially adept enough to be smarmy.

          • I hear he's now smoking two packs of cigarillos a day.

      • Contrary to what some think, it's not being an SOB that enabled Harper to gain leadership of the Canadian Alliance, unite the right, gain leadership of the Conservatives, build them back into a national contender, then proceed to win the last three federal elections, culminating with a majority. It wasn't luck either. The primary driver was intelligence. And there's one other thing. Strange you missed it, but one of Harper's best qualities is that when he's outsmarting people, he never talks about it, brag about it, or feel the need to declare it, because that in itself is a sign of lower intelligence, because it can actually hurt you to do so.

        • It's called "unashamedly unprincipled".

          Rules, laws, are only as good as the willingness to uphold them, not measured by how easy they are exploitable.

        • Exactly. I've been pointing that out to progressives all week. They are so quick to label Conservative supporters as "stupid". A guy at work on Tuesday called me part of the "stupid 40" when he found out how I voted. I ceded the point that I might well be just as stupid as he thinks. I then explained to him that calling me stupid was probably not the best way to point out errors in my thinking. He turned red like a beet – which is usually what happens when one calmly points out to someone what an a$$ he is. Talking about how smart and clever and superior you are is not a sign of intellectual strength. It's a sign of weakness. Profound, fatal weakness. They found out just how weak it made them on Monday night when they were trounced by the "stupid 40."

          • he was just using the short form, when really it's a coalition of the stupid, the old and the evil.

          • Please keep telling us how stupid, old and evil we are. And don't forget fat and white. It's music to our ears. Sour grapes look soooooooo good on you.

      • "On the other hand, we've all seen Harper's SOB routine. Is it possible, with his majority finally gained, that we'll see something of the hither-to-rumoured intelligence of our Prime Minister?"

        Don't hold your breath then. There's more then a bit of circumstantial evidence that he's a very very bright serial bungler[ oddly reminiscent of PM in that way, and in some others too. Noticeably the ability to pull off the shameless lie or half truth]

        That said i concur. Canadians do seem to prefer their intellectuals to come with a soft centre and a hard hard outer shell. Funny how we don't seem so picky at the other levels of govt.

  15. How does one communicate with someone so in love with their own thoughts? Hmm..well, Mother always said, "Be forthright, dear."

    #1 The Trudeau mould was one of Canada's most miserable political failures. Trudeau was a spendthrift who practiced alientating regions of the country, by bribing each—with the others' votes or cash.. His legacy remains mouldy and many of us are not prepared to make the same mistake twice.

    #2 Ignatieff was overwhelmingly percieved to be a condescending elitist opportuninst. In the real world. By people who mark X's. And for so many voters, he was also considered to be a leftist stuffed full of grandiose taxable schemes that would benefit others more than would help Canadians.

    Your mentor.
    It must be difficult to discover your vision is aligned with man who discovered, in the real world, that he could not snap his fingers and command votes, even though he thought he deserved them, had a right to them, instead of earning them. Ignatieff did nothing to earn the trust of Canadians except to show up. Learn something from it. You might be well-schooled, but you're not wise.

    • Should Potter reflect about what you have written and learn from your post, you will have, in all fairness, to correct your last sentence to: You might be well-schooled, but you are not yet wise.

      • I stand corrected. And your correction is wise.

    • This is all well and good except for the fact that this is simply your opinion. Your point that Ignatieff was "overwhelmingly perceived to be a condescending elitist opportunist"? Moot the second I say that I disagree. You're spouting off on your own opinion – who gave you the right to speak for the "people who mark Xs." Learn to address the facts, not the speculation. Then we can discuss being well-schooled

      • Might one fact be that he lost in his own riding? Might another fact be that he was the public face of the Liberal Party of Canada, a party that soundly scolded from sea to sea to sea? Where there is room for discussion though is whether the condescending elitist opportunist is merely a perception on the part of the great unwashed or if in fact it is a fact.

      • He lost. The liberals lost half their seats. He lost in his own riding.

        For the vast majority of Canadians, the Liberal Party of Canada is irrelevant. 80% of the 60% or so that cast ballots voted against the Liberal Party.

        The Liberal Party now has the rather difficult task of justifying it's existence. I'm not sure they have even figured that out.

  16. I like Ignatieff also, but I see two problems with Potter's piece: (a) it doesn't try to address why not just the Canadian political system as a whole failed to appreciate Ignatieff, but even the voters of Etobicoke Lakeshore failed to (b) Potter himself doesn't really provide a case for why Canadians should have been more enthused about Ignatieff – the very general credentials which he lists are never really going to be bread-and-butter vote-getters anywhere. Potter needs to explain what specific Canadian concerns and problems Ignatieff was well-suited to addressing: "the world needs more Canada"? But the fact is, that was never top of mind for the average Canadian except maybe as a slogan. The Conservative attacks on Ignatieff were unfair at times, but the Conservatives at least had a specific case they could make to the specific concerns and desires of a variety of Canadian constituencies – you might not like the case they made, but they had very specific arguments to make everywhere from Brampton to the Fraser Valley. The Conservatives told voters what they would do for them. Ignatieff, not so much. Unfortunately, I think that Ignatieff's haziness about why he was running combined with the general sense of entitlement of the Liberal Party made it easy for the Conservatives to portray him as out-of-touch to many voters. Was the overall impression that was created about Ignatieff fair? No. But the harsh realities of politics are hardly unique to Canada. Ignatieff and his team needed a specific plan to confront and combat those problems. He didn't have one. And it sounds like neither does Potter. In that way, Potter's own post in a way reinforces the notion that Ignatieff's campaign was more about a sense of entitlement than about the concerns of Canadian voters. Like Potter, I think that the Liberal Party as a whole is more to blame for that than Ignatieff – but, despite my respect for him, I think it's no coincidence that the two fit together, and Potter has only reinforced that notion and, in that way, provided another indictment of Ignatieff.

    • Wow, another good rebuttal!

  17. Iggy's an aloof schmuck who can't connect with Canadians. We're supposed to elect him just because other Toronto elitists tell us he's "smart"? WTF does "smart" even mean in this context? He's basically despised by Canadians, produced absolutely nothing of interest in his parties platform, and ran an utterly worthless campaign (ya, I know that goes against the MSM meme, but I'll stand by that statement 100%), and quite possibly destroyed the LPC forever. How does any of this add up to "smart"?

    Here's an idea Andrew. Why don't you call up Heather Mallick so the two of you could team up and tell all us stupid Canadians how fat, ugly, white, and stupid we all are?

    • You don't really need to be told you're fat, white, ugly and stupid, do you? After all, you've provided a photo and a rudimentary paragraph asking what 'smart' means…

      • Please keep telling us how fat, white and stupid we are. It just reflects so well on you.

  18. Ignatieff's biggest problem was his complete lack of political intuition. All Canadians wanted was for the Liberals to recede for a season, play the opposition and come back in 4 years after having regrouped and consolidated. Chretien would have bided his time until the right moment to strike. Ignatieff, it seemed, let his blind advisors pull the strings and allowed them to push him into an open powergrab. Canadians smelled it miles away.

    Unfortunately for the Liberals, they couldn't diagnose their own malaise. They kept gunning for power. How many people shook their heads when Ignatieff pointed and yelled "Your time is up Mr. Harper". The political reality was, Stephen's time was just so not up. Since then, it's been one misread after another. Liberal Canadians wanted a sharp, calculating, quick leader who could go toe-to-toe with Harper. Ignatieff was a rag doll, an easy target, a pushover. Lots of huff but no shove. Jack, on the other hand, showed some dexterity and political savvy at the Leaders' Debate. He caught liberal Canadian attention. Once the exodus began, previous Liberal voters began jumping to the NDP like rats from a burning ship.

    • Yup. Chasing after an election so soon was a mistake, egged on mostly by Bob Rae. But Iggy and the rest of the Liberal brain trust went along with it. I believe it has something to do with the prevailing Liberal belief that the country will fall apart if they aren't running it. That's why Chretien spent a week creeping around the Parliament offices after the 2008 election, visiting Opposition MPs and trying to get everyone on board for a coalition takeover attempt. He honestly felt that he had to rescue the country. Earth to Liberals – the country does not see you as knights in shining armour.

  19. Michael Ignatieff is the second Liberal party leader in a row with an intellect to go down in flames with the Canadian electorate, Stéphane Dion being the first.

    Does this mean that Canadians are stupid, or that they have changed since Pierre Trudeau was PM?

    It could be that Canadians are content with the way things have been under Stephen Harper, since the economy is performing better than it was in those dark days of early 2009. As well, you can't fault Mr. Harper for the way the TSX took a nose dive, since the crash of the NYSE in 2008 had a ripple effect on every stock exchange in the world.

    Maybe Mr. Ignatieff is too obtuse for the average Canadian, but I think the average Canadian isn't one to quarrel with what he or she sees as success.

    • Perception had a huge part in this election. Harper was able to claim all the good things that happened to the country, while passing off all the bad on the opposition. I think he did a good job at shifting blame and playing on peoples fears.

      In truth though, the performance of the economy had little to do with the CPC, and we'd be in the same place today had the LP one. Dion was actually a good choice, if he didn't look like such a goofball. It was just an impossible sell coming off the LP's disgrace after Adscam.

      I dont think a lot of Canadians really understood what was going on with the 'Great Recession' and assumed that what they saw on tv going on in the US should be going on in Canada.

    • The reason is that lying and attack ads are now the new normal in Canada and that bullies are admired. Question: If you have children, how do you hope to bring them up to be (relatively) honest and decent citizens? Do you even want to? And don't complain if they are bullied in the schoolyard. In the meantime, enjoy your monster home and your SUV!

      • Of course, all Conservative voters live in monster homes and drive SUVs.

        • Many have more then one. :) Some even have three car garages and indoor jacuzzis…why didn't hat come out in the election? A real opportunity missed IMHO.

  20. Andrew, the point you are missing is that the Liberal defeat can't be blamed on Ignatieff being too smart for Canadians or slammed by insurmountable attack ads by the intellectually inferior other parties. A Prime Minister has to be able to connect with his electorate on some basic level and then be able to build a consensus using that connection. This is where Ignatieff and the Liberal Party has failed. The Liberal message for the last few decades — and your article does nothing but exemplify this — has been "we're intelligent and our leader is the most intelligent of the bunch, therefore, you should vote for us. If you don't like our message and you vote for one of the other guys, it's because you are not as smart as we are." This arrogance is pushed onto the public and supported by the same negative campaigning techniques as the other parties (i.e. Harper's secret plan to dismantle public health care, etc.). Hardly a way to connect and build a consensus amongst 30 million people.

    • That seems to be largely a parallel to the campaign the CPC ran though.

    • My question is where does intelligence fit in when we rack up the list of criminal, negligent, corrupt practices that Harper's government has indulged in these last few years and "Canadians" still voted him back into power. There are virtually unlimited numbers of reasons why what happened Monday occurred, but it's dismaying to see that "Canadians" didn't bother to pay attention to the offenses. I can't even begin to count the number of people who brought up the sponsorship scandal this election, despite the fact that the Conservatives have done the same – and worse – and BEEN CAUGHT doing it – and yet no one seemed to care. Or said that Harper was good for the economy despite the fact that he's proposing spending billions on jets and fighter planes…for what exactly? I don't think Iggy was a great leader, but I think a lot of people didn't spend a lot of time researching the leaders before they made up their minds at the polls. I still can't help but think people said "Harper's done well enough and he's stopped eating kittens…back in he goes."

      • I think people who just read their local paper and watch TV and don't have time to seek out more information would not have heard that much about all the scandals. But the Harper Conservatives' vicious lying ads were all over the TV and the rightwing media constantly fawned on that vindictive creep and pretended he was economically competent, without noting how much of our money he stole to buy his lying ads with and wasted on photo ops of his ugly narcissistic face..

        • But the Harper Conservatives' vicious lying ads were all over the TV and the rightwing media constantly fawned on that vindictive creep and pretended he was economically competent, without noting how much of our money he stole to buy his lying ads with and wasted on photo ops of his ugly narcissistic face..

          And there you have it. The voice of progressive Canada. Moderate. Compassionate. Socially conscious. Ready to lead Canada into the future. The future is bright.

