Ignatieff’s roots, immigrant and otherwise


The Conservative response to a recent Liberal video, in which Michael Ignatieff talks about his Russian father coming to Canada, has been posted on here and here. Obviously, the Tory line that Ignatieff’s immigrant roots count for less because he descends from Russian aristocracy is an example of the crudest partisan spin.

Still, it’s true that the Liberal leader’s family background is far from typical. And it’s also the case that we’re lucky enough to know a great deal about Ignatieff’s fascinating lineage, thanks to two of his books—1987’s The Russian Album, in which he meditates on his father’s side, and 2009’s True Patriot Love, in which he explores three generations of the famous Canadian Grants, his mother’s clan.

If you’re interested, The Russian Album is a great read and True Patriot Love is, well, a fast one with some good parts. If you’re not inclined to pick them up, I reviewed True Patriot Love at some length here, and used that as a welcome excuse to reconsider The Russian Album.

On what Ignatieff had to say about his father, the revered diplomat George Ignatieff (who was alive when The Russian Album was published but has since died), I pulled what I think is a telling quote: “He presented himself to the world throughout my childhood as the model of an assimilated Canadian professional… And to this day he is a much more patriotic and sentimental Canadian than I am.”

In this, at least, it seems a fairly classic immigrant story: that of the generation who found a home here trying, against the odds, to instill in their kids that newcomer’s sense of gratitude.


Ignatieff’s roots, immigrant and otherwise

  1. Mr Geddes, your second sentence pigeonholes you with its,"öbviously…tory line….crudest kind of political spin". Then you go on to agree with the thesis in the Tory objection. Why do you Macleans Magazine liberals wear your Liberal hearts so conspicuously on your sleeves? Do you not realise that doing so makes you look cheap and nasty, just like your revered LPC.

    • The only thing that is 'cheap and nasty' is the PMO trying to belittle Ignatieff's family as being somehow less praiseworthy immigrants then others.

      • Once he puts it in play, it's fair game – the same way you people have fun with mocking Harper on accountability, morality, and so on. Stop whining.

        • Yeah, I think we should look into Laureen Harper's first marriage too.

          • That was already done, by CA-brand Conservatives during the 2002 leadership.

        • the same way you people have fun with mocking Harper on accountability, morality, and so on

          What? So, arguing about how accountable the Conservative government has been, and whether or not it has conducted itself in an ethical manner is the equivalent to arguing about how rich or poor Ignatieff's grandparents were when they immigrated to Canada in the 1920s?

          OK then.

          • To Conservatives, apparently so. It would seem the only axis upon which they can understand something is "does it help us or does it help our enemies?"

            Principles are for losers.

          • What does Flanagan calls this – the garrison mentality – anything perceived as an attack prompts all out retaliation. Winning at all costs.

        • So I guess Laureen Harper is in play because she is featured in a CPC commercial?

          • And how about Harper's childhood? What is he covering up? (We all cover up stuff from childhood, don't we?)

          • I'm guessing he was a bed-wetter who forced others to do his homework with threats of physical violence.

          • If Con rules are in play – anything is fair game.

      • No, they're making the point that Iggy is a liar.

    • Project much? And from someone whose nom de plume proudly proclaims he ain't Canadian?

      • He didn't come back for us.

    • Love the umlaut.

      • Dave, no Umlaut intended. I'm barely coping with Vista software which I suppose must be changed.

  2. oh ex canuck:
    I think Geddes here is far too sympathetic to this absurd and over-the-top "cheap and nasty" attack.
    (ie far too even-handed – he gives the attack too much credibility )

    When you identify this typical mushy MOR piece as "cheap and nasty" it just shows how successful Harper has been at Orwellian propaganda.

    War is Peace
    Hate is Love

    • Orwell was surely a Liberal.

  3. The Tories make everything crude, but to save their argument from their own incompetence, let me say this:

    The issue is not that Ignatieff was born into wealth and privilege. The issue is that–having been born into wealth and pirvilege–Ignatieff now tries to portray himself as a self-made man in order to project the image that he got to where he is in life based on merit and thus buttress his argument that he'd be a capable Prime Minister. Ugh.

    • The press gallery really should be laughing at Ignatieff's attempt to portray himself this way for political gain; instead–because of the Cons ham handedness–they're laughing at the tourettes-like attack machine of Stephen Harper.

    • He wasn't born to 'wealth and privilege'….Iggy was a diplomat's son….same as Bob Rae.

      • And he's gained an education and written books and travelled; what has Harper done? Politics and mailroom boy and an MA in economics which he never used?

        • An MA thesis on public choice theory and the "political-business" cycle, no less.

