Ignatieff and Kenney on what matters


Beyond the inevitable and inescapable scrutiny of the supposed defining traits of the party leaders, what will the next federal election be about? In the wake of yesterday’s by-elections, here’s what a key Conservative cabinet minister and the official Opposition leader had to say on the matter.

In the foyer of the House, commenting to the media on the by-elections, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney: “The next election will be a fight between a stable Conservative government that can continue to focus on economic growth and a risky and unstable opposition coalition. That will be the choice. I can tell you we think job number one is continued economic growth. And Michael Ignatieff suffered a terrible loss last night; it may in part be because his party is concerned with everything but the economy.”

Down the street at the Chateau Laurier, answering questions at a meeting of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff: “I don’t have 20 priorities. I’ve got to do something about health care; we just can’t sit here and not sustain, defend and improve our national health care system. I’ve got to do something about education and research. I’ve got to make sure we get pension security for Canadians. And I’ve got to do something about rebuilding our prestige on the world stage. That’s four, it’s not 26.”


Ignatieff and Kenney on what matters

  1. a risky and unstable opposition coalition

    Glad to see Mr Kenney got the memo and knows how to follow orders……

  2. Kenney is absolutely right. Do you honestly believe that the opposition parties are going to pass up a coalition opportunity if it presents itself after the next election? As long as the Conservatives have a minority government we will see continued political instability with little being accomplished on the serious issues of the day.

    If and when Igantieff puts some meat on the bones we will be better able to judge if he is serious about those priorities.

    • It's going to be hilarious to see the opposition spin-meisters going full pretzel:

      "We wont go into a coalition but a coalition is entirely legitimate and we might enter in one if the circumstances allow it…"

      Oh man, could Ignatieff end up looking like a bigger fool than even Dion?

      • He already has!!

    • I would be curious to know what you honestly believe will happen if Mr. Harper doesn't get a majority in the next election.

      As far as your comment about continued political instability as long as the Conservatives have a minority government, I absolutely agree. Mr. Harper continues to demonstrate that his primary focus is playing politics instead of governing.

    • To give your question more thought than it deserves, if Harper pushes a poision pill on the electorate they might form a coalition and they would be right to do so.

      Given this, no dobut Harper will try to force a poison pill on the electorate. Expect him to announce a large, unpalatable change he won't campaign on.

  3. I think they both need to be more concerned that two different “Star” candidates in ridings in 2 different provinces, and all the accompanying big names that dropped by couldn't attract even a third of voters.

  4. Kenney is now fighting invisible phantoms as well I see. It must be something in the water.

  5. So basically Ignatieff's first two priorities are health and education…a.k.a. provincial responsibilities. This is supposed to be taken as a criticism of the current government that your highest priorities are things that other governments are responsible for? Looks to me like Ignatieff is running for the wrong job.

    But good on you John for at least focusing on some meatier content than the rest of your PPG colleagues. Between Wherry fact checking meaningless throwaway lines on who does better in byelections, and the rest of them who on Twitter only seem to care about how Kenney was pronouncing Ignatieff's name, you are at least providing some food for thought today.

    • Remember Harper's five priorities? Remember that one of them was health care?


      • a) That was in contrast to a Paul Martin who had a new priority for every meal of the day.

        b) That was also before a hard recession hit the world's economy. Hey, if Liberals think they can win on these kinds of issues in this political climate, by all means. I won't stop them.

        • Given then that Ignatieff has just four priorities, he must therefore be 20% more awesome.

          And I think I get it now: we care about federal/provincial justification, but only when the economy is poor.

          • Just look at the States. Just look at Toronto. When jobs and money are on the line, people get awfully anxious about everything else.

          • Have you considered the fact that Jeff here has just pointed out that you are being inconsistent?

            If health care is only a provincial responsibility then you should have told Harper that in 2006. Something tells me you didn't.

          • When did I bring up the issue of provincial jurisdiction again?

          • I see. I was confusing you with John. You were just trying to change the topic.

          • This is the second false accusation you have made against me. In fact, you're the one who specifically tried to change the topic. Why do you need to do this?

          • First he acknowledged he got you confused with someone else. Stop being so sensitive.

            Second the topic was the point that health care is not just a provincial responsibility. Your response was to talk about Paul Martin and the recession.

          • a) Yes, he was more guilty of changing the topic than I was, right?

            b) Jeff was making a comparison to Harper in 2006, and I was suggesting why I thought it didn't apply. Why am I not allowed to make this point? What are you people so afraid of? The truth? lol

          • He was actually on topic – that being the whole "Harper made health care promises too so why are you now concerned about provincial jurisdiction just because Ignatieff is making health care promises" point.

            Jeff's comparison was as I stated above. You tried to change it into something else.

    • Well, that was an ignorant post.

      • Then why reply with an ignorant one liner? God.

        • See? Overly sensitive.

          You need to develop a thicker skin.