  21. The Liberals will have three good years to get their brand back into a functional alternative of ideas. They need not worry about governing ( they lost), nor do they need to trouble themselves over the role of the official opposition ( they lost badly).
    It's three years to rework who and what they want to be. They also can learn to reach out to a grass roots movement for ideas and funds. After that they should be able to have a real leadership campaign to elect a leader who embodies their chosen direction.
    Or they can blame the old leader, the Prime Minister, voters, Quebec, Alberta, the Governor General, non-voters, media, social media, wiki-leaks or anyone else until all that marks them Liberal is their red enraged faces that they LOST with a bad platform, bad communication and a leader that didn't fit what his party decided to be.

    • Good post..lots of opportunity for the libs. SH gets to confirm our worst fears, and the NDP gets to prove it can be serious[ how's that going?] There's a world of opportunity for the libs to return. On the negative side of the ledger…the other guys might be good – bye bye LPC ????…AND even WORSE Dennis got reelected didn't he?

  22. The column is absurd. Neither the Canadian people nor the Conservatives did Ignatieff in.

    The Liberal Party did. The Liberal Party in an open democratic convention rejected Ignatieff. A bunch of Rosedale snobs overturned that decision and installed Ignatieff anyway two years later. Grassroots Liberals rejected Ignatieff. Why in effing hell would anyone in their right mind think Canadians would vote for him if grassroots Liberals didn't.

    The Conservatives got all of their material for the ad campaign from the Liberal leadership contest. It was Liberals who dug up all the dirt on Ignatieff. Conservatives just advertised it.

    Harper and Layton wear the scars of people who have been fighting the fight for what they think was best for Canada for over 25 years. They were present, and known to Canadians.

    Ignatieff was more interested in dancing for the imperial class in the parlour rooms of London and Washington. Without a doubt, he is an accomplished international public intellectual. But being prime minister is a job to be earned in itself, not some honour or prize to be bestowed, or a reward for a life well lived. There are things like the Order of Canada for that.

    And yes, please continue "misunderestimating" Harper. Harper was right on Mulroney, right on Charlottetown, right on debt and deficits, right on Clarity, rebuilt the Conservative Party from the ruins of Reform and the PC's, and competently managed the gravest economic crisis since the Great Depression .

    And yes, please keep "hating" and keep it personal.

    • Give me a break. You've got a strange interpretation of what's been earned. Harper has lied, bullied, cheated and smeared his way into power. He's a pathetic excuse for a prime minister. And don't give me that CRAP crap about his economic record. The Conservatives came to power flush with a 12 billion dollar surplus left by the previous Liberal govt. We now have a 57 billion dollar deficit thanks to Mr Harper. We survived the global economic meltdown not thanks to anything Harper did, but thanks to banking regulations put in place by Paul Martin and the Liberals.

    • Another great rebuttal. Harper has been "misunderestimated" (is that a Bushism?) for a long time. He has been supremely successful and he is highly intelligent. Not only has he won three successive elections and a majority, but he united the right and built the party into a contender in order to get there. Meanwhile Ignatieff was handed the reins to the Liberal party WITHOUT EVEN WINNING A SINGLE VOTE. It was bestowed upon him following Dion's ouster. He lost in his only leadership convention to Dion, and now he's lost his only election campaign. Not exactly a sign of intelligence.

  23. What utter rubbish! This reads like a spoiled, entitled, trudeauvian cultist who didn't get their way. Get over it Harry Potter, the Liberals lost. Pining for a warped, divisive, tribal, A-Hole like Trudeau shows Potters self professed intellectual superiority is as non existent as the assertions that Iggo was somehow treated unfairly.

  24. One of the earlier commentators said it best – the CPC did not start off being nasty name-callers. Rather, they had to face a Liberal Party in '04 and '06 who had the gall to call them un-Canadian, bigoted, etc.

    If you want to assign blame for the decline of poltiical rhetoric you'd have to add the names of Chretien and Martin to the very long list.

    • Come off it. Harper was a vicious prick long before he became leader of the "Conservative" Party.

      • "…Manning says that Harper attacked Sandra Manning as well as her husband, then "professed not to know what all the fuss was about, saying that he was being 'unfairly accused'." [p 262] …"

        "…Of Harper and the others, Manning writes: "Why people who professed to be supportive of the principles of Reform would provide comments disparaging its election efforts, at the very time when grassroots Reformers were working their hearts out to make the campaign launch a success, was beyond me." [p 161] …"
        http://www.harperindex.ca/ViewArticle.cfm?Ref=001

        • Manning was at the TELUS Centre for Harper's Celebration on Monday night – didn't look too unhappy. Also, endorsed him in a G+M Editorial recently – add that to the Harper Index

  25. Mr. Potter, you are really off the mark. Mr. Ignatieff couldn't cut the mustard. He didn't know this country and Canadians could see he was indecisive and didn't know what exactly he wanted to do. Further, I think Canadians are entitled to want a prime minister who has actually lived his life as a Canadian. The so-called attack ads were true. He would never have come back to Canada if he hadn't been convinced he could become prime minister. Why shouldn't that matter to Canadians?

    • Stephen Harper has not lived his life as a Canadian. He has spent most of his life hating the country and scheming to undo it.

      • This is almost slander. Any proof to back up such an outrageous claim?

        • It's too vague to be slander. It's just stupid and hateful.

      • Wow.

  26. Ok, ok, ok…let's not get too worked up about this. A passionate article will yield some passionate responses, I guess. I agree that there's no reason to believe that Iggy is not a good man. I'd like to think that all of the candidates are, in some way, good people. I do think that he's a lousy politician, which is part of what made me support him. I agree that he couldn't connect with the electorate, which was obvious from the debates. Watching them, I knew he was in trouble. I hope that his loss doesn't discourage other potential candidates with impressive CVs but I doubt it will. People like Iggy understand that politics is a dirty business, and that generally you don't do great things without taking it on the chin every so often. He'll get over it, and so will the Liberal Party.

    The best part about this election is that it proved that people change their minds. As a LPC supporter at this point in my life, I can only hope that they'll change them again. Who knows? If Harper does what I like, maybe I'll even change mine, but I think we'll see over the next four years how important it is to have at least three major parties.

    It'd be nice if everyone would just shake hands and accept the result.

    • I knew as soon as I started reading that you were a Liberal because of your calm, reasoned comment. Unfortunately, the CPC supporters don't play the game the same way. When you're down, they'll step on your hands and kick you in the face and then say it was your fault and you shouldn't have been down there in the first place. They are the bully in the school yard and there's no such thing as fair play in their mean-spirited world.

      • JGMC's post was cool. Where did the attacks come from (besides out of nowhere)?

  27. Symptomatic of "old fashioned" values in an increasingly fragmented and superficial twitter world.

    • Damn you. You scooped me. But in 13 words instead of 30. Well said.

      • "But in 13 words .."

        Welcome to the twitterverse. Dot is apparently better at paring it down than you or I are. And I agree… well said.

  28. I always found it interesting Harper went stone silent on Ignatieff's thoughts on torture, (a tangible idea that could be tied to having spent a great deal of time in America), and prefered rather to just say being abroad is bad in itself.

  29. "There is no stronger indictment of Canada's political class than the treatment of Michael Ignatieff during the years from 2005 to 2011. Never has such a torrent of abuse been poured on any Canadian figure; never have the small-town and the small-minded been so united …"

    You actually believe Iggy has more abused poured on to him than Harper or any other pol? This makes no sense to me unless journos are saying incredibly snarky thinks about Iggy that are not making it into print. There has not been much positive written about Iggy, true, but very little criticism of Iggy has appeared in print over the past year or two either. Most of what I see/read is focused on Cons/Harper.

    • Stop whining.

      • Just out of curiosity, is there anything that a conservative can say that you won't classify as 'whining'?

        Why don't you refute him if he is wrong, or just be quite if he isn't?

      • Sore winner. Lots of them on here.

        • Sore winner? I voted Libertarian, my candidate received 115 votes.

          • My bad. Based on your comments, I've always thought you were solidly in the CPC camp.

          • I agree, lots of talk in the media about how intelligent and experienced Iggy is/was, but despite his inteligence and solid leadership instincts unable to defend himself against the (never ever before seen in politics) attacks on his legitimacy.

            But now Potter explains it – he was just too good

    • Harper has had more abuse dumped on him than Ignatieff will ever know. He just happens to be much better at handling it. Not only was he running against three opposition parties, but the press as well, and he won anyway. And then there was the 2004 election, which was a classic case of attacks that villainized Harper that in the end saved Martin the election. But Potter is worried about Ignatieff the softie, Potter's hero.

  30. "We spent much of the 2000s telling ourselves that “the world needs more Canada”, and if anyone embodied that slogan, it was Michael Ignatieff."

    I am not sure what this means but Iggy did not get message. Everytime I heard Iggy speak on foreign affairs, he said Canada wasn't good enough, that we were not living up to some mythical world standard and we had to do better. Not great strategy to have cosmopolitan carpetbagger telling us that we don't measure up and need to improve.

    I assumed Libs were keeping Iggy's mouth shut on foreign affairs was because there was a good chance that significant section of base would be angered by whatever he said. Also, I am not convinced Libs should highlight their anti-semitic tendencies during elections so maybe Iggy being quiet was smart strategy.

    I have jokingly said to a few people over the past couple of years that Iggy and Obama should trade jobs. Iggy is more suited for President – more interest in foreign affairs, less interest in domestic – while Obama is domestic policy wonk and does not seem to enjoy foreign issues all that much which makes him better PM tempermentally.

    • ". Also, I am not convinced Libs should highlight their anti-semitic tendencies during elections so maybe Iggy being quiet was smart strategy."

      Why is it so many so called libertarians speak as though they, and only they have been annointed by God or some higher authority to be an advocate for Isreal? Indeed they start to become abusive or throw a hissy fit if someone so much as dares to utter even constructive criticism of Israeli policy?Neither do they,as in this case, shy away from any opportunity to shamelessly lie about a party that has always welcomed Jewish Canadians into its ranks. Attempting to be a mediator is not synonymous with anti-semitism, no matter how many times you repeat that lie.

  31. Holy crap, the haters are out tonight.

    I'll just note that: "Having seen how Michael Ignatieff was treated, can any reasonably intelligent and ambitious person be ever expected to go into national politics?"

    …makes sense whatever one thinks of Ignatieff the politician. It certainly makes politics about as appealing as a muddy kindergarten class to me. And as much as I gnashed my teeth at Ignatieff's political chops, it's nice to see him appreciated here as an accomplished and valuable man, not just a failed Karl Rove wannabe.

    • "Having seen how Michael Ignatieff was treated, can any reasonably intelligent and ambitious person be ever expected to go into national politics?"

      Or they could look at how press treated revelations, with a shrug, about Layton visiting rub/tug place that was under surveilance for under age prostitutes and say to themselves, wow, if the press thinks visiting whore houses with underage prostitutes is not newsworthy or private issue than I can do anything I like while a pol.

      Maybe Iggy is advertisement for people not to run -I disagree – but Layton could be used as exhibit for why people will run in future. Pols can do anything they want -as long as they aren't Con – and msm will say it is private affair between pol and conscience and decline to write about whatever dodgy actions they learn of.

      I don't pols really care how others are treated before they enter politics. Pols are wildly ambitious, power mad, nothing is going to stop them from runnin for office.

  32. You know, I have a feeling I would probably have agreed with most of this article had I managed to get past the second paragraph. I was slapped in the face by the phrase "the small-town and the small-minded". I happen to live in a small town. I chose to live here after having lived in Quebec City, Halifax, Saskatoon, Vancouver and Tokyo. Whatever small-mindedness there may be in a small town, your urban snobbery is no better.

    • Leo McKay, I completely agree with your comment. I too was insulted by the small-town and small-minded phrase. I live in a small town with a large ethnic population, and we are a rather cosmopolitan bunch. In fact, i bet we get out and about and around the world a lot more than many who live in cities. I may live in a small town but I do not have a small mind. Mr Potter and others who don't get out of the city much should re-think their snobbish attitudes.

      • I also thought that was a unneeded slam. First of all, what is wrong with being from a small town. Secondly, just because Andrew liked the man, it doesn't mean that everyone who didn't had a small mind. That just threw me for a loop.

        The res of the piece was pretty good, but if I was rating it, it would fail on that comment.

