The view from afar


Alex Massie, who resides on that far off foreign island where Michael Ignatieff used to live, notes the Conservative party’s latest attack ads.

The only problem with this? It risks making the Conservatives seem provincial and oddly jealous of anyone who dares leave Canada and succeed somewhere else. Wrapping yourself in the Maple Leaf is fine and dandy but it can make you seem small too. Even when your target is Michael Ignatieff…


The view from afar

  1. If a UK expat came back after 34 years to try to become PM, I'm pretty sure his political opponents would mention this little detail.

  2. so true – try a thought experiment and reverse the scenario – imagine Iggy is PM and a long time resident whereas harper gets back from USA and hijacks the CPC party – how much you wanna bet the LPT would have attack ads with just visbitng out faster than you can groom Justing for leadership :)

  3. What might have been a valid point in 2006 is not so valid in 2011.

  4. Hey Aaron…….

    Try to find a story about Michael Ignatieff's relationship with his kids, and why they never lived with him growing up. Then go and find some info about Iggy's troubled relationship with his own brother, and how Iggy didn't want anyone to know his semi-accomplished brother (when compared to Iggy's own opinion of himself) was actually related.


    Quel surpris.

  5. Oh? You mean there's some story about Ignatieff's personal life that HASN'T been extensively covered?

    Is Harper's personal life now open to the same examination?

  6. Yeah, I'll say again….'Small vision, small ambition, parochial poop….'

  7. I'd probably have the same reaction to those kinds of stories as I did to stories about Harper's marital situation: ewwwww.

    Keep it about politics, I always say.

  8. "If a UK expat came back after 34 years to try to become PM, I'm pretty sure his political opponents would mention this little detail"

    Fullmarks for understatement CR. As a former Brit i treasure the skill. So much left unsaid…

  9. I've often had the same reaction to the attacks on Ignatieff. In many circles, a party would be saluted for having recruited a leader who is well-traveled, cosmopolitan, and knowledgeable about international affairs. The personal attacks on this account make the Harperites look small, narrow-minded, and parochial.

    On the other hand, Liberals have, to my knowledge, not tried to make much of the fact that Harper had barely (if at all?) traveled outside of Canada before assuming the role of Prime Minister, a shortcoming that ill-prepared him for some of the most crucial aspects of the job.

    In any event, they've both served their apprenticeships and the criticism is no longer relevant in either case. Move on.

  10. He came back in 2005, but the point is correct.

    How many years does a Canadian born citizen or even an immigrant need to live exclusively in Canada before they are considered Canadian enough to run?

    The arrogance of the Conservatives on this – that they get to decide – is really infuriating.

  11. But here's the dilemma that they are deliberately trying to play here. It is a false attack of the worst personal kind. Defend it or ignore it?

    For example, the brother thing is in reference to an article in the Globe that talked about Iggy's reaction to his brother arriving at the same high school.

    That his brother was one of MI's biggest champions during his leadership campaign in 2006 would seem to me more relevant information, but just by discussing it you are already dealing in their mud and getting dirty. That is their aim.

  12. "The only problem with this? It risks making the Conservatives seem provincial and oddly jealous of anyone who dares leave Canada and succeed somewhere else"

    But that's the beauty of such ads isn't it? It's intended to appeal to those who are by nature provincial and jealous of others who leave and succeed while away. If it can sow even a little doubt in the minds of the uncommitted, it will have done its job. The genius of AAs is they are essentially unaswerable, except by more AAs. If you just attempt to rebut them in the traditional public forums allowed, you invariably end up looking like the whiner in the loser's corner. I've come to the conclusion they should be banned outside of the writ, both as a unfortunate but necessary trade off on free speech [ there are still public forums open] and as an act of mercy for those few of us who pay attention no matter how ill it makes us. Only the politcal class/media types/journos love them – give them a private viewing somewhere and take pity on the rest of us…please!

  13. Oh, he travelled outside of Canada before becoming leader of the Conservatives. At least once.

    Remember the speech he gave to that arch-right wing conservative organization in which he said Canada was a "second tier nation and content to remain that way" and was "a northern European welfare state of the worst kind"?

  14. That was in Montreal.

    As far as I know the only travel he did outside Canada was once to a Mexican resort.

  15. Clearly, my point was missed entirely.

    That being, Aaron spends disproportionate amounts of time trying to find SOMETHING…ANYTHING…that he thinks may harm Harper, or the Conservatives.

    He has yet to write anything that may tarnish the Liberal brand.

    As for Iggy…….he only came back because he thinks writing “Prime Minister of Canada” would be good for his ego. If the guy actually gave a damn about Canada, he would have lived here for a while and paid taxes. But then again….Canada has never been big enough for some egos.

  16. Aaron does a political blog….therefore it's about politics.

    And since Harp is PM, naturally he gets the most coverage. However Aaron has also posted nasty stuff about the Libs and/or Ignatieff.

    If you want all sunshine and light on yer boy….join the Blogging Tories site

    2.7M Canadians currently live and work outside Canada….they don't pay taxes here, but then they don't use services here.

    Is there some point at which you'll no longer consider them 'real Canadians'?

    I mean, are there time limits and deadlines on our citizenship?

    If Ignatieff had wanted to be PM that badly, he'd have gone with the Coalition deal

  17. I stand corrected.

  18. Whatever happened to Stephen "I can take a punch" Harper? When did he get usurped by Stephen "Don't let those little people of this second tier nation/socialist welfare state of the worst kind anywhere near a microphone if I am in the room" Harper?

  19. I think JamesHalifax is in love with Aaron.

  20. Paying taxes??

    What are you a communist? Paying taxes is for suckers. That's why I vote Conservative. They hate for people to pay taxes. It makes them sad. Every time someone pays taxes Stephen Harper dies a little inside.

  21. I do not think that your point is missed – I do however have a sense that most on this board would rather select their political leaders based on on their record and policy ideas, rather than what happens in their personal life. Unlike south of the boarder, here in Canada we had traditionally steered away from commenting on our politicians private life.

    I still love the line that Iggy only came back to Canada to be be PM. Think back at where the Liberals were in 2004 – 2006, the height of the fallout from the sponsorship scandal, the subsequent Gomery commission, a party that was struggling under the new fundraising regime, a liberal party who, internally had been ravaged by an all out civil war between the Cretien and Martin camps. Iggy decided to run in the 2006 election, after the Liberal's had been reduced to a minority government back in 2004. Following this, he put his hat in the ring in the hopes of being the leader of the party and was beat by Dion, who brought the Liberals to their worse electoral showing in their history.

    After all of this, he still agreed to be leader of the party, with absolutely NO GUARANTEE that he would ever be elected PM. While he could have easily returned to his ivory tower with his Harvard elites, he decided to stay here in his country of origin and lead a struggling party. By my definition that make someone more of a masochist, rather than being in it for themselves.