          • You mean I should engage in knee-jerk leftist one-liners, and like it like you? Whatever. lol. Next.

          • No. I mean what I said. You are too sensitive.

            That was a nice try though.

  6. " … stable Conservative government that can continue to focus on economic growth … "

    I wish Canada had a conservative party that realized that pols can't do anything for the economy except get out of the way.

    "And I've got to do something about rebuilding our prestige on the world stage."

    And I will never be a fan of Iggy's but he's really starting to chafe my arse with his talk about how Canada does not measure up to some lofty world standard. I would love to know which countries the carpetbagger thinks are superior, more virtuous, than Canada and have moral authority to judge us.

    • I am with you 100%, I am starting to take bets in my office when Ignatieff quits before or after the next election!!

    • Hmm…rebuilding global prestige. Check.

      • That's not global prestige, that's tourism branding.

      • From the same source:

        "Australia and New Zealand shared first place, and Canada followed at third, in a first-of-its kind survey ranking 153 nations on the willingness of their citizens to donate time and money to charity." September 8, 2010

        Canada is top tier country but to listen to Iggy we are third rate and don't measure up to some unknown world standard.

      • I know, "SuperIggy, to the rescue" hahaha….

        • I was struck by that as well – there is a lot of "I've …" when we all know there is no i in team.

          • Gosh, leftie philosophy from bergkamp. Will wonders never cease.

  7. What Iggy still doesn't get is that, even if you manage to limit yourself to four main priorities, it's still four times more than the one the Conservatives say most Canadians care about: the economy.

    • To be fair, the Conservatives have two priorities: the economy and keeping the god-forsaken, evil coalition from the levers of power. And getting tough on crime, so three priorities.

      Now the score's 4-3!

      • Well saying you're 'focussing on the economy' is meaningless blather. It's not a monolith after all. It involves healthcare, pensions, R&D and being able to accomplish things in the world.

        Otherwise you can sit and stare at it all day long, and not accomplish anything.

        • Of course you can't just sit and stare at the economy all day and expect results. It's like a plant. It wants you to sing to it.

      • And . . . Getting our men & women in uniform the best equipment (4)

        and . . . Supporting the inly democracy in the middle east (5)

  8. The thing I find stunning about Fantino's win is the fact that any Conservative anywhere could cast a vote for the man who took the direction of Dalton McGuinty and completely abdicated his responsibility to uphold the law in Caladonia. In a rational world, his name would be mud. In 2010, in Vaughn, his name is an automatic win.

    • "took the direction of Dalton McGuinty"

      So the assumption is McGuinty 'told' Fantino how to deal with Caledonia? By that line, Harris is squarely culpable for Ipperwash.

      And as we all know, that's ridiculous.

  9. He caertainly has some baggage that can be exploited:

    He was for the gun registry before he was Conservative candidate.
    He was a law and order guy, until Caledonia…

    • Got into a fight with a judge in an internal discipline matter I recall. He can make some blunders but always seems to emerge unscathed. Won't like being walked all over by the kids at PMO either. Not going to want to answer tough questions by journalists, not that he'll get too many in Ottawa.

      • Some indication of illegal wiretaps…

    • Unfortunately for the Liberals, they tried to recruit Fantino first for the byelection in Vaughan and failed. So their criticism of him now that he's a Conservative M.P. will have to be very careful, to say the least.
      Fantino has a most excellent response to almost everything the Liberals try to spatter him with. Simply put: "If I'm so bad, why did you want me?"
      It's a very good question.
      These damn Liberals are so hapless these days, you almost feel for them.

      • Don't agree. Fantino, if he's ever allowed to stand up and speak for himself, will be shredded. It's politics, after all. Sad thing is, it will Mark Holland doing dredging and shredding.

  10. And I've got to do something about rebuilding our prestige on the world stage.

    I'm guessing Ignatieff still thinks that not being elected to a two-year term on the UN Security Council is the most embarrassing thing to happen to Canada in fifty years.

    No wonder Americans mention Canada's "inferiority complex" in diplomatic cables, when we have leaders like Ignatieff peddling crap like this.

  11. And I've got to do something about rebuilding our prestige on the world stage.

    I'm guessing Ignatieff still thinks that not being elected to a two-year term on the UN Security Council is the single most embarrassing thing to happen to Canada in fifty years.

    No wonder Americans mention Canada's "inferiority complex" in diplomatic cables, when we have party leaders like Ignatieff peddling crap like this.

    • Along with being awarded fossils on GW, laughed at by NATO and so on.

      • The fossils were awarded by Avaaz.org, an activist group funded by George Soros. It's just a cheap publicity stunt.

        I have no idea what you mean by "laughed at by NATO", but I'll take it in the same vein as other nonsense comments you've made about Canada being "kicked out of the UN".

        • Well if you are unaware of how Canada has lost stature massively over the last few years, you haven't been paying attention.

          Mostly you're just into criticizing and misquoting me, so that's not surprising.