        • Depends on the small town. The folks are wonderful in my small town…but many of them are small minded. Perhaps it's true AP needs to get out a bit more. He was a bit condescending.
          I really can't see how you fail to see his point about rejecting MI as being in many cases small minded – It 's a truism, like those who reject SH based merely on the fact he comes from AB. Many do reject MI because he's perceived to be an elist snob just because he went to Harvard, wrote books or even joined the LPC. I do think he should however remove the phrase small town. It maybe a cliche but it is an unfair one when you consider the small minded are hardly confined to small towns, or even political parties.

          • Are you agreeing with AP that everyone who didn't vote for, or support MI is small minded? I hope not.

            I would actually say that I respect the man. I would never expect that I would find out that he was at a rub and tug place – that I would have a hard time believing. He was actually, at his core, more conservative than the LPC is now.

            I wouldn't support him for a few reasons:

            a) He did come to Canada, at the suggestion of the LPC, to become PM. I have a hard time with that, on principle. The plan was that he would take over after 8 years of Martin, and his 'parachuting' wouldn't look as obvious. I might have been able to take it then.
            b) His policies seemed to stem from what he felt the focus groups are saying, rather than from real conviction.
            c) He didn't have a political mind, and even if he could have gotten up to speed in time, I want my PM to be able to think on his feet.
            d) The teeth. Man, did you ever see him when he opened his mouth. The man was British. (This last part is a joke. :) )

            If having an opinion, based on facts and my own ideas, makes me small minded, on that principle (in which I do not agree) I would argue that every thinking person in Canada is small minded. The small people are the ones who call others small minded.

  33. Geez Andrew, ask Iggy out already! You've write as if you're writing a Harlequin Romance novel every time it's about Icky. Wow just call him already and get it over with…just know his wife may answer the phone.

  34. "…Confronted with a cartoonishly small-minded prime minister acting as chief puppeteer over a caucus of frat boys, yes men, and idiocrats, surely there was an opportunity for a leader who would speak to those Canadians who see themselves as responsible citizens of the world…"

    Very well put. Just read the bulk of the comments here for the small-minded frat boys, yes men and idiocrats.

    • Why are there so many mean people on here today?

      Can't we all just discuss the issues, without insults?

      • I presume you did read the comment above Hollys…or were you alluding to that?

        • OK, that was frat like.

          It wasn't the bulk, and doesn't allow Holly to start name calling either.

  35. Nice piece Andrew. This is no country for smart men either. The howling mob of haters, taunters and name callers who spew on this forum are the sad proof. How dare someone question their itty bitty mindset.

    • Where are you seeing all of this?

      • Are you blind. Come on M99. I just know you're better then that?

        • There are haters, taunters, and name callers from every side. Dave tried to claim that there was a 'mob' that was of only one persuasion, that 'proved' everything Andrew said.

          I would submit that all of the name callers only proved that they, individually, are mean. And they come from all sides of the political spectrum.

  36. If you factor in the perpetual attack on Harper by many in the media, Ignatieff had it relatively easy.

  37. Nice article. I've always believed that of Canadians — we like to think we are more clever and more worldly than we are or care to be. Anyone who is gets treated as suspect.

  38. Politics is a tough game in any country. Liberals should get over Trudeau. Trudeau toughness and vision is very rare in an intellectual. Going out shopping for the Philosopher king is going to be fruitless. Ignatieff, brilliant intellectual though he was, never had those qualities.

    • Moreover, we *want* politicians to be tough – because they are supposed to be able to make tough decisions.

      Unfortunately, for the moment we have ended up with someone who knows how to act tough, but not how to be tough. Oh well, better luck next time.

  39. Ethology 101. the study of the herd. While the herd, pack, colony, pride can be the most effective means for a species to provide nurture and protection it can also thereby ensure that the strongest and the fittest become the leaders or dominant progenitors to make sure that the species survives. Too clinical? Yet is this not what we are discussing here?

  40. "Confronted with a cartoonishly small-minded prime minister acting as chief puppeteer over a caucus of frat boys, yes men, and idiocrats, surely there was an opportunity for a leader who would speak to those Canadians who see themselves as responsible citizens of the world."

    Well, you can't say you didn't beg for the kind of response this is getting, Mr. Potter. It is kind of ironic that you talk about how Ignatieff was treated horribly (which he was), then go on to completely disrespect the Conservatives yourself.

    Of the journalists whose names I can bother to remember, you are easily the one who annoys me the most:
    You write about interesting topics, but you do so in such an incredibly condescending manner and with such poor argumentation that the frustration I feel about how the article is written almost invariably obscures any point you may have made.

    There's a message in here that was perhaps worth some real discussion — Michael Ignatieff didn't deserve the treatment he received. I'd argue this message didn't deserve the treatment it received in your post.

    • Forgetting my frustration about the tone of the post and its failure to engage a huge swath of readers a moment, there is one very pertinent and relevant point that is worth repeating:

      Attack ads from the Tories aside, the Liberal party failed Michael Ignatieff.

    • I couldn't have said it better. I don't mind reading a piece from someone with a differing point of view. Having it full of insults makes it pretty hard to swallow.

      "the small-town and the small-minded"

      It seems almost like he wanted to start a buzz on here, and yet anyone who has an objection to anything he has written is labeled a 'whiner'. That is rich. We can all lament how Iggy was treated, but i someone says a the conservatives are getting treated badly – it is whining.

    • "Well, you can't say you didn't beg for the kind of response this is getting, Mr. Potter. It is kind of ironic that you talk about how Ignatieff was treated horribly (which he was), then go on to completely disrespect the Conservatives yourself."

      I don't want to come off like an apologist for AP, but i'd guess this was written in some anger.IMO his best pieces often are.So here i have to part from your analysis of the piece quoted[ at least somewhat] I get your point. I tried to make the same point more or less below, when someone mindlessly attacked Ignatieff. And i'd really like to avoid falling into the same trap myself, by basically declaring "It's all true" But it is.At least some of it. It may only be a cartoonish depictment itself. But would you say it does nothing at all to capture the essence of their behaviour toward Ignatieff?

      The small town stuff he should remove from his article. It is insulting. Small minded people are everywhere. In all walks of life and indeed in every political party.

  41. What unmitigated drivel. Hypocrisy to the extreme, but, then, isn't that pretty much the hallmark of the left. Life somewhere between acadamea and journalilsm. What a sad laugh. How about reality–simply not a word with any meaning in your world. Small minded–yes–you are. It is hypocrites like the writer who honestly believe somehow they are smarter than everyone else. Go back to your taxpayer fed utopia.

  42. If this election has taught us one thing it is that the Liberals need a ruthless a-hole for a leader. Someone who will make Chretien look like a Teddy Bear and beat them at their own game. Someone who will drag the Conservative skeletons out of the closet and parade them around. Someone who will point out the hypocrisy of a bunch of closeted gay cabinet ministers trying to take away minority rights and a bunch of elitist rich men pretending to be commoners. The Tories attacked Ignatieff's family in this election and had a centralized call campaign spreading lies about candidates and telling voters their polls had been moved. That is the way our politics works now.

    The time of politics for decent men and women is over. It is sad, but it is what has been done. The Liberals savaged Stockwell Day and the Tories have returned the favor to Dion and Ignatieff. The Liberals, sadly, need a Harper.

    • Is there any real evidence for those claims? Coming from the party i mean, rather then sympathizers. I agree in principle…Mckenna said as much if you remember. The libs can't aford another softie. For that reason i don't know about JT. I don't think he is a softie…but he looks it at times. Le blanc may be tough enough…or do they need to cast around for someone. Manley anyone? Never get him back now. The tragedy is i believe he would have beaten Harper in 08 at least.

  43. Yes, nailed. A country of ignoramuses who make the yanks look sophisticated.

    A fat fundamentalist turd as PM is exactly what the country deserves.

  44. "Whether it is about health care, missile defence or the war on terror, Canadians are incapable of having an adult discussion, and woe to any politician who dares do anything so radical as obey reason."

    The election in a nutshell.

    • " … never have the small-town and the small-minded … "

      Are we supposed to have adult conversation before or after we're called small minded or small town or both, depending where you live. And how does Potter propose having this adult conversation when he is surrounded by small minded people. Thank god we have experts like Iggy and we can completely ignore the ignorant small towners because they are yokels.

      Adult conversations take place every day across the country. It is the journos/pols, and a few rabid partisans, who are incapable of having adult conversation.

      • The conversation that the experts like Andrew want us to have are one sided; they talk, we listen.

        Only explanation I can come up with.

      • I've lived in small towns and big cities; I fully understand where he's coming from. I'm one of the suburban types he also mocked, and he nailed us too.

        But the reality is, few are informed enough to have an intelligent discussion. Expressing an opinion on something one knows nothing about is not an intelligent discussion. And yes, I've been guilty of that more than a few times myself – but at least I try to keep somewhat informed.

        It may just be coincidence, but my experience is that the less informed someone is, the more likely it is that they back the CPC. And vice versa. And the more likely they are to rant about "intellectual elites".

    • Whether it is about health care, missile defence or the war on terror, Canadians are incapable of having an adult discussion, and woe to any politician who dares do anything so radical as obey reason."

      Oddly enough that meme also applies to SH. Wish he would engage us in an adult conversation over where he wants to really take this country. There's a case to be made when one flips through many of the juvenile comments on this thread that Potter has largely nailed us. Whoeee…kegger at my house guys…just turn right at the north star and veer right once you cross sixty…ps..bring some LJs. Still a bit parky at night.

  45. Sounds bang-on to me…

    • Then you're just as deluded as Mallick. But we already knew that.

  46. Let me get this straight. You taught an Ignatieff book in a Philosophy class and *other* people should be ashamed of themselves?

    • That was what stuck with me. Ignatieff has less rigor than a bowl of jello from the salad bar at Ponderosa.

  47. Finally, an article that expresses just what I've been thinking. Well said, Mr. Potter. Mr. Ignatieff was maligned and targetted by the Con/Reform slur machine, and it worked. A sad day for Canada indeed when being intelligent, cosmopolitan, learned, well-travelled and respectful of your political opponents is a negative. I really don't recognize my country any more.

    • If you agreed everything in that article – shame on you.

      Ya, sure, Iggy didn't get a fair shot, but did he earn one? I respect that man, but I don't think he was PM material.

      • Who died and made SH king to decide who we as canadians should like or not. I had no objection to pointing out the carpetbagger tag and the just visiting tag, as long as it was done in a reasonably respectful manner. The daily ritual of the AA was both unecessary and disgusting. There were other forums available to convince people he was unsuitable to be PM. The problem was that wouldn't, reach a wide enough audience or stack the deck enough for the CPC. They needed to convince the man on the street, who barely followed the national scene that Ignatieff was poison. They succeeded. Aren't you proud of yourself?
        Do i really need to add that it was of course up to MI and the liberal braintrust to find away – they didn't.

      • Compared to the guy who got in, though?

        • Actually, the 'shame' part was directed at the parts of the article that ridiculed anyone who didn't like Ignatieff. That is the part I didn't like.

  48. Man you're a sucker for punishment AP. A briliant and brave article. It needed saying. I salute you sir! I prize courage in all its forms [physical, moral and political...are there more?] above all other virtues except perhaps kindness, which is the way it should be.

    • Well, if nothing else, he is good with his insults.

      I guess you are right – it needed to be written – not enough name calling since the election.

  49. This is unmitigated garbage from start to finish.

    If you're looking for a leader with "a modicum of intelligence, accomplishment, and worldliness," I suggest you move on past Mr. Ignatieff, whose work is – almost without relent – an addled mess of high-school quotations and self-regarding claptrap about the crosses that intellectuals must bear.

    Michael Ignatieff – for all that he seems a decent enough bloke – is an unmitigated twit, who has done zero original work in politics, rights or jurisprudence and whose best qualification for the Prime Ministership is that he speaks well on TV. His list of meaningful accomplishments extends to the ability to use a blow-dryer.

    Writing a series of books with big, meaningful words in the title – FREEDOM AND FREEDOM or THE WARNESS OF WARTIME or HUMAN RIGHTS: DANGEROUS OR AWESOME? – is grand; but when it comes time to actually make meaningful policy proposals, or do an original study of the same, there is nothing. Vague, hand-waving waffle. It no more qualifies him for high office than an egg-sucking dog.

    My only disappointment with Michael Ignatieff, Prince of Egypt, is that he hasn't been kicked nearly hard enough on his way out.

