Three days in Montreal


Michael Ignatieff writes about his weekend bender in Montreal.

Everything I heard at Canada at 150 suggested that addressing these challenges will require a new kind of federal leadership. Federal leadership should be about convening, not command and control. Ottawa needs to bring the country together in common purpose, and build networks of responsibilities that are focused on outcomes. Instead, all the current government offers is cuts and reduced expectations, because they have no other plan to address the $54 billion deficit they created.


Three days in Montreal

  1. Ignatieff neeeds to define, in more practical terms, what that leadership should be then. Talking about it an academic sense is not going to get people to come running to the Liberals. Say what YOUR leadership would be.

    • What part of "networks of responsibilites" isn't crystal clear to you? :)

    • "Ignatieff neeeds to define, in more practical terms, what that leadership should be then."

      This tedious response doesn't get any more insightful sounding the more it's repeated.

      Would you prefer a commitment to tive (or six, depending on who you talk to) "goals" that Big Daddy Harper favoured Canadians with back in 2006?

      What were they anyway and how's that going?

      • Tiggy spends an awful lot of time defending Iggy.

        He doesn't take kindly to Iggy being criticized, even if those criticisms areof a friendly and constructive nature.

        With Tiggy it's all about partisan politics.

      • If you're going to say I'm bringing a new kind of leadership. You have to have a second sentence afterword. I don't think the leader of the Opposition needs to set out a government in waiting platform until an election, but if you're going to go on the offensive with something like this, you have to define yourself compared to your opponent. Ignatieff doesn't seem to want to do that.

        • "Federal leadership should be about convening, not command and control. Ottawa needs to bring the country together in common purpose, and build networks of responsibilities that are focused on outcomes."

  2. Of.

    It really does depend on what of means.

  3. This means governing by consensus rather than by the constant confrontation and winning/defeating method we have now.

    I'd much prefer it, but our whole system is set up for confrontation. From the HOC aisle being 2 swordlengths long, to the partisan zoo QP usually is, to the idea of 'fighting' an election….it's ALL confrontation.

    So it's going to take some doing to change it to the ideas, debate, discussion, consultation and consensus that he's talking about.

    I wish him well.

    • God, you're adorable. Governing by consensus? That doesn't exist. Don't be so naive.

      • You probably should've reread "Guest's" post before replying…

      • Of course it's possible. It's just messier and takes longer than governing by fiat.

        • Governing by fiat? See where that got the Italians…we need governing by Mercedes or Volvo….

          • Fiat money, fiat governance, same idea.

            I'm not for a pizza parliament, or PR, just a better, more useful way of running a country in the 21st century than a system developed in England back when people actually wore swords.

          • I think swords in parliament might actually present solutions to the current dilemma of how much paper can we shove on parliamentarians before they stop reading.

          • LOL if they stop reading they should be fired, since it's 99% of the job.

  4. Outcomes, man. It has to do with outcomes (and expanded expectations). Must this all be spelled out for you?

  5. This reminds me of a set of diagrams my Federalism prof drew on the class' chalkboard one day.

    Line F (federal) and line P (provincial) run parallel, and never intersect – classical federalism

    Line F and line P run parallel, then merge – what Iggy appears to be talking about

    Line F and line P run parallel, then line F takes over line P (or vice-versa) – the sort of federalism Iggy appears to accuse the Conservatives of

    Line F and line P intersect, then continue to run separately – a one-time agreement between the federal government and the provinces on an issue, followed by policies and platforms that don't even resemble that agreement.

    • Your prof wasn't Careless at U of T by any chance?

        • His mad scratchings on the blackboard still haunt my nightmares. What an odd, odd little man :)

          He had this bizarre schematic that he liked to draw on the board – something about how you need to examine the form, function, and _______ of federalism along an axis between individualism and collectivism. Sound familiar?

          (and it all comes flooding back to me….*shudder*)

          • Very. Though it's been expanded to five or six continuums now.

    • Not to be pedantic, but the math major in me compels me to point out that parallel lines, by definition, do not merge, intersect or take each other over.