          • Well if you are unaware of how Canada has lost stature massively over the last few years

            OK, I'll bite. Why don't you explain how, instead of just asserting it as a revealed truth? Try using things like evidence and facts to support your claims.

            Mostly you're just into criticizing and misquoting me, so that's not surprising.

            Here's what you wrote: "Being tossed out of an organization we helped found….and one that we've wholeheartedly supported in a myriad of ways since it's inception….and by such a huge vote….is definitely our most embarrassing moment."

          • Yes, I did. And yes, we were. And yes, it is.

            And that's only one of the hits we've taken on the world stage in the last few years.

          • No offense Crit, but your eagerness to jump all over Emily has lead to your doing the very thing that you seem to be bothered by – making assumptions. You totally got schooled on your Reform misread. Just sayin…

          • You totally got schooled on your Reform misread.

            What do you mean? Please explain. It seems like you're the one who misread.

          • In a recent argument with Emily, did you not misinterpret, and thus downplay her involvement with Reform? I forget which thread this was from…

          • No, I didn't. Emily was never involved with Reform in any capacity, and she said as much a few weeks ago. You either misread yesterday's argument, or you made the mistake of taking something Emily said at face value.

          • Not aware of anything from a few weeks ago.
            I'm referring to the PW Kenney thread, where Emily seems to suggest she was a Reform riding president. Your last post was not replied to there, but it seemed like you made a mistake. With that said, I suppose Emily could have meant to imply she was a riding president for the Cons. By no means is the language clear. Check it out an get back to me…

          • Um, Sam… Emily wasn't a Reform riding president. I have no idea what Emily meant when she said "yes" to Danby's question. You may have noticed her comments are often confusing to the point of incoherence.

          • I'd like clarification on this. I know Emily has interesting interpretations of history/current events, but that differs significantly from real life experience. Would you mind backing up your claim with substance? What makes you so certain?

          • I checked it out, but did not reach the same conclusions as you. I think you may be wrong, though I certainly understand (and can sympathize) the reasons why you think you are right.

            On previous occasions, you've used facts to dismiss things that Emily has claimed. But you're not doing that here. Ironically, you're kinda pulling an Emily and basing your judgment on instinct. Can it be that Emily is infectious? Be afraid….

          • With all due respect, Sam, you don't know Emily as well as I do. I've had many, many exchanges with her. My skepticism is extremely well-founded. Her "riding president" claim is sketchy at best – it contradicts other stuff she's said, it seems really implausible, and Emily has a history of telling whoppers.

          • And yet, you go on with the feeding…?

          • Sometimes it's better to confront them, especially when they occupy a huge chunk of the bandwidth around here.

          • Uh, ok. I have opted instead for deliberate avoidance, allowing the "last word(s)" to stand on their own (lack of) merits.

          • I'll concede I do not know her that well. I have seen some of your more recent exchanges, and even experienced one myself. Believe me – I totally understand your frustration. One of my comments was swallowed into the ether (due to moderation). While Emily may have an oddly selective memory/interpretation of events/debates, I'm not so convinced that she made up being a "riding president".

            In other words – there's a difference between interpretation of politics, and real life events. Her belief (political) system may be filled with contradictions, but that does not mean she is lying about a real life experience she has had. Do you see the difference?

          • Of course I see the difference. It's just that she's told whoppers about her real life experience. One time, she claimed to own an internet business, and it was pretty obvious that she was bullsh*tting. I could look it up for you if you want, but I really don't feel like it.

          • No need to look it up. This is all much more than I ever intended…

          • " Try using things like evidence and facts to support your claims."

            I'd have to say that adding the word "massively" to exaggerate an emphasis of a run-on media narrative is still not as bad as jumping from "I've got to do something about rebuilding our prestige on the world stage" to"not being elected to a two-year term on the UN Security Council is the single most embarrassing thing to happen to Canada in fifty years", with "When Americans refer to Canada's Inferiority Complex, they have Ignatieff in mind" to finish it off.

            Sometimes, Crit, you have to run the eviscerating equation on yourself as well.

          • Ignatieff actually said it was the most embarrassing thing in fifty years, Andre. Look it up.

        • "In fact, the Avaaz campaign is exclusively run and funded by Canadians, and has been fully reviewed and registered as a legitimate third party by Elections Canada and is listed on its website. Avaaz proactively initiated full consultations with Elections Canada lawyers, who approved the application.

          “Our campaign is of, by, and for Canadians, and strictly Canadian money is being used, that's verified by an auditor registered with Elections Canada”, said Avaaz Executive Director Ricken Patel.

          “We have been very careful about this, to even go beyond normal procedure to discuss our campaign with Elections Canada lawyers, and we are 100% in compliance with Canadian law.”

        • Avaaz gets some money from Soros but most of it comes from their 6 million members worldwide, including members in every country. Mentioning the Soros bogeyman is a way of kicking sand in the reader’s eye.