    On top of all of this, he has had his main political advisory launch a multi-million dollar advertising campaign targeting not his ideas, but rather his patriotism and commitment to country. Again, if it was only about his ego, he would have been out of here a long time ago.

  22. Plus it leaves a lot of money over for buying stuff that makes you unsad, like toys for big boys and sex aids. Paying taxes makes you sad, mad and frustrated and causes you to vote for SH…it also causes blindness and hair on your palms.I

  23. Only in a platonic sense.

  24. It's not the Conservatives who have decided. According to the polls, it's the Canadian public at large.

    Certainly the Cons have done their best to kept the topic alive though.

  25. His point was that Aaron is too mean to Stephen Harper and not mean enough to Michael Ignatieff.

    BTW, Ignatieff is a tax-raising faux Canadian who was the father of the carbon tax. It's gotta be true, I saw it in a Super Bowl ad.

  26. The criteria will change constantly – once a requirement is met a new one will arise.

  27. yeah, well I heard he gave his brother noogies and even took the family car without asking!!!!!

    We can't trust him.

  28. I will never move on!! Never!!!!

  29. Iggy invented the Carbon Tax while giving a back rub to Al Gore, who is totally fat.

  30. Ah, gotcha, the ol' tried and tested "main stream media bias"

  31. I think Alex Massie is only speaking to his own future ambition. It can't be a coincidence that Iggy used to also write for a British paper.

  32. Soon to be corrected by Sun TV, apparently.

  33. From Iggy's wiki entry:

    "Maclean's named him among the "Top 10 Canadian Who's Who" in 1997 and one of the "50 Most Influential Canadians Shaping Society" in 2002. In 2003, Maclean's named him Canada's "Sexiest Cerebral Man.""

    All before his return in 2005 — I guess he was Canadian enough for Macleans editors.

    So if you're born in Canada, go to school in Canada, go to University in Canada, work for a Canadian newspaper, volunteer for Canadian politicians' campaigns, return to Canada to teach at a Canadian university, contribute articles to Canadian publications and then (six years ago) return to Canada to run as a local MP, then run again, then become Opposition Leader … you're not Canadian enough?

  34. "In any event, they've both served their apprenticeships and the criticism is no longer relevant in either case. Move on." Good point. By trying to resurrect (or keep alive, or whatever) this tired old song and dance, the Conservatives risk making themselves look like they have no substantive arguments against the Liberals and have to resort to sand kicking. More, they give the Liberals an opening to actually make Iggy's time abroad a selling point – something they tried and failed to do when the Conservatives trotted out this stuff the first time.

  35. I have to agree with you on this. One can question the effectiveness of the strategy after Ignatieff's been an elected MP for this long; however it is a completely valid point to raise as part of political discourse.

    Personally, I am quite happy / not bothered by (potentially) having a 'global citizen' as PM. However, I respect and understand the opposite view.

  36. Just wish he'd stop giving a perfectly nice little city a bad name …. or change his
    name to Boris Okotoks …

  37. What I find odd is the concentration on his 5 years in the US….not the time he spent in the UK although they toss it altogether when they discuss the number of 'years away'.

    It's like the UK is acceptable while the US is not, which is strange for a party with so many Americans in it.

    I notice they gave up the 'dual citizenship' angle [once used to condemn the Lebanese-Canadians] though, once they checked their own people.

  38. What polls? I've not seen any polls on whether Ignatieff is Canadian enough to run in the minds of Canadians.

  39. The mistake they are making is continually harping (pun intended) back to it without offering up anything of substance on policy.

    It's kind of like they shot their load with the original Just Visiting ads. Canadians have now seen that. It's not like Ignatieff has become less Canadian since then after all.

  40. Yeah, or Cal Gary.

    (just kidding my Alberta friends!)

  41. He won the Governor General's Award for his family memoir, was chosen as Canada's representative on the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty in 2003, his book on nationalism won the Gordon Montador Award for Best Canadian Book on Social Issues and the University of Toronto's Lionel Gelber Prize (and the documentary adaptation he produced won a Gemini), he won the Gelber Prize again for The Lesser Evil, he gave the 2004 Massey Lecture, and toured the country fairly extensively in 2002 in researching another family memoir (the Grant side of the family). He was regularly called upon by international media as the expert pundit on Canada, including by the BBC during the 1995 referendum and CNN after 9/11.

  42. He's a Toronto Elite. Toronto! Elite! Just Visiting! In it for himself! iPod Tax! iPad Tax! iTax! Cabon Tax! Taxi! GST! Tax! Taaaaaaax! American! Torture! Latte! Harvard! COALITION!!!!!!

    Whew. Now I'm fit to govern.

  43. He won the Governor General's Award for his family memoir, was chosen as Canada's representative on the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty in 2003, his book on nationalism won the Gordon Montador Award for Best Canadian Book on Social Issues and the University of Toronto's Lionel Gelber Prize (and the documentary adaptation he produced won a Gemini), he won the Gelber Prize again for The Lesser Evil, he gave the 2004 Massey Lecture, and toured the country fairly extensively in 2002 in researching another family memoir (the Grant side of the family). He was regularly called upon by international media as the expert pundit on Canada, including by the BBC during the 1995 referendum and CNN after 9/11.

    Not only does he have more individual recognition, awards, leadership, experience and credentials now than Harper did in 2006, but contrast the far more praiseworthy things about Canada he said before becoming a politician to the constant attacking of Canada by Harper before he became a politician.

  44. Ignattief's biggest challenge isn't his time away, it's his experience in politics. Prime Ministers spend most of their lives in and around partisan politics and after decades of involvement to one degree or another take the top job. Harper immersed himself in it since university, as did Mulroney and Clark. Chretien and Turner seved in numerous cabinet portfolios, and Martin was born into it. Even Trudeau, who's association with the federal Liberals was hardly life-long had Cabinet experience when he took over. Ignatieff has been away from the ins and outs of Canadian partisan politics for decades. The idea he was going to come back and run the table because somoene thought he was the 2nd coming of Trudeau is foolish. Foolish both on Ignatieff individually and the Liberals in general for believing such a transformation was at all likely.

  45. What I was (jokingly) suggesting, is that Alex Massie wants to become Prime Minister of Canada.

  46. I heard he was drinking Dubonnet on ice during the Super Bowl.

  47. I think Massie is way off. It's fine for him to pontificate from his foreign perch, but here, in Canada, we like our Canadians to be Canadian, all Canadian, all the time.

    And the truth of the matter is, Michael Ignatieff is just the next Gino Vanelli.

    No. Thank. You.

  48. I agree it's a strategy with decreasing marginal returns. I also think the Conservatives have reached their limit with "the other guy is bad strategy" and won't increase their appeal by continuing to attack Ignatieff.