    • This post highlights perfectly the disconnect we all have with our rhetoric and reality. Since i'm a liberal i'll only point out my teams side of the equation. It is not hard to find one for the other sides either.
      It's somehow NOT ok to write an article condemning small minded parochial Canadians – i believe he was also talking about us as a people.[ and the liberal party establishment for differnt reasons] for dismissing out of hand anything MI had to offer, based not on winning any polemical debate, but merely cuz you think he's a pussy and a carpetbagger. [ after all those ads cost money. They had to be true] Cuz that just plain insults conservative minded, or non liberal voting Canadians somehow.
      But it IS ok to write a diatribe against MI based on name calling,innuendo, mindless assumptions about the life work and accomplishments of a man you' likely couldn't debate for 5 minutes; not likely without revealing that it isn't quite as easy peasy as just writing a moronic blog post @ macleans.ca.
      I rest my case m'lord.
      Unless of course you'd like to actually prove any of this? Y'know. With like evidence or something?Maybe go one on one with MI?

      • Potter can do as he likes, it's fine with me. I'm just pointing out that if he wants to somehow use Iggy's intellect as a stick to beat people with, there should be some actual stick there, not a floppy piece of soggy bacon. Iggy's a twit – his work has no rigor whatsoever (as Potter himself admits in the article) and he writes big doorstoppers laden with "on the one hand, on the other hand", regurgitating quotations from other writers as a substitute for any of his own analysis.

        His work on actual *policy* has been laughably inept (viz. his pathetic rationalizations for Iraq and then his risible attempt to cover up like a dog on a bare floor when he realized he'd been making howler after howler for 15 years).

        • Fair enough. Then you have read and studied Ignatieff's work throughly have you? You are of course entittled to your opinion. I just wanted to point out how many of us conflate being bythely dismissive with some kind of moral conviction that they must be right and no other possibility exists for any deviation from the partisans gospel according to cognitative dissonance. For the record i didn't like MI either; i just hate intellectual bullying even more. SH has become the master now, when once he was the victim. And that's sad really all told.

  50. "the Liberal Party of Canada is a complete disaster, and has been for some time. It was mid-way through Jean Chretien's second term that people started to point out that the party had no real identity, no sense of purpose other than power for its own sake."

    I have been saying this for years, and have LPC supporters argue me every time. If it was so obvious (and the electorate clearly spoke to that), why were some people so dead set on arguing these facts?

    • I'm inclined to agree. It's just that, sadly, the other current choices appeal to me even less. I hope the Liberals can rebuild; they now have four years to prove they have learned some hard lessons and once again represent something.

      Harper also has four years to prove to me just how wrong I've been about him. Because if the Liberals can't get it together, I really don't want Jack as my only alternative.

      • lol

        I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

    • It's the most obvious fact when reading Wells' first installment. It really stands out, just how power-craving they were specifically in the last couple of years. They were thinking about taking power first, coming up with (bad) strategy second, then coming up with the reasons for it third, and actual policies came fourth. They really needed to lose.

      • Perhaps they did. They also did the country a service by bringing that confidence motion against the govt, no matter it was self serving or not. They finally acted like an opposition. They failed. But just once i was proud of them for taking the risk.
        And i doubt all the nasty smell of the 3 convictions will disipate as easily as Mr H hopes it will either.

        • "Convictions" happen in a court of law. There's a difference between judgement from a judge or jury, and judgement from your political opponents. The smell was gone before the campaign started.

    • Not any more they're not.

  51. Oh Potter, your blindness and delusion is astounding! Mallick and you should get together and form a "Blame other than us" club. If this attitude is common among Liberals(the master of attacking and underhandedness), no wonder they got beaten.

  52. I don't think a PhD is particularly valuable for governing, nor is an academic career good preparation. Firstly, most of the policy-relevant academic disciplines (namely the social sciences) preference empirical inquiry over addressing normative questions. Governing, on the other hand, is primarily about making tradeoffs which is a normative issue. The empirics are done by the deft hands of the civil service, which presents a menu of choices for leaders.

    Secondly, academia tends to produce specialists, whereas governance requires generalists. What is even worse, on some issues a well-informed specialist may have ingrained precommitments to academic debates, which close off particular options. Neophytes, on the other hand, would be able to approach the same issue with an open mind.

    There is a reason that people tend to vote for the guy they'd have a beer with. Governance is not about problem-solving, rather it is about making tradeoffs. Voters want to make sure that whomever they elect is the sort of person that will make similar tradeoffs to the ones they would make if they were Prime Minister. Professors, for whatever reason, come off as "other" to large numbers of Canadians. More successful PhDs survive only by not looking like academics (eg. Broadbent and Layton both have PhDs, but you don't hear so much about that).

    • I find it rather sad that the advice you're giving is essentially "Hide your brains from Canadians, they don't like seeing people with them."

  53. Andrew, you're so right. Canadians just weren't good enough for this great, great man. We should all be ashamed of our small-minded, parochial selves.

    One quibble, however. I would say, rather, it was like an election for the Mariposa school board. Orillia is just too oblique a reference.

  54. If Potter, his colleagues, media, liberal hacks and others are looking badly for anyone to blame, they should collectively look into a mirror. The Liberal party literally and figuratively destroyed Ignatief. By plucking an unprepared, politically inexperienced man, and planting him as an instant political leader, without giving him enough meaningful time to be exposed, prepared, and groomed, was exactly like pushing a man to jump a cliff without helmet, harness, and parachute.

    May I remind what you the "media" and the liberal party frequently and unfairly did to Preston Manning, Stockwell Day, and even our current PM? Even as simple as how the mouth moved during the singing of the anthem and even an idiotic chewing or not a wafer? Remember those? Oh how short memory you have!

  55. Way to channel your inner Jacques Parizeau, AP!

    • Sure, cuz he just blamed everyone except MI.

      • A leader takes credit for victory and blame for defeat.

  56. "… the small-town and the small-minded…" Lovely thought Mr. Potter! Straight off you engage in the haughtiness and mean-spiritedness that make politics such a cesspool. Liberals are doomed forever if the nastiness and hubris you represent continues unabated. And quoting yourself!!! This penchant for self-promotion, the lack of humility, your odious narcissism do not invite the "adult discussion" you accuse Canadians of being "incapable of" — such drivel is beyond "reason."

  57. For centuries, the history of occidental politics always been the struggle between clerics and soldiers, between fundamentals and applications, between thinkers and doers. Canadians have clearly chosen the latter in every case, they will have to live with it.

  58. Does this mean it is finally over for some time or does the big debate begin?

  59. We'll written. Iggy deserved better from us and I think Canada deserves better than the Harper Layton mess we have. I saw him on 3 occasions and can tell you I have never seens a more inspiring man. His Open Mike idea really allowed you to feel included. This was lost when we saw him on TV and I'm not sure why. I too would like to know why the 2 years of Con ads were not answered. I wish him the best.

  60. hey, I am a center-left, and could NOT ever vote for Iggy. I knew the attack ads were Con slime. But was clear Iggy was a neo-liberal, very right wing, pretending to be more left wing to get elected. It just doesn't add up. So I didn't vote Con of course, and would only have voted Iggy to stop Harper. But Iggy is not much better than Harper, and centrists could see that. duh.

  61. as well, many of my socially liberal friends would joke, that Iggy was part of a conspiracy theory of Neoncons to hijack and destroy the center left with a neo-liberal mole. It was said as a joke, but had a grain of truth to it. We knew Iggy was playacting, and opposed Harper. This is why everyone went NDP, and they did NOT trust Iggy to oppose Harper. Catch 22.

  62. The post-election attitude of Liberal supporters like Mr. Potter is nothing but snobbery and prejudice. They like to believe they embody these "progressive" attitudes, yet they believe that the rural, suburban, blue collar and new-to-the-country citizens are somehow less capable of making decisions on the country's direction and well-being. They should be thankful Mr. Harper is in power for a couple of reasons 1) It gives them someone to whom they can feel superior and 2) They retain more of their wealth at tax time.

  63. Andrew that is quite the love letter to a man that has received little love for yourself or your publication. I think there are many reasone Ignatieff failed and I do not believe they all lie at the feet of the media and his opponents as you do. He maybe a great thinker and academic but he was never able to get those ideas across or express them which is fairly essential for a politician. His hawkish ways and “pronoun problem” put off many left leaning Liberals and he never tried to explain when it was pointed out.

    I think he may have served the Liberals well but I do not think he place was as leader. He may have been a great mind and asset in the back rooms where he could have thought about and put his ideas to paper and have them express by someone capable of debating and thinking on their feet.

    In the end how unpopular did Ignatieff have to be with the Canadian people to be less popular than Stephen Harper.

  64. Unbelievable crap. Thanks AP for insulting those Canadians who aren't as lofty thinking as you and Iggy. Just because we decided to have a majority Conservative government and not agree with you is no reason to practice exactly what you were condeming. We weren't as philosophical as you and Iggy, and were more concerned about how the country was actually being run? I had expected this kind of reaction from Macleans and that is why I cancelled my subscription several years ago

  65. This whining parasite should read Margaret Wente in the Globe. He might learn something from someone other than those theoretical commies in the rarified air of those institutions of 'higher' learning. Must be referring to the drugs.

  66. In my opinion, a truly brilliant and insightful article.

    Cheers to you Mr. Potter. You just made my top ten list of pundits whose opinions I actually respect.

  67. You know, the essential tension between the man’s intellectual bent and the perceived necessity for a demonstrable populist streak was on full display in his concession speech: the first part was brilliant and riveting. Then he switched to a misty reminesce of “the ______ I met in _______ who told me _____”….and I swear, he sounded like Stewart MacLean of the Vinyl Cafe. And suddenly he seemed smarmy. Does the present really demand this obligatory unctuosness on the part of our leaders (Layton’s stong finish would seem to indicate this..)? Or is it that in such a time, only the naturally oily that seem sincere?

  68. Hey Potter, take off the diapers and stop sucking your thumb. Entertaining read – that man crush you have for Iggy. Libs still don't understand that the political environment is competitive. They got complacent with a divided right in the Chretien time. Libs set the bar for toxic political environment for treatment of Day and Harper. Looking forward to watching Libs choose their next saviour without first understanding what they should offer the Cdn voters.

  69. Never has such a torrent of abuse been poured on any Canadian figure…

    Apparently you weren't around for the 2004 election when the Liberals were successfully demonizing Stephen Harper. It's true, the campaign against Igniatieff was much longer and better organized, and ultimately more successful. But for pure viciousness, savagery and character assassination, I'll take the 2004 Liberal campaign any day.

  70. The article was so rife with errors, she ought to be ashamed of it. I was absolutely gleeful upon reading it. She had no credibility worth destroying, yet she succeeded in doing just that.

    …but this will end under the Conservatives, who will have a huge advantage in terms of the amount they can solicit in corporate donations.

    Corporate donations are illegal in Canada, as are union donations. And that isn't going to change. The Conservative fundraising is all from individuals.

    She claimed Harper grew up in Calgary. The Guardian quickly deleted that statement and printed a retraction.

    And of course, there is that "stupid" theme again at the end. "The dullest bits of the country…" Yes indeed. The stupid dullards who vote Conservative. Clearly they are worthy of contempt in the eyes of a highly intelligent, well-educated and well-cultured woman like Heather Mallick. How could we possibly measure up to someone who is just so much better than us?

    She really needs to learn to avoid writing articles when she's in the grips of a manic episode. Either that or she was just too angry to write anything coherent.

    • Another odd thing, at least to me, the Telegraph.uk website had a Liberal banner ad running most of the campaign "Meet Michael Ignatieff" at the top of the page. Really annoying, having MI staring at you, lol!!!

      • The geniuses running the Liberal campaign probably thought the London Telegraph was in London, ON.

  71. "Why did Michael Ignatieff – or more plausibly, the people helping devise his political brand and their electoral strategy – stay as far as possible from these issues? Probably because they believe that Stephen Harper actually has us pegged, that we are a nation of Tim Horton's-addicted moral suburbanites for whom that “the world needs Canada” was always just a slogan for selling books and lattes to the elites downtown. But if the Liberals are afraid to speak to their natural constituency in their native tongue, and if their leader's CV is largely a cause for quiet embarrassment, what does that say about the party, or the country?"

    I'm fascinated by this bit. Clearly you think the worst of the LPC. It has simply lost its convictions and its moral and political cowardice merely confirms it.[ i've been saying this as well since at least the middle of JCs third term] So, has SH got us so firmly pegged there is no other realistic option but to join with him,[ no real way back for progressives?] hope to mitigate the coming slide into neo con land, or perhaps even speed it up by crossing the chasm of despair and joining the bicycle team?