    • I have no idea what Ignatieff thinks, but I suspect we're taken far less seriously internationally than we were ten years ago. The Conservatives don't appear to take foreign affairs particularly seriously, except to consider how it'll help them domestically.

      • I actually don't get this line. Since Harper has taken over, we've influenced major decisions at numerous international conferences. Defending Israel against hatred is one, which is probably why we lost the UN seat. Accomplishments at the recent Toronto G8 and G20 is another.

        The same people who used to tout an "independent" foreign policy now bemoan the fact that we don't follow Denmark and Iran.

        • Actually, the only people who say we lost the seat over our stance on Israel are the Harper conservatives.

          I am not sure what "major decisions" you think we have influenced. Could you elaborate?

        • Accomplishments at the G8 and G20? And what might those be, you know, besides meaningless, ambiguous agreements on nothing?

      • Iccyh, do you have any evidence to support your suspicion that "we're taken far less seriously internationally", or is this just a gut feeling?

        I think it's a myth perpetuated by political parties, leftists and various activist groups who have an axe to grind with the current government.

        It caters to a certain streak of hand-wringing, navel-gazing inadequacy, a "what will they think of us?" mentality that festers like a sore on our collective national psyche.

        I don't think there's any evidence that Canada's international stature has diminished in any way. We're an emerging energy superpower with a strong economy; a country that has a sterling reputation for friendliness and decency; a country with a proud and nearly spotless history of international engagement. On those rare occasions when the eyes of the world are on Canada, like the Olympics, people like what they see.

        • Yes, but you see CR, if we're not ruled by a Liberal government, then there's something horribly wrong with us.

          • I have no idea why you're in such a rush to jump to conclusions about party affiliation and the like, it just makes you look like a fool. I don't care much for Ignatieff and the Liberals, I just think that picking on that particular point is not as justified as it might be.

          • If I had a dime for every time I've heard this, or a similar talking point defense – I'd be rather wealthy. Talk about dumbing down discourse…

        • Perhaps the latest wiki-leaks will help shed some light on this…

        • I have no clear evidence. However, I suspect that foreign governments see the same general pattern that I see with regards to how the Conservatives choose to handle foreign affairs. I'll provide three examples to illustrate what I mean.

          Peter MacKay's bid for Secretary General of NATO was pretty half-assed. He decided to get throw his name in late, and only started showing serious interest in what was happening at NATO after he'd decided to run for the position. These aren't the things you do if you take the forum and position seriously, which is pretty odd considering how incredibly important NATO is to Canada.

          Stephen Harper's actions towards the UN were pretty odd considering that Canada was up for a Security Council seat. Last year, he skips 'cause he'd rather be at a Tim Horton's corporate event, then this year he shows up and personally asks for votes for Canada, which I recall reading is something that has rarely been done in the past, if at all: heads of state don't show up to ask for votes. Again, this doesn't seem to show that Harper takes the UN all that seriously.

          Lastly, I'd point at the revolving door we've had at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since the Conservatives have been in power, we've had four different ministers and none of them have been particularly credible or competent. MacKay has all kinds of credibility issues, Bernier was sacked for leaking documents, Emerson was only there for the short term, and Cannon's credibility and competency are both very debatable.

          While I don't think this has hurt how Canada is viewed in general, I think that the message we're sending internationally is that we care for foreign affairs far less than we used to, and I think that this is likely recognized elsewhere. We take foreign affairs less seriously, and in turn we're taken less seriously by others.

          I really get the feeling you're looking at our foreign affairs from a domestic perspective as opposed to an international one, to be honest. You seem to be reacting more to what groups within the country have said rather than looking at it objectively.

    • I'm guessing Ignatieff still thinks that not being elected to a two-year term on the UN Security Council is the single most embarrassing thing to happen to Canada in fifty years.

      I also suspect he wouldn't appreciate the irony of him being out of this country for most of those fifty years!

      • Yeah there's a real strong ironic link between those two statements. What have the two things got to do with each other?

        • Uh, decades of time relating to Canada's history.

        • Yes, and? Never ceases to amaze me how some, by trying to be smarter than everyone else, only continue to display their own ignorance, laziness, and desperation. Is it because politics is a religion to you and you hate being challenged about it? That's just one guess.

          • You sure can read a lot into a simple request to familiarize yourself with the definition of "irony"…

          • You're right. Here's a shorter version. I don't need to look it up. You're the ignorant one. Is it because politics is a religion? Just wondering. Thanks.

          • Well I'm afraid I gotta disagree with you on this one big guy, it's pretty obvious that you do in fact need to look it up. What with you calling a completely unironic situation ironic and all.


            p.s. My only religion is, you know, religion. Well that and my beloved Habs.

          • You have yet to support your claim except to lazily post one stupid link. Is this really the best you can do? lol

          • stop digging.

          • Sure, dude. lol. Next.