        • Yeah, Harp was born upper middle class….and then he got into the oil business…in the mail room.

  4. I'd say it's a typical Canadian immigrant story….everybody who came here was fleeing something…..war, famine, poverty, oppression….

    Some were able to salvage something from the old country and brought their belongings with them, others arrived with nothing…but they were all much the same in what they were looking for.

    • OE1, this is a precisely typical l(L)iberal comment from and for the metropolitan elite. Barf.

  5. I am shocked, shocked I tell ya, to find out that Iggy fudged his background in an apparent attempt to pander to immigrants. Next I will find out about his slopping the hogs and beating then swords into plow shears. Can't wait.

    • Don't be….because he didn't.

      Cons are, though.

      • "“My dad was a Russian immigrant. Came off a boat in 1928 without anything.”

        This is 100% false.

        Its well established that the family had money when they arrived in Canada. Far, far more than the average immigrant.

        Not your typical immigration experience!

        He can't relate Cats !

        • Not true, sorry.

          You really need to can the Con propaganda and pay attention to reality.

          • Univeristy tuition for both uncles, sending the kids to prestigious private school, renting a farm estate north of Toronto.

            Yup! You can afford all that on nothing.

            Truth Cats, fact checking Emily who has a habit of being wrong and then obfuscating madly.

          • Renting a farm makes one rich, does it? I'll be sure to tell that to the guys who rent our land in Saskatchewan next time I see them. Won't they be surprised to hear that they are wealthy.

          • Sorry, Prole Puss….you have muddled the bio completely

        • Hey Cats did you get a kick out seeing Emily invent a new way to hate Harper ?

          Yeah! She said he's attacking immigrants. She also we're all immigrants.

          Therefore he's attacking everyone, even himself !!

          Oh to live in that candy cane, lollypop messed up world of bitter much.

          Cats away!

          • Cats belong in a box.

            E. Schrödinger

          • My cat is in a box right now, which is preventing me from dealing with the recycling. At least that's what I'm telling Mrs. Rev. Really I'm just watching the cat play with the box and marvelling over how stupid it is.

          • LOL well this one is worse than most…makes it up as he goes along.

            Too much string theory I figure.

          • Perfect.

            I filled the box with newspapers and now my cat is sitting on top of it. The other cats are looking at her jealously and plotting against her.

          • I filled the box with newspapers and now my cat is sitting on top of it. The other cats are looking at her jealously and plotting against her.

            That's a great metaphor for Canada's current Parliament or Shakespeare rises again.

        • How much, Cats. I want an exact amount.

    • Fun fact about immigrants:

      "Immigrants to Canada are more skilled than immigrants to the United States. George J. Borjas compared immigrants to Canada and the United States finding those to Canada being better educated and receiving higher wages once settled. He accredits this to Canada's points based immigration system, and argues for the United States to more closely emulate the Canadian method.[21]

      Within the Canadian economy, immigrants are most found at the highest education levels. In Canada, 38% of male workers with a post-graduate degree are immigrants to the country.[22] 23% of Canadians are foreign born, but 49% of doctorate holders and 40% of those with a masters degree were born outside Canada."

      • Fun fact: that system was brought in right around the time Ignatieff left Canada.

        The experience of Ignatieff's family was out of step with the experience of immigrants at the time.

        Can't relate Cats !

        • The point is that many of the immigrants who are here now CAN relate.

          Silly cats!

          • Presumably all the immigrants from before the points system are still here. And all the refugees who don't come through the system too.

            Even with the points system I still don't know how many points you get for being Russian royalty ?

            Any princes out there ? Can you relate to this blue blood aristocrat ?

            Cats ?

          • Poor jealous pound kitty.

          • The only people who care about ties to Russian nobility are conservatives.

            Everyone else sees an immigrant family who came to Canada and worked hard to ensure their children are well educated. Just like a lot of other immigrants to Canada.

            But you go on ahead and desperately cling to the notion that Ignatieff's ties to a nobility that no longer exists is meaningful in some way.

            Desperation cats!

          • What Russian royalty? It no longer exists. It ceased to exist before the Ignatieffs came to Canada.

          • I've mentioned this before but……I have no problem "relating" to Ignatieff….my daughter goes to a school name dafter his great uncle…and she has studied the Grant family quite a bit as well………..he is a fifth Gen Canadian…..and I think harper has really jumped the shark on this………

          • I just love how you had to actually explain that.

          • I didn't really. Cats gets it. He is just pretending his scenario is true.

          • "If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through." General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay "Insanity" Melchett

  6. There is not one person in Canada who is not an immigrant. All (or their ancestors) arrived at some time in history.

    I find attack ads offensive. These schoolyard bullying tactics are not politics. Maybe the parties could be more specific about their political positions and intentions, instead of turning Parliament into the National Enquirer.