  72. There's been so much posturing and postulating about intelligence or intellect and who most or best partakes of it and who doesn't, and why that's a good thing or not. Some people to the right of the political spectrum seem suspicious of, and sometimes downright hostile to anyone they believe might have a higher IQ than they do. Some people on to the left seem convinced that anyone doesn't possess more than an average amount of education or reasoning ability should be discounted from the political discourse.

    However, each side of the divides of both the political realm and IQ distribution seem to share a tendency to be sure that he or she or his or her self -identified cohort or community, or chosen party or candidate, know what is best for the other. Unfortunately, many people have difficulty facing the reality of their place in the greater scheme of things.

  73. The simple fact is, no matter how "smart" you are or think you are, there will always be someone "smarter", and that, even in the most basic sense, evolutionarily, is good for you, and by extension, everyone. A other simple fact is that neither advanced knowledge nor above-average mental abilities guarantees the greater share of worthwhile ideas. Likewise, refusing to admit that another's idea may be comparable to or better than your own or chosen idea, because you think the the other idea or person is "too smart" is plain stupid.

    Having said that, perhaps it's instructive to consider which candidates, supporters, and parties in the recent election campaign were trying to tell the people what or who they should or shouldn't care about, who or what they should or shouldn't believe, and why
    they should or shouldn't do so.

  74. I notice you have been acting strangely since Monday night—try changing your name again.

  75. Repeating something as a fact doesn't make it so. Telling people who or what they should be fearful of and offering to protect them from the spectre is a paltry substitute for listening to people's concerns and proposing meaningful solutions. Refusing to answer a question doesn't mean the question or the questioner is irrelevant or unworthy; addressing the question by casting aspersions on the questioner or alluding to ulterior motives for asking it or disagreeing with the premise, isn't a suitable answer. Dismissing another's ideas because one doesn't like the other or his or her background isn't a valid counterpoint. Doing so relies on logical fallacies and debating tricks, and contributes nothing to a positive public conversation about important matters for a democracy or its citizens present and future wellbeing.

  76. Here's the election in a nutshell:
    Ignatieff: "this guy doesn't believe in democracy"
    Reporter: "OK,I get it, you believe Harper doesn't believe in democracy. What do you believe in Michael?
    Ignatieff: "this guy doesn't believe in democracy"

  77. People who actively participate in their governance and care about their country and fellow citizens, beyond just participating in a win-loss game and ensuring they get as much as they can out of it, or only cast a vote in major elections because it's the proper thing to do, are capable of thinking for themselves and want to be engaged on that level. Unfortunately, modern mass media driven and partisan targeted politicking beguiles the masses and rewards the followers, providing a gaudy spectacle that obscures real issues and precludes substantive and forward-thinking discussion thereof and offers baubles for participating at the expense of hard decisions and meaningful progress.

  78. Keep digging. If your hole gets big enough, your opponent is bound to fall in.

  79. And 39.8% of us are stupid. You forgot that point.

    I never thought I'd enjoy this so much. Liberals – especially the Count's sycophants – don't even try to hide the disdain they have for large swaths of the country anymore. Their bitterness has consumed them, and we can now see exactly how they feel about their beloved Canada. They openly dismiss four tenths of their fellow citizens as stupid and illiterate. This bodes well for us. All this time, they've been trying to tell us that Harper hated Canada. We now see who the haters are.

    In all fairness, most progressives have been a fair bit more gracious than Emily. But she's had a very, very tough week you understand.

    • Given your comments on here, I'd say that was entirely possible.

      And as you've been told many times [must be the illiteracy] I'm not a Liberal, and I have no idea who these 'progressives' are that Cons are always talking about.

      If I ever found a party that was pro-progress, I'd join it.

      • If you ever found a party that was pro-progress, they'd refuse you as a member.

        • Then they wouldn't, by definition, be a progressive party.

          Now stop nattering about me, and get back to the topic.

          • Emily's slowly progressing from an episode of SCTV she watched early, to Bob and Doug references, to accusing others of being hosers.

          • 'Hoser' is from Bob and Doug

          • Yes Emily, it is a slow progression.

          • Actually it's from years ago. No doubt you're just catching up.

          • Yes, Emily SCTV is in syndication, keep progressing you'll get there, eventually.

  80. I remember the initial enthusiasm I had for Ignatieff pretty well. Dissapointed by Harper's hyper-pragmatism I thought Iggy would be able to present coherent liberal principles without having to adjust all the time to avoid the scary right-winger tag. But as soon as he became a Liberal he stopped being liberal, and most of my personal loyalty to Harper was jarred back by Ignatieff's snide and unpleasant attacks. Unlike Obama's immensely effective positive message from across the border a guy I actually agreed with far more became impossible for me to like.

    In the end nobody ruined my enthusiasm for him other than Iggy.

  81. ABSOLUTELY AGREE

  82. Oh, I think you've covered those bases pretty well yourself little girl.

  83. Yeah but he's got a Ph. D. and he's a world traveler. A world traveler. Don't you know how good that makes him? Most countries would give up their right arm to have him as a leader. It is only here, in stupid, illiterate, backwards and backwoods, small-town and small-minded Canada that we cannot recognize such obvious greatness. We just don't deserve him.

  84. But it's Harper's fault because he's a bully. And it's the NDP's fault because they stole the Liberals' votes. And it's the voters' fault, because they couldn't recognize the greatness that embodies Ignatieff.

    If Winston Churchill were commenting on today's Liberals, he might say this:

    Never have so few blamed so much on so many.

  85. “The small town and the small minded.”. Does that include voters in MI’s own riding? Remember, he wasn’t even able to hold his own seat, let alone win over the small town voters. Unless Etobicoke is considered a small town with small minded folk?

  86. It's their time to make use of.
    In the mean time we have a Conservative majority that is out of people to blame if their plan for Canada hits a rough patch. The NDP will have growing pains even if they learn the role of the Official Opposition quickly.
    It's just going to be a mistake on the Liberals part if they think sitting back and hoping for others to lose is the way for them to win.

  87. I don't recall a Liberal attack ad on Harper. Please remind me. I'm trying to see the world now that I've removed my red coloured glasses. I certainly recall Iggy's benign attempts to attack SH during the debates, but those attacks were related to the fundamentals of our parliamentary system. For some reason, I think that type of clash is consistent with classy political protocol. I don't like what I would call personal attacks on a candidate over what (in my subjective opinion) are fairly trivial details (working abroad).

    It is obvious that I'm a LPC supporter and you're not. I'm sincerely interested in what a CPC or NDP supporter thinks is a good example of an Iggy-endorsed attack ad, because I honestly didn't notice any – not that I was looking that hard. RSVP

    • I don't watch TV, so the only one I can allude to is something I saw on the internet. Basically, it alluded to any cuts that Harper were to make would come out of Health Care. I think it also had a quote that was later proved not to have been Harper's. It was a pretty obvious ad, and was totally unsubstantiated.

      I would argue that the reason the LPC didn't fight the ads that portrayed Ignatieff as 'visiting' were because they couldn't. He will now leaf Canada, and prove the CPC right. Was it an 'attack ad' if it was accurate? Heck, I have even seen LPC supporters on this site saying that they didn't like the fact that he was parachuted in. The CPC was only saying what a lot of people were thinking. The Liberal supporters were mad that they wouldn't let up on it, as if the CPC should just pretend it isn't an issue with people.

      If the adds that they are calling 'attack ads' were the ones claiming that Ignatieff was only visiting, I would submit that even though you didn't like them, they were accurate.

      • Modster99 – Thanks for the response. If you recall exactly what the ad was, and you have a chance, post it. I'm curious.

        To be honest, I wasn't too concerned with what other Liberals called Iggy attack ads; I was just wondering what other people called Harper attack ads. I didn't bother to debate those ads with people because even my friends who are CPC supporters would jokingly chant to me that "he didn't come back for [me]." We all thought that point was pretty silly. I've worked overseas and many of my friends and family (CPC supporters) work for law firms and banks in NYC, the UK, and Hong Kong. I've never questioned their national loyalty, and I never will. It's a global economy now. What I find interesting is that my rich banker friends admit that this government will further line their pockets and they are the same people that thought the 'visiting' argument was ridiculous, but were happy it was getting traction with the not-so-rich CPC supporters and swing voters.

        Truth is, and this is why I think the ad is absurd, those rich buddies of mine weren't worried that if Iggy got elected, he would jump ship to the USA after adding Canada PM to his resume. They were worried that, if he got elected PM, he would raise taxes and they might only make $300k rather than a lot more, and I mean A LOT MORE, than that. They couldn't care less (and yes, they are still friends and colleagues of mine) if the other 99.5% of the country goes to hell in a hand basket if they can pay for the renovations on their houses and benefit from the income splitting in a few years, as their spouses already don't need to work.

        Obviously, the very wealthy Canadians accounted for a small number of those who voted for SH but let's just hope that they aren't the only ones who really benefit from his majority government. Because, honestly, they don't really care if he worked overseas.

        Anyway, it's been nice chatting with you. Take care.

      • He will now leaf Canada, and prove the CPC right. Was it an 'attack ad' if it was accurate?

        Ahem…checked you morning news have you?

        Can we now close that tawdry chapter of tory propaganda? Or would you like to hound him right out of the country?

    • I don't recall a Liberal attack ad on Harper.

      Then you don't remember 2004 very well. The most disgusting vilification I've ever seen of a politician. Harper learned that year that detroying the reputation of the Opposition leader through innuendo and character assassination can work. The Liberals taught him that much. They're wishing they hadn't now.

      Here's something else that Conservatives learned. A leader can survive these attacks, and go on to win future elections anyway. The Liberals haven't figured that out yet, which is why they keep changing leaders like others change socks. Why is Ignatieff stepping down already? Not because the Conservatives forced him to. Not because his reputation is irrevocably sullied. It's because the sharks are already circling, and he knows that Liberal insiders and power brokers will eat him alive. Just like they ate Dion. Hell, they even forced Chretien out before he was ready. Ignatieff would have to be insane to stick around and spend the next five years digging knives out of his back. Blame the Tories and their disgusting attack ads if you wish. (And even I can admit they were disgusting. But Ignatieff got off easy compared to Dion.) The Liberal Party is its own worst enemy.

      • I don't really get your point. The PC was hardly any better. Neither will i predict the CPC. All politcs appears scummy to me. Why single out the LPC?. Admittedly they're never behind the door in this regard.

  88. Harper's con-campaign was totally negative and un-Canadian and the attacks on Iggy provided much proof –: a) anti-intellectual (targeted Iggy because of his academic background); b) anti-immigration (trash talking about workers who find work in other countries) and c) anti foreign workers (we should celebrate Canadian who go abroad and gain work experience and the press couldn't pick up on this.
    This election showed me how far the Con and Harper government will go to keep power. And they are probably building their targets and trashy news for the next election today.
    Oh to have a press that is not bias.

    • I agree about the press bias, but I would submit that it goes the other way, for the most part.

      Canadians didn't want Ignatieff. They really don't want the Liberals right now. Why can't LPC supporters see that?

      If attack ads are un-Canadian, the LPC has been un_Canadian for many, many years.

  89. "Whether it is about health care, missile defence or the war on terror, Canadians are incapable of having an adult discussion, and woe to any politician who dares do anything so radical as obey reason."

    This is the best bit of wisdom I've read about Canadians and their politics. Harper and Layton know it all too well and apply it with enthusiasm; Ignatieff not so much.

  90. LOL…I voted for him but I agree with you.

    Why didn't Iggy just answer the question, "DEMOCRACY!" I'd like to think that if he did, we'd be better off, but I don't think that would've done it.

    For the record, I also don't think that "guy doesn't believe in democracy." I stand to personally gain a lot from this Harper majority. Tax rates going down, income splitting if and when the deficit disappears…I"m going to be fine and so are my kids. I just hope that because of all that, our country doesn't become split between 'haves' and 'have nots." I'd be happy to pay more taxes to prevent this…but not many other people see it that way.

    Anyway, thanks for the laugh.

    • There's nothing stopping you from paying more taxes. There's a section at the end of your return. Send them as much money as you want.

  91. I guess neither you nor Leo has noticed that websites customize advertising depending on the URL of the person browsing.

  92. "Canadians are content with the way things have been under Stephen Harper."

    Perhaps the 40% of voters who supported CPC candidates are. What about the other 60%, who wanted someone else to be in charge?