          • It's been ages since I've seen you pull your classic "Next" technique.
            I love it, because I know you really feel you've made a strong argument and believe you are ever so totally right, but as an outsider peeking in, it's just comic gold. Never change!

            Let me save you the trouble. Blah Blah blah I'm obviously an ignorant leftist….. blah blah blah blah…. you are right….. blah blah blah I am wrong. Next. (lol – it is fun)

          • I love it. You just don't get it, do you. It's not a technique. It's literally all that's required to deal with certain posts. If you post crap, it's easy to dismiss. No argument even needed. Got it? Didn't think so.

        • LOL

          That's clever! Never seen it before. You realize that Alanis is responsible for a lot of this "irony" abuse, eh?

          • You're like a cat who gets excited by string, Larry.

          • Oh I know. The two things I can never forgive Alanis for are 1) completely mangling the common understanding of the term irony and 2) Putting the indelible image of getting intimate with Dave Coulier in a theatre in my head.

            (other'n that…she's fine :)

    • I disagree, Harper & company have done much to tarnish our image on the global stage. He has been a main dissenter and stalled excessively at all global climate talks, his unwavering support for Israel – no matter what, his handling of the UAE, Emirate Airlines fiasco, the scraping of the Long Form Census which garnered international attention, the rejection of BHP's takeover bid, his unwillingness to bring back Omar Khadr home, and yes… the loss to Portugal on the UN Security Council. Foreign Affairs has hardly been a beacon of greatness under his tenure and I think we desperately need new leadership that will be able to handle such issues with a bit more tact.

      • The biggest fallacy in Canadian political circles is this apprehension of some global consciousness that is sitting in judgement of Canada and it's every move, large and small. This fictional arbiter of the Canadian persona is a tasteful as Martha Stewart and as judgemental as Helen Lovejoy and it sends out it's approval ratings on the quarter-hour to everyone that matters.

        I look forward to the day that the Canadian political class graduates from high school.

        • Fine, let's play with the idea that our image is top notch and that nobody cares if we're stalling the fight against climate change, not willing to play by the Geneva Convetion, and opposed to foreign investment. Could we at least strive to be better…

          • Let's play with the idea that "our image" is as mythical as the unicorn and just got on with our lives.

            Countries don't have personalties, or images, or friends, or soulmates. Countries don't have personal relationships or personal animosities. Countries have interests, influences and adversaries and all of those things are in a constant state of flux. It's silly to talk about our image as if we were celebrities doing the club circuit.

          • So, instead, all I have to say is "the current conservative government's interests at the global scale are overwhelmingly at odds with many of our closest allies, thus positioning Canada as an adversary to progress on many files and diminishing our overall influence."

            BAM DONE! If semantics was the problem you should of just said so. But notice how way more pretentious that sounds?

          • BAM DONE! If semantics was the problem you should of just said so. But notice how way more pretentious that sounds?

            Semantics matter quite a lot when you're talking on the internet. Now your position is clearer… but still wrong IMO. Nothing pretentious about that… trust me, I know from pretentious.

          • I'm fairly certain I have a degree in pretentious (architecture).

          • Well, there was a day when we didn't have to explain why the international panels we didn't get invited into are so bad.

        • Well said, Lawrence. It's like Canadian political circles are operating on a junior high level of image-consciousness, constantly fretting: "Everyone's staring at me! Do they like me?".

          • Global consciousness and image…yes indeed

            N. Korea has one

            The US one is getting trashed

            Canada has one as well…as does every country.

          • i use the word "image" and people chide. Since when is high school the only place where "image" is supposedly important and why can't it be used in different instances?

          • It's simplistic to imagine that "the world" has a singular viewpoint. Instead of saying that our image has been tarnished in the eyes of the international community, perhaps give an example like "Spain is less friendly to Canada because…. " or " Austria thinks we are wonderful because…"

            Be specific and you have something to debate about. I can't argue with you over "the world thinks we're stoopid" because the world, collectively, doesn't think at all. (Least of all about what Canada is wearing to the prom…)

          • But not at one point did I mention that "the world" had a singular viewpoint. I'm sure Israel loves Harpers stance on Israel. I'm sure other countries who could care less about lowering greenhouse gas emissions love Harper's stalling at environmental conferences.

            However, we do have an "image" and it is portrayed by the way our government acts at international conferences and speaks publicly about particular issues. I don't understand why that's necessarily a bad thing. I just don't agree with the image of Canada that Harper is portraying. I don't want to be characterized as supporting among many other things, continued environmental degradation and war prisoner torture methods.

            So yes many countries in the western world are pissed off at us because of all the things I mentioned above…

          • "So yes many countries in the western world are pissed off at us because of all the things I mentioned above… "

            Which countries are pissed off?
            What evidence do you base that on?

          • Which is more symptomatic of an adolescent image complex: complaining about losing friends, or complaining that the friends who don't want to hang out with you anymore have cooties?