    However, several posters are acting shocked and apalled that the Conservatives dare raise this issue. My point is only that it's a legitimate issue to raise.

  49. or…

    Ed Monton…mmm maybe not, i used to live there, great city[ or was before the new boom]

    Lloyd Minister

  50. Had a nasty feeling you might be joking…oops.

  51. Oh, you're right! I have no statistical evidence to prove that his woeful polling numbers have anything to do with his being seen as a carpetbagger. Nevermind.

    I wonder what is holding the poor guy back? I guess we'll never know until a pollster tells us.

  52. I thought it was the other way around – Vanelli is the next Ignatieff.

  53. Actually, Canadians might just think he's a doofus. I mean, anybody I talk to who doesn't like him just doesn't like him… his Canadianess or lack thereof never seems to be the driving issue.

  54. "which is strange for a party with so many Americans in it"

    Huh? Emily, do you have some sort of evidence or proof to back that assertion up? I presume by what you posted that you are trying to assert that there is a significant number of Americans who are members of the Conservative Party of Canada? And that this number is proportionately greater than the number of Americans in the other Canadian federal political parties?

  55. It's quite fascinating to see how sensitive liberals are to some of the Tory attack lines regarding the coalition, Iggy, etc.

    True or False:

    The only reason Iggy is back in Canada is to become our prime minister.

    According to the historical record, the answer is True, isn't it?

    So why do people get so upset at bringing it up? Why get so upset at the truth? If Iggy is truly PM material, he'll be able to rise above these kinds of facts, won't he?

  56. The odd thing is that the Tories never played up this important distinction between the two men; Harper as the life long policy wonk cum political thinker vs Ignatieff with no real practical experience in the Canadian political world [ or very dated experience]. This would have been entirely reasonable and valid. Instead what we got was character assassination; which puts me in mind of the scorpion and the frog – they just can't help themselves poor dears…we should pity them really.

  57. Chicken and egg, Jan. They're the same seditious peas from the same foreign pod.

  58. Having said that, I think he'll prove a decent campaigner. One thing a lot of people forget, or don't even know, is that Iggy has lots of experience in front of a TV camera. He was a TV host. Plus he doesn't have that huge liability that Dion had speaking English. I don't think Iggy himself is going to be a net liability for the Liberals next time out. Their main challenges are finding a narrative that works, finding a sweet spot on the policy spectrum and (not sure if this is fixable in the short term) dealing with the fact that they are near-dead in vast swaths of Canada west of Ontario.

  59. Goodness, it doesn't take much to get YOU wound up, does it?

    All parties have members born elsewhere and all parties have members with dual citizenships. And the members change over time given elections, resignations etc.

    Unruffle your feathers and stop presuming.

  60. So in other words, you have absolutely no proof to back up your claim.

    Thanks as usual for coming out.

  61. I suspect that if Ignatieff was trying to crack the charts on the adult-contemporary radio stations then his past residency wouldn't be much of an issue. We all claim Neil Young as a Canadian and he only comes to Canada once in long while to play a few shows or pick up the Order of Canada.

    So yeah, as music fans we're pretty cosmopolitan. When it comes to actually running the country, well… then we're a little more discerning.

  62. My feelings exactly – no pain, no gain!!!

    Have nothing against the guy, just not PM material. His trainers deserve credit for getting to stop saying "I" a dozen times in a sentence.

  63. Perhaps what we need is someone new to politics, that hasn't been immersed in it his whole life, and can look at things with a fresh perspective.

    Gawd knows, we could use one.

  64. Iggy has been through two recent general elections (prior to becoming Opposition Leader) and — gasp — three proroguings of Parliament. That's certainly a crash course.

    Also, you overlooked the well-travelled Mike Pearson.

  65. Not at all true.

    He came back for a myriad of reasons. Well ahead of PM was his ambition to serve as an MP.

    It would be like saying the only reason why Harper through Preston Manning and Stockwell Day under the bus and ran for leadership of the Canadian Alliance and the Conservative Party was because he wanted to be PM. Oh, wait…

    Maybe not a good example.

  66. Think you nailed it – con attack adds merely emphasis, albeit entirely coincidentally and thoroughly dishonestly. I'd venture to guess it has created a certain impression in the minds of a goodly number of folks about the cons and their methods too.

  67. eg Tom Flanigan

  68. Actually WDM, at this point, not only does Ignatieff have more direct political experience than Trudeau before he ran for leader and has run in more elections as a candidate than Trudeau before he ran as leader, but he now has more actual governing experience – real life + politics – than Harper had in 2006.

  69. By discerning, you mean make up new criteria for which the next guy isn't Canadian enough.

    Remember when Dion wasn't Canadian enough because he had French citizenship through his mother?

  70. I think it's all of a piece with his general sense of entitlement that puts a lot of people off. It does take some sand to think you can just take the leadership of a country, even your nation of birth, as your due. He didn't have much interest in electoral politics – or in Canada – until he was offered the top job, did he?

    Personally, I'm more perturbed by the way he prefaces his every pearl of wisdom with the stark instruction "Look!" It's almost as though he were trying to command the attention of a bunch of slack-jawed yokels. I don't really blame Ignatieff for giving it a try, why not top off your brilliant career with the leadership of some fashionable middle power? It's worth a shot.

    But really, it's most revealing of the hubris of the Liberal Party, thinking they could pluck some dilettante off the shelf, package him as the latest incarnation of their philosopher-king, and get the poor provincial rubes to welcome him as the conquering hero. And if the rubes balk, well we can just whip them into shape by scolding them about being "small and provincial." That'll bring em around right quick.

  71. Yes, you run for the leadership of a Canadian federal party because you want a chance at being PM. That's what we're talking about, isn't it?

    I suggest you re-familiarize yourself with the record. Iggy only came back after having a meeting with Liberal insiders who would back his bid as leader. This is true, isn't it?

  72. Liberal Party in 2006 election: 30%

    Liberal Party in 2008: 30%

    Liberal Party in 2011 (based on polling): 30%

    Really, I just don't understand why you folks keep trying to prove everyone right when we accuse you of living in an evidence/fact-free world.

  73. Ted Morton. Tom Flannagan.

  74. For the record:

    in late 2004, Davey and two Liberal lawyers from Toronto decided to visit Ignatieff in Cambridge, Mass., where he was teaching at Harvard. That meeting led to his decision to return to Canada, after spending most of his adult life in England and the U.S., to win a seat in Parliament, and then seek to succeed Paul Martin as leader.

  75. Dennis F just wet himself thinking how smart he is.

  76. but Harper also ran that crackpot group with the website n stuff, before Steve Nicholls took over.

