Michael Ignatieff resigns - Macleans.ca

Michael Ignatieff resigns

The Liberal leader steps down after historic defeat


Michael Ignatieff has announced his resignation as Liberal leader.

“The only thing Canadians like less than a loser is a sore loser and I go out of politics with my head held high,” he said … “I want to take my responsibility as a leader and as a politician. If I was unable to connect with people, then that is my responsibility,” he said.


Michael Ignatieff resigns

  1. Ignatieff says he will return to teaching. Turns out he was just visiting.

    • He said he wants to teach Canadian student, to be clear.

      • A Canadian student in an American classroom.

  2. Politics is not for intellectuals, supporters of “fair play'', let alone the debate of ideals. People are looking for charismatic and energetic people who know how to use words to trick or hold out great promises. The wake-up call is brutal for people looking for political openness, respect for the individual and freedom. Lesson learned from the conservatives; attack, attack, attack…

    • For the time being, sadly, you are right. But I believe this trend of making politics the american way will pass and we will be back to debate of ideas and ideals eventually. At least, I hope so. I hate negative campaigns.

    • Seems to me the lesson from the NDP is organize, organize, organize. They were very deliberate about their plan in Quebec, and they did reap some good fortune, but we're ready to capitalize on it when the shift occurred.

    • Those who can, do. Those who can't return to teaching – Machievelli

  3. Not much else he could do with 32 seats.

    • More importantly, not much else he could do with 32 seats — and he doesn't have one of them.

  4. This is what happens when you inherit a party once helmed by a man you admire but who helmed said party many years ago, and then times change. You just might end up with a charred husk.

    But I'm not here for the Marc Antony treatment. I don't buy any of the pap about Ignatieff being less than genuine in his love of country. Am I saying the man was guileless? Nope. Am I saying he might have made a decent leader, in a different time? Perhaps.

    Obviously Ignatieff and his handlers took their eye off the ball, or perhaps they just couldn't contain the momentum that the Conservatives were building to penetrate their last redoubt.

    It's a bad time to be a Liberal right now. They've been eviscerated like the proverbial prey that is eaten on both sides by piranha.

    I remain to be convinced that the Liberal Party is dead. Jack Layton has his hands full with a Quebec-heavy caucus. It will either be the beginning of something new, or it will be a hot mess.

    If the latter, the Liberal party has 4 years to pick up the pieces.

    • I can't disagree with any of this.

    • 'I remain to be convinced that the Liberal Party is dead.'

      I'm in the same boat. I'm not clinging desperately to the Liberal brand — if it dies, fine, if it doesn't, fine — I just think than many, if not most, Canadians are centrists. The Conservatives and NDP have done a good job of poaching those votes (or, the Liberals have done a good job of pissing those votes away, or a combination of the two). It's certainly not out of the realm of possibility for centrist voters to come back to the Liberals. Two things, obviously, would have to happen. The Conservatives and NDP will have to piss away those centrist voters. Second, the Liberals will have to come back with a legitimate alternative. They've got four years to do it. That should be plenty of time to at least get the ol' ship turned around.

      Or not.

      • Depends on what happens with the per vote subsidy and whether the libs can convince enough party members to cough up. Not to be overly negative but the key for me will be to see how hard Jack fights for the per vote sub, or whether Jack is going to help SH shovel dirt on the liberal grave…mmm…maybe i could have been a bit more upbeat. But i'm honestly curious to see how Jack feels about the libs getting another life Is he a real social democrat, or just another self interested politician? …we already know what SH thinks.

        • Harper is nine seats past caring what anybody except Harper thinks.

          • It'll be a lot easier if Jack provides cover…not saying he will…sincerely hope he wont.

        • If the per-vote subsidy is killed, merger becomes the frontrunner strategy in my view (like it or not).

        • I don't see how Jack can stop Steve, aside from begging.

      • About most Canadians being centrist, that's exactly right. And the major problem that I see with the Liberal party, especially under Ignatieff, is that they simply refused to accept that Harper has moved the Con part very (very very) close to the centre. And so Ignatieff, even in his speech today, talks about how Canadians want a centrist party. Well, he's right, and they've just given it a majority. This is also why Harper is not about to bring out some extreme right wing agenda during his majority mandate, because he knows that they way to be in power is to be at the centre. He is moving the country toward the right, no doubt, but it won't be in the form of big scary social issues. Until this is understood by the Liberals, and until it is accepted, they will continue to talk past Canadians and have no explanation for why they are not connecting.

        • Agree. If Harper's ultimate goal is the permanent and durable placement of the Conservative Party of Canada as a fixture on the political scene, it won't be by hardening the newfound NDP support and giving Layton a real crack at power in 2015.

        • I hope so. Certainly he changed me from being scared of his NCC style policies to being terrified of his disdian for parliamentary democracy.

          • Well, we're in for a few years of Presidential-style democracy. Shame we don't really have a legislative branch any more. If the SCC is stacked with loyal toadies, we might not have an effective judiciary either.

          • It is kind of hard to feel sympathy though, when the only thing that really bothers you is that it isn't a progressive wielding that power.

          • I didn't like it when it was Chretien wielding that power, and it was bad for the country. We need an effective legislature with effective MPs. Absolute power corrupts, whether in the hands of the guys you like or the guys you hate. And our majority PMs have had increasingly absolute power.