  12. Why is Ignatieff framing all these priorities in 1st person singular ("I've got to do something about…")? I realize that it was an unscripted response to a question, delivered extemporaneously, but doesn't he have a party, a caucus, and a team of professional advisors to help in his titanic battle against the forces of evil?

    • Because he is "SuperIggy" the natural heir to the PM's chair!!

      • Or he's trying to depict an image of a strong leader? My god, it's not often I defend Iggy but Liberal leaders can't get any slack these days… Either he's too weak and can't keep his priorities straight or he's SuperIggy. Please tell, Claudia, what would you rather he be, "MediocreIGGY"?

        • For a man so gifted with words he sure makes a mess out of them! He is mediocre, when it comes to politics, he is actually quite a disappointment. And by know I guess we all know he has no idea what he is doing and someone else is making the policies for the Liberal party for him, the guy can't lead, if he was a CEO he would have been fired long time ago.

          I am sorry if that offends you but it is the truth!

          I am a publicist, I travel all around the world, meet very interesting and important people all the time from all walks of life, and not one has ever said anything bad about Canada, on the contrary, and you will be surprised what people has to say about Harper, he is regarded as very nice, compassionate, extremely smart guy, the all canadian guy, just because you don't like him or don't agree with the way he runs the country doesn't make him the worst PM, I don't agree 50% of the time with the way he handles things but I still respect him a lot more than Ignatieff.

          • especially when, in this particular post, his vision is being contrasted with the conservative mantra of "Economy and Coalition". When given the choice between these, I can hardly believe that people find the conservatives at all attractive. What does focusing on the economy even mean?

            I'm glad to hear that important people aren't saying bad things about Canada. But I don't agree with the way Harper has dealt with many international files — from climate change to UAE, Omar Khadr, etc… (there's a list somewhere else up there). So yes I think we need new leadership to repair the damage that's been done with our counterparts in Europe who are very passionate about reducing global greenhouse gases and repair the relationship that has been damaged with one of our closest allies in the Middle East.

            Frankly hearing Harper being called an "all canadian guy" doesn't quite cut it for me. I'm sure Bush was the "all american guy" too.

          • No Bush wasn't the "All American Guy" at all, as a matter of fact people really dislike him, again, it is your personal opinion and you are entitled to it!!

          • Thanks for proving my point! Just because someone is considered "All-Canadian" or "All-American" it means nothing.

            I could easily say that the all-american guy is a friendly, yale-educated, texas man who loves to ranch and watch football. Great now how does that transfer into foreign policy?

            Ugh this has gone far beyond my initial point that just because Ignatieff used "I" instead of "we" doesn't mean anything other than trying to show leadership and people will chide his efforts no matter what he does. He can't win. Which you've proven… he's just not the "All Canadian guy" I guess.

          • You are right, Ignatieff can't win, he is done like toast, it doesn't matter what he says or does, Canadians won't have a collective epiphany and think he is the one. And he knows it, he is trying to show that he is the leader and the buck stops with him, very Obamanish!!

            I guess your definition of "All Canadian or American" is different than mine, which is just fine, it's open to many definitions, but Bush has never being known as the "All American guy" and in my reference to the PM as an all Canadian, is about the comments I hear about being a very good father, husband, strong with family values, no vices (perhaps just pepsi), works hard, middle class, loves sports, again, it is my opinion and the great thing about this country is that you are free to have your own!!

    • Because, generally, the leader of the party is expected to be setting the direction/goals of the party. Until it's politically expedient to claim otherwise.

      It's the way it works everywhere – a CFO or President of a company might speak in terms of "we" or "our" when talking to the membership/staff for morale/unity purposes. But, when taking more broadly in public they approach the conversation from the tone of what they/i are going to do for you to create the illusion they're "leading"; even if reality simply involves delegating down the chain.

    • He's doubling down on "arrogant".

    • ???

      As leader, I……

      • I have my reservations about Iggy, but this comment thread is full of irrational Iggy-bashing in my opinion! Here we finally see him outlining his priorities, which are all major issues facing our country. Contrast that to "ECONOMY!" "COALITION!" what does that even mean for our future?

        I guess the conservatives are gonna playing the whole, if you don't say anything, they can't criticize you, whilst we get a little substance from the liberals and it's bash. bash. bash.

  13. So when the Conservatives rely on Liberal support to avoid an election on a confidence motion and maintain power, it's not a coalition? But if the Liberals were to form a minority government with support from another party, it would be?

    Colour me confused.

    • No, no. The Bloc voting with the Conservatives to extend the Afghan mission (just not, you know, the "shooty" part) was simply such an obviously good choice that no prior discussion or agreement was needed. Ta da! No coalition.

      • It is a testament to the stupidity of Canadians for not calling out such doublespeak.

    • These aren't the droids you're looking for. Move along…

  14. Every day I find new reasons to spoil my ballet with expletives. Kenney talks *expletive* while Ignatieff attempts to shovel *expletive*. This is the cream of our political class.