    • They'll get another shot in 2015. I know how you feel. I lived through the Liberal default majorities of the 1990s and early 2000s. As you probably did too. It sucks. Nothing lasts forever. It was just a decade ago that the Liberals took 99 seats in Ontario to the Alliance's two.

  93. I don't dispute that Ignatieff said some very odd things and that he did not give a convincing defence in some cases. But are you claiming that even the majority of the ads were evn plausibly truthful? Many contained deliberate lies, distortions and convenient absence of context…they even stooped to actually leaving out and editing some of his remarks. That's not strictly partisan advertising which while it bothers me i recognize does now unfortunately have a place in our polity.
    I'm not particularly looking for excuses..politics is a rough game. OTOH you seem prepared to only look at the bigger picture. That's a choice i guess.
    Potter does say, and i agree with him that the LPC failed to find away through it due to some bad strategic choices and ultimately a lack of conviction…in that sense there was no excuse.

  94. I often think of this when driving my SUV between my monster home and my monster cottage on a previously pristine lake from which I've removed every tree and killed all the fish. I don't have an answer for you.

    • Bastard. Iknow who you are. You wrecked my neighbourhood lake. Just you wait untili take delivery of my D8 cat…i'll be right over. Better enjoy that cottage while you can.

  95. I'm sorry, but do you have kids or a mortgage and are trying to figure out how to manage childcare and saving for university or college for those kids? The Ignatieff you're talking about — arrogant and impatient with voters, inhabiting candy land — wasn't on the campaign trail. He's in your decided mind of delicious hate tears. I was listening to what Ignatieff was actually saying and if you looked at the platform it had a lot to recommend it to those of us who really do have mortgages and kids and don't think income splitting that only benefits families in which one parent is making lots of money and the other parent is making much, much less money is a great policy platform for families

    • Well said. AVR is so wrapped up in HIS hatred of all things liberal, elitist and generally progressive that he can't see pass the hunk of deadwood in HIS eye to see the speck in Potters. He has a point to make. But as always with AVR he chooses to make it so visciously and in such a ridicuously over the top manner as to actually appear cartoonish himself. Sad guy really.

  96. Harper also said there's be no deficit. You've all missed the point. Tax rates going up or down a tiny percent ARE parochial compared to the democratic uprising in the middle east or global terrorism. Get your head outta your ass Bill Simpsno.

  97. To give a hockey analogy, Ignatieff was a brillant figure skater who one team thought would make a brillant hockey player but he had no experience with body checking. He couldn't adapt to it, spent all his time complaining of the roughness of the game and tried to get the rules of the game changed. Things should be more open, more cooperative, more democratic.

  98. If by "well-written" you mean "rife with grammatical errors and blatantly missing words" then I agree. Well done Macleans and Professor Potter.

  99. Waaah, they hit me back fiiiirrrrst!

    • I bet you cried on election night. I bet you were that upset. Am I right?

      • Mel Gibson – Lethal Weapon

        "Am I getting to you? Am I getting to you? Am I getting to you?"

        • She did cry. I know it. Makes me smile. I've been smiling a lot this week.

  100. Above this post, bergkamp
    "…I assumed Libs were keeping Iggy's mouth shut on foreign affairs was because there was a good chance that significant section of base would be angered by whatever he said. Also, I am not convinced Libs should highlight their anti-semitic tendencies during elections so maybe Iggy being quiet was smart strategy…"

    Previous page, Trudeau lover:
    "…What utter rubbish! This reads like a spoiled, entitled, trudeauvian cultist who didn't get their way. Get over it Harry Potter, the Liberals lost. Pining for a warped, divisive, tribal, A-Hole like Trudeau shows Potters self professed intellectual superiority is as non existent as the assertions that Iggo was somehow treated unfairly. .."

    • We can go to almost any story on this site, and find people slamming others. They will be from the right and from the left. Heck, I have had nasty things said to me. And to be blunt, AP's article isn't nice to it's opposition either.

      While Tl was pretty harsh, bergkamp was just saying his opinions. You are certainly entitled to ask him to back them up, but it is his opinion – not harsh at all.

  101. " Ignatieff did nothing to earn the trust of Canadians except to show up"

    Actually, he didn't even do that. Highest absenteeism record in the House of Commons.

    • How many bigoted judges have they appointed so far? Seems to me not too many years ago, it was Conservatives warning about the Charter giving the courts too much power, and the progressives screached from the hilltops that this simply wasn't true. Now you're afraid that their going to appoint judges you don't like? That's called poetic justice.

      I doubt they'll appoint bigoted judges. But they'll certainly appoint judges who are reluctant to engage in judicial activism and are reluctant to expand the definition of Charter rights beyond where they are right now. They'll also appoint judges that are not likely to vote in favour of preserving the Canada Health Act the next time that challenge comes up. As it surely will. The CHA barely survived the last Charter challenge on a 4-4 split vote in 2005, with one judge abstaining. Your Canada is about to change. Be happy.

  102. Could you be any angrier? Seriously. Anger is the energy your party runs on. Is the nation about to be turbo-energized?

  103. They really need to face up to their problems and rebuild. Much like the John Turner trouncing of 1984, they have been given a golden opportunity to do this. There was much talk in the 1980s of the NDP replacing the Liberals, but it never happened. It's much closer to happening now, but it hasn't happened yet. The Liberals have one more chance to rebuild. They need to appoint a leader, and keep him around and let him grow into the job.

    The Conservatives lost their first election in 2004. Got a minority the second time. Failed at their attempt for a majority the third time. And got their coveted majority the fourth try. Guess what they didn't do. They didn't change leaders. The Liberals have been electing weak leaders and changing them like socks every time they don't like the results. That needs to stop. Personally, I think they should have kept Ignatieff on. But of course, he knows damned well the knives are out for him. It is the Liberal party after all.

  104. And how well has resting on their laurels served the Liberals in the past five years. Re-read the above post. It's not anyone else's fault. The Liberals did themselves in. If Harper was half as evil and terrible as you say, they'd have had no trouble vanquishing him.

  105. And he ran around calling people "vicious pricks" too. He's that nasty. Sorry hon. Your posts don't sound like "justifiable anger". They sound like bitter griping from a sore loser.

  106. You know, if a riding in Toronto had the same vote weight as a riding in rural Canada, then we can talk 'rural' vs. the rest of the country or whatever you're on about. Fact is, 80% of the population live in 'urban areas'. The result is, in downtown Canada, a vote is worth 1/6 of that of a vote in P.E.I., Labrador or some other place that is a constituency by virtue of the (in)convenience of vast geography.

    If a vote is a vote is a vote in our imperfect system,, they ought be dispersed fairly. They are not now.

  107. I love how he congratulates Liberals for their calm, reasoned arguments, then launches an assault against his perceived enemies. I've spent the past week reading comments from Liberal supporters calling us every name in the book and enjoying every second of it. Not only lashing out at Conservatives, but lashing out at the NDP for splitting the vote, and the "stupid voters" themselves who voted the Conservatives in. And they turn around and play the virtuous card, while spewing venom out the other side of their mouth? Shows you just how much work they have ahead of them. The first step is admitting they have a problem. They are nowhere close.

  108. Even the small-minded small towners are real people with real concerns. They cannot be dismissed so callously. Gordon Brown did that during the British election, totally slamming an elderly lady as "an obviously bigoted woman" simply because she expressed concerns over the number of immigrants Britain was letting in. His venomous dismissal of an old lady as a "bigot" cost him dearly, and deservedly so.

    • I thought i did say that. But that's not to say a lot of small minded folks didn't buy the line on MI hook line and sinker. They just didn't all come from small towns. Some of the folks i know in my town are among the most broad minded i have ever met – lots more are not. Conversely when i head out to VI in the summer i often come across people who hate Harper who among the most vacuous people i've ever known politically speaking. Nevertheless i share an awful lot of mutal interests with both very different communties.

  109. Few are informed enough to have an intelligent discussion.

    Another progressive dimissing the majority of his fellow citizens as misinformed ignoramuses. It's been the dominant theme on the Internet since late Monday night. That's why you lost. We might be every bit as misinformed and stupid as you say. In fact, you may be understating the problem. We might be even dumber than you thought. I'll cede that possibility. But lecturing people on how uninformed they are is not a recipe for winning them over. And if you can't win them over, you can't win. If you take nothing else from these online exchanges, take this one thing: Ignatieff's problem was not Canada or its people. Ignatieff's problems were Ignatieff and the Liberals.

    As long as you keep blaming the ignorant masses, those ignorant masses will never, ever support you. Grow up and take some responsibility, and figure out what you can do to change your approach and enhance your appeal. Because I can guarantee you, people will just never warm up to a party whose supporters keep insisting on how much smarter they are. Stupid we might be, but not so stupid that we would ever vote for someone who constantly reminds us of how stupid we are. You see what I'm getting at? You really don't seem to realize how much damage you are doing to your own cause. Admit you have a problem. Then start fixing it.

    • First, I'm not a politician, or a member of any party; I'm not trying to win anyone's vote. So I get to call it as I see it. I'm sure you probably think I consider myself one of the "intellectual elite"; think what you want. I've never had a great need for the approval of others.

      I didn't personally win or lose anything; I do think the nation lost. I know the Liberal party did. And I think Potter nailed why.

      If saying out loud that Canadians are too lazy and complacent to be proper participants in our democracy (when they bother participating at all) makes a few Canadians angry enough to try to prove me wrong – then good. It's time for a major wake-up call – for the politicians and the electorate alike.

      So if I p***ed you off, then I'm off to a good start…

      • You never pissed me off. You buoyed my spirits. You and Heather Mallick and every other progressive who – out of spite or bitterness – basically come out this week and dismissed 40% of the electorate as "stupid" or "misinformed". Because as long as progressives keep reminding us of their superiority, the performance of their chosen electoral vehicles will continue to suffer. If you wish to keep making it easy for us, go ahead. If you object to the latte-sipping intellectual elite label, stop living up to it. If you believe that label is a net positive, by all means, embrace it. But don't be surprised when that doesn't bring you the results that you want. You've been warned. What else can I do?

    • Re: "Grow up and take some responsibility" – I took responsibility for informing myself. I was not terribly impressed by any of the parties, their leaders, nor the candidates in my riding. But I found the CPC lacking the most in terms of ethics, accountability and honesty. Based on their five-year record, I find them completely lacking in trustworthiness, and having an overabundance of hubris and more than a touch of corruption.

      In my discussions with people leading up to the vote, I found a lot of people uninformed; their reasons for choosing the party they were to vote for vague and based largely on ads, polls, or what friends / family told them. It was a very lazy and irresponsible approach to determining the fate of a nation.

      There are far more Canadians than me who need to "[g]row up and take some responsibility." The attitudes of far too many Canadians toward democracy proves yet again something I've long said: the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a stool lacking a leg – Responsibilities. Canadians have long forgotten that being a citizen in a democracy brings with it a degree of responsibility for one another and the health of the nation.

      • That's a lot better than your post above. I found myself agreeing with most of it.

  110. Absolutely. 2004 was nasty. Liberals can dish it out, but they can't take it.

  111. And why should we give a $hit if he's "well traveled"? What the hell is it with progressives and their "travel'. Travel is something I do for fun. I enjoy seeing different $hit. It does not make me more cultured, more cultivated, more learned, more "cosmopolitan", or anything else you seem to ascribe to it. And it sure as hell doesn't make me prime minister material. In fact, spending long hours in airports waiting for connecting flights sometimes has me questioning my own sanity. Take a look around any large international airport next time you're in one. Sometimes it seems the people who are satisfied with staying put are the smart ones. I've known plenty of learned travelers. And I've know just as many learned folks who never traveled at all.

  112. I would have thought that Monday was a humiliating and humbling experience for progressives. It has been nothing of the sort. They're even more sure than before that it was not their fault.

    "We never let the country down. The country let us down."

  113. Notice that all three of the issues Andrew points out are ones that left-leaning Canadians won't have serious conversations about. But other than that, you're right – to pretend Ignatieff wasn't the problem is way off. If negative messages alone killed Iggy how the hell is Harper still standing?

