A statistically unrepresentative sample of Canadian concerns

by Aaron Wherry

Over the last few days, Michael Ignatieff has discussed astrophysics with a six-year-old girl (true story), purchased two cakes from a Vancouver bakery, participated in Regina’s spring pow wow, shot a little pool and played with a bulldozer simulator in Dettah and shaken hands at BBQs in St. Isidore and Yellowknife.

Yesterday he took questions at two town hall meetings: the first in Vancouver, the second a few hours later in Victoria. The topics broached by members of the public during these discussions included: cooperation among parties in Parliament, elected MPs who change their party allegiance, airport security, science, taxation, improving access to generic drugs for developing countries, how to assist older Canadians in their retirement without raising taxes on younger Canadians, the case of a Canadian citizen imprisoned in Mexico, copyright law, child poverty, farmed salmon, Canada’s role in the Middle East, the possible health hazards of genetically modified organisms, Canada’s complicity in a 9/11 conspiracy, the recognition of foreign credentials, mental health, marijuana legalization, the high cost of dental work, dysfunction in the House of Commons, Internet usage rates, registered disability savings plans, proportional representation, the use of uranium in bombs allegedly dropped on Libya, halibut fishing, students and funding for the CBC.




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A statistically unrepresentative sample of Canadian concerns

  1. We can't have adult conversations about health care, yet Iggy can talk astrophysics with a six-year-old.

    Indeed, election campaigns are a strange time.

  2. We can't have adult conversations about health care, yet Iggy can talk astrophysics with a six-year-old.

    Indeed, election campaigns are a strange time.

  3. LOL no wonder Harper won't go out and mainstreet, and take questions.

    • Not even the 6 year olds are safe. No telling what kind of gotcha questions they could come up with.

  4. LOL no wonder Harper won't go out and mainstreet, and take questions.

  5. So Ignatieff is answering questions about "cooperation among parties in Parliament"

    Has Ignatieff answered that it is not the party with half the votes held in Parliament which gets to decide the direction of government?

    Has Ignatieff told the crowds that the Conservative budget did include some of the Liberal demands? Has he told them that not all of the Liberal demands need to be included in a Conservative budget, if the Liberals held half the seats of the Conservatives?

    Does Iggy have the nerve to tell 'm how it really was?

    • It's up to Harper to secure confidence. It's a matter of negotiation. Harper didn't offer enough to secure majority support, and he has to own up to that (he made the calculation that an election was preferable to gaining legislative support).

      • Ok, Andrew, than for once, offer us your wisdom:

        How far should the Conservative budget have gone in order to satisfy the opposition?

        And what would be your suggestion, if Ignatieff were to form a minority government with let's say 77 seats and 150 for the Conservatives? Sould Iggy then implement ALL of the Conservatives demands, or half of them, or some of them, etc, etx. Tell us where the line needs to be drawn, Andrew, because you are saying that next time, when Ignatieff forms a minority government with even less seats than the Conservative minority, that he will be held responsible for the failing of passing a budget, for that is what you are implying. Think about it and let me know where the line needs to be drawn when Ignatieff is sitting on the other side. If that's where you want him to sit – on the site of goverment – then you better explain to us now how much he has to give in to opposition demands for passing a budget. Things seems so clear to you, so tell us about it. How exactly does it work when one is forming minority governments?????

        • The Conservatives didn't need Liberal support. Indeed, they were more clearly trying to court the NDP–perhaps giving them some window dressing so that they could climb down without losing face. The NDP didn't get much of what they asked for, though.

          If Iggy forms a minority, he needs to get the confidence of the house. That might be with support from the conservatives, but given the line they've taken, it sounds like they will refuse to support any of his legislation. Thus it will fall to the other parties in negotiations. There is some electoral math involved here. How much are they each willing to give up in order to get some of what they want, and/or avoid an election.

          The point you raise about having 77 seats is likely why the Liberals won't be willing to form a government unless they have a decent number of seats. They'd rather Harper take the heat for having to do the horse trading with the Bloc and NDP.

          • Liberals 40 seats at best…watch.

          • Yeah yeah yeah… we're at the start of a thousand year conservative dynasty.