    • If my ancestors came here, but I was born here, I'm pretty sure that makes me a non-immigrant. I get your point tho.

      • Then you're the child or grandchild of immigrants…same as Ignatieff.

        • Well, the last of my ancestors to get here were my great-grandparents, but I get your meaning.

          The only ancestral land I have that could get along in is likely Ireland, and that's only due to my fondness for Guiness and Smithwick's…although I'd likely order the wrong one at the right time and start a civil war or something.

          • Oh I could never go back to the auld country….I figure the ancestors left it for a reason. LOL

            Don't know where I'd live if I had to leave Canada…certainly not the US…maybe the UK. There's a city in China I'm rather fond of too.

          • Don't know where I'd live if I had to leave Canada…


          • Good gawd no….I don't want a retreat in the back of beyond…and the only use I have for a sheep involves mint jelly. LOL

        • My most recent ancestor not born in Canada was one of four great-grandfathers.

          • Yup, first generation or fourth we all have immigrants in our families.

  7. If the man is going to try to portray himself as some downtrodden refugee fleeing persecution in some foreign land, I think it's more than fair to critically analyze his claims.

    How many immigrants today who arrive in Canada with nothing but the shirts on their backs send their kids to Canada's most elite private schools, marry into the most connected and wealthiest families in the country, and are appointed to high ranking diplomatic posts? Not most, is my guess.

    Iggy should really stop trying to portray himself as Joe Everyman, because every time he tries he makes a fool of himself.

    • I guess you haven't been paying attention. He was removed from the school because of the Depression.

      I gather Cons are now Bolsheviks who hate success.

      • You do know the difference between family privelege and success right ?

        Between entitlement and hard work ? Between the elitist and self made man ?

        Nobody here is a Bolshevik. We just don't appreciate people born with a silver spoon in their mouth pretending to be hard scrabble immigrants with nothing to their name.

        Its a lie Cats.

        • Yeah, yer a Bolshevik…a Commie Kitty in fact.

          They arrived with nothing….achieved success.

          You could have done the same, but noooo

        • I do understand the difference between entitlement and hard work, between elitist and self-made man. That's why I'm offering Steve Harper $12.00 an hour to come work for me for the summer.

          • Sorry RB, he'll be spending his summer at his country retreat Lake Harrington. Unless we have an election and then he might be looking for work.

          • Oh well, guess I'll just have to re-hire my philosophy student. He costs more, but then he works hard and has many skills.

          • Probably a lot more interesting to talk to. How many times do you want to hear Economic Action Plan?

    • Funny. Do you think Steve Harper, that everyman, has ever spent weeks doing manual labour, operating heavy equipment, dealing with livestock, or anything like that? If Harper comes out and digs post holes (hand auger and a shovel) for me this summer…$12.00 an hour plus overtime, no benefits, show up more or less sober…I'll take his whole everyman act seriously.

      Until then Harper is just another career politician, an elitist who came from privilege and has never held a real job.

      • Now wait just a gosh-darn minute. Stephen Harper is a self-made man. Worked his way up from the mail room, he did. A regular Horatio Algeria, he is. Them soft hands is just a ruse. A ruse!

        • "Them soft hands is just a ruse."

          Oops, forgot to mention…he has to supply his own CSA approved work boots and hard hat and his own gloves. Normally I'd insist on him supplying his own tool belt and hand tools (a hammer and screwdriver) too, but he's just starting out and I have a feeling that pounding nails is a fair bit beyond his current level of skill.

          • Stephen Harper doesn't wear a tool belt. He wears, like, an AMMO clip, no, two Ammo clips of tools. They're custom-made by DeWalt (ask for the 'Steve-o' at Pro Hardware! They'll fix ya up.) and these contain pouches and everything, Oh, and compartments for every handy item from anvils to zithers. He doesn't build fences, he mends them. With the rough caresses of his deceptively soft hands.

          • He has to avoid calluses, they interfere with his typing as he wraps up that hockey book.

          • It's fitting that he'd choose DeWalt products…they are substandard and popular mostly because of an intensive advertising campaign.

          • Yeah, but you still get that tax credit! To buy fewer real tools.

      • "…and digs post holes (hand auger and a shovel) for me this summer…$12.00 an hour plus overtime, no benefits, show up more or less sober…"

        Rank exploitation…there must be a tribunal i can report you to or something? :)

        " Ok…but only if i can bring Clement along to asist me…don't worry, he's free…" PMSH.

        • Well, I have a philosophy student I pay more, but he has skills and experience and works hard.

      • But Harper is not spinning out an ad protraying his parents to be other wise…….

