'Many thanks for your help on this' - Macleans.ca

‘Many thanks for your help on this’


Michael Ignatieff writes to members of the British Columbia legislature.

I am writing to you as fellow Parliamentarians… to ask you a favour.

Prime Minister Harper will be addressing your legislature tomorrow.  We think that having the Prime Minister of Canada address the BC Legislature is a commendable way to mark the Winter Olympics coming to British Columbia.  So I want to congratulate you on this important event.

Here in Ottawa, we haven’t been quite so lucky.  Not only can we not get Mr. Harper inside our legislature these days, but he’s actually gone to the extreme of shutting down Parliament altogether.

While he has put forward a series of excuses to justify his actions, we in the opposition actually think Mr.  Harper shut down Parliament to avoid some uncomfortable questions about his government’s performance.

And that’s where the favour comes in.  Since we in the House of Commons can’t ask Mr. Harper any questions, and since you’ll have him in the BC Legislature, maybe you could try and get some answers from him.   Here are some of the questions we’d like you to ask Mr. Harper on our behalf and on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have spoken out and rallied against prorogation:

1.    Millions of hard working Canadians can’t “prorogue” themselves a break from their jobs or their obligations.   They want and expect the issues they care about to be discussed in a democratic way in the Parliament of Canada.  So, will Mr. Harper apologize to Canadians for shutting down Parliament?

2.    Mr. Harper’s government has gained a reputation for bullying and strong-arming independent watchdogs that serve the public interest, like the Nuclear Safety Commission, the RCMP Complaints Commission and Military Police Complaints Commission.  All of these abuses of power are dangerous in a democracy.  When will he show the respect for these watchdogs by strengthening them instead of attacking and undermining them?

3.    This past month, my party has put forward cost-effective proposals to create new, well-paying jobs for Canadians of all ages and backgrounds.

These proposals would:

– provide hard-hit Canadian manufacturers with a cash advance for new equipment;

– give incentives to businesses to hire young Canadians who have been burdened by mounting job losses; and

– encourage Canadian investors, through either tax credits or incentives, to give to Canadian entrepreneurs and start-ups

Will Mr. Harper include these concrete proposals in his March budget and immediately stimulate job creation and help Canadian workers and businesses alike?

4.    On the environment, Mr. Harper has refused to show leadership, insisting instead of hiding behind the excuse that he is waiting for the American government to act so he can follow.  Canadians don’t want their government to follow orders from Washington on this or any issue.  Will Mr. Harper give us a made-in-Canada environmental policy – not one that’s made in Washington?

I know this is a long shot.   Mr. Harper absolutely refuses to answer questions that make him uncomfortable, especially when they come from the media or from his fellow elected officials.  But given the unprecedented situation, I’m sure you will agree that it is worth the try.

Many thanks for your help on this.


Michael Ignatieff
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada


‘Many thanks for your help on this’

  1. Congratulations, Iggy. An issue you could have owned, you've just blown by making yourself look like a pissant. Not even my sarcastic sense of humour appreciated that.

    • Don't take it so hard. Remember: "Tomorrow is another day."

  2. I'm a little more neutral on it than you, but it's far too belaboured and drawn out to be funny, and far too cutesy to be effective.

    What's that saying about standing back when your opponent is tossing himself over a cliff?

    • Yes, it's kind of a parodical negative ad. Not sure if it will work. Although I'll bet there will be an audience that appreciates it more than some of us here.

      • That's the problem, isn't it? It's not a "parodical negative ad". Supposedly, it's a dignified letter from the leader of Canada's Opposition to the BC Legislature, as opposed to something that reads like the pissant sarcasm of a 13-year old.

  3. Dear LynnTO – can't recognize tongue in cheek?
    I think Iggy set just the right tone…
    At least he didn't attempt to sing it…

    • It reads like 'academic cheeky'. Which goes over well with academics. I'm not so sure about the rest of the world.