    Kenney, running on rhetoric for the fifth consecutive year says the Conservatives will continue to focus on the economy. Continue? You insult us sir… we are waiting for you to begin. Any minute now. Ready? Not yet? OK. How about reversing all your governments economic mistakes to date? Didn't think so… Maybe we need more fear. I feel national Stockholm Syndrome kicking in for the Conservatives any year now.

    And Ignatieff, performing his best (or worse) exaggerated Martin caricature states he'll focus on everything at once and go in that direction. Like a bird with ADD. Trying to pick up every crumb on the ground. At once.

  15. The most important priority is to sustain pretend differences so we can focus on partisan sniping instead of governance. We can't afford to let the country fall into the hands of people who might agree with and be civil to one another.

    • You forgot the twirling.

    • Exactly. Enough clown show. Why are so many Candians swayed by shinny objects? Is there something in our water that is making us stupider? Perhaps we need to reconsider the suspicions of General Ripper?

      • I'm sticking to grain alcohol just in case

    • Or better yet, people with genuine disagreements on important matters who manage to be civil and productive.

  16. I wish federal politicians would leave the health care system in the more capable hands of the provinces.

    • You do realize the federal government spends billions subsidizing provincial healthcare right?

      You've heard of the Canada Health Act right?

      Are you suggesting that the standards associated with the Health Act and the money that flows from its underlying principles should just be handed over without consideration or expectation of its proper use?

      Are we not to strategize as a NATION about what those standards should be and then put our money where our mouths are?

      Perhaps you should avail yourself of the opportunities inherent in the following:

      "It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." ~ Ben Franklin

      • Well since you asked…

        I think the feds should get out of the business of transferring funds to the provinces for health, education and social services. Essentially this amounts to a giant wealth distribution scheme.

        The Canada Health Act stymies the provinces from experimenting with alternative health care funding schemes. It should be repealed and provinces should be free to deliver whatever type of health care services their electorate feels is appropriate.

        I think given the complexity of the health care system and the unique challenges in each province, it is much better to strategize as a PROVINCE.

        As an Ontarian I'm not fond of the idea of a Newfoundland Federal Health Minister (theoretical example) dictating health care standards that apply to Ontario.

        When the federal government becomes too prescriptive about how provinces should spend federal transfers for health, it scews local/provincial priorities. Healthcare is the number one issue for provincial governments – it's not like they are going to spend the money on beer and popcorn.

        • "I think the feds should get out of the business of transferring funds to the provinces for health, education and social services. Essentially this amounts to a giant wealth distribution scheme."

          And you say that like it's a bad thing…

        • First of all, there's such a thing as standards. Are we really a nation if we don't have national standards for healthcare?

          And how can we expect those standards to be met or be justified in making them if we aren't stakeholders in the process, including funding?

          Not all provinces are created equal. Some have smaller tax bases, some have a lack of economic resources, some are simply not in a position to afford some of the initiatives that arise from a national standard.

          Should some Canadians have better healthcare than others just because the province they live in is a poorer cousin?

          Personally I think the viewpoint you're representing is terribly shortsighted and represents a hard-heartedness that is simply not appropriate in a just society.

          The provinces may be the administrators of healthcare, but the values and the standards must be national, or we are no nation at all; therefore the federal government must be an active partner in healthcare, simple as that.

  17. Health IS a provincial responsibility. The federal government has made an utter mess of things because the only thing it can do is play with "spending powers" by attaching conditions to cutting the cheques: conditions that in many cases it doesn't even enforce.

    john g is right: the more the FEDERAL leader of the opposition opens his mouth, the more he sounds like he wants to be a PROVINCIAL premier.

    • Regardless of what the constitution says, or doesn't say, the REALITY of the situation is that by virtue of the Canada Health Act the federal government asserts it's influence in how health care is provided in this country.

      Whether or not they make a mess of it is beside the point. Unless you want to get into a debate of what the definition of IS is, I don't see how one can keep re-iterating the idea that health is solely the responsibility of the provinces. It hasn't been that way in goodness knows how long.

      • So are you suggesting it is therefore inconceivable / wrong / unCanadian / heresy to argue, in light of the evidence of the mess the Canada Health Act inflicts, that the federal government should be doing less, not more? And that it is somehow improper to mock a federal politician for suggesting, given "the REALITY of the situation," that more federal mucking-around would be helpful?

        • Am I imagining things, or do some on the right of every issue expend great effort in arguing against the obvious?

          Why is that? Impaired comprehension? Devil's Advocate Syndrome? What?

        • To have the government do less about health care, it would have to start by doing more to undo what's already been done. Even if that's exactly the goal Ignatieff had in mind, you'd mock his suggestions.

          "Healthcare is a provincial responsibility" is a blatant canard, feigned pragmatism while waving a partisan placard.

