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After the O: Liveblogging Michael Ignatieff’s post-meeting press conference


 

Yoyoyo, ITQians! We have one more Obama-related event to get through, and then I promise it’s back to business as usual, whatever that means. Anyway, apparently the Ignatieff-Obama chinwag went slightly longer than usual — careful, Mr. President, you’re going to miss your flight! — so the presser that was originally scheduled for 5pm will be slightly delayed. I’ll keep y’all posted, so check back regularly.

5:25:25 PM
Well, we’re back on familiar, cosy parliamentary turf – the Charles Lynch Press Theatre, to be exact, which feels awfully homey at the moment. Apparently, the meeting ended at around 5pm, which means that barring any really spectacular traffic tie-ups, Ignatieff should be here by — I dunno, quarter to six? I’ve lost all track of time. I hope he realizes that the general feeling of nervous exhaustion in the room isn’t personal — it’s just been a really long day.
5:34:02 PM

Five minutes, apparently. At least we have Jim Prentice on Newsworld to entertain us in the meantime.

5:39:13 PM
Okay, he’s here, and he looks somewhat ebulliant — he’s sorry he’s late, but the meeting ran late. Meeting? What meeting? Oh — right.

Anyway, they had a substantive discussion – “the president is an excellent listener”, apparently, and listened, excellently, as Ignatieff brought up a laundry list of issues, including protectionism – they’re both ag’inst it – and Afghanistan.

Ignatieff worried that the mission had fallen into strategic drift, and the president told him “quite amusingly” that the White House feels the same way, and Ignatieff assured him that if *he* was in power, the Liberals would help to close down Gitmo.

And he’s read some of Ignatieff’s books. TAKE THAT, HOCKEY BOOK!

5:44:23 PM
I wonder whether Ignatieff is taller than Obama. It’s hard to tell unless you see them standing side by side – lecterns are such an inaccurate measure, since they’re all at different heights.

Right. Press conference. Must focus. The Toronto Star wonders if he brought up the American heebyjeebyism about the border, and scary Canadian interlopers, and it sounds as though Obama is slightly less ridiculously pranoid than, say, the former senator for New York, who even as recently as 2005 was smearing us with the 9/11-terrorist calumny. Sorry, got off track. Anyway, Ignatieff seems to think that Obama will be willing to work together.

5:46:45 PM
More on Afghanistan – Ignatieff told him that he can’t ask Canada to “reup” in this milieu of existential incoherence, and he agreed.

5:47:21 PM
Asked about the Obamagic, Ignatieff waxed erudite, if a teeny bit girlcrushingly – he’s a big presence, a big man. Eloquent, graceful, every bit as dazzling as he was billed.

5:49:13 PM
Obama was “very well briefed on our recent parliamentary crisis” — and he still ventured into the belly of the crazybeast? How — beamish. Calloo, callay.

5:50:19 PM
The eyebrows really are kind of hypnotic, aren’t they?

5:51:13 PM
Apparently, Obama referenced the three D’s – defence, diplomacy and development – which I suspect is the direction that we’re going to go, as far as that whole re-upping thing; Canadians would probably be more than okay with teaching Afghan officials to run elections, and building schools – it’s the military mission that has run its course as far as public support, at least from what I can see.

5:53:45 PM
Last question – is it wrong that I just thought “Yippee!” – on Afghanistan; Tim Naumetz is trying valiantly to nail Ignatieff down on whether he would *ever* support an extension to the mission, but Ignatieff is wily – he notes that he’s been clear on his party’s current position, and suggests that, yes, we should continue to be there in development and diplomacy, but — yeah, Tim is right. Everyone is dancing around the issue, but really, how *can* you answer the question now about what you might do then?

5:55:52 PM
That’s it, that’s all – although the crowd tries for one more question — clean energy! — he holds up his hands and backs out of the room, which is, frankly, fine by ITQ. Our thumbs are sore. We’re signing off for the night – if any of you made it to the end of this post, you deserve one too. Whee! O-Day is O-ver — let the post-O festivities begin!


 

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