      • Isn't the "academic" line getting old? I don't understand the reaction (mis a part the ones from the Harperites) to this letter.

        What's wrong with it?

        • For cripes sake! I'm not taking a dig at him for being an academic. I was an academic-in-training myself for many years. The message is far too convoluted a mix of ideas and attempted humour for public consumption, in my opinion. Nothing more intended.

          • Whatever Sean. There's absolutely nothing "academic" about this letter.

        • This is the kind of thing that is absolutely hilarious as you are typing it or writing it or composing it or whatever, especially for anyone who happens to be in the room at the time….but after that you need to delete it, burn it, destroy it, do anything but actually send it – it just doesn't come across as 'Leader-like' in any way.

          • I was going to draw a comparison to a pooping puffin, but that wouldn't be fair for all kinds of reasons.

          • Ahhh, yes, the puffin. In comparison to that example of bathroom humour this letter from Ignatieff is actually almost funny.

            Bottom line, both parties should be embarrassed, but for somewhat different reasons.

    • At least he didn't attempt to sing it…

      If only it was "At least he didn't attempt to send it…"

    • This isn't tongue-in-cheek, it's lame, snotty, and will accomplish nothing. In other words, it's useless, and makes the author sound like he doesn't know the time or place for humour in politics.

      I have a rule for outbound communications: if I wouldn't send it to my mother, I wouldn't send it anywhere. I wouldn't have sent that letter to my mother.

      • That must make workplace memos rather interesting.

        • It just means they don't contain useless sarcasm, immature tone, or misplaced ideas.

  4. Wow… who wrote this? This is pathetic. Ignatieff doesn't exactly come across as a statesman here. The whiny, sarcastic tone is a huge mistake.

    How could Michael Ignatieff sign his name to something that is obviously the product of Liberal war room juvenalia? Ignatieff should be trying to build credibility here, which is a crucial consideration after he bottomed out at an unprecedented 13% approval rating just a few months ago.

    • Juvenalia is not to be confused with juvenilia.

      • Thanks, typo police! I won't do it again, officer, I swear!

        • You have yourself a nice day.

    • Know how this happened?

      Talent deficit, and character deficit, exacerbated by the Liberal Party's anti-white male politics. Forty years ago you had Keith Davie and Alan MacEachean and Marc Lalonde and Wotan knows how many other wise backroom and caucus men who would have falcon punched whoever wrote this release on sight. They don't have that anymore, and this is the umpteenth time it has bitten them in the ass. I know, I'm always going on about the white man, but does this press release not scream lack of adult supervision to you?

      I must admit though I am astonished at the creativity and brilliance of Iggy's proposals to jump start the economy:

      1. Spend taxpayer money,
      2. Spend taxpayer money, and
      3. Spend taxpayer money.

      How can we Conservatives ever hope to match such a sophisticated economic proposal?

      • I know, I'm always going on about the white man

        See, that's why I'm leery of talking to you. Also, I'm pretty sure you're being satirical.

    • Wascally Wabbit wote it.

  5. Oh man, this is unlikely to work out the way Ignatieff has planned.

  6. I did like the call for a "made in Canada" environmental policy.

    I wonder why the Tories never thought that maybe we need a made in Canada solution?

    • They used to say "made in Canada" when they figured they could delay it long enough and do nothing. The talking points have long since changed with little else to show.

      • Yeah, they're avoiding their own policy and being held responsible for it; especially by the voting public. It's being evasive, and they think that is safe.

    • The Liberals under Trudeau and Lalonde tried to develop a made in Canada oil policy. It was the biggest political and economic policy disaster in thirty years. Why would any government want to repeat that mistake? Ignatieff deserves credit for at least understanding this.

    • They did, here's what happened:

      Bob Rae, at the Liberal leadership convention: "The Conservatives want a made in Canada solution to global warming. Think about that for a second."

      Much guffawing ensued on cue.