  77. Trudeau isn't a good benchmark for just about anything really. He marched to his own drum. Prior to politics he had spent half a lfetime thinking and writing about politics and federalism, and knew exactly what he wanted to do – can't say the same about Ignatieff – but it is as you say, he's put his recent time inand should receive credit too- considering it hasn't been an easy ride. Time to give the man his dues.

  78. I suggest you re-familiarize yourself with the record.

    Iggy had already at that point been involved in the Liberal Party and gave the 2004 Liberal convention speech. Even the passage you quote below make it clear they wanted him to run as an MP first. Before even that, he set up shop as an adjunct professor at the Munk Centre. That two ambitious lads had grander visions is tangentially relevant.

    You could make a great deal out of what other people wanted him to do. Or you could read True Patriot Love to see what Ignatieff himself has said on the subject.

    But you avoided the question I posed: did Harper only want to be PM when he threw Manning and Day under the bus? Was that really the only reason?

  79. I want my Canada back. Why can't these guys have normal names.

  80. What a waste of good urine.

  81. I just dislike how they present his time abroad as a fault in itself, rather than actually discuss concretely what it means. And the thing is his writings do contain stuff that would make a lot of Canadians uncomfortable – but they're traits that he shares with Harper.

  82. Iggy only came back after he had established becoming MP as a road to becoming leader, presumably to become PM. Right? This is true, isn't it?

    I answered your question. A person wants to be leader of a national political party presumably to become PM, too. That isn't a huge leap of logic. As for your comments about "throwing people under the bus," I really don't know what you're talking about. Harper's Canadian residency and desire to live here was already well established, wasn't it?

  83. Who the heck are "you folks"? There's only one guy sitting here and if that was some kind of crack about my weight then I resent it.

    Stephen Harper is – by most objective measures – an abomination as Prime Minister. He's as unprincipled a man as any leader we've ever had (including Chretien, Martin & Mulroney). He's a thoroughly unpleasant person; vindictive and petty and creepy. As a conservative and as an economist, he is laughable. Everything that Andrew Coyne has written about him is true.

    And still Michael Ignatieff can't get his polling numbers out of the basement. And you're bragging that they haven't gone any lower?!?!?! That's pretty thin gruel, Ted. But you go ahead and enjoy it.

  84. I took your blanket statement of being away as evidence of you not really caring that much about evidence in supporting your positions. From this I naturally extrapolated that you must be conservative. If that is not the case, apologies.

    I'm not bragging about Ignatieff's poll numbers. (I actually don't see any bragging at all, care to show me where?) Just noting that the problem is something with the Liberal Party – which has been remarkably consistent at 30% – and not the leader, just like the solution is not merely finding the right leader/saviour, but re-building the party. They've made great strides in the last year or so.

  85. While Michael Ignatieff's long absence is an issue, what is often forgotten is how it became a defining issue.
    Do you think it's fair that the Conservatives ran a string of negative ads when there was not even an election in play?
    What does this lead to? Will the deepest pockets always be able to run ads slagging anyone they target, election or no?

    All I see is an attempt to define a conversation, safely channeling it away from all the issues.

    Watch the political ads in the US. Is this a road we want to go down?

  86. Where the left side of the street was right and the right side was left, but now it's right too, but could be left again…!

  87. "Iggy only came back after he had established becoming MP as a road to becoming leader, presumably to become PM. Right? This is true, isn't it?"

    Again, other than what some reporter wrote about the ambitions of some die-hard Liberals, where is your evidence, Dennis?

    As for Harper, his residency was clearly established – had he ever even left Canada before becoming leader? – but his desire to live in Canada? I can think of things like "firewalls", calling Canada a "second tier nation and content to stay there" and "a norther European welfare state of the worst kind" as indications that he wasn't all that happy to be living in Canada.

  88. The list to which you link discloses that there is one NDP MP who was born in the US, and one CPC MP. Those numbers are dwarfed by the number of MPs born in other countries. So once again, your statement that the CPC has "so many Americans in it" proves to be BS.

    Thanks again for playing.

  89. Again, other than what some reporter wrote about the ambitions of some die-hard Liberals, where is your evidence, Dennis?

    The historical record is pretty clear, isn't it? Iggy was at Harvard as part of his very long stint wanting to live somewhere other than Canada. The Liberals offered him a deal. He took it. He finally came back.

    If you have evidence that contradicts this, by all means. I'm not afraid of the truth on this issue or anything else.

  90. Morton is the Alberta Provincial PC finance minister, not a federal CPC MP or party official. I agree both he and Tom Flanagan are Americans. Emily's statement, that the CPC is a party with "so many Americans in it", clearly implies that she is asserting that there is either a disporportionate number of Americans in the CPC relative to other parties, or at least that there is a significant number of Americans in the CPC in absolute terms. I don't consider one actual member of the federal CPC, Tom Flanagan, plus one US-born MP, Diane Ablonczy, to be proof of that. We're talking about political parties with thousands of members here.

  91. I took your blanket statement of being away as evidence of you not really caring that much about evidence in supporting your positions.

    Gee, I hope you're not that careless when you drive.

  92. Taking a job of a lifetime is really "wanting to live somewhere other than Canada"? Are your career ambitions really that narrowly biased? Do you only work a block away from home. If it was a really REALLY good job, prestigious in your selected field, you wouldn't move? Would moving to live out a dream job make you un Canadian? Or rational? Common, put the partisanship to the side. That line doesn't fly.

  93. Jibe well deserved.

  94. I think the reference is a holdover from the "Calgary School" days, Harper's mentors and teachers and eventual underlings, who were, in truth, mostly American.

    But it's kind of irrelevant since, well, as you point out, the US Conservative MPs amount to a whopping one.

    Clearly, Harper had a lot of conservative US influences in developing his own political views. But that is – or frankly should be – neither here nor there. Attack him for his dumb policies not for his influences.

  95. Agree, just attempting to counter a factually misleading statement from WDM about time served ("even Trudeau…").

    I'm not saying that time abroad is not relevant, but should be way past being the central point of their advertising campaign after being the government for 5 years.

  96. Contradict what Dennis? Your unsupported allegation that Ignatieff only came back to become PM?

    You haven't provided any evidence whatsoever, not one shred, of what Ignatieff thought then or now. I, on the other hand have. Read the final chapter of his True Patriot Love and his family inheritance of public service to Canada. Sure there was talk about leadership, and clearly he was coming back becasue he wanted to play a leading role, but he wanted to serve his country, even if he didn't get elected, he reached a point in his life where it was time to come back.

    Which is why he came back in 2003 or so to research and start writing his book, came back for the Massey Lectures, came back to pick up several Canadian awards for his writing, came back to speak at the Liberal convention in 2004.

    Don't be afraid of facts or reality Dennis. Even if they have an anti-conservative bias (or at least an anti-Dennis bias).