        • 'This is also why Harper is not about to bring out some extreme right wing agenda during his majority mandate, because he knows that they way to be in power is to be at the centre.'

          Well, then there are going to be a lot of small-c conservatives — folks who are looking forward to the elimination of the CBC or complete abandonment of any action on climate change or the general dismantling of the federal government — who are going to be disappointed by a Harper majority government.

          • Maybe, but where else is their vote going to go?

            The Liberals won't be a factor unless they rise like the Phoenix in four years.

          • I didn't say they'd vote differently… I just said they'd be disappointed.

          • They might stay home. But since they probably live disproportionately in areas where the CPC wins by landslides, it probably won't matter. These people have been safely neutered and put on the shelf, for now at least.

          • I should hasten to add that that's a highly uncharitable view of what you characterize as small-c conservative.

            Sounds more like big C Conservative to me.

    • Mr. Igatieff's natural voice is suited to academia. Had he been completely true to that style, with complex syntax, obscure allusion, ellipsis, nuance, etc. I think people, especially the educated media, would have been more comfortable. But he would have put most people to sleep and have been kicked out earlier.

      No, he tried this style, that style, plaid shirt style, beer and rodeo style, 'rise-up, rise-up' (aren't you excited!…No? Gee, how come?); it just came across as artificial.

      OK. Unfortunate enough. But for those who say there were no zingers in the debates, fairly or not, Layton nailed Mr. Ignatieff on the voting record: the little he showed up he mainly aligned with Harper. Not your Reagan v Carter "Well, there you go again." death by a thousand cuts. But this is Canada, eh? We're a little more to the point at hand.

  5. Should be an interesting time in Liberal land. Leadership convention, potential merger with the NDP. It's an involuntary reboot. I'm not even going to venture a prediction what's going to happen over the next four years.

    • I don't see what incentive the NDP has to merge with the Liberals.

      • Look at the vote splits in the 77 Ontario seats the Tories won.

        See it now?

        • Yes, but the new party will, at this point, be more orange than red. If Layton is even interested. As far as I can tell, Layton looks at those 77 Ontario seats and tries to figure out how he can win them with his party, not some merger party.

          • If Harper had done that instead of moderating, moving to the center, and being conciliatory in merger talks with the PCs, we'd probably still be looking at Prime Minister Martin.

          • Of course, there is no question about that.

            What people seem to fail to comprehend in this discussion, and what Ignatieff reiterated today, is that the Libs and NDP are TWO DIFFERENT TRADITIONS. Does that mean they can't merge? Of course not. Do I think Layton is interested in merging? Absolutely not.

          • Umm, the Reform/CA were of completely different traditions from that of the PCs. They held deeply seated animous for each other, personally and as parties. They came together after it became painfully obvious that while they stood around arguing over points of doctrine, the Liberals were blithely sailing away to victory on the stregth of their disunity. In other words, their general objectives as parties were being subverted by their own stubborness. At some point inthe future, the Liberals and NDP will either come to the same conclusion, as they see a robust CPC government rolling over and turfing out the institutions they despise and that the Liberals and NDP cherish. The Left will follow the example of the Right and unite under a modified banner and modified credo in order to counteract the overall course they see the country taking. Failing that, the Right will eventually be left with the country they envision and no meaningful opposition in sight.

          • The Reform Party had a brand they were willing to sacrifice to re-assume the identity of the Tory or Conservative Party. The Reform Party name was only a decade or so old when they became the Canadian Alliance, and they were only the Canadian Alliance for a couple years before they became the Conservative Party.

            The NDP brand has been around for decades, and decades more if you count the Labour and CCF parties it is descended from. Are they going to cast aside the party of Tommy Douglas in order to create a new left-center party to become "the other cat" in Mouseland?

            How about the Liberals? Will they give up the party name that has been around since the beginning of confederation for a new center-left party? Effectively end the party of Trudeau, King, and Laurier? I can't see it without rending the party faithful's loyalties in half.

            Even if we do eventually see the creation of a Liberal Democratic Party, they will have to choose who their spiritual forefather is. Reform party supporters accept that they are "Tory" conservatives now, and speak of the Reform Party as being a dead thing. Will either party accept the idea that their party is dead?

            No, try to unite the left and you will create three parties instead of two.

          • I honestly don't think you are right when you say the Reform Party has accepted that they are Tory conservatives. Tory conservatives have either accepted their new bedfellows for who they are or are fooling themselves. Look at who is in the center ring of power: Harper is surrounded by Harris core politicians and backroomers and all Tories are either completley won over or marginalized. Regardless, soem pretty hard core beliefs, regardless of superficial brands, have been swallowed even by the Reformers to make that coalition work. The only difference is that the Right wing of the right wing is supreme rather than being the butler.

            The NDP brand is a shell. Socialism is a joke. Is Jack going to nationalize stuff? Is he going to successfully turn Canada into a true socialist state? Of course not. It's a broken model and not one Canadians believe in, regardless if election results. If they stay divided instead of uniting, the "left" will watch the CPC transform Canadian society in their image of what it should be.

      • I dunno… not having to run against them in the next election is a pretty good incentive.

      • Buy market share?

  6. Agreed. I don't wish anyone the ignominy of losing their own seat.

    Even Duceppe. Although sometimes these things need to happen. A cathartic cleanse, shall we say.