            You people should do a better job of riding whoever is in power. They all abuse it, and they all need to be watched like hawks. You'll live to regret allowing the bar to be lowered when someone whose policies you hate grabs the reins of power.

    • What it "really" is depends on who you talk to. Those questions you ask are just ridiculous because obviously none of the parties will admit to their partisan actions.

      • Yes, so all parties play the same game, right? Then why could the Liberals not be faulted for not having cooperated enough with the Conservatives? The Conservatives had almost double the seats of the Liberals. Don't you think such would be play a factor as well when the meaning of 'cooperation' is talked about?

        You think Ignatieff has cooperated plenty in the House????

        • Iggy has supported the CPC on many aspects of their legislative agenda. They have no obligation to do so, as you seem to be suggesting.

        • I never said anything of the sort! I'm just wondering why you would expect Ignatieff to make his way across the country saying "I failed at making parliament work! Vote for me!"

          Just as Harper would never campaign across the country saying "Our government lacks transparency and refuses to hand over important documents relating to fighter jets, jails and afghan detainees! But we are the best option and we want a majority!"

  6. So Ignatieff is answering questions about "cooperation among parties in Parliament"

    Has Ignatieff answered that it is not the party with half the votes held in Parliament which gets to decide the direction of government?

    Has Ignatieff told the crowds that the Conservative budget did include some of the Liberal demands? Has he told them that not all of the Liberal demands need to be included in a Conservative budget, if the Liberals held half the seats of the Conservatives?

    Does Iggy have the nerve to tell 'm how it really was?

  7. Not even the 6 year olds are safe. No telling what kind of gotcha questions they could come up with.

  8. LOL apparently so! Times have changed!

  9. Little girl: Mr. Harper, why do the stars twinkle?

    Harper: Friend, let me be clear. The stars twinkle because of the danger lapping at our shores. If your mommy and daddy vote for a coalition, the stars will stop shining forever. Tell your parents to vote Conservative – we're pro-stars.

    Little girl: But why?

    Harper: Enough questions.

    • Sorry I accidentally gave your post an unintentional "Thumbs down."

      I found it amusing!

    • Nicely done.

  10. Little girl: Mr. Harper, why do the stars twinkle?

    Harper: Friend, let me be clear. The stars twinkle because of the danger lapping at our shores. If your mommy and daddy vote for a coalition, the stars will stop shining forever. Tell your parents to vote Conservative – we're pro-stars.

    Little girl: But why?

    Harper: Enough questions.

  11. question for Iggy:

    So, Igster…….If Harper gets his majority….how long before your resume' once again hits the desk at Harvard?

    • Well, if Ignatieff gets a majority….the only thing Harper can go back to is the mailroom..

    • Ignatieff isn't going back to Harvard after he loses. He will exploit the connections he has made as leader, and sit on Canadian corporate boards alongside the likes of John Manley and Brian Tobin. In doing so, he will make more money than Stephen Harper, and still have lots of spare time to write books, or head the occasional commission.

    • If Harper gets a majority, Iggy will be hitting the border in no time.

      The only question is, will he be heading to:
      -his old desk in Harvard yahd in the US of A
      -his villa in France
      -another gig with the BBC in England
      -anywhere else but Canada

      Stay tuned…

    • Why don't you go to one of his events, and ask him. The Liberal's seem pretty willing to take all questions. Even absurd ones like yours.

    • If he really was going to go back to Harvard, he'd have done so after losing the leadership to Dion. Now that he's been back in Canada longer than he lived in the United States, I'd say that stupid little dig is even more stupid.

  12. question for Iggy:

    So, Igster…….If Harper gets his majority….how long before your resume' once again hits the desk at Harvard?

  13. Sorry I accidentally gave your post an unintentional "Thumbs down."

    I found it amusing!

  14. Well, if Ignatieff gets a majority….the only thing Harper can go back to is the mailroom..

  15. Ignatieff isn't going back to Harvard after he loses. He will exploit the connections he has made as leader, and sit on Canadian corporate boards alongside the likes of John Manley and Brian Tobin. In doing so, he will make more money than Stephen Harper, and still have lots of spare time to write books, or head the occasional commission.

  16. Why is Wheery in the bag for the Lieberals? Wheery's not reporting on Stephen Harper's question-and-answer sessions with the publics!