        • And Harper hasn't spent the last couple of years being attacked in an advertising campaign telling lies about him and his family.

        • Nope…………….we never hear about Harper in Harper ads…..we only hear about the "scary other guy"…..

      • Quite the privilege Harper grew up with; as the son of an accountant, young Steve was known to have the flashiest green eyeshades in the whole school. And a new one every fall!

    • Here's your problem. First, the CPC are not "analyzing" his claims, they are making stuff up (where is their evidence that Ignatieff's family landed in Canada with money? Because the biography of his father linked to above suggests otherwise).

      Second, a whole lot of immigrants come to this country with money and skills, and use both to better the circumstances of their children.

      Third, Ignatieff is not trying to portray himself as anything other than what he is – the son of an immigrant family who learned the love of his country from the father who immigrated here.

      My father's father was born in Poland. He always told my father about what a great country Canada is. That is a common immigrant experience.

      • What we hope when we allow immigrants to come to this country is that they be able to adjust to life here, are not a burden and hopefully contribute something. Reading his Wiki biography, George Ignatieff seems to have accomplished that and more.

    • "Iggy should really stop trying to portray himself as Joe Everyman, because every time he tries he makes a fool of himself."

      Funny. I have exactly the same feeling every time i see Harper or one of his merry band of everymen squeezing themselves into the nearest Timmies, scarfing down the allegedly delicious donuts, while trying not to complain about the line ups; all the while dreaming of the Americano or non fat skim milk mocha with fudge, topped with whipped cream.[ a varient of that incongruity always floors me] they would like to be having across the street at Starbucks; but can't because that's enemy territory.
      I know why not make this make this debate even sillier then it already is? I want proof, proof i tell you that SH has ever entered a THs in his capacity as PM without a camera man, or Soudas first making sure there are no folks lurking in there with any awkward questions for his leader – because an unscripted moment might upset Steve's tummy or something equally undemocratic.

      Iggy stretching his branding – off side

      Harper as everyman – priceless.

  8. Completely agree with Geddes if the Tory line would say that "the Tory line that Ignatieff's immigrant roots count for less because he descends from Russian aristocracy is an example of the crudest partisan spin." if such were the case obviously! But such is obviously not the case.

    Obviously, what the Tory line is trying to convey is that the Ignatieff background is not really as now believed to belong into the refugee status camp. And obviously, Ignatieff's ad is trying to do just that, to make it appear as if his background belongs into the experience of a refugee status background.

    Geddes then touches upon that aspect next within his write-up by saying "Still, it's true that the Liberal leader's family background is far from typical".

    Fair enough. It's just a matter what strikes one first. Me? What struck me first was not so much the immigrant story but the 'fleeing, hard-done-by' kind of story. "He's been there! and we-must-hear-about-it" kinda story.

    But that won't ring true for me. But it might ring true for others.

    • I think leaving a country just ahead of a firing squad qualifies Grandfather Ignatieff as a refugee. Similar situation to those fleeingfrom Idi Amin. I don't think you understand what the term refugee means.

      • But what does any of that have to do with Ignatieff? Michael Ignatieff did not experience any of that which you here talk about (the refugee story). He was told about it. So what?

        What Ignatieff did with his own life is of importance, not what his father had accomplised. Why are we still talking about something which happened before Michael Ignatieff was even born! Heck, his father upon coming to Canada was merely a boy!

        • . Why are we still talking about something which happened before Michael Ignatieff was even born!

          Oh i don't know…maybe because the Tories are trying to brand him unCanadian?

          • They did this to Dion whose roots here in Canada are traced to the early 1600's – but, oh misery, his father had the gall to marry a woman from outside of Canada. That was enough for the Conservatives to brand him as unCanadian.

        • Sorry to break into your reverie, but we did endure stories of harper's grandfather who suffered from mental illness and disappeared — all to make harper look so adorable for showing up at Dave Batters's funeral (who committed suicide) and speaking about depression.

          Did anyone pull a FVerhoeven and ask what on earth that has to do with harper?

  9. "In this, at lease, it seems a fairly classic immigrant story: those of the generation who found a new home trying to instill in their kids that newcomer's sense of gratitude."

    That's an interesting thought. I am an immigrant (long time ago though), and I am not sure if the feeling of gratitude is what comes to mind first when wanting to instill something into my kids, Canadian born citizens.

    I would say, in my experience any way, is that the new country is tied up directly with the unfolding of one's life, and one's life is automatically tied onto one's community, not? I mean, Canada is a community of sorts. That's how it feels to me. The growing into a community such as Canada would bring forth indentification with it, not?

    • That one's not making any sense.