  7. Repost from the other thread. Ignatieff seems like a good, decent, thoughtful fellow who just chose the wrong line of work. The teaching profession will be bolstered by his return, and I suspect he will be much happier back in an educational setting. Best wishes to him, where-ever he lands.

    • Your prediction was correct. Within 72 hours.

      • I can take solace in that it was pretty much the only thing I got completely right last night.

        • They can't rent a hall big enough to hold us all, that's for certain.

          • Indeed.

    • Agreed. Pity about them attack ads…had to be done i guess. Couldn't let a carpet bagger like MI set up shop anywhere within grasp of the levers of power in this country.


  8. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

  9. I will probably be in the minority here, but I think he should have stayed on for a while. One of the Liberals' big problems is that they always think they can fix everything with a new leader. Now the party is going to do that again, thinking that they can make everything better with a leadership convention.

    • I wonder what role the very practical question of earning a living plays in such a situation. Can a leader without at least the salary of a sitting MP dedicate the necessary time to the tasks at hand? Plus, the even more important question of doing work that is gratifying, which rebuilding a party surely cannot be at this late stage in his professional life.

    • I agree with you. Their back room is the problem. I found myself quite liking Iggy.

    • listening to JT last night i doubt it.

    • Except now they actually do have to focus on the long game. They need a leader who will spend the next four years establishing some grassroots support. They need a workhorse willing to do 20 events over a weekend like Kenney has for the last couple years, building support. And they absolutely need it to be someone other than Ignatieff. The saving grace for the Libs from this result is that there is no opportunity for the magic fix by choosing the right leader strategy. Their next opportunity is four years away, so they need to choose someone who has the vision and ability to build a party literally from the ground up.

      • I say Justin Trudeau! Anybody with his last name has to be able to fix the Liberal Party, in a heartbeat! Trudeaumania 2.0 can't fail!

        Oh, wait, that probably wasn't what you were looking for, was it?

  10. .
    Excuse the re-posting, and apologies to those who process in 140-character chunks; but I will have little more to say in the ensuing 4 years of mounting student debt (and hysterical enthusiasm for going into business schools), F-35 lunacy, Wisconsin-ization of labour, etc.:

    The winner was Nik (the fixer) Nanos, et al, who shaped a land-line skewed bellwether effect toward a self-perpetuating positive feedback loop of public self-conciousness. Repeated attempts to comment on this obscure, but critically important, issue were repeatedly censored off CTV news, although it was amply covered by posters elsewhere, including here.

    Where the public was not led astray however was their perception of Mr. Ignatieff as someone ill at ease in the political arena. He refuses to be true to his natural discourse register, suited mainly to think-tanks, seminars, symposia, the lecture hall, and print media. Why the Liberal party failed to understand this is absolutely inexplicable.

    Layton's was a pyrrhic victory, but the public saw he did well in the debates, and rewarded the NDP appropriately. Hopefully he will vigorously oppose, because that's his job, and not agree with the robot simply because a small bellwether minority happens to religiously answer the phone and obediently speak to the pollsters. Were a demographically balanced, face-to-face survey taken over the past month, and averaged, the outcome would have been very different. But it's unfortunate even then that people take unofficial polls to represent what they feel they are supposed to be thinking.

    An election should be determined by the collective vote of individual opinions, not a collective opinion errantly reflected back on the uncritical collection of individual wills.

    • sure thing danR….I get it, you're smarter than everyone. Thanks for sharing.

    • How are we supposed to have demographically balanced samples going forward? Without the long form census, we can't know with any certainty the detailed demographic composition of the country.

      • The short form provides demographic info.

    • how condescending to your fellow Canadians.

      anyhow, if you're trying to come off like a pompous douchebag know-it-all, you've succeeded.

      you're just bitter because your guys lost. sore loser.

      Canadians voted for Harper because they thought it was their best option, not because Nik Nanos told them to.

  11. Mr. Ignatieff was tarnished by the CPC attack ads. If the Liberals had responded in kind, perhaps Mr. Harper would not have a majority today, unfortunately, the Liberals have not yet realized that the political scene in Canada has become rife with Republican-style dirty tricks and innuendo.

    Since the CPC is so fond of reminding us of the past, for the record, here is what Mr. Harper has said about his approach to Canada's single tier health care system in the past when not campaigning for our votes:


    We can't say that we weren't warned.

    • Um, those attack ads were financed by our tax dollars, which none of the other parties have access to. Instead of criticizing parties for failing to come up with millions of dollars to attack back, how 'bout criticizing Canadians for being too apathetic to look beyond the attacks? How 'bout criticizing Harper for poisoning politics?

    • I will keep you in mind as we see how this government handles our current health care crisis. Pretending that the correct course for Canada going forward on health care is to just remain with the status quo is extremely ignorant, and I am sure that you would never do such a thing. I find it cute that people continue to fear monger because Harper dared to raise this issue in the past and event o float out other options while he was not in a position to actually do anything about it. Now that he is PM, and the PM during an important time of making decisions about the future of our health care, there is no question that a lot of people will be angry no matter what he does. But the fact remains, something has to be done. What that something is will not be some simple solution, but I think the one and only holy grail remains that all Canadians have access to health care regardless of their ability to pay.

      • Jeez, Jon, are you saying that actual issues will rise to the fore that will make this recent child's play of partisan bickering seem like a relic of a comfortable, complacent past?

        Surely, you jest.