  97. I'm the only one who has provided any historical documentation. The chronology is well known. Is your denial of these well known facts an example of partisan ideology gone extreme? He only came back after that meeting with high-placed Liberals who backed his leadership bid. This is true. I'm not making it up. You are.

    He visited us all those other times, but only decided to stay when the road to leadership was established. I know this is hard to accept. I guess the truth often is.

  98. Sorry – it was 2000 when he came back to start researching his book. Not 2003.

  99. What was this dream job that kept Iggy away from Canada since his first chance as an adult to do so? I have no problems with people doing this, by the way. But I do think it takes a lot of chutzpah for someone to take this road, then only come back when the prime ministership was offered to him on a silver platter.

    It would be one thing if here were some kind of huge international superstar who Canadians would welcome back with open arms, even if with some hesitation at being away for so long. But, despite what liberals think, Iggy wasn't that big of an international celebrity. We weren't waiting for him to come back and save us.

  100. Fail.

    You've provided no evidence. Not one shred. A chronology???? That's all you have to go on???? That's too funny. No facts to counter the many facts that show otherwise, but whoa… you have a chronology!!!

    Massive fail, Dennis.

    In 2003, Mike Harris met with Stephen Harper about bringing the Canadian Alliance and PCs together. Does it therefore follow that Stephen Harper only wanted to bring the two parties together because that meeting and because he wanted to be PM?

    You clearly know how to use a computer, Dennis, so I have to assume that you have the basic level of intelligence to understand that.

  101. Ddue, why don;t you just say it's Ok when harper joins politics to become PM, but not when iggy does it. That's the point you keep dancing around.

  102. You mean he visited us in 2000. He didn't come back to live here, right? That only happened after his meeting with high-placed leadership supporters, didn't it.

  103. Ignatieff says, "Look" and Harper says, "Look, let me be clear"

    I bet a lot of people stop listening when somebody says "Look"

  104. Why would a Canadian put trust in one who has been a non-Canadian more than he has been a Canadian. His colours show, as he is a supporter of the apartheid, as J. Carter has called it, that the Israelis have created. I do not consider "Iggy" a Canadian. Unfortunately there are those, non Canadians, who accept this carefully political "placement", for a purpose other than to serve Canadians..

  105. DOH.

    Defeated once again by the sophisticated well-reasoned erudite fully-backed up and supported argumentation in the form of …. a chronology!!!!

    Still does not prove a single thing about the main argument – i.e. that the only reason Ignatieff came back was because he wanted to be PM – and still doesn't counter the many examples I've given of other reasons why he came back – but WHOA, NELLY, that's some convincing, um, chronology you have there. Who could ever argue against a chronology?!?!?!

  106. tedbetts, there is one glaring difference.

    Yes, Harper wanted to unite the political right in Canada in order to have a chance at becoming prime minister. But Harper is a career politician. He has been at it, through the trenches so to speak, and has worked his way up to where he is.

    Alternatively, Ignatieff is not a career politician, who has made his career outside of Canada (not that anything is wrong with that) and came back and entered politics when the leadership of the LIberal party (at the time, still thought of as a sure ticket to the PMO) was offered to him by party insiders.

    Before you yell at me, please not that I am merely trying to point out the difference.

    Did Harper only enter politics at a young age because some party insiders promised him the leadership of the Conservative party and therefore the job as Prime Minister? Methinks not. That certainly does not mean that he didn't have Prime Minister aspirations. Most probably he did.

  107. Yes dear….those are MPs. Current ones at that.

    However there are lots of members born in the US…as you've been told. Tom Flannagan, Ted Morton, Myron Thompson etc

    Now go take a cold shower.

  108. Am I writing in a foreign language? Didn't I say that the record shows that Iggy ONLY CAME BACK TO CANADA to become prime minister? I mean, what is this blog post about? Sheesh.

  109. In other words, you clearly won't accept any of the evidence or facts I've presented. It's like I said in the first place. Liberals are terrified of the truth on this issue. Instead of dealing with it, they'd rather lash out at people for bringing it up. I don't think it'll work, and it hasn't, but it's a free country. You can keep at it all you want.

  110. Iggy chooses to live elsewhere for over thirty years. He makes a deal with Liberal insiders to run for the leadership. He finally comes back to live here.

    Is there some other reality you're aware of and have been withholding from us?

  111. Appreciate your comments and attempts at clarification.

    "came back and entered politics when the leadership of the LIberal party (at the time, still thought of as a sure ticket to the PMO) was offered to him by party insiders."

    That comment is the single thing that Dennis relies upon and it is a complete fabrication. (1) Martin's (ahem, cough cough) "juggernaut" was damaged but still rolling: he had control of the party, barely into his job. (2) What "insiders"? Davey? Aggarwhal, a student at the time? What kind of insiders were these? They had no role in the party, had helped Manley's dropped leadership campaign so offside with "The Board". Sorry, these were not people of influence. (3) they were certainly in no position to "offer him" anything, let alone the leadership. They had to fight just to get Martin to sign his nomination papers. (4) Iggy's almost as old as Martin.

    Ignatieff – even by his detractors – is a smart man and would know that any ambitions for leadership, while maybe an aspiration, was not enough to bring him back to Canada. Read his book and you can get his own thoughts on his many reasons.

  112. Really Dennis you're starting to sound jealous.
    Or maybe you're just upset that the attack has no traction anymore. You can't make up for a failed ad campaign by insisting everyone else is just plain wrong and you're right. Give it up man, Igantieff is Canadian and an intelligent one at that.

  113. No, in other words, I'm still waiting for you to provide any evidence or facts. Or are you refering back to your air-tight completely unambigious unchallengeable unquestionable brillian chronology?

    By contrast, I've presented you with Ignatieff's book as evidence, i.e. his own words, the fact that he was already increasingly coming back to and speaking and writing about Canada, the fact that it made absolutely zero sense for any sane person to think of throwing away a highly esteemed job for the complete uncertainty of coming back to Canada while juggernaut Paul Martin was still in charge and nothing happened in the party if you didn't curry favour with his PMO.

    If you want to have a serious, evidence-based, adult discussion of this, by all means, I've been waiting all afternoon for you to start one.

  114. I don't respond to Dennis F, but could someone please tell him that two people–no matter which two people–are unable to guarantee anything in the Liberal Party. We Liberals need more than two people to agree on stuff before that stuff comes to pass. We are not the Conservative Party, where if Harper promises you something, it's golden–unless he breaks his promise.

  115. What deal and with whom? That's what is so ridiculous about your assertion, Dennis. Are you really so dumb that you don't realize that? The only people less in a position to make him a "deal" of any kind would have been Chretien insiders.

    Martin is in charge. His team controls the party. Some Liberals who have campaigned against Martin go talk to Ignatieff. How dumb do you think Ignatieff is that he would drop everything and hurry on back for his coronation in those circumstances?

