The Commons: Home improvement - Macleans.ca

The Commons: Home improvement

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The morning after the night before, Michael Ignatieff went for a stroll down the adhesives aisle of a Rona in suburban Gatineau. A Liberal candidate stood on each side of him. A semi-circle of photographers and cameramen shuffled backwards in front of him as he went.

Turning the corner he happened upon a shower door that caught his interest. Opening the door, he stepped behind the glass and looked out at the cameramen who clicked away happily. Further on he spotted a tub and signalled for his wife to come have a look. After some consideration, both appeared to be impressed with the bath’s craftsmanship and design.

He continued on between the giant shelves of this high-ceilinged retailer. Turning another corner he came upon an assortment of French doors where, coincidentally enough, someone had set up a podium to which was affixed a red Liberal sign. A row of television cameras had been set up in anticipation of his arrival.

He was here not only for the tubs, but also to announce that his party, were it to win a sufficient number of seats in the House to form government, would provide a tax credit to those who renovated their homes in an environmentally friendly manner.

Mr. Ignatieff wore a blue zip-up vest over a sweater and some informal slacks for the occasion. He was positioned between two doors, either of which can be yours for 15% off the sticker price. “It’s becoming clearer and clearer what the choices are,” he said. In fact, he continued, “the choice is clear.” “The only party that can replace Mr. Harper,” he explained, “is the Liberal party of Canada.” The audience of morning shoppers seemed mostly pleased with this.

After dispatching with a dozen questions from the reporters who, coincidentally, were also shopping at this hour, Mr. Ignatieff returned to browsing. At the front of one aisle he was impressed by a sizeable power drill. Down an adjacent aisle he tried out a sledgehammer.  He paused briefly to chat with a few shoppers who’d lined up to have a word, then turned and headed for the service department where he posed for pictures with a couple members of the staff.

Out the door and back on the bus, he waved for the cameras from the steps. Before he could go though a woman approached and handed him a package. She had, apparently, an abstract painting to give him. He accepted it happily. Presumably he will be back for the tub later.