  10. Jan says: "What we hope when we allow immigrants to come to this country is that they be able to adjust to life here, are not a burden and hopefully contribute something. Reading his Wiki biography, George Ignatieff seems to have accomplished that and more."

    That's right. George Ignatieff seems to have accomplised that and perhaps more. But what does that particular aspect have to do with Michael Ignatieff? Isn't it true that most Candians have forefathers who came to this country and flourished? Can we all consider those post-generations to be therefore worthy of praise simply by providing stats on forefathers?

    • We praise them all the time. It's the Cons that have decided to pick some apart to score some cheap political points.

      • the cons didn't try to portray him as a poor downtroden immigrant, he did.

  11. Jan says:"What we hope when we allow immigrants to come to this country is that they be able to adjust to life here, are not a burden and hopefully contribute something. Reading his Wiki biography, George Ignatieff seems to have accomplished that and more."

    But why always the emphasis on 'allowing' immigrants to come to this country. Would it not be fair to suggest that Canada should show some gratitude towards immigrants who have come into the country.

    For let's be fair; there are many immigrants who have contributed greatly to the well-being of Canada overall. I can think of one example, namely the farming industry. I think if it weren't for the western Europeans, the farming industry would not nearly be as advanced and progressive as it is now.

    • But here is how the real cookie crumbles: Men like Jeffrey Simpson (and others) may write and write about the need to abolish the dairy and chicken quotas, but it's not the modern European settler who feels his dairy or chicken operation comes under threat by the quota system being abolished, but it will be mainly the outdated dairy farm operations within the province of Quebec where the threat will be mostly felt, because those outdated Quebec farms will not be able to compete in an open system. But to men like Jeffrey Simpson write about such truths? If anyone has a writing from him on that particular honesty, I would love to read it.

      • Now you're just wondering.

        • Wondering? Or wandering?

          In fact, I would challenge anyone to let Harper have an honest debate about the quota system and what to do with it, and the challenge Ignatieff likewise.

          You see, the problem with the debate within Canada is that not much of real substance can be debated because more often than not, it is the sensitivity of Quebec and its politics of the highest order, which must be catered to.

          Why does Mr.Coyne, when he wants to address the quota system and the need for abolishment thereof, not really bring out the core of the issue? Why not? Such are the questions we Canadians need to ask yourself.

          But hey, if you do find a write-up by Mr.Simpsons, which clearly states that the Quebec outdated dairy farms would be the obstacle for abolishing the dairy quota system, then give me a shout. I would love nothing more than to be able to read it.

          • Wandering and you're doing it again.

    • What the hell is it with you people that you can't post unless you make at least 4 top level posts and are completely incapable of understanding what the word "reply" means and how the little button with "reply" on it functions?

      • You know how cats will arch their back and make their hair stand up when faced with danger, so as to look like a stronger, larger opponent than they really are? It's kinda like that. Take up maximum space to present maximum visibility.

        (As opposed to Cats, who — for all his or her faults — is content to slug it out in the reply trenches with the rest of us non-spammers.)

      • The reply button is for no good elitists. Wait, I just replied to you using the reply button. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Ya know, if the Conservatives hadn't spent the last two years trying to convince anyone who'd listen that Ignatieff isn't really Canadian, then Ignatieff never would've felt compelled to point out that yes, he is Canadian, and not only that, but his Dad was an immigrant, much like many Canadian's dads are. And like many immigrants, his dad did some amazing things that made Canada a better place.

    I really don't think the takeaway from that commercial was supposed to be that the Ignatieffs were poor. Rather, the takeaway is that his dad worked for everything he got in this country and this country gave him every opportunity to earn it (and that's undeniably true – you don't win a Rhodes Scholarship without earning it)

    It was a very simple piece that was trading heavily on our belief that Canada is a meritocracy…the same trope that Harper was leaning heavily on in his latest "Canada sure is Great eh?" advert.

    • Basically the same message. Iggy just relating his personal version of it.

      • The Conservatives are becoming more and more Rovite and McCarthyesque. Look at the Conservative trolls at this website today. Not very Canadian behaviour.

  13. It doesn't really matter what the Maclean's band of Liberals think… what matters is what Canadians think. It's obvious what the point of the Conservative rebuttal was, and Geddes actually concedes their point (not entirely, but to a degree), yet for some strange reason he cannot leave it at that. I wonder why? There's only a couple objective and non-partisan writers for Maclean's, and there are no more conservative (or Conservative) writers, which is why Maclean's is gathering an increasingly leftist readership.

    Posts like this illustrate this reality.

    • "It doesn't really matter what the Maclean's band of Liberals think… what matters is what Canadians think"

      It's astonishing just how blithely cons define just who is and who is not Canadian…i guess if you come on the macleans boards and you happen to be liberal your opinion doesn't matter cuz you're not Canadian.