    "Is there some other reality you're aware of and have been withholding from us? "

    It's all around us for you to partake in when you wish Dennis. No one is withholding reality from you, but you have to choose to be a part of it.

  116. Here is the chronology – G&M did a similar article just after Keith Davey's death.

    Ian Davey was part of a group of worried partisans who took it upon themselves to cast around for fresh leadership talent. His father's assessment of Ignatieff was passed along to him by party stalwart Rocco Rossi, and so in late 2004, Davey and two Liberal lawyers from Toronto decided to visit Ignatieff in Cambridge, Mass., where he was teaching at Harvard. That meeting led to his decision to return to Canada, after spending most of his adult life in England and the U.S., to win a seat in Parliament, and then seek to succeed Paul MARTIN as leader.

  117. He certainly has a strong libertarian bent in many of his posts, sometimes to the point of absurdity. He may not be party supporter, however, or at times claim not to be.

  118. If support for Israel is the measure of Canadian-ness, then surely Harper doesn't hail from this planet?

  119. It's like I stated from the beginning. Why are some of you so terrified about the facts on this issue? You'd rather attack me personally and characterize the issue than actually rebut it. Like I said, it's a free country.

  120. You mean, "have nothing against the guy except that he is the leader of the party the CPC is against, and therefore will repeat talking points".

  121. How isn't the chronology filled with facts? God. He was away. He had a meeting. He came back. These are FACTS. You clearly are unwilling to acknowledge any that destroy your blindly partisan view of the world.

    You, on the other hand, have provided your very brief and lacking in detail account of Iggy's words in his book. This isn't a fact.


  122. You're doing it again.

    And I have no doubt harper will spend his life as a politican. There just aren't other six figure jobs for people with his skill set. Whether that's a point in his favour is up to the individual to decide.

  123. If Ignatieff were presenting Canadians with some compelling ideas and solid policy, I don't think we'd be spending much time about his background, quite frankly. Sure, the method by which Ignatieff emerged on the scene likely perturbs some (including yourself, which is fine, I don't doubt the sincerity of your feelings for the guy). Personally, I don't give a rat's butt how he got here, I'd like to know what he plans to do if he's PM (other than not being Stephen Harper). For the most part, Ignatieff is being greeted with complete indifference by ordinarily non-partisan Canadians, because he hasn't really presented a compelling alternative to Harper.

    And if the Liberals respond to a future failure, it won't be to 'scold the rubes', it'll be to give Iggy his walking papers right quick.

  124. No one is 'terrified' Dennis. We're (I'm) weary of a PM that thinks trying to convince us (me) that higher education and living abroad is somehow a deviant activity and unCanadian because my PM has nothing else with which to run his re-election. The more the CPC war room wants me to think Ignatieff isn't Canadian enough to be PM the more I think he's probably the better Canadian. Its a lose/lose for Harper from my perspective.
    I have no idea who you think you're going to convince.

  125. Doing what again? Sticking to the issue at hand? You're more than welcome to do so, by the way.

  126. Then why do everything but deal with the primary proposition put forth, which is that the only reason Iggy came back was to become prime minister. These are the facts, aren't they? Yet they're facts you're clearly unwilling to deal with. Thank you.

  127. Oh, and if you're thinking of citing some of Iggy's words from his own book, don't know if it would do you much good. His own account of his own motivations might be slightly skewed. Unless, of course, he an provide independent facts.

  128. "If Iggy is truly PM material, he'll be able to rise above these kinds of facts, won't he?"

    You're right… if he is truly PM material, he will be able to rise above it.

    Did Ignatieff come back with the sole intention to become PM? Probably so. Does that mean he'll make a bad PM? No. Personally, I care more about what he plans to do as PM than whatever he did before, wherever he did it. If he has failed thus far, it's because he's failed to present a compelling plan or policy, not because he taught at Harvard or lived in the U.K. Maybe I'm wrong. I don't know. I'm not an Ignatieff fan, but the reasons why I don't like him have nothing to do with his life abroad. I could really care less. I'm much more interested in his ideas, and thus far, I've come up wanting.

    I don't blame the Conservatives for pointing out his background. Sooner or later, however, Canadians are probably want to hear more from the Conservatives about what their plans for the country rather than more critiques of Ignatieff's life beyond our borders. Just like Canadians are waiting to hear more from Ignatieff about his plans for the country, too.

  129. Thank you for your refreshingly honest and on-topic post.

    I think you and I actually agree. If it only seems as though Iggy came back just to be PM, and he can't fill in the blanks with substance, then he will fail. Some others on here might want to start listening instead of simply reacting.

  130. If you stripped the names and personalities and just looked at the biographies, by whom would Canadians be better served as PM?

    a)The career politician (having no private sector experience of any consequence) who, on several occasions, has made rather disparaging remarks about the country he aspires to serve. He has headed a right-wing advocacy group and once advocated the quasi-separation of his adopted province from the rest of the nation. Further, his international experience, or any travel outside Canada for that matter, is non-existent. He has nonetheless expressed strident support for our American neighbours' incursion into Iraq. His caucus will include an individual who called Nelson Mandela a ‘terrorist' and the son of a former cabinet minister. Taped recordings suggest he may have had some foreknowledge of the attempt to offer a wavering Independent MP ‘financial considerations' to switch his vote in an attempt to engineer the government of the day's defeat.
    He is reputed to be writing a book on Canada's national sport

    b)The person who, having spent the bulk of his adult years outside the country, has forged a career as an author, an articulate theorist of human rights, media personality, academic and (gasp) public intellectual in this country and abroad. His mentor was the esteemed philosopher Isaiah Berlin and his family has a noted history of public service. However, this individual has expressed some controversial views on the foreign adventures of the U.S. (a country in which he latterly lived), specifically, support for the Iraq war. The party, of which he was made leader by acclamation, is tarnished by a 15 year-old scandal where large sums of taxpayer's money made it's way into the hands of some advertising agencies in Quebec. (He was not leader at the time, nor was he in the country). His caucus will include an astronaut, and the mustachioed son of most hated and loved PM. He has written and published many books , both fiction and non-fiction.

  131. BTW, an ironic bit of trivia . . . "party stalwart Rocco Rossi" is now being absolutely savaged by Warren Kinsella and others as being "Benedict Baldy", now that Rossi has apparently broken bread with Ontario provincial Conservatives . . .

  132. Facts? Are you telling me Ignatieff was promised he would win a seat in the house? I very much doubt it.
    Are you telling me Ignatieff was promised a win at a leadership convention? Obviously not since he lost to Dion.
    Did he quit? No. Did he run again and win his seat again? Yes and oh yes.
    Was he promised he would win a general election? How the hell can you you make that kind of promise?
    Your 'proposition put forth' is BS Dennis.
    How about YOU deal with facts instead of being terrified about Ignatieff on the hustings.