    The thing everyone seems to be perhaps willfully missing is that Harper himself is an intelluctual policy-wonk kind of guy. Paul Wells' untold story of the election gives the reason for Harper's 5 question rule that if he talks too much he gets into either Angry Steve or Professor Steve mode. The primary thing I like about him is that he's a guy who spent time in university reading political writers like F.A. Hayek in his spare time. It's true that Iggy was a victim of seeming over-intellectual but how do you explain Harper if you're going to say we're a beer and popcorn nation then? The two groups of people most divorced from reality are the very dumb and the very smart, and I think it's reasonable to say that that is one of the primary reasons Ignatieff didn't shine in Canada's eye.

  114. Potter's inconsistencies, as you rightly point out, aside, the 'torrent of abuse' is also a fair point. Has ever there been a Canadian candidate whose supposed strengths have been so thoroughly tied to the bow of a swift boat with the tiller tied towards the falls? If the Liberals had been more effective at taking the Harper record (not just in Gov't) and turning it into an effective messaging strategy, would you also cry foul?

    One imagines that, say, a Chretien team would not have let this stuff roll (not that they would have had to contend with questions of 'loyalty', 'patriotism' or 'elitism', mind you) and would have given as good as they got. Ruthless v. Ruthless.

    As Dan Gardner pointed out in his ash-sifting this week, it's kinda getting to the point where no Canadian with any degree of public record or accomplishment outside of politics will enter this fray. The John Bairds and Pollievres – the 'Pros' – of the Nation will feast like carrion.

  115. "few are informed enough to have an intelligent discussion"
    "my experience is that the less informed someone is, the more likely it is that they back the CPC"
    http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/05/05/theres-a-probl

    Pretty cute. Long way of saying that ignoramuses vote CPC, smart people don't. The fact is that some people are smart enough t o see the other sides point of view, understand it, and still oppose it. It has been my experience that those on the left, who have taken to calling themselves 'progressive' (the opposite of which is 'regressive'?) have an inability to understand their opponents point of view, and therefore dismiss them as ignorant.

    I personally understand my opponents, and disagree with their opinions. I don't need to talk down to them, as I am confident in my opinions.

    • Great post. So true. How can they possibly think disparaging Conservative supporters and questioning their intelligence is going to bring them back onside? As though every party does not have its share of misinformed ignoramuses. To insist that most of them are right wing is narrow-minded in the extreme.

  116. He hasn't choked (remember?) anyone yet, even how often Terry Malevolentski of CBC stalked and heckled him.

  117. Oh really? Care to list off the litany of almost continuous AAds directed at Harper outside of the writ period? Note i'm NOT claiming Harper hasn't had a tough go. But your post is comically off base. Harper has had lots of time and opportunity to fight his detractors. Not that i ever approved of those below the belt tactics used by Martin and to a lesser degree Chretien. The truth is the liberals were much better at using mockery as a political tool. Little did they realise just what they were storing up for themselves. In a sense it's justice. In a larger moral sense it's petty and vindictive, and more importantly damaging to our politics. Ten years from now i don't look forward to hearing you sound like me when whatever rough beast is yet to take form is playing hob with our democracy. If there's any real democracy left to worry about.

  118. I should have used the word contempt. Still, thx for highlighting the essential dif in take on Parliament by libs/left and cons.
    We believe no ones above the law. Admittedly not always consistently. I don't think i know what cons think anymore. But Parliament should be a non partisan issue in an ideal world,no?

  119. Then you and I are in the same boat. I sure as hell don't want Jack either. Which is why I spend so much time imploring Liberal supporters to pressure their party to own up to their weaknesses and get their act together. Harper won't be there forever. He's got 4 years. Maybe 8. Grievances build against a sitting government. Eventually they get tossed out. It's very healthy and necessary for this to happen. When it does, I want a moderate centrist alternative. Jack and the NDP will never be that. Conservatives and their various precursors (Reform/Alliance) went through hellish vote splitting and constant vilification from the Liberals and various other progressives, for more than a decade. I hated it at the time. But it made us stronger and more resilient. And I can even admit that back when it was happening, we weren't ready for power. Liberals need to learn to harness the adversity thrown at them by the Conservatives and use it to make them stronger. Politics is Darwinian. Good luck.

  120. Witnessing past nasty liberal campaigns, liberal pushed media, Andrew Potter, and many of liberal supporters comments above; it is very disquieting finding Frank Greaves liberal strategy to divide the country landing in very fertile ground. Having it adopted by people who claimed to have higher "intelligence" above those of us stupid voters, is what makes it even sadder. Now I start to wonder whether the chasm between Quebec and ROC was engineered just as liberals has been trying putting a wedge between east and west of Canada. I hope in our lifetime we will witness the true meaningful unification from coast to coast to coast of Canada.

  121. But Wells mentioned this in his article. People who attend these events tend to take a very myopic view of how the leader comes off. However you felt about him, he did not inspire that in enough others.

    • mmmm, would you say that applied to Harper too?…just say'n.

  122. Your link was no more interesting than the first time. Please stop.

  123. He did, mostly.

    • Sure he did. AP on the other hand…

  124. I've never been a big fan of you Potter, but that was a great piece, and is deserving of the tag "Potter's Gold".

  125. "Trudeau was a spendthrift who practiced alientating regions of the country, by bribing each—with the others' votes or cash."

    Harper does the exact same thing.

    • Cognitive dissonace…gotta love it.

  126. This paragraph should be glued to every piece of furniture in Liberal Party headquarters. Right now the only question is whether they will realize the above in time to save and revive the party, or whether we'll someday (not) remember Paul Martin as Canada's H.H. Asquith.

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  128. What a great article. You could see the shockingly shoddy treatment of ignatief on a daily basis during the election and beore – the posing of 'negative' pictures and the selective use of slanderous, in my opinion, articles by Globe and Mail senior writers Idiotson and Simpleton.

  129. Ignatieff was parachuted in like he was some kind of Great White Hope. He didn't do his job because no one believed him, and like the attack ads proclaimed, "he was not here for Canada". Where is he now? Back to teaching. Talk about a "fringe" leader. At least the other 3 leaders, 4 if you count Elizabeth May were career politicians who cared enough for the country to make it their life's work.

  130. Your intellectual pride is nauseating……..your patronizing of the every day man is wrong, dead wrong.

    • Harper's pretense of being 'everyman' is nauseating, however if you wish to be manipulated that's your problem

  131. Michael Ignatieff offered his services to the Canadian electorate, but it was not accepted. He can serve some other way. After all, they also serve those who stand and wait. But, while we are at this, why in God's name would an electorate not see why Liberal Paul Szabo is a better representative to the Parliament than a tyro called Stella Adler? (What's wrong with being voted for six consecutive years as one of Parliament's most "industrious" MPs?). Pity. —Albert B. Casuga

  132. Well now, its quite convenient to coddle Iggy, but lets be clear, the Conservatives including Harper have suffered the same BS, innuendo, almost slanderous treatment from both the media, (especially CBC, that cess pool of socialism) and the Liberals for years when they were in power. It is just amazing how all of a sudden Iggy is such a wonderful guy. Iggy (who was never elected by his own) and the Liberals forced this election, now they don't like the results????? By the way, I really believe that the Libs had the knives out and wanted Iggy to sink or swim. This way he's gone and it gives the Libs a legitimate excuse to have another leadership campaign with a minimum of fuss. Gimme a break will ya.. GET OVER IT!

  133. I recall listening to one of Ignatieff's first speeches after his return to Canada at the behest of the backroom Liberal power brokers. . When he implored us to "Let me inspire you', I turned him off as a pompous egghead.

    To be fair, I listened to him closely during the election. He came across as a pompous egghead.

    Luigi

  134. When all else fails, blame the Conservatives. This appears to be the touchstone for many people in this country. It was okay for MacLeans to run cover stories on Stephen Harper saying "How scary". That was fair. As was the oft repeated "hidden agenda" comment that resonates to this day. Guns in the streets was another beaut and making fun of Stockwell Day's relegious beliefs was apparently all part of the give and take of politics. The right is mean-spirited, the left tactical. The right insults new Canadians by trying to get their votes, the left is inclusive. I could go on but you get the picture.

  135. If you would just cut down on those sour grapes and chowed down on some yummy liberal tofu maybe, just maybe, you wouldn't be so old and fat and white….as for the music…i hope it's some Neil man…h'bout Sugar Mountain with a side of poutine…mmmmm..now that's stupid and EVIL.

  136. There's enough vitriol and plain mean-spirited name calling in many of the responses to this blog to make one despair about the future of public discourse in Canada. It points to a problem that seems to be growing: We are emulating our American neighbours and becoming as polarized and nasty as their political discourse has, where civil and reasoned dialogue has been replaced by vicious and emotional partisan screeds . This is true of both sides of the debate. Slogans replace logical arguments. I regret that the Liberals forced an election we didn't need, and that Ignatieff wasn't given the time to build up his street cred by serving a longer apprenticeship and earning the trust and confidence of Canadians. Ignatieff was brave but unfortunately naive to think he could enter into the deteriorating state of Canadian politics, which is less polite and dirtier than even a playoff hockey game, and survive with his dignity intact. The Liberals should have studied Sun Tzu more carefully.

  137. "Never has such a torrent of abuse been poured on any Canadian figure"
    Google hilter+harper

  138. Ignatieff and his Liberals were just stupid enough to call an election about nothing. Be careful what you asked for.

  139. The Liberal arrogant gang of cynics and liars certainly held their own in their treatment of the Tories and of Harper in particular.

  140. Now that Mr. Ignatieff will be teaching Politics in Toronto,it would seem that the Tory attack ads were right "just visiting". I'm still trying to understand why being a political loser is an excellent qualification to teach politics in university. When you can't make it in the real world, I guess you can always teach.

  141. Oh you're one of those nasty little sh!tbags who likes to make women cry; not surprising in a vicious Conservative led by the vindictive little-prick Harper.

    No, I didn't cry, but I would have beaten your teeny little balls into a pulp had you been present.

    • Amazing how your standards are so changable.

      "It is a vile lie to tell about anyone. Shame on you." – Someone else type this under your name?

  142. Not harsh? Libelling people as anti-semitic is vile. Your double standard is showing.

    • The Israel thing is hard to dodge in politics – most people know where everyone stands.

      Some people support Israel, some don't. Easy to find out who, so it might be a earned label. That is the difference.

      • It is a vile lie to tell about anyone. Shame on you.

        • If it is a lie, then shame is deserved. If it is not a lie, then it is an earned label.

          Either way, it is easy to prove. Feel free to post some quotes about how the Liberal Party of Canada supports Israel. Keep in mind that I am sure others will post with quotes to the opposite effect.

  143. I can't stand this ivory tower pseudo-intellectual nonsense any longer. Where's Mark Steyn?

    • He was just just vistin' buddy.

  144. Good one. During the Dion years Layton attacked him unmercifully while playing footsie with Harper, even though he didn't agree with a single Harper policy and had a lot in common with the Dion Liberals. Then he flip flopped in to the coalition.
    Layton is OK but he is more strategy than principle.

  145. Stephen, what a piece of crap. Ignatief never had what it takes and your remarks about Harper are childish and vindictive.

    The attack ads were QUOTES from his ill-thought-ot statements if he ever pictured himself coming back to Canada. The truth is that he had given up a future in Canada and saw himself as an American until the Rainmaker enticed him to fill the vacuum after the defeat olf Paul Martin. Dion was ineffectual and doomed to go down, And Ignatieff stepped in without even a leader's convention. The so-called contempt that he accused Harper of was the normal operation of a majority government and the Liberals were masters at it – obfuscation. The Liberal government in majority was a dictatorship by Trudeau and Chretien. , .

    • Who is Stephen?

  146. You finally got it. He was too good for us; we were unable to grasp the possibility of greatness.
    It was like Nixon defeated Kennedy in 1960.

  147. I seem to recall we once had a Liberal prime minister who was supposedly intelligent, worldly, and successful. He did a lot for eastern Canada. However, he did so at the expense of western Canada. We have him to thank for the fact a unilingual western Canadian can no longer get a federal government job but someone from Quebec can even though their english is often not even comprehensible. We have him to thank for high taxes, bloated government, Quebec seperatism and many more things. I, for one, think Iggy was of the same ilk . Good riddance liberal phonies. Was the attack ad showing Iggy saying he was not going to take a GST hike off the table not true? I don't think so. That wasn't what a lot of Canadians wanted to hear. We are taxed to death in this country; particularly in B.C. where the provincial liberals want to tax someone $65, 000 for buying a $500,000 house.

    • If you speak English, you should know how to spell separatism. I dare say that anyone in Canada can work for the federal government if they speak both official languages. That is not a unique domain of Quebecers.