    Oh, wait…

  17. Why is Wheery in the bag for the Lieberals? Wheery's not reporting on Stephen Harper's question-and-answer sessions with the publics!

    Oh, wait…

  18. It's up to Harper to secure confidence. It's a matter of negotiation. Harper didn't offer enough to secure majority support, and he has to own up to that (he made the calculation that an election was preferable to gaining legislative support).

  19. "Over the last few days, Michael Ignatieff has discussed astrophysics with a six-year-old girl (true story)"

    Nice try Wherry. I'll bet Ignatieff is a nuclear scientist, a brain surgeon and a aviation engineer too.

    Ignatieff does not know any astrophysics. Perhaps he knows a little bit of astronomy.

  20. Nicely done.

  21. Maybe it's just me, but I can't help but think the question about marijuana legalization and the question about Canada's involvement in the 9/11 conspiracy were asked by the same guy. "Uh, yeah, uh, Mr. Iggy dude, sir… I have, like, a two-part question, man…"

  22. If Harper gets a majority, Iggy will be hitting the border in no time.

    The only question is, will he be heading to:
    -his old desk in Harvard yahd in the US of A
    -his villa in France
    -another gig with the BBC in England
    -anywhere else but Canada

    Stay tuned…

  23. Don't judge everyone else by your own limited knowledge. Astrophysics is important in Canada.

  24. Don't judge everyone else by your own limited knowledge. Astrophysics is important in Canada.

  25. "Ignatieff does not know any astrophysics."

    And you know this…how?

  26. "Ignatieff does not know any astrophysics."

    And you know this…how?

    • The same way I know he knows no nuclear physics or neuroscience either.

      • Ah, but maybe they were talking entangled particles! And everyone knows that.

      • You mean like how I know that you know no shame?

  27. What it "really" is depends on who you talk to. Those questions you ask are just ridiculous because obviously none of the parties will admit to their partisan actions.

  28. The same way I know he knows no nuclear physics or neuroscience either.

  29. And Mr. Ignatieff answered all but one of them by quoting the post-2001 work of American singers popular in the 1980s – he used a Rick Astley lyric to answer the question about the use of uranium in bombs allegedly dropped on Libya.

  30. And Mr. Ignatieff answered all but one of them by quoting the post-2001 work of American singers popular in the 1980s – he used a Rick Astley lyric to answer the question about the use of uranium in bombs allegedly dropped on Libya.

  31. Harper knows a lot about astroturf.

  32. Harper knows a lot about astroturf.

  33. Why don't you go to one of his events, and ask him. The Liberal's seem pretty willing to take all questions. Even absurd ones like yours.

  34. And you don't know that either.

  35. He did not….LOL

  36. Nice! A man of the people.

  37. Nice! A man of the people.

  38. If he really was going to go back to Harvard, he'd have done so after losing the leadership to Dion. Now that he's been back in Canada longer than he lived in the United States, I'd say that stupid little dig is even more stupid.

  39. He not only took the questions he answered them. I was very impressed with his willingness to engage Canadians.You or I aren't going to get near a microphone at a Conservative event Any of the 5 questions asked of Mr Harper are presspool watered down dribble I think they fear they will be removed from Chicken Wings at 30,000 ft if they dare pose a question that Harper can't answer without a script.

  40. He not only took the questions he answered them. I was very impressed with his willingness to engage Canadians.You or I aren't going to get near a microphone at a Conservative event Any of the 5 questions asked of Mr Harper are presspool watered down dribble I think they fear they will be removed from Chicken Wings at 30,000 ft if they dare pose a question that Harper can't answer without a script.

  41. But you assume the six-year-old does? You're GOLD, buddy, gold.

  42. But you assume the six-year-old does? You're GOLD, buddy, gold.

    • Heck, if you want to debate what a six year old child does or does not know, then go right ahead, but find someone else, cuz I'm not interested, and frankly you're likely the only person around here who has the slightest desire to do so. You are one odd creature.

      • Poor Cons, really got their tail feathers in a knot today. Last week they were crowing about a majority.