  133. He was promised support from high level Liberal operatives all the way to the leadership. Without it, he'd still be at Harvard. Right? You can lash out all you want. Again, I don't feel I have to.

  134. To all reasonable posters out there:

    Everyone thinks their opinion matters. Don't argue with a nobody. A farmer doesn't bother telling a pig his breath smells like s***.

  135. Kinsella the Liberal 'ringer' who ran against Ted White in North Vancouver. He bought a house to make it look more legit and ended up with the neighboiur from hell!! Ted and I had many laughs over that!!!

  136. Brits defending Iggy's decision to live in Britain instead of Canada?

    And the liberal defenders here want to highlight this?

    Alrighty then.

  137. An accomplished Prime Minister who's been at the helm for years, steering Canada through the worst recession in our lifetimes,


    an academic.

    Not much of a comparison actually.

  138. As viewed through the reality-bending prism of the Con perspective.

  139. And some of the subthreads here are fascinating.

    Implicit in the arguments in defence of Iggy is the supremacy of what places OUTSIDE OF CANADA had to offer.

    Premised on Iggy's sheer supremacy over the rest of us.

    As if any Canadian would leave Canada given the opportunity to be a brilliant as Iggy.

    Well there are millions of brilliant people – academics, business leaders, scientists, living in Canada not because they have to, but because they choose to.

    The simple reality is, his connection to his country paled in comparison to what he percieved to be the imbalance between his superiority and the inferiority of what Canada had to offer.

    Simply put, Canada was beneath him. And if you read between the lines in the comments above, that's pretty much what his defenders are saying here.

  140. And well taken…

    Anyway, I am a conservative by nature but not by affiliation and certainly not by association with this group of Psuedo-Cons under Harper. I have an acquaintance that is still a (lukewarm) Harper supporter and I enjoy poking him about Harper's evolution. Lately I've been torturing him with the contention that Harper is Chretien but for the lack of one thing: charm.

  141. Instead of insulting others, why not address any of the issues raised? What are some of you so terrified of? I don't get it.

  142. When the next election comes, I guess we'll see who's bending reality.

  143. Yeah, I agree.

    Or they stop listening to the words and just start listening to the tone. I find Ignatieff's tone very off-putting.

  144. Not terrified of.

    Tired of.

    Good night.

  145. My mistake

  146. Then why even reply at all? You obviously fear something. Is it the truth? God.

  147. Who are you kidding? The CONs would be producing different smear ads for whoever the Liberals chose as leader — Bob Rae, "he's been here a long time"; Dom Leblanc, "He hasn't been anywhere, so why bother?", Gerard Kennedy, "Should Canada really trust a guy who's best feet-forward is not good enough?" etc.
    No other party has done what Stephen Harper has gone and done and excelled at. It's amazing what things you can accomplish when you set your target on the gutter.

  148. how is it you can reply before i can even see my post?

  149. Diane Ablonczy. And though he's headed off for the 7th inning stretch, baseball star Myron Thompson.

  150. True or False:
    The only reason STephen Harper joined the Liberal party was to get laid… and when he still didn't he turned blue.

    According to historical record, the answer is True, isn't it?

  151. It's a vast conspiracy!

    I dunno. Sometimes posts don't appear right away for some people. It's happened to me, too.

    I've come to appreciate IntenseDebate more than most other commenting platforms, but it has a few kinks.

  152. lol, you're more than welcome to cite such a "historical record" just as I have with Iggy. lol

  153. Oh okay

  154. "Well there are millions of brilliant people – academics, business leaders, scientists, living in Canada not because they have to, but because they choose to"

    At the time Ignatieff left it was common for Canadians to leave for greener pastures in order to further their careers [ Peter Jennings] – not so much now.

    Chet, you're a disgrace to the blogging world; either you aren't smart enough to be objective [ or more likely] wont because that's your job.

  155. Huh. I feel that way about Harper's tone. Perhaps our ears are telling us what our partisanship wants to hear.

  156. I would be a whole lot more attuned to the Harper government's critique of the Liberals if the Cons would simply challenge Ignatieff to articulate a coherent vision (or, more prosaically, lay out a platform) as the putative government-in-waiting. Instead we get this constant barrage of cheap, low down ad hominem trash the Cons relentlessly dish out in what passes for political discourse.

    It's time that Ignatieff is challenged to show us what he's got and, since the Cons are the government of the moment, they would serve the country much better by setting the tone in such a debate. For me, that means a lot less sneering and personal attacks on their adversaries.

    They demean themselves.

  157. "Time that Ignatieff is challenged to show us what he's got…"

    I see. So it's the Cons responsibility to ensure that Iggy has some coherent vision?

    It's remarkable how Iggy bears no responsibility. Poor Iggy this, and nasty Cons that.

    This ain't the delicate hallowed, protective Ivy Leage where first year students adorn you with praise at your excellent prose…

    Maybe he should grow a pair, actually come up with a vision….a real one that is, not some decades old recycled nonsense such as "national childcare" and start defending what he believes in (if he believes in something).

    Until then, sit back and watch poor Iggy get skewered in this bloodsport called politics.

    p.s. if he thinks being PM is gonna be any easier, perhaps he should apply his delicate hands back at academia, where he's protected by tenure…and adoring first year students.

  158. Ah well,

    you've got us there.

    Peter Jennings left Canada for good, so…you know….it was "common back then".

    How can we argue with such rock solid statistical data than…"Peter Jennings did it…therefore everyone did".

    Good point. I'm sorry I didn't see that. You're right, I'm not smart enough.

  159. "Maybe he should grow a pair, actually come up with a vision"

    That's a good idea, I completely agree, but earlier on you were suggesting we should write him off because he wasn't Canadian enough. So what is it?

  160. The problem with the whole "Ignatieff is not a real Canadian" meme is that the Conservatives' faux outrage is purely tactical. They don't really care whether Ignatieff spent time out of the country – they just assume that this is the best way to do damage to his electoral prospects.

    If some other leader had taken over the Liberal Party, the Conservatives would have chosen another line of attack. If it had been Bob Rae, his record as a former NDP MP and former NDP premier of Ontario would likely have been the focus point. If Justin Trudeau ever becomes leader, attacks on his father's legacy – with heavy emphasis on the National Energy Policy – would possibly have been the angle of attack. (I'm no political strategist – this is off the top of my head. I don't have an expensive war room and reams of focus-group data at my disposal.)

    The idea all along has been to focus the political discussion on the Liberal leader's fitness for office. This keeps the heat off the Conservatives, and forces the Liberals to play defense 24/7. Whether it is good for democracy to allow one party to use its surplus cash to run never-ending attack ads is never discussed – there was an anti-Iggy ad at halftime at the Super Bowl, for Chrissakes!