  148. Hockey Stick, you are almost psychopathic about this. You and Emily have a hate complex. Grow uip.

    • I was about to make a similar observation, but felt it would be unfair to psychopaths.

  149. Another one in need of a head read, John D is.

  150. Torture is wrong when its used to silence your political opponents. When its used to protect innocent people its right. What I can't understand is that the left, masters of nuance that they are, don't get that.

    • Problem is torture doesn't protect innocent people because when someone is being tortured they will say anything to make it stop!

  151. The problem with Ignatieff, is not necessarily that he is an academic, or a journalist: Trudeau was both, as well. It is that he spent most of his adult life outside of Canada either in England or teaching at Harvard of all places. To top it off, when he made comments like "Americans got to remember that this their country, it's my country to," it makes Ignatieff look even worse to the Canadian voting public, and makes him appear out of touch.
    The other problem is with the Liberal Party, acting as though it is the "natural party of government." Governing Canada is not the Liberal Party's God given right, although it acts as such. Years in the wilderness should humble the party. While Ignatieff can always find a job, and already has at the U of T, probably making more than the majority of Canadians; which it is hard to feel sympathy for him, or any other defeated Liberal MP that has just recieved a pension.

  152. Trying to make me cry, frat-boy?

  153. Actually the big city has lots of small minded people!

  154. Where did you get this figure (42%) from?

    • StatsCan

      42 per cent of adults and 39 per cent of youth lack the literacy skills to get a good job and cope with the demands of today's knowledge society. StatsCan

  155. Of course. It applies to all partisan rallies. A rally can be a great boost to the committed partisans, but it can be seen entirely different by everyone else.

  156. Please, enough. I have been a long time participant in your surveys which have become obviously biased to the Liberals. This article is another example of the desperation in the left wing media and quite frankly makes me nauseous. Suck it up and get over it, give us a 5 minute break before you continue your juvenile petulance.

  157. I live in the middle of Toronto, which I love. Guess what? We voted Conservative!! Guess that make us hosers? Yay!!!

  158. That is exactly what they are doing right now in this article. Mr. Potter and liberal media like him is preparing the ground for Liberal resurrection.

  159. And the converse is also true, though I believe to a much lesser extent. When you read just how badly Bob Rae lead the party strategists astray, and that even the formidable Peter Donolo seemed at times to lack his old razor sharp instincts, it becomes obvious that Ignatieff was only a very small part of the problem. I believe they are making a mistake by letting him go. A party cannot change leaders like one changes socks and remain a credible force.

  160. Brilliant comeback OE1!!

  161. Thanks but I see that as a policy attack, rather than a personal attack. However, the ABSOLUTE POWER copy at the beginning has its implications, I admit. Let's hope that he doesn't really want that, and he's really all about working with the elected MPs.

  162. Ichaput … I am going with Parsley on his original statement. Although he did not follow the quote correctly, he, quite properly identified the expectations of a failed elitist who may well never become wise.

    The old Greek saying applies (paraphrased): You can't teach anything to someone who believes that he knows it all.

    Parsley very much echoed my feelings that Iggy is has repeatedly proven that he just not capable of learning so his probable attachment to any future wisdom is suspect.

  163. My family has an indoor jacuzzi and a SUV, yet only my mom voted Conservative, while my dad and I voted NDP. Your point?

  164. As far as I can see, the pundits always agree that the Conservatives fiscal estimates are always "unrealistic" and usually "delusional". But they always turn out closer than the critics and usually a little conservative.

  165. Next time when you write about political leadership try not to focus on a gender. I know men have always dominated political leadership, but it's really disappointing to see someone young perpetuate that notion.

    "No country for good men" is a ridiculous title. Why not just say "people"?

  166. "Never has such a torrent of abuse been poured on any Canadian figure". Clearly you slept though the tenure of Preston Manning and Stockwell Day…and were selectively awake during that of Stephen Harper, Bev Oda, etc.

    "…Never have the small-town and the small-minded been so united". It takes a special form of oblivious chutzpah to bemoan the loss of decorum of political rivals while using "small-town" as an epithet.

    Other than that, I agree…especially with the 2005 analysis. Ignatieff's problem is that we hoped he would be the philosopher king. We hoped he could give the Liberals a well considered identity.

    Instead he jumped right into gutter politics for the short term headline. (remember wafergate, busty hookers and more recently expelling the person involved with the busty hookers?) Ultimately, he met his political end while screaming of the death of democracy based mainly on the formatting of a memo that removed funding from a questionable "aid" group.

  167. Jena, you make valid points. I notice this comment section's rating system seems to be frequented by left wingers. Anyone that disagrees with this article is slammed.
    Iggy was in it for himself, the same as the liberals think they are entitled to run the Gov't of Canada. Both have had a bit of reality and humble pie dished out to them.
    I believe the reason Harper has survived as long as he has, is that he could pull up to any average Canadian table and after taking a bit of time to relax, have an enjoyable conversation about any issue. Brainy folks like Iggy are nice, but they don't have an understanding of real people and real worries.

  168. More likely, this sort of thinking will be rejected by the Canadian political immune system. Whether it is about health care, missile defence or the war on terror, Canadians are incapable of having an adult discussion, and woe to any politician who dares do anything so radical as obey reason. Our political discourse takes place in a dogma-addled environment that would swallow up an intellectual alien like Ignatieff, and it would be a shame to see him forced to mouth the banalities that are required for survival in Canadian federal politics.

    Truer words have seldom been spoken. Not just about Ignatieff, but about any politician smart enough to actually discuss policy and propose new ideas. And Ignatieff certainly did become adept at dumbing himself down and mouthing banalities. Too adept.

  169. Curious to know what you think you voted for, Jena. Harper offered up nothing during the campaign to indicate what he would do with a majority mandate.

  170. 'Little girl'? Having a caveman moment?

    • Hey Jan,
      The Gorilla's really a 12-year old twain with braids with confused gender identity…a buddy of Baird….forgive the Beast. He's busy scratching his Timmy Horton cup to find a free coupon…It takes all kinds in them there hills, eh!

      • Of course you meant 'tween'. Twelve year old tween with braids. And you don't scratch Tim Horton's cups, you roll up the rim to win. Other than that, a wonderfully coherent and insightful post.

  171. Conservative insecurity on display. You won guys, Harper will be the one signing a free trade agreement with the EU.

  172. Andrew Potter, THANK YOU for a most intelligent discussion that goes to the very heart of the philosophical drama now being played in our Parliamentary Democracy.

    Mr. Ignatieff had a great opportunity to promote his global diplomatic, journalistic, intellectual and cosmopolitan skill. These are the very skills that are needed by the Tim Hortons crowds—in order to survive in this global economy. I always thought we'd see another Pearson, even though I think his pro-iraq war stand was 'spinned' and, ironically, used against him by a Petty Dictator and his frat-boys who didn't even own a Passport!
    I have voted for every party (except Bloc) in the last few decades. I feel the NDP has a viable role to play to tame the extremist Tea Party urges of our current democratic Circus on the Hill. But I feel sad that Canadians didn't see Michael Ignatief as the leader we needed to survive the economic onslaught that's about to begin under Harper's regime the next four years.

  173. Again, thank you for a most interesting article, Andrew, and I enjoyed the reference to Kant….a long-ago favourite of mine, and one of the most difficult ones to master.

    A question: If the NDP and Liberals had worked TOGETHER, cooperatively like Pearson and Tommy Douglas, would not a rebirth for Democracy and Canada itself be in the cards? After all, 61% of Canadians voted *NOT* for the CRAP Party (Conservative Reformist Alliance)! Give us credit, eh!

    Unfortunately, the FOX News Rush Limbaugh-Glenn Beck xenophobic, misogynist, homophobic parochial mentality is in vogue now….and the Farce that's Canadian Democracy has begun…

    Immanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative will surely be revised after this Election. But correct me here, as the bunch ruling the Hill now would *NOT* ever consider asking a question of what would be "good for all of us". It's "what keeps my party in power" and to Hades with practising admirable Ethics with the dumb masses that voted for us, eh!

    Welcome to Harper's Hobbesian jungle on the Hill….

  174. Yup! But let's not forget that 61% of Canadians (the country) does *NOT* see Herr Harper as a Knight in Shining Armour, either! The guy's pure Tea Party and now when Canada needed someone with a vision globablly and domestically, someone who would *NOT* have allowed the UN Security Council seat to slip first time in 60 years to little old Portugal (embarrassing, eh?) and someone with the guts to say NO to bank deregulation that Herr Harpo started in '06 and had he been our PM 5 years earlier—we'd be as messed up economically and bankrupt like our Ameircan paizanos!

    Earth to Harpo—Don't act like a "petty, vindictive" (as said U.S. Ambassador Wilkins!) Dicktator. Rise up and govern for ALL Cannucks not just the Oil Companies and their buddies on Bay St. Canadians for Fair Taxation is watching this fool full of failed ideological C-R-A-P

  175. Hey Raging Ranter, your makeup's lopsided and Harpo may attack you any minute. Get ready, sweetheart, your boyfriends' bringing over his fratboys for a good…..coffee at Timmy's. Don't forget to scratch your….cup for the Freebie! It's so YOU!

    • What is it with you "progressive" types that you must resort to gay baiting as soon as someone angers you? I thought that was kind of… you know, the sort of thing you were against?

  176. Yah sure! We Canucks just deserve Apes drinking Coffee Tymes, who don't know how to spell Passport, and reading comics as our PMs, eh?. Your antideluvian proclivities will certainly be transporting you to Ottawa one day working for our Grrreat Leader, right next to his cave desk.

    • So people who don't travel much all read comics and live in caves? Thanks for reinforcing my point.

  177. What? "Secret" Harper plan to destroy public health care. Not-so-secret! Wait and see what this Tea Party PM will do to this country. I am not a Liberal and have voted for all other parties 'xcept Bloc. But I can give you a guarantee that Harper's Libertartian-Tea Party insticts will be dismantling Canada in the next 4 years, not so delicately as in the minority, either! He's in love iwth Privatized healthcare and Insurance middle men will be lobbying on the Hill in no time.
    He strated DEREGULATING the banks and financiall industry in '06-08 and had he been PM of Canada just FIVE 5 years earlier, we'd be doomed. Harper's a Republican at heart, a petty and vindictive, but smart tactician who has pushed Canadian civility to its bottom sewers and is the worst example for our kids growing up. Power for power's sake. Not even true to his own lifelong beliefs.
    65% of Yankees filed bankruptcy cause they couldn't pay their hospital bills! 0% zero percentage in Canada. This is about to change with this George Bush pale copy…not pretty for our future. Unless you have millions stashed up…Good Luck.

  178. Agree with you, mostly. But…please we never MISUNDERESTIMATE our Great Leader. As U.S. Ambassador Wilkins said about him he is "petty and vindictive" but has a "great instinct for combativeness…comes naturally to him"..

    God save Canada from Harper. A robot with computerized Democratic leanings would have been preferable to this Republican who's going to dismantle the Canada that you knew….

    • He's going to dismantle your cherished version of Canada, or so we hope.

  179. And that wonderful platform of the Liberals was enough to capture 18% of the vote. But blame negative advertising if you like.

  180. Also check anything written or said about Stephen Harper by Heather Mallick, Margaret Atwood, Judy Rebbick, and Elizabeth May.

  181. Oh Save me from this BS. The main problem is that this country gradually became the property of the near-left or the left, mainly through the influence of the 40's mandariins. I suspect the government of just right of centre will survive long enough for thw swelling demographic opf baby boomers to move towards the conservative view. of life as always happens – left wing in youth, centre in middle age and mildly conservative in older age. In my eighties I have been there and done that and It is not untypical.
    IMary should read Rawls if she wants idealism.

  182. Ignatieff / Harper – both are NWO tools of implemantating a WORLD GOVERNMENT. Neither are good for Canada.

  183.  I will not NEVER vote for the Harper machine.

  184. I don’t know Ignatieff, but he struck me as arrogant and inauthentic (sorry, I know authenticity is a hoax, but it’s the best word).  Same problem Mitt Romney has, and Al Gore had when he ran. 

    Elections are less about “tightly reasoned” ideas than who we like and trust.  Sorry, that’s democracy.  Same thing everywhere.

    Eggheads don’t seem to like actual democracy because they don’t get  the deference they think they deserve for being so intelligent and well educated.

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