      [ah gotta admit i was twisting his words. I just hate to leave poor writing and sloppy thinking alone.]

      • Je suis Canadienne.

        • Moi aussi.

      • You're twisting the meaning of words. Here's a grammar lesson for your:

        If I say "it doesn't matter what group A thinks, what matters is what group B thinks"

        then there is nothing in the statement that says whether group A is a subset of group B, group B is a subset of group A, or whether they intersect. All it says is that group B identifies all the people whose opinions matter. The subject of the two primary prepositions are group A and group B.

        If you make your own assumptions, then that's your problem, not mine.

        If you want to claim that the Maclean's band of Liberals is not Canadian, then that's your mistake, not mine. It's pretty darn clean what I said to everyone but you, I'm sure. Take your pitiful crybaby act elsewhere.

        • "It doesn't really matter what the Maclean's band of Liberals think… what matters is what Canadians think"

          It is very clear from this statement that you do not consider one group to be part of the other. No ambiguity here.

          • Instead of saying something vague (and wrong) like "it's very clear", why don't you back it up? Give me the reason you say that (I know, there is none). I give you a grammar lesson and you give me a pointless and incorrect incorrect accusation lacking evidence, also indirectly calling me a liar.

            Since we're on that tack, I can tell from your comment that you've got no integrity, you're weak-willed, uneducated, belligerent, lacking tact, manners and comportment. Since we need no evidence for what we say, my statement is as valid as yours.

        • Wow.. that's quite the wriggling.

          Either you're including "the Maclean's band of Liberals" as Canadians, or you're not.

          If you are, then, according to you it does matter what they think.
          If you aren't, then you're specifically saying they're not Canadians.

          Pick one.

          Perhaps confer with Cats to see what a real canadian is. He apparantly has some sort of definition.

          • Obviously you're a poor student.

          • No; either your grammar is poorly constructed, or you are deliberately saying that "the Maclean's band of Liberals" are not Canadian. From the posts and the rankings, the message received is pretty clear and pretty much unanimous. If the message we're receiving is not the one you meant to send, admit to bad grammar, rephrase, and move on. All will be forgiven (by me anyway), as we all garble our messages from time to time.

          • You're also a poor student.

            Frankly, I find it hard to believe you are trying to make this (false) claim.

            And don't give me this tripe about the thumbs-up… every conservative gets thumbs down on this web site because they're outnumbered and the people of other persuasion rank comments based on partisan leanings. Everybody knows that. At least I thought everybody knew that. All the conservatives know that. Gawd, I can't believe you'd say that BS also.

            The readership here is about 4 to 1 anti-conservative, while the population is about 3 to 2 in the same manner. And the lib/ndp partisans here give thumbs down to any comment that is not cheer-leading for the opposition. For a perfect example, look at john g's reasonable and interesting comments below. For another example, look at the pathetic 29 thumbs-up to OriginalEmily1 who is known by everyone to be a source of endless brain-dead comments and the closest thing to a troll to be found around here.

            Either you knew this and you're a disingenuous partisan yourself, or you didn't know this and you're rather blind.

          • Pick one. Are you including them as Canadians?

            Simple question. One syllable answer is all it needs.

    • I am so confused.

      I am/was a Progressive Conservative. I read and occasionally post on the Maclean's blog. I think I am a Canadian, having been born here in 1954.

      Could you please elucidate? Where exactly do I belong according to the "Conservative Guide To Being Canadian"?

  14. The media in Canada is heavily biased toward the Harper cons. The National Post, Vancouver Sun and Province and even the Globe take thier talking points from the PMO's office. And for the life of me I can't understand the support of such a group of incompetents. Go figure. Mclean's favours Harper but can be known to damn them with faint praise.

    • I think you do macleans an injustice. I don't think they favour Harper [ with the exception of Mr Whyte's appalling year end interviews] It's just they don't automatically default to the opposition's postion – especially if it happens to not be credible. I like critical thinking myself,and even though i despise Harper i'm not willing to throw my self respect under the bus by being a liberal automaton. I'd like to think alot of the maclean's regulars think likewise…which has helped to make this place a superior blog comment centre thingy…[ i don't know if i'm ever gonna quite get the hang of this internet lingo?]

  15. A better Conservative response would be to always address/refer to him as Count Ignatieff, lol!!!

    The ad is well done and serves its purpose, but it does follow along the same lines as last years push for the "just an average guy" image.

    "Everything that has ever happened to me that has been good in my life happened because I have had the enormous good fortune of being a Canadian citizen," said Ignatieff. "Born here. Educated here. Had a publicly-funded education here that gave me my start."

