And now, some words from Michael Ignatieff


Earlier today, Adam and I sat down with our old boss, Michael Ignatieff.  We’ll have more for you shortly, but here’s some of what he had to say about the Canadian political landscape.

AG: What is it like to watch the Conservative majority unfold from your vantage point?

MI: Painful. The Prime Minister is saying that we’re now a conservative country. Who does he think he is? What does he think Canada is? It’s as arrogant as when we said it’s a Liberal country. It’s neither a Conservative country nor a Liberal country. It’s just the country, and it’s bigger than all of us. The Canadians that I know are practical, moderate, non-ideological, middle of the road, fiscally conservative, socially progressive, by and large. It doesn’t make them Liberal, doesn’t make them Conservative. I don’t think they’ve moved an iota actually. So when he says the country’s gone conservative, it’s just the kind of arrogance that will ultimately bring these guys down. Just the same way we were brought down by thinking the country was Liberal. There’s a message for us and a message for them.


And now, some words from Michael Ignatieff

  1. A good point, but if it is an official Liberal position, then it would have been much more effective to have had it enunciated by one with far less baggage and at least a smidgeon of credibility. 

  2. Arrogance is but one of the many, many reasons the Liberals were brought down.  

    I’m glad that following their historic, crushing defeat, many Liberals have come to grips with the fact that Canada isn’t a “Liberal” country.  (Humility was not previously considered a Liberal trait, but massive rejection by the electorate does tend to temper a party’s conceit.)

    However, it seems like facile, wishful thinking for Ignatieff to say:  “Arrogance brought us down, so it’ll eventually bring my opponents down too.”

  3. This is what comes from confusing political parties with entire philosophies.

    Not all Cons are conservative, and not all Libs are liberal.

    And most Canadians are bits of both

    We should have named our parties …I dunno…polar bears and moose?  Or The Northern people’s party, and The Canadian people’s party, or summat.

    Some way that kept them all from getting hidebound in ideologies

    All this left/right stuff is a leftover from the Cold War anyway, and no longer useful.

  4. I don’t think the PM has quite said that — in interviews with Maclean’s, he’s said that he’s trying to build a lasting right-of-centre electoral coalition that can win elections more often than it did in times past.  He’s done okay so far.

    Who does he think he is?  The Prime Minister of Canada, who’s taken the lead in building a party that has gained seats in four straight elections.

    • And as even Preston Manning has said….Tories won’t be in power forever. People just get tired of govts and vote for change….even if there isn’t one specific thing that outrages them.

      The assumption however, is always made that once in….it’s some kind of permanent thing.

      • ‘Tisn’t permanent.  He might not last past 2015, even if he decides to fight another election.  Stuff happens in three-and-a-half years.

        But 9 1/2 years isn’t a bad run.  Sixth-longest in Canadian history.  

        If he wins the next election, passes Chretien in March 2016.  If he doesn’t — well, again, that’s a pretty darned good length of time in office.

        • Well….I don’t think there’s a prize for that.  LOL

          • Thick set of memoirs to write, but no prize.

  5. Arrogance?  Someone’s been listening to the Conservative Main Stream Media too long.  Making something, out of Conservative Canada’s nothing, just takes a little longer!

  6. “Who does he think he is?”

    The Prime Minister of Canada.

    In a majority CONSERVATIVE government.

    Having won multiple successive elections, each with a greater percentage of the vote than the last.

    (We’re not making this up.)

    • Gosh…unlike Sir John eh….and Diefenbaker and Mulroney etc

      Harper isn’t unique, you know

      • Yes, but we’re not talking ancient history.  We’re talking about the present.  Which present includes the fact that the Liberal party is in shambles like no time in our recent memory, while the Conservatives appear to face no legitimate threat for the forseeable future.

        • Harper is just one in a line of Con leaders….don’t make him into something else.

          It wasn’t long ago when the Cons were in shambles, and Chretien got 3 majorities in a row.

      • How difficult it must be for the likes of Emily, who not so long ago on this very site, chided the conservatives for being a temporary oddity, marring the proper Liberal political lanscape with their petty attempt at power, to lower the bar so close to the ground to find some semblence of critique: … “Well he’s not the most successful PM in the history of Canada you know”…

        When even that proposition is now debatable.  Indeed Harper could now very well end up being the most successful PM in Canadian history.

        Oh how the liberals goaded the few conservatives commenters, warmed by their belief in a natural entitlement to Liberal power.

        Not too many of those commenters around any more.  Like the Liberal party itself, it’s ardent blogging supporters have moved on to their final political resting place.

        • Enjoyed reading your comment with my morning coffee   :-)

        • Successful in which sense? Longevity? Perhaps, but he has over a decade to go to hit that milestone. I mean, what do you point to as his legacy, other than the further withering of Canadian institutions?

          • Ahh yes, the statist “institutions”.  There’s another institution, more of the metaphorical variety, that being individual liberty/accountability, that is being furthered.

            The nanny state wheat board?  The nanny state long gun registry?  Even the nanny state discourse, in which the prevailing presumptions of common language dictate that the state is that which should solve our problems instead of first and foremost ourselves?

            All thankfully withering away under Harper’s term.

            More please of the “withering of Canadian institutions”.

            Next up: the CBC.

        • I know you want to make Harper God-on-earth, but he’s not….and so far he hasn’t given any indication he’ll even be moderately successful.

          Winning an election isn’t the same thing as saving a country you know.

          Funny…most Cons on here complain this place is overrun with Libs.

          • Re: my previous comment about lowering the bar to find a critique of Harper.

            Agreed: Harper is not “God”.

          • LOL my gawd, a Con who admits that.

            Wonders never cease.

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