      • I suspect the health care crisis is overblown. There are many necessary and beneficial incremental reforms that can and should be implemented by the provinces. The Feds will continue to shovel money. 6% growth in transfers is not untenable given that the population is aging. It just means that other priorities will have to grow more slowly or be trimmed. I don't know what kind of reform you're thinking will save our bacon. Increased private provision is in the cards and well-underway, but single-payer isn't going anywhere.

  12. Yeah, like somebody we could think of.

  13. Ignatieff now no doubt remembers why he left Canada for a wider world in the first place.

  14. Tous ensemble.

  15. Well, I guess Zsusanna won't need to bother completing her citizenship application now…

    • You actually think that's funny don't you?

      • I'm laughing.

        • Yeah i noticed some of the juvenile stuff you laughed at earlier…don't worry it wont last forever.

          • Oh please, it is funny. It's also juvenile – big freaking deal. Dont shed a tear for Iggy, he'll do just fine. Incidentally, the 'im so offended routine' at a harmless joke like that is a nice microcosm of why the Liberals got smoked last night.

      • Lighten up TA—the sun came up today.

    • You stay classy!

  16. Humble thoughts from a decent man.

  17. .
    ' I go out of politics …as a politician. '

    No, Michael. I don't buy it. You wanted to try your hand at politics. You wanted play dress up as politician. You wanted see what it would be like on the other side of the discourse, having been your natural self as a commenter and critic and academic.

    And thanks to that unconvincing (to the public) role-play you have destroyed what even Paul Martin couldn't, and left Canada under the loving care and protection of a Milton Friedman robot, one of the most successful, unique, and ominous individuals on the recent global stage. Someone to whom others will look to for lessons in political Taylorism and Deming philosophy quality-control procedures. Goodbye Canada. Hello Canada Inc., CEO Stephen Harper.

    • And if you don't go back to the U.S. maybe I will. Four years is more than enough to put Canada in the grave.

      • Leave a number, we will call you when it is safe to return.

    • The war between Chretien and Martin is what put the Libs on the road to ruin.
      Infighting does it every time.
      They were too self absorbed to see it, and now they pay the price.

  18. Yesterday Ignatieff said "I will serve as long as the party wants to ask me to serve and not a day longer," Ignatieff said. "I'm willing to do that work of renewal, reform and growth."

    That was less than 12 hours ago. And he said that after he lost his seat. Today, he reverses himself and throws in the towel.

    Personally I wish he would stick around. His speech yesterday was very hopeful, mentioning that the party needed to rebuild, and he was willing to stick around to help out. Today, it seems he's content with just going back to academia and putting everything behind him.

    The party needs to rebuild. It would have been nice for him to stick around, in my opinion.

    • I have mixed feelings about that. If Ignatieff would have held on to rebuild the Liberals then it would have been a Center-Right party, an alternative to the Conservatives. I would actually vote for such a Liberal party. Now, it's seems likely that Ray is going to take Leadership of the Liberals to rebuild it, probably in a Center-Left party. However, considering the current demographics, that's probably the kind of Liberal party we need.

      • Ignatieff's entire platform was centre-left. If he rebuilt the party, I doubt it would have veered right.

        When MI became leader, I thought he was going to pose a real threat to Harper, stealing centre-right votes, because I thought he was right-leaning. When he released his platform, I realised how wrong I was. He was tilting left. I pegged him as right-leaning from the start, but I was wrong. There's no indication that if he stuck around, he'd veer the party to the centre-right.

        Agreed that Rae would probably bring it further left, but I don't think that's what people are looking for. The party needs John Manley or some such person at the helm, a centre-right personality that will veer the party away from the NDP, not towards it.

    • I think the key part there was "as long as the party wants me to serve and not a day longer".

      How much you want to bet the party heads told him to hit the bricks?

      • Are these the same party heads who begged him to leave the US to come save the LPC? Maybe some of these party heads should find some snow for a little stroll…

    • It was reported on CBC today (although I find it a bit hard to believe) that when Ignatieff gave his speech last night he was not aware of the fact that he'd actually lost his own seat.

      If true…it would seem to indicate a guy severely out of touch with what is actually going on around him and/or Liberal handlers who didn't do a very good job of keeping him informed.

      Regardless…as was inevitable he's gonzo.

  19. Turns out he was just visiting after all.

    • You're an hour and a half late there SCF, as Atchison beat you to that comment already. It was the second comment on the list in case you missed it.

      I do understand your desire however to reassure everyone that you're not suddenly going to get all classy and respectful just because your party won the election.

      The only thing worse than a sore loser, is a sore winner.

      • LOL

        You're right., I missed Atchinson's comment.

        You're the pot calling the kettle black, BTW. Normally I don't bother with your vicious vitriol but I'll make an exception in this case. Go ahead, retreat to your world of hate, if that's what you want, it doesn't matter to me. Go have yourself a figurative witch-burning if it makes you feel better. Go on a rampage. Whatever.

        As for the comment, it's true. Which means you're full of it, as usual. Nothing like the truth to set you free. Ignatieff came back to Canada for stab at the top prize, but in the end it didn't work out for him, and he'll be back to the Ivy league, which is not a bad place to be. Enjoy the next four years.

        • I save all my vitriol for you sweetie pie. ;o

          Incidentally, nice way of proving me wrong.