    Leaving out the fact that from the age of 11 he attended and boarded at Upper Canada College is rather disingenuous.

    • Todays Conservatives would do well to learn what they can from the family, particular Ignatieff's great uncle George Grant.

      • I think today's conservatives would be wise to take into account the criminal past of people before they give them key positions in the PMO. Much more pertinent than the deeds or misdeeds of a dead uncle.

        But then again, even when they know, they appoint to the Senate people under suspicion of electoral fraud and people who have legal advisors to organized crime.

  16. Here is what I don't understand.

    The Conserative narrative that Iggy is a snobby aristocrat is idiotic. Ignatieff has NOTHING to be ashamed of in his family background. I don't know a single person who holds this against him. I know he is down in the polls but I have yet to be convinced it is because of the Tory branding campaign. Yet twice now he has exaggerated downwards his bio with untruthful statements to try and beat the Tory aristocrat narrative and be Joe Everyman

    Why does he do this? Why is he playing that game?

    • He isn't. He's telling you the facts of his life, not the Con spin on it.

    • Why is he playing that game? IMO, because he reckons from his lofty perch that the Canadian peasantry is so unsophisticated that it can be best courted by emphasising rags to riches – "see, I'm just like you".

      • Fun fact: Stephen Harper is the first Canadian Prime Minister to employ a personal stylist.

        • …but Trudeau was the first pretty-boy.

          • Harper is trying to make himself pretty, is that what you're saying?

          • Some are born with style, others have it purchased upon them.

            (And the latter option seldom works.)

          • yes….and naturally so…..do you have something against handsome men as well as educated men…well traveled men…immigrant men…..have I Left any out?

          • No, I have nothing against "handsome men as well as educated men…well traveled men…immigrant men" – I'm all of those things.

  17. So speaking of misleading ads…

    Now that Bev Oda has demonstrated several departmental documents that were NOTted like the Kairos document…will the Liberals pull their ad accusing Oda of "forging" documents before they get sued for defamation?

    • I have a question for you JG. Why has it taken this long to find a second NOTED memo if they are as common as Oda claims. Why aren't there a good deal more of them? Two questions…sorry.
      It puzzles me how it has taken so long for evidence of an allegedly common place proceedure [ which would have got Harper and Oda out of hot water long ago, no?] to find it's way to committee – not to mention Harper friendly media hands. I'm sure Ezra would have obliged. In fact i wouldn't be at all surprised to find out he has spent the last few weeks looking feverishly for this one…damn it i kinda like Ezra…but i haven't a clue why.

    • there were only two more of those funding rec. memos, John, out of 760 she has to sign a year, she said (and she's been there a few years, now), and the two new ones were both finalized in March, 2010 — over three months (and several discomfiting questions in the House) later — and look like a clumsy attempt to create a bogus, after the fact pattern of 'common practice' she could get the staff to only half lie about, afterwards, so: no — no apology or retraction necessary.

      • Sorry, but "looking like" is not enough to publicly accuse somebody of a criminal act in an ad. It's pretty clear by now that there is no forgery going on. Sloppy documentation? Unquestionably. Did she mislead Parliament? This muppet says yes. But is she guilty of the criminal accusation of forgery being tossed around in this ad? Not a chance. Liberal ad is defamatory. Hope Oda sues them, or Liberals change the wording to remove accusation of forgery.

        • I was not aware of the ad. I think she should sue.

          • Tactically, I think a lawsuit would be foolish. Even if she wins, she loses.

    • Do you really think the CPC are going to sue? If they do I am sure the LPC will welcome it. If people were not paying attention before that would be a good way to draw their attention to this whole mess. The CPC will not only look dishonest, they will look like whiners because they do not like it when someone points that out.

      • It's up to Oda. Why not? She was clearly defamed. Anyone can see that. The downside is that she would expose further her unorthodox documentation habits. The upside is justice and damages, and exposing the criminality of the opposition's accusations and behaviour.

        • Heh. I expect that is a risk the LPC are willing to take. Something tells me she will be hurt more by suing.

          Speaking of defamation, criminality is the wrong word here. Defamation is a tort not a crime.

          • "Defamation is a tort not a crime"

            Interesting, I did not know that.

    • Now that's a good question, I had not thought of that. They can only be sued for what they said outside the House, but I'm sure there are a few of them that bloviated plenty of false accusations elsewhere.

  18. you guys argue politics like high school kids arguing popularity. i am not a voter of a party, rather of the best platform, regardless of the party. to support a party blindly because that's what you do continues to make canadians apathetic about politics and voting. how often do you hear people say "it doesn't matter who i vote for"?