      • Well yes, and I'm clearly no math major.

        I described them that way in order to give some idea of the visual on the chalkboard, in absence of the ability to do so using ID.

  6. Reading that mush is really depressing. Is there not even a competent proof-reader in the OLO? Is anyone even trying? That second paragraph (which is really just the second sentence) is incomprehensible as written. To think that Dion was excorciated for his communication problems. Ignatieff is writing – horribly- in his first language!

  7. he sounds like a VP in charge of Human Resources.

  8. Harper said the same sorts of things when he was Opp Leader, and he's become one of the most feared control freaks ever to be PM.

    Iggy will be no different. He'll be more subtle, and less obnoxious in public than Harper, but he'll be just as command-and-control.

    That's the way the Parliamentary system works.

  9. Okay since everyone it trying to interpret wtf Iggy was saying, let me give it a go: "The leader of the party (me) does not have a friggen clue as to what it means to run a country, I/we have no concept of finances, no real meat and potatoes ideas, we/I are devoid of any real depth. All I know is that we want power and get the gravy flowing again. Oh, I also know that the current government never caused the dept, that it was a global recession and we/I did scream in the HoC for all this spending…but, hey, I'm a liberal and I lie. What's new?"

    There, I think I have the real meaning behind Iggy's drivel. LOL

    • I think the word you were looking for there was "debt", not "dep(artmen)t".

      Otherwise, please do continue…I find the depth of your analysis intriguing.

    • I didn't have a problem understanding what he said. It was in plain English after all.

      Reverting to partisanship doesn't solve any problems.

    • I'd say you nailed it! Carry on!

  10. Michael Ignatieff: doing politics differently.

    That's a load of c___!

    He knows it, and we know it. Tell us what you'd differently than the Conservatives Michael. Other than freezing the proposed corporate tax rate at 18%. My guess is, not much.

    • Wasn't 'doing politics differently' a mantra of the Reform party?

    • So you're saying we should keep cutting the rate?

      • What I'm saying Sean, is that Ignatieff will have to make a little bit more of an effort policy-wise if he's serious about trolling for NDP and Green votes. Iggy is more comfortable with Harper's policies than Layton's or May's.

        • How do you know he's not trolling for Conservative votes?

  11. "Tell us what you'd differently than the Conservatives Michael. "

    It's not Ignatieff's fault that Harper is now attacking the credibility of the Fraser Institute.

    • See my comment to Sean, above.

  12. Governing by consensus…sounds like Iggy's masters are thinking seriously of Coalition now…

    • Michael Ignatieff has made a career of defending establishment interests, think siding with Margarest Thatcher over the coal miners in Britain, think doing some intellectual heavy lifting for George W. Bush's foreign policy.

      He is to the manor born and has little time for the radical policies of the NDP and the Greens.

      In his first important decision after becoming Liberal leader, he gave thumbs down to the coalition which almost certainly would have brought him to power. He turned it down, it would have been like siding with the Bolsheviks in the 1917 Revolution to Iggy. Dion and Lizzy May were seen so often together their respective spouses were getting suspicious. Iggy wouldn't be caught dead in the same room with Elizabeth May, to Iggy she's a radical rube. Not Iggy's type at all. Any coaltion will have to be après-Iggy.

  13. The Liberal party is probably wasting another opportunity to take leadership role to put "honesty" in government.

    The Liberals lost credibility with the sponsorship scandal…one would think they would try to at the last to show they changed.

    By that I mean, to strongly guarantee to Canadians that a Liberal Government would clean up waste in spending…getting rid of partisan nominations for crown corporations…getting rid of the piggish golden pensions that MPs get…strengthening Access to information and giving it teeth….improving democracy…

    The liberals have not done so. Political parties appear to be all the same.

  14. Since there seems to be a consensus here that Ignatieff has once again failed to adequately convey his policies, it would be helpful if his critics could provide an example of the clarity of Haper's policies for comparison.

    • Ha! That's not going to happen.

      • quelle surprise!

Sign in to comment.