  20. I'll take that bet actually.

  21. Liberals owe Mr Ignatieff a huge debt of gratitude for his best efforts that came up short.

    Liberals owe dirty looks aplenty to the backroom wise eminences who swooped down to Cambridge a-courtin' their mythical saviour.

    Liberals need to figure out their raison d'être, agree on some policies, THEN find a leader willing to take the helm. Bob Rae would be a lousy chose for interim leader, since he would be one of the front-runners. I survey the landscape, and I unavoidably fix my gaze on my leading candidate for interim leader: Stéphane Dion.

    • "Liberals owe dirty looks aplenty …. "

      I don't think it is helpful to separate a few eminences from others within Liberal party. The whole party went along with process of annoiting Iggy as leader instead of leadership race. Liberals also have belief in philosopher kings but Canadian electorate more skeptical.

      "Liberals need to figure out their raison d'être … "

      This is biggest issue, to me. Liberal agenda has been implemented already by Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien and Harper so Liberals don't really have anything to complain about. Except for a few people who unfortunately slip through cracks, vast majority of Canadians are comfortable, taken care of by State. NDP = next level of servitude or Cons = less government but Lib agenda has been implemented.

  22. Maybe I spelled Machieavelli wrong?

  23. I feel bad for him, that must've been very embarrassing, I'm being serious not rude btw

  24. Canadians gave up on the promise of intelligent, competent, and empathic leadership to instead vote for cult of personality. I’m a Liberal, and I’ll be sad to see Mr. Ignatieff go. He may not be a good politician but he is a good person.

    Maybe I am naive but I think the Liberal Party is Canada’s Party. After a few years of bitter left-right partisanship, and Stephen Harper’s majority of proxies, I think Canadians will turn again to centrism and sensibility.

    My personal bias aside, I wish luck to Mr. Layton as he takes on the tough job of Official Opposition in a Majority Government. Our future is in your hands.

  25. He deserved a better fate but didn't achieve it for all sorts of reasons, but I refuse to believe he was doomed from the get go. He just wasn't patient enough to build his image properly.

    I liked you a lot Mr Ignatieff, thanks for trying!

  26. Are you part of the "advertising works on everybody but me" crowd?

  27. I'm thinking he'll be teaching at U of T by the fall.

  28. I would have like to see him go on and gain more experience and insights, it would have been to nice to see the Liberal as the opposition than NDP's layton who has lost my respect and faith.

    • Why? What did Layton do to lose your respect and faith? I'm asking you sincerely, hoping you are in one of your sincere moods.

  29. Liberal should fire the people who handled Ignatief. He looked more like a puppet than a leader.

  30. That`s why I liked Michael Ignatieff, he was not a typical politician..He was a breath of fresh air.
    I wish he had not stepped down today..
    His speech last night, was no doubt very hard to say, but very well said, and with a great deal of dignity.
    He is a classy guy… but maybe too good of a guy to be a politician..

    Thanks Michael, hope to see or hear about you gain..)

    • .
      He was a good academic, but had no business playing at politics. He parachuted in, and got a post hoc vote, and would accept no advice except that of his wife. But having done so, he could have showed up more often, and opposed more often. That's the work of the Leader of the Opposition.

      With the present killer majority, there's nothing Layton can do but present a moral opposition.

      I agree with a previous commenter. Dion would be a good way to start from scratch.

  31. Because they're not dead yet.

  32. Haha. Ya, he's waaay too good for us Canadian schmucks LOL Enjoy the next 4 years Em

    • Well as long as you know what you are, I don't have to explain it.

      • I am rubber you are glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you

        • LOL so you prove it once again.

  33. Because Harper just won't be able to stop himself. It's an ego thing; it almost cost him his government in 2008, and forced him into hiding behind the GG's skirts – so the bully of Canadian politics just won't be able to resist lashing out.

    • And he is vindictive.

  34. Especially after losing his own seat.

  35. I'd have been happy for Ignatieff to stay on as Leader. But no damn way would I have been okay with him taking one of our MPs out so he could have a byelection and probably lose it. Even if it was some how miraculously a "safe" seat, that MP must have some great connection to his/her constituents, since it seems clear they voted for him/her and not the party. Therefore, they are the one who deserves the seat. Now, one can't be the leader of a political party with seats in the House of Commons if you must "just visit" the House of Commons. So in the end, he had no choice.

    I do hope he stays on in the party, and of course stays on in Canada. But I can't say I'd blame him if he took an offer elsewhere that was better than he got here. He doesn't owe us Liberals, or this country, anything.

  36. Oh, you got that right!

    • you are the last one who should be criticizing gracelessness.

      • No, there are quite a few more "last" than her, including yourself.

  37. No; now we pay the price.

  38. But why would he–even if he'd like to pile on the Liberals, too? There's absolutely no downside to Jack voting down every single thing Harper comes out with. But there's a lot of upside to it.

  39. I don't see what would be in it for Layton, either. What he's doing is working for him without the Liberals, and he's a patient man. Plus, I'm sure he'd like some time to season his rookies before the big chair. And even if he's not the guy sitting in the big chair, I can't help but think he'd enjoy being the acknowledged king-maker, rather than the king. History will be kinder and all that.

    I have great respect for Layton and the NDP, but as a Liberal I'd prefer not to join them since I don't really share their views.