  19. Ignatieff is a Canadian Citizen, is he not? Are you?

    Conservatives are acting like anyi-Obama birthers, but if you are a Canadian Citizen, you will act like one. If you are of the other ilke, as it is brilliantly exposed in the provided link, you have no authority, no power, no legitimacy and no right to deny that which is inappropriately denied.


    That's all we are saying…where do you stand?

  20. Needless to say, I meant to say, anti-Obama — too bad there is no edit button:


    The link was inspired by Voltaire, who stood up for human rights.

  21. Political Polls out themselves as worthless

    OTTAWA – Canada's notoriously competitive pollsters have some surprisingly uniform advice about the parade of confusing and conflicting numbers they're about to toss at voters ahead of a possible spring election:

    Take political horse race polls with a small boulder of salt.

    "Pay attention if you want to but, frankly, they don't really mean anything," sums up Andre Turcotte, a pollster and communications professsor at Carleton University.

  22. Deliberative consideration is the only poll that matters:


    We, the Canadian taxpayers, should not be paying THIS government to poll us, BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO STUPID TO DELIBERATE.

  23. Iggy portraying himself as one of the common "huddled masses" of immigrants,

    was the "crude partisan spin".

    The CPC's response was merely setting the record straight.

    But the media acting as the Liberal propaganda arm is nothing new or surprising.

    What the propaganda is, though, is inneffective.

    The public has caught on that the media is savaging Harper while carrying Iggy's water.

    They have appropriately tuned out, a now politically corrupt media, who are actively campaigning for one side.

      • Translation

        If I highlight the "one" in the ten thousand to one ratio of liberal to conservative commenters, it makes it "even".

        Progressive math.

        • This is a problem with the left-Liberals posters on this blog. They can't accept the criticism about their party or their strategy. It is not working. The lack of money and lack of interest in the message is not resonating with them. They think Adscam was a minor accounting problem with the AG and the public. They did to "save Canada" from the guys that want to break up the country. Paternalistic through and through.
          [youtube dDubMFgl78U http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDubMFgl78U youtube]

  24. Oh, and the proof of the tune out:

    Harper's "trust" numbers, DOUBLE Iggy's.


    It seems the very recent memory of tens of millions of stolen taxpayer dollars, money laundering and bags ful of under-the-table cash….odly enough…. trumps the notation of a "not" (which notation reflects open government policy of a program) on a single government document.

    • I think it was a tactical mistake to re-brand Ignatieff in jeans, talking about his Uncle's farm. Iggy was recruited to be the second coming of PET. They decided after to turn him into a commoner. It won't work.

      They muzzled him and were afraid of offering any policy because the CPC will attack or steal it. They promised to release the platform during the campaign. Are we too cynical?

      The Liberal biggest mistake is to remind Canadians about Ethics. Canadians are clear and have not forgotten the decade of darkness under the Liberals.

      Why would they want to remind Canadians about the scathing reports from Sheila Fraser on so many files?

      It is clear the posters that are voting Liberal and allege are donating don't understand how out of touch they are with the rest of Canadians and the Liberal brand on EVERY level.

      From BC, ON, QC, NB to Toronto: It is NOT a good time to be a left leaning Liberals with ties to public unions entitlements.

      Almost every government is asking for concessions. The air war will be Left leaning Liberals+Unions vs Joe Public (not in a Union) this won't end well for the Liberal-Labor coalition.

    • In addition to the Montreal Gazette, you could have posted the links to the Globe & Mail, the Star, the CBC, CTV, etc.

      Because every "Liberal bootlicker" news media outlet in Canada is reporting the story.

      Ladies and gentlemen, today's "transparent, trustworthy right".

    • What a bunch of repellant liars who are probably paid to post here by the Harper Gutterment out of our tax money.

  25. It should be noted that Iggy's aristocratic background is nothing to sneeze at. Especially since it had very strong ties to the Czar's of Russia.

    The problem is that he's not the Iggy that we all expected him to be. We all expected him to be the Harvard type who was to wake Canada out of what seemed to be decades of complacency. He went out and stated that the failures of Kyoto were as much the Liberals as the Conservatives. He also said that the era of Peacekeeping was over, and that Canadians couldn't dwell on the past.

    Sadly, he seems to have been corrupted by the Liberals and their mantra of "It's never our fault. It's always someone else."

    • That's too funny ….I have been listening to Reformers blame the Liberals for everything but the recent earthquake for the last 5 years…

  26. Mr. Ignatieff and his parents were not poor when he arrived in Canada. He was enrolled in Upper Canada College. Did he get in free?

    Mr. Ignatieff has been caught in many such fudges–the media just won't hold him top account.

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