  43. Heck, if you want to debate what a six year old child does or does not know, then go right ahead, but find someone else, cuz I'm not interested, and frankly you're likely the only person around here who has the slightest desire to do so. You are one odd creature.

  44. and the typical Juvenile attacks begin…imagine, a politician taking questions from Canadian citizens during an election campaign. What's the world coming to!

  45. and the typical Juvenile attacks begin…imagine, a politician taking questions from Canadian citizens during an election campaign. What's the world coming to!

  46. Ok, Andrew, than for once, offer us your wisdom:

    How far should the Conservative budget have gone in order to satisfy the opposition?

    And what would be your suggestion, if Ignatieff were to form a minority government with let's say 77 seats and 150 for the Conservatives? Sould Iggy then implement ALL of the Conservatives demands, or half of them, or some of them, etc, etx. Tell us where the line needs to be drawn, Andrew, because you are saying that next time, when Ignatieff forms a minority government with even less seats than the Conservative minority, that he will be held responsible for the failing of passing a budget, for that is what you are implying. Think about it and let me know where the line needs to be drawn when Ignatieff is sitting on the other side. If that's where you want him to sit – on the site of goverment – then you better explain to us now how much he has to give in to opposition demands for passing a budget. Things seems so clear to you, so tell us about it. How exactly does it work when one is forming minority governments?????

  47. Yes, so all parties play the same game, right? Then why could the Liberals not be faulted for not having cooperated enough with the Conservatives? The Conservatives had almost double the seats of the Liberals. Don't you think such would be play a factor as well when the meaning of 'cooperation' is talked about?

    You think Ignatieff has cooperated plenty in the House????

  48. Poor Cons, really got their tail feathers in a knot today. Last week they were crowing about a majority.

  49. The Conservatives didn't need Liberal support. Indeed, they were more clearly trying to court the NDP–perhaps giving them some window dressing so that they could climb down without losing face. The NDP didn't get much of what they asked for, though.

    If Iggy forms a minority, he needs to get the confidence of the house. That might be with support from the conservatives, but given the line they've taken, it sounds like they will refuse to support any of his legislation. Thus it will fall to the other parties in negotiations. There is some electoral math involved here. How much are they each willing to give up in order to get some of what they want, and/or avoid an election.

    The point you raise about having 77 seats is likely why the Liberals won't be willing to form a government unless they have a decent number of seats. They'd rather Harper take the heat for having to do the horse trading with the Bloc and NDP.

  50. Iggy has supported the CPC on many aspects of their legislative agenda. They have no obligation to do so, as you seem to be suggesting.

  51. I've never touched the stuff in my life, and I support marijuana legalization. But that's because I'm a libertarian and not some authoritarian social conservative.

  52. I've never touched the stuff in my life, and I support marijuana legalization. But that's because I'm a libertarian and not some authoritarian social conservative.

  53. I never said anything of the sort! I'm just wondering why you would expect Ignatieff to make his way across the country saying "I failed at making parliament work! Vote for me!"

    Just as Harper would never campaign across the country saying "Our government lacks transparency and refuses to hand over important documents relating to fighter jets, jails and afghan detainees! But we are the best option and we want a majority!"

  54. Ah, but maybe they were talking entangled particles! And everyone knows that.

  55. Liberals 40 seats at best…watch.

  56. You mean like how I know that you know no shame?

  57. Yeah yeah yeah… we're at the start of a thousand year conservative dynasty.

    You people should do a better job of riding whoever is in power. They all abuse it, and they all need to be watched like hawks. You'll live to regret allowing the bar to be lowered when someone whose policies you hate grabs the reins of power.

  58. I've noticed an interesting theme developing in the media coverage of the campaign. It seems there are many stories about Ignatieff taking questions… but very rarely are the answers to those questions ever published.

  59. I've noticed an interesting theme developing in the media coverage of the campaign. It seems there are many stories about Ignatieff taking questions… but very rarely are the answers to those questions ever published.

  60. Iggy's like the guy in the Fed Ex commercials for non-urgent shipping. Just because you're good at one thing, doesn't mean you can't be good at another… CheckMate Sergei!

  61. Iggy's like the guy in the Fed Ex commercials for non-urgent shipping. Just because you're good at one thing, doesn't mean you can't be good at another… CheckMate Sergei!

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