    • I believe it may eventually happen. However I think it may be to the Liberals advantage to be coy, let the new look NDP show how it performs with its Quebec caucus composed of sacrificial lambs sprinkled with sovereignists. It is only one day after the election after all. If the Libs recover somewhat and manage to gain an upper hand or upward trend in membership, they would be in a better position to set the terms. (A big if, I know). This NDP may be a black swan event (but the Liberal loss is not, its a clear outcome of a trend).

      Also a side note about Reform . . . a lot of them were former PC's, including Harper, so there was some common ground there. To me , their merger was just the strength of the Western right-wing dragging along the rest of nominal conservatives.

  40. And if our Constitution would allow it (it doesn't) I don't think I'm alone in wishing we could defer a leadership convention.

  41. Not shedding a tear for Ignatieff, he's much better off. Plus, I'm not so sure if I were Zsuzsanna I'd want Canadian citizenship today. But this is today, the day after yesterday. TimesArrow and the rest of us will probably be able to laugh after a good night's rest. You'll appreciate we didn't have one of those last night.

    I guess its strange for you that people who feel the worst thing possible for the country came to pass, can't get quite up to joking speed. Particularly when they aren't exactly funny. Some things are funny and we can laugh at them. But things that are 10% funny and 90% stomping all over heartbreak can be expected not to have us laughing. At least today, the day after yesterday.

    Perhaps some day you'll be used to this enough that 'gracious winner' won't be an unknown concept.

    • that's fine, dont laugh if you're not in a joking mood or if you dont think the joke is funny. but to scold the guy for this harmless joke is beyond that, it shows him being a sore loser.

      I guess its strange for you that people who feel the worst thing possible for the country came to pass,

      These people can f*ck right off, honestly. This is my message to those pompous and arrogant fools who have their panties in a knot over a tory majority: move to Cuba you retard.

      It's one thing to be disappointed and upset at last night's result, that's quite alright and understandable. But the over-the-top panicking at the prospect of a Harper majority is getting old, and frankly, it is premised on the idea that the person panicking is just SOOOOOOOOO much smarter then 40% of the Canadian electorate. So again: go f*ck yourself.

      • I love you too, alfanerd. Or was I supposed to laugh? Were you being funny there? Because maybe my funny meter is malfunctioning a bit.

        A tory majority isn't really what I was after, but it is so much more disappointing than just that. We have a country divided smack down the middle, we have an American Republican/Democrat-type bitter, hateful political atmosphere just waiting to demand every Canadian "pick a side". I truly hope Layton somehow manages to prevent that from happening (I know Harper will be delighted by it) but I can't see how he'll succeed. East of Ontario you'll be considered a traitor if you support anything Conservative, while west of Quebec any mention of the NDP without spitting will be cause for censure (and perhaps flogging). Okay, that last bit was a joke.

  42. Please meet me on en Famille.

  43. I don't blame the visiting prof for the devastating defeat of the "Liberal' party, although he didn't help. The Liberals encrusted within the media like Wherry and Coyne, The Glob@Plop, TO Red Star, CBC, CTV, etc. etc. didn't do Iggo any favours. The Liberal media hacks are more out of touch with reality then Iggo will ever be, the media gave Iggo a free ride, telling him, and the populace how great everything Liberal was, patting Iggo on the back and fooling Iggo into thinking that he was doing really really well, giving Igg a false sense of security, and a delusional, almost cock-eyed optimism. Iggo probably thought he was doing really well because his frame of reference was so myopic, thanks to a compliant, sycophantic media, that duped Iggo into thinking that because the media says he's doing really really well that the Canadian electorate also think he's doing really really well. The media's ridiculous, nauseating, almost comical shilling for the Liberals, and their self professed hatred of PM Harper didn't do Iggo any favours, they simply gave Iggo the delusional sense that Canadians and the media are on the same wavelength, and if the media loves Iggo and everything Liberal, then so do Canadians. Big mistake. The corrupt Liberal media won't, but should, except at least part of the blame for the Liberal decline. Unfortunately, like the Liberals they shill for, I don't see the media ever admitting they are part of the problem.

    • Well I'm gonna buy some Rio Tinto Alcan shares, I think people like you will make their consumer products very profitable.

    • You must have heard chet retired and you're stepping up to the plate for the cause… you're off to a great start! Toss in a few returns and you're right there.

      • Well, gottabesaid, I'll take that as a compliment, however, chet is a much more thoughtful, erudite, articulate person then I, therefore hardly replaceable. As you may know, I'm more of a cynical ranter. Or as liberals on this site would say, a planted, American, Republican A-Hole. Ha, ha. But seriously… If chet has retired, I'll bet you'll miss him.

  44. Sounds familiar to a West Islander when the provincial Liberals get in

  45. most canadians may be centrist, but most canadians aren't arrogant assh*les and therefore don't see the charm of the liberal party now that there is a viable alternative.

  46. that attitude about "canada's party" is part of why liberals are so generally reviled. grow up and get over yourselves.

  47. Harper already filled his shoes – with cement.

  48. I don't believe that. He must have been aware. In fact, Kinsella said that Ignatieff's people knew last week already that he had no chance of retaining his seat.

  49. Did you pi$$ your pants writing that? The number of sore, bitter losers I'm seeing today is really something. And they cry about the Conservatives being graceless winners? For some comic relief, I recommend everyone go read the Tyhee. They're blaming everyone from Jack Layton to the media to locusts. And of course, the common theme – 40% of Canadians are stupid.