          • If you are suggesting that I would mock Ignatieff for advocating the federal government's withdrawal from interference in a provincial jurisdiction, you have seriously misunderstood me. Like, way seriously.

        • I don't think I am suggesting that at all.

          What I am suggesting is that there is nothing inherently unusual or wrong for any federal party to have health issues as a priority. Regardless of the fact that it is a provincial responsibility, federal governments have been 'meddling' in health since at least the '80's.

          Continuing to point out that health is a provincial responsibility, ignores the reality of the situation.

          Considering how most Canadians feel about health care, it might be pretty interesting to see what would happen if Mr. Harper took the attitude that health care is none of his business and just washed his hands of the whole 'mess' as some of you seem to want. Do you know if that is even a policy of the Conservatives? Do you think it would even garner any popular support, given the way Canadians feel?

          That might be an interesting poll for some organization to carry out: "According to the constitution, health issues are a responsibility of the Provincial Governments. Do you want the federal government to have no involvement in Canadian Health Issues?"

          It also begs the question, if there is no federal involvement and every province goes its own way, what kind of service would an Albertan get in Quebec, and vice versa? What do they get now?

      • Actually, that's more of an illusion than anything else. Health care can never be "fixed" at the federal level because they dont administer the thing. And when a province breaks the conditions under which money is transferred, like many provinces do, its politically infeasible to do anything about it. So really, the federal health care scheme is just another redistribution scheme, and its something that should be handled through equalization, in order not to hide its true nature.

        Although Im not surprised to hear Ignatieff babble on about healthcare, like Harper did in 2006, that's just how our political culture works, but for people expecting that the feds will actually improve health care, they're SOL Im afraid.

  18. You have to be six shades of crazy to think that health, education, pensions and research are not ECONOMIC ISSUES.

    And these issues are front and center in the minds of many voters, especially the boomers as they come closer to retirement. You people think boomers don't vote their own self interest? LOL

    The CPC is campaigning against the bogey man "coalition" and making generalized statments about protecting an economy they've undermined for four years with their vote buying attempts and general incompetence.

    Am I supposed to be impressed?

    The only way they will make a go of this is through manipulation of the messaging mediums, and by no other means, because their record is abysmal.

    • I'm not sure what the Cons think the 'economy' IS if it doesn't involve those issues, and a hundred others.

      Watching the stock market I guess.

      • Well they may claim to watch the stock market, but given the hijinks going on recently concerning Taseko Mines Ltd., it appears we may not be able to trust them with that either.

        "RCMP urged to probe whether leak triggered Taseko share sell-off " http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/rcmp

        • LOL not to mention that Harp's big formula was to tell people to 'buy' at the worst possible time, and mention his MIL's concerns. Right after he missed the recession of course.

          So I have no idea what they're watching, but it isn't the economy.

    • Thank You! It's frankly ridiculous to hear people give praise to the Conservatives for being so focused on their main priority… the economy! I'm half expecting a new cabinet minister, since we've already got the largest government, one more wouldn't hurt. He could be called "Minister of the Economy" and he could be in charge of all that is economics!

    • Harper, the machiavelian politician par excellence, is simply improvising as he moves along, incrementally implementing his agenda with a minority, with the firm intent of going 'all out' if he ever achieves a majority.

  19. "If this is any indication, the Conservatives aren't going to have an election platform per se, but will merely campaign against 'the coalition' and the evils it will inflict on the nation."

    They didn't even bother with one at the last go around so I sure don't expect one this time either.

    • It is rather sad that voters reward such ambiguity. I almost wish there was some way to force parties to reveal their platform when the writ is dropped. Enough of tinkering with BS – let us know what you are about instead of being sneaky about it.

      • I find it upsetting that voters reward outright lying. It's not even like they're good lies; they're lies a two year old could see through!

  20. This isn't entirely relevant, but I simply gotta share it with somebody. I'm currently substitute teaching (and trying desperately to get hired on as a full time history teacher), and this morning I quite literally had not one, but two Grade 9 students who were unable to read a clock when I asked them to write down their name and the time on the board before going to the washroom. They just looked at the wall blankly, trying to figure it out – one had their cell phone in their pocket so he could quickly check the digital time. The other one just laughed sheepishly and said "I don't know how to read a clock."


    So to answer your post – it's only getting worse…

    • LOL I don't find that amazing. Analog is antique.

      In fact if somebody asks if you have a wireless network, or an iPad….the joking response these days is 'Did you just call me analog??'

      • Oh don't get me wrong, I'm generally right on board with not sweating too much about shifting skills priorities…

        But I still think that knowing how to read a clock is a useful skill.

        • I'm sure they thought the same thing when sun dials were falling out of vogue.

          • Heh, probably :)

  21. Fearful for his mustache today, perhaps?

  22. Mr Editor Coyne, your magazine stimulates only a narrow group of political groupies who carry on tedious one-on-one conversations mostly about Canada's PM. Do you not worry that this shows an overly shallow readership?