  7. Woot! Way to go Iggy. You're upsetting all the right bores.

    • Tiggy, you're the last guy I would peg as an Iggy cheerleader. Yet here you are, prancing around with your pom-poms. I guess Iggy must be doing something right after all.

      • *snore*

        • Shush, sweetie. It's nappy-time. Sleep on your side and you won't snore so much.

  8. I thought it was funny.

    • I liked it too. I'm starting to feel like the guy who like Star Trek, or the Golden Girls.

      • Star Trek and Golden Girls were both extremely successful, long-lasting shows. A better comparison might be Cavemen (2007) or George (1993). Consult Jamie Weinman for more details.

  9. Has Soudas blamed Libby Davies for this yet?

    • I just watched the David/Soudas exchange on CBC. Can someone please explain how this hysteric can be given the job of media relations for the PMO?

  10. Seriously this must be a joke! I would expect this from CAPP or Canadian Council of Canadians or some other well meaning nonpartisan group but from the leader of the Liberal Party? He was doing so well, looking statesman like while listening to the people, but I don't see this going over well with general public.

    • C'mon…do you seriously believe the "general public" will even notice?

    • I don't know about CAPP hasn't got much of a track record, but Council of Canadians would be much more careful about its communcation than this. I would suggest that the general level of discourse by NGO's is better than what you hear from politicians. Maybe you don't like the content, but most are pretty careful about what they distribute.

  11. Fine. Let's just agree that it's neither funny nor persuasive, and leave it at that.

    • Sean, I think you can safely ignore "PolJunkie", who suffers from partisan delirium. If the leader of the LPC said: "Let's all jump off a bridge!", PolJunkie would be one of the first to drown.`

      But seriously, how dare you criticize the Exalted Leader for "attempted humour"? Harperites are the enemy, dammit! You should be devoting all your time and energy to criticizing those bastards! Why do you hate our troops?

  12. I liked it .

  13. Why is so hard for the Libs to quit while they are ahead…. He sounds like an idiot, is not even funny!!!.

  14. Good tact on the start, but he went a few steps too far. Keep the serious proposals to serious press releases or interviews, if Iggy wants to go for comedy (and really, he should), he shouldn't weigh it down needlessly like he has here.

  15. Is this a joke?

    I think we're being played here.

  16. I wouldn't be surprised if the BC NDP take him up on that, if they get a chance. (And, considering today's events in Vancouver, if the Prime Minister can get into the legislature.)

  17. So you're saying we have to figure out how the NDP hacked the LPC website?

    • I'm saying we have to figure out how they hacked into Ignatieff's brain. I thought Donolo had taken over the brain's licensing agreement after Davies moved out, and now we learn that Ignatieff's brain is vulnerable to security threats from common hack(er)s.

  18. It's mystifying. Jocosity is not a good strategy: it trivialises the issue.

  19. It's almost as if they're still taking cues from the jocosity of the Maclean's comment boards. Whoops! Just kidding.

    • Are we jocose? I thought we were mordantly witty or something. The tone of this missive is like one of those earnest-but-sarcastic Liberal voices that appears here now and then and lasts only a couple days because there's really no point in mocking your opponents unless it really hurts. It's depressing to think of the PM reading this and chuckling about it all day.

      • It's even more depressing to think of the BC Legislature reading this and chuckling about it all day.

        I agree that the earnest-yet-sarcastic tone of Iggy's missive doesn't quite measure up to the standard of wittiness set by humble blog commenters. Every so often I judge high school debate tournaments, and most of the kids I judge are capable of producing more sincere and compelling arguments than Iggy manages here.

  20. Did Ignatieff really write this. THIS IS PATHETIC. I am amazed if Donolo agreed to it.

  21. Stretched it too far. Had he kept it to one question it might have been cute. Had he kept it to one question that was specifically relevant to BC, it may even have been decent.

    As it is, however.. meh.