    I 'tupid too.

  50. Sure, because the Liberal attack ads against Harper in 2004 were completely fair and reasonable characterizations. You forget where Harper first learned how effective attack ads could be.

  51. The Supreme Court will soon strike down parts of the CHA that ban private insurance and private hospitals. They nearly did it in 2005, with a 4-4 split vote and one judge abstaining. Harper's appointed two more judges since then, and 4 more expected within the next 5 years. I would expect healthcare reform to happen very suddenly, and to happen because of a Charter challenge.

  52. Sounds like you'll be in your grave before Canada. Cheer up mate. Depression takes a terrible toll on one's health.

  53. Yeah, I feel for the bugger. Can't believe I'm saying that, but he seems broken-hearted. Losing is one thing. Losing your own seat – that is something even John Turner never managed in the 1984 debacle. Had Iggy kept his seat, he might have stayed on like Turner did.

  54. Canadians gave up on the promise of intelligent, competent, and empathic leadership to instead vote for cult of personality.

    This reminds me of a famous quote: "We never let the country down. The country let us down."

    No doubt that attitude is part of the problem. Most bitter Liberals are just coming right out and saying that 40% of Canadians are stupid. Something you might want to work on during the rebuilding effort.

    • 40% don't seem to have any sincere concern about our democratic institutions. Probably more, in fact. I don't think this is necessarily a partisan issue. This country doesn't really care about Parliament. We're okay with a slide into pseudo-presidentialism. Unfortunately, imposing that logical construct on top of a Parliamentary democracy means Parliament is an utterly impotent body used to appoint the President (electoral college), leaving the country without an effective legislative branch that acts independently of the executive. If that is how we collectively want our democracy to work, we should demolish the current set up and put something in place that more accurately reflects this desire. Maybe then we'd have legislators that mattered, rather than having every bill drafted in the back room of the party in power and a plethora of backbencher (and even front-bench) MPs that get fired for being anything but a trained seal. This goes for every party, but especially the Conservatives as they are presently the government. I don't see how one can be sanguine about a legislature that doesn't mean anything beyond electing our president.

      • I don't disagree with anything you said. And I have my own concerns about Harper's abuse of Parliamentary privilege. I hope he was sincere the other night when he expressed his desire to work more closely with the other parties, but past history tells me otherwise. But Parliament began its long slide to irrelevancy when Trudeau got in. That's where the real centralization began. It's been a steady erosion ever since. That in no way excuses Harper for allowing that to continue, but he's only the latest centralizing dictator in a long line of them going back to 1968.

        There was a Reform MP from the Cypress Hills riding in SW Saskatchewan who made a brilliant speech about the dysfunctional and impotent state of Parliament when he retired from politics in 2000. Andrew Coyne quoted it many times. It was a brilliant, bitter rant about the futility of being a back bench MP. Does anyone remember who that was? I really would like to dig up that speech and re-read it. Yes, I'm rambling again.

        • I'm coming around to the view that this need for reform and a rebalance of the power between the legislature and the executive is the most important issue at the federal level. It's a shame we don't have the Reform Party any more. Since they opted for power over principle, no party has been beating the drum for renewal of our democratic institutions in a sincere way. Reform was probably the best thing to happen to Canada at the federal level in the last twenty years–I had plenty of disagreements with them, but they caused a lot of change in the 1990s, and could have caused more. Instead they decided to become the Liberals.

          • Personally, I wish we could have an elected Senate to provide an effective check on the House. The one we have right now is a joke, and I don't believe Harper's tinkering is going to change that. Electoral reform, with some form of SVT (please God, no PR) would also help. The H of C itself is not going to change, not without the external pressures of electoral and Senate reform, that I am sure of. I wish the progressives in favour of electoral reform would put their heads together with those who want Senate reform and actually start working towards that end. I don't see the two issues as mutually exclusive in the least. But most progressives pushing for electoral reform are adamant that they want the Senate abolished. And most elected Senate proponents are just as adamant about maintaining the FPTP system.

            One reform that could be made within the parties themselves is a return to the traditional Westminster practice of having the MPs elect, and, if necessary, remove their party leaders. We saw it work in Britain and more recently in Australia when the PM was no longer listening to the individual MPs.

          • I've been cold on Senate reform because I don't see how you can do it satisfactorily. Any meaningful reform beyond term limits and faux elections will require a constitutional amendment, and it's a tough issue. Senate reform is zero sum. For every winning province, there must be a loser. Triple E means a drastic underrepresentation of Ontario and Quebec (over 60% of the country's population). It's too much to ask of these provinces to give up. It also means a slight to significant reduction in Atlantic Canada representation. Triple E might work where the equal is for four regions and not provinces. Quebec could agree to it as it's its proportional share. Ontario wouldn't have 40% of the population and <10% of the control. I know this would be less than the West wants, but they need to put some water in their wine to get this done. I think STV for Senate seats would work reasonably well, with very large disticts (perhaps provincial for the multi-province regions and sub-regions for Ontario and Quebec).

            Short of constitutional reform, I'd rather not give the Senate too much legitimacy through direct election. If real reform isn't possible, I'd rather increase the emphasis of the 'sober second thought' role. Make Senate appointments more of a consensual thing, and make it respected Canadians from a variety of walks of life, be it business, law, academia, civil society, military, etc. Have vetting/recommendations be made by all-party and non-partisan panels. The Senate could perform policy analysis independent of the political process, maybe spark some national debates, and play a role in carefully considering government legislation and suggesting reasonable fixes. It should be subservient to the HoC.