    It says something about the Conservatives' electoral chances that they haven't gained ground in the polls despite this never-ceasing barrage of propaganda, and despite the Liberals not successfully offering a coherent alternative. And they now run the risk of having their ads become background noise. "Ho hum, another anti-Iggy ad. My, it's cold out today, isn't it?"

  161. For someone who is able to look so critically at the whole "party insiders bring Ignatieff back to Canada" line, it's somewhat of a wonder to me that you are not able to look a little more critically at the whole "Igantieff writes a book called True Patriot Love about how Canadian his roots are". I mean…

    Apparently he started writing this thing in 2000. I know that we are just playing in the realm of imagination here, but what do you think his working title was back in his pre-wanting-to-be-Prime-Minister-days was?

    All I'm saying is that for my money, that book stinks at least as much as Harper's non-existent but much talked about hockey book.

  162. The book stinks because it is uneven and really substandard and superficial for Ignatieff, for much of it. There are chapters which are middling to good in his analysis of his ancestors.

    If you are implying he just wrote this because he was going to become leader and possibly PM, I disagree. He toured the country doing research for his book in 2000, travelling the paths through Canada of his Grant family ancestors, not dissimilar to what he did for the Ignatieff side of his family.

    What is clear, is that he rushed the writing of this, softened any edges and pushed to get it published because he was becoming leader, especially the last chapter. I wouldn't disagree with that.

    I definitely, though, would also say it doesn't stink as much or for the same reasons Harper's "book" stinks for two reasons: Ignatieff's book is real and it is genuine. Harper's book is entirely imaginary and aimed at creating a different image for Harper as a hockey guy (which he wasn't). Ignatieff' is a writer, with over 17 books to his name, and clearly was going to write a book like this at some point in his life. The why now? is obvious as I said – politics. But the why? is genuine, unlike Harper.

  163. Who is saying they are not facts? Not me. I'm just saying they aren't facts that prove a thing.

    It's a fact that Harris met with Harper in 2002 or 2003, as did Brian Mulroney. Only after that did the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives merge. Did Harper only come up with the idea after he met with them? Using your, um, logic, we must conclude that that is so because the chronology proves it.

    But that, like your "argument", is utterly ridiculous, divorced from any logic.

    Again, I invite you to present some fact that shows in any way that Ignatieff only came back to Canada to become PM. Waiting…

  164. You don't get to teach at Harvard, Cambridge and Oxford out of Thunder Bay.

  165. Canada is not a jail, despite what Conservative would have us believe. We are free to leave the country, and to move within it as we please without being critized for our choices but the busy buddies who have nothing better to do.

  166. That was not my implication. You will note that I noted that he began the book in 2000. I'm glad that you admit that the book was rushed, and that it was substandard and superficial, and that all of this was because it was hurried to publication after his ascension to leadership. That was my point. We agree.

    I was simply inviting you to participate with me in a thought experiment. What do you think was his working title before all the politicos around him told him that it needed to be unabashedly patriotic, especially in light of all the conservative rhetoric, thus causing him to settle on True Patriot Love. Again, I mean…c'mon.

  167. EMily wrote:
    "If Ignatieff had wanted to be PM that badly, he'd have gone with the Coalition deal "

    ANd he will do exactly that after the next election Emily…….that's the point.

  168. frobisher noted:
    "tarnished by a 15 year-old scandal where large sums of taxpayer's money made it's way into the hands of some advertising agencies in Quebec."

    Thereby, showing the goal of those who actually control the Liberal Party of Canada. What you forgot to add, however, was that much of this stolen money made it's way into the hands of the LIberal Party and their MP's. Rather a salient fact I believe. I'm surprised you forgot to mention it.

    Iggy was recruited SOLEY because he was the only Liberal that would have clean hands. Unfortunately, he's the English version of Stephane Dion….only with less accent. In effect, Iggy was to be the face of the new, and improved CLEAN, less corrupt Liberal Party. Sadly (for Liberals) he's been co-opted by the henchmen of the Liberal Party to such an extent that he now sounds just like Liberal party of old.

  169. He will say what he's told to say. He'll read speeches written by other people, he'll promote policies he neither believes nor understands. Policies which, as we have seen in the past have no basis in actual beliefs or commitment on behalf of the Liberals.

    What Iggy's handlers are trying to do is as plain as the nose on your face, and given past elections, is obvious to anyone who pays attention. The LIberal party is trying to poach votes from the NDP. While in power, the Liberals championed corporate tax cuts, but are now opposed to them. The state of the economy has nothing to do with their new stance. The same applies to the new jets. It worked before with the Sea Kings, and they hope it will work again with the new jets. National Child care……please. They had three majorities in a row….and did nothing.
    Kelowna? Another hail mary pass by a Government that knew the jig was up. Canadians were on to them.

  170. The Liberals stand for nothing but power, for powers' sake. Iggy is just the latest gimmick for a sickly, corrupt, and morally bankrupt group of folks who rely on the ignorance and fear of NDP voters.

    Maybe it will work, but if it does….it will only work for the Liberal Party; not Canada.

    Given the nature of those in the Liberal Party of Canada however, that in itself is enough.

  171. I have no doubt that was a major part of the decision on the title. But I would add two additional thoughts.

    First, in my own experience, the publisher has a huge say in the title. In fact, they often have the last say. In Iggy's case, with so many very successful books, he probably has more say than most. Still, titles are nowadays all about marketing and what will sell and "True Patriot Love: Four Generations in Search of Canada" is certainly no different.

    Second, as the subtitle suggests, this book really is about patriotism and defining Canada and his family's role in defining it and struggling with that definition and love of country. It is truly a remarkable family history, in fact, and too bad that (a) it's not up to Ignatieff's own standards (b) gets dismissed as partisan promotion (because by far most of it is not). The segment on George Grant's Lament for a Nation really does ask what is true patriotism, true love of country.

    So had he written the book 5 years ago or 5 years from now, I wouldn't have been surprised if they came up with the same title. Sort of like his reasons for coming back (to bring the discussion full circle): politics was certainly one reason for the title like the remote distant possibility of becoming PM was one of the influences in his decision to come back, but neither case was so simple as there were muliple factors and reasons.

  172. Who are you kidding?

    I'm not kidding at all. Of course the Cons would be – and will be – targetting attack ads at whoever is the leader of the opposition. That has nothing to do with what I said. We were discussing whether or not Ignatieff's return to Canada is a legitimate area of concern. I think it is, you – presumably – feel that it is not.

  173. "I would be a whole lot more attuned to the Harper government's critique of the Liberals if the Cons would simply challenge Ignatieff to articulate a coherent vision"

    That would require istening…..to be fair it would also require the media to cover some of his speeches rather than the fluff and nonsense that get's reported (honestly, isn't the joke about the bus breaking down getting a little old?)

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