            And absolutely–having caucus elect their leader is a great idea. It would instantly make the careful nomination and election of MPs much more relevant than many of the meat puppets we have now. This suggestion is high on my list of reforms for the House.

            I'm not much of a progressive per se, but I see electoral reform, perhaps STV as a good compromise between the PR folks and those that legitimately want local representation without too much power in the party's hands. I'm not opposed to Senate reform, but I'm pragmatic about what is possible. Triple E is never going to happen.

          • I've thought about the Senate a lot over the years. Triple E is out, and I don' t think anyone would seriously consider it anymore. What I considered in its place is a sliding scale of seats. The two largest provinces with 14, the next two with 12, then 8, 6, and 4. Territories would get two each. It would provide more regional balance while still ensuring the larger populations had more say. Those numbers aren't etched in stone, and perhaps some other combination of numbers would work better. And that sliding scale would need to be dynamic, in that if populations changed over time, provinces could switch places. In fact, if you're going to assign seats by region or province, that is a necessity. The biggest or 3rd biggest province right now population-wise might not be in that position in 20 years, and the system of seat distribution needs to be flexible to adjust for that. It would require a constitutional amendment of course. And I'd also prefer the Senate not have a complete veto at 50% plus 1. Perhaps a 60% majority would be needed to defeat legislation? Or 55%? This would be a necessary safeguard considering that larger populations would be under-represented. And I think PR for the Senate would work, as it does in Australia. But for the House, I would want SVT, which would allow for a mildly more proportional distribution. And MPs choosing their leaders would be great. I swear, if I never again have to witness another stupid leadership convention, it will be too soon. Australia and Britain have that much right. That's quite the list. I may as well be asking for world peace and an end to hunger, war, and violence.

          • STV could work for the Senate, too, with large, many-member districts and essentially achieve proportionality. It has the advantage of avoiding a ranked party list that you get with PR. The electorate should not have to hold their nose and vote for a candidate of their party that they don't care for. It helps to cleanse the system of dead wood who the party might be loyal to but whom the electorate are tired of.

  55. matwilson, anyone who has to write several sentences announcing how impartial and objective he is, isn't.

  56. There was nothing inherently unlikable about the man; however, the Liberal party has made too many long term enemies in the west during its days in power and continues to pay the price.

  57. I'd agree with Plain Old Anon that Harper Conservatives are the extremists.

    And the idiots who deny climate change is happening assume that Harper has said it is happening merely to keep some votes. This may be so, because he is failing to do anything useful about it and is sucking up to Big Oil so disastrously.

  58. Even Jesus would not have been able to live through the millions of dollars (MSM bribes) attack ads.

    • Harper survived the most savage attack ads ever directed at a Canadian politician in 2004 and 2006. The Liberal ad with the handgun going off in the viewer's face in 2004 was particularly repugnant. There's no reason Ignatieff couldn't have survived Harper's attacks. Liberals gave John Turner 6 years. They gave Ignatieff two. Patience has disappeared from politics.

  59. It doesn't matter who they pick, the new leader will be the subject of years of carpet bombing personal assassination ads from the Conservatives.

  60. I'm sure Stephane Dion would be your dream interim leader. I'm sure you were also sincere in your eulogy for him after 2008. This faux graciousness after all the crap you said about him is really appalling. I won't be lying about Stephen Harper when he's gone, saying he was such a bang-up guy.

    • He died in '08? Why wasn't I told?

      UPDATE: I believe this is the last time I had anything to say about him:

      But that is just further evidence of your appalling faux graciousness, MYL. You are evil for criticizing his Green Shift policies, and that's that.

      • Cute.

        You either get to be partisan hack who attacks without regard to substance and resorts to character assassination, or you get to be a gracious and serious observer. I don't think you get to be both. To pretend otherwise is for the benefit of your own ego and not some gesture.

        I don't care what you said about Dion a couple weeks ago. I'm talking about your faux graciousness in 2008. Either you believed he was a sniveling inept geek who was a daft professor, or you thought he was a reasonable, smart, decent person. You don't get to have one position before polling day and the other after. That's just BS.

        Same with Iggy. Admit it–he's an out-of-touch liberal elite who came back just to be PM, and isn't even really Canadian. That's what you thought a couple days ago, and only insincerity allows you to profess differently today. If Iggy is as bad as you once thought, what makes you now say he did a good job and has the party now to blame?

        Sorry to single you out. Everyone does this, including the leaders. I think it's distasteful and dishonest. If you don't like a guy and he suffers some unfortunate event/becomes of no threat to your agenda, don't lie and say nice things about him. Say nothing. Let's be real here.

        • All right, if you're gonna throw garbage like "character assassination," you had better back that up with evidence. Or else just STFU yourself.

          Oh, and PS: criticism of policies, or of political strategy, does most certainly NOT constitute character assassination. Chew on that before you wade through the archives digging up this evidence.

          For anyone else, this comment is a fair enough summary of my thoughts on Dion's tenure as leader:

  61. I don't see why making derogatory comments about the family of politicians is justifiable. It's shows a distinct lack of class.

    • Indeed it does, except that no derogatory comments about the family of politicians has been made.