Michael Ignatieff’s tale proves that losing is the worst

The big news: The former Liberal leader’s new book comes two years after his devastating defeat


Adrian Wyld/CP

“All it took was one bad career move, and here he was, a middle-aged depressive taking lessons on buying pet food from a woman a third his age.”—the National Post‘s Jonathan Kay, on former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff

Michael Ignatieff was so excoriated by his political opposition, and to such devastating effect, that the former Liberal leader took two years after a supremely embarrassing loss in the last federal election before he attempted any sort of rejoinder. Now, after a long pause to ponder, Ignatieff’s releasing a new book, Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics, that’s meant to explain some things and reflect on some things.

We’re posting Aaron Wherry’s Q&A with Ignatieff shortly. Stay tuned.

Of the excerpts so far published, and the commentary so far expressed, Ignatieff lays bare just how bad things got for him, personally, after he led his party to its worst electoral defeat in its history. This morning, the National Post‘s Jonathan Kay recalls bearing witness to a particularly weak moment during Ignatieff’s post-election haze. There’s more to the story than Iggy’s profound defeat. He writes about his discomfort with the proposed opposition coalition in 2008, a severed friendship with long-time pal Bob Rae, and credit to the prime minister’s team for so masterfully executing a cynical electoral strategy of negativity.

How Ignatieff will go down in history makes for a curious guessing game. His most ardent critics will remain so forever; they’ll always say he’s pro-torture, never forgive him for initially supporting an invasion of Iraq, and perpetually claim he’s “just visiting” Canada, no matter how long he stays. Surely, remaining fans of Bob Rae and Stephane Dion won’t find many reasons to feel for Ignatieff.

But now, out of the ashes and apart from partisan judgment, Ignatieff’s reflections are giving rise to some sort of empathy. Kay’s writing today reminds us that if Ignatieff is a failure, “so are the rest of us.” The reaction to a Toronto Star excerpt of Fire and Ashes, first on Twitter and eventually—surprisingly—on the comments beneath the story, was altogether sympathetic. Here was a man who not only failed so spectacularly with the country watching, but was now dissecting that failure in his own words. A very public loss followed by a very public accounting.

Out of all of this, what can anyone learn? Probably, thousands of little things and a few big ones. Here’s an important lesson:  Losing sucks.


What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail  The Westgate mall attack will likely hurt Kenya’s tourism industry.
National Post  Prem Watsa’s investment group hopes to save BlackBerry.
Toronto Star  Hamid Ghassemi-Shall was released from an Iranian prison.
Ottawa Citizen  Kenyan forces struggled to fully defeat the mall terrorists.
CBC News  Al-Shabaab militants claims to still hold some hostages.
CTV News  The fight for hostages in Westgate mall isn’t over yet.
National Newswatch  The feds are fighting big telcos for Canadian public opinion.

What you might have missed

THE NATIONAL Quebec values. Supporters of Quebec’s proposed charter of values claim former Supreme Court justice Claire L’Heureux-Dubé as an ally. L’Heureux-Dubé, who retired from the top court in 2002, has claimed sexual equality trumps other forms of accommodation. She has also criticized the British approach to social integration.
THE GLOBAL Bangladesh. Garment workers in Dhaka who protested for higher wages faced the wrath of police, who fired rubber bullets and tear gas into the thousands-strong crowds. The workers managed to shut down 400 factories that serve brand-name labels in North America. The country depends on garments for about 80 per cent of its export revenue.
THE QUIRKY Drunken singer. Robert Wilkinson, an Alberta man most famous for a YouTube video that features him belting out Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody as he sat in the back of a police cruiser, is running for mayor of the town of Edson, Alta. All it took for the internet star was five signatures from residents and properly completed nomination forms.


Michael Ignatieff’s tale proves that losing is the worst

  1. Ignatieff has learned nothing from the experience apparently….he should have remained silent on Dion. It just looks bad and confirms everyone’s suspicion that he was a backstabber from the beginning.

    • Reading the snippets in the National Post, I would say that Ignatieff is wrong on the “coalition of losers” point, but is largely right on the Dion point. The biggest problem with the coalition was that the public largely disliked Dion, who was by that point just a placeholder until the next leader was elected. Had the original coalition deal named someone other than Dion as PM, there would have been a lot less opposition to it (and, FWIW, I think the numbers would have been best with Layton as PM, but that would have been hard for the various Liberal camps to accept). But, as presented to the public, it was literally a coalition led by a political zombie until some point in the future when an unknown person would take over. The Liberal caucus had a very tiny window to take matters into their own hands and select a reasonable PM, but failed utterly, and thus died the coalition.

      • I found most people liked Dion….a ‘nice guy’. Probably not suited to the job, and often hard to understand…but likeable as a person. Whereas Ignatieff was a much colder type.

        And a coalition was a legitimate move…they should have done it earlier.

        • it couldn’t have been done much earlier. They just shouldn’t have told harper about it before the confidence vote. If they’d kept their mouth shut, we could very easily be in the second term of a Liberal minority government as we speak.

          • True….a surprise should be a surprise. They gave him time to rearm.

          • Rearm? Really. When the LPC defeats itself, there is no need for the CPC to do anything about that.

            The LPC armed itself into defeat.

          • One thing about Michael Ignatieff is that he has no issue with accepting the reality of what really happened. That is very unlike the posters on this thread. If you cannot acknowledge the mistakes you made, you are forever bound to repeat them.

          • Actually, I think it is obvious that Ignatieff has a big issue with accepting the reality of what really happened.

            Ignatieff in fact DID go back to Harvard, just as the CPC ad had suggested he would; Ignatieff was only visiting – remember?

            The contents of the ad spoke about a truth, namely that men like Ignatieff can be and are predictable when it comes to their behavioural patterns.

            It was not only a good ad; it was a very perceptive understanding of the man in question.

            Sadly enough, Ignatieff still does not get that!

          • Ignatieff spoke up against Dion’s Green Shift as soon as Dion lost the election. Ignatieff was never in favour of the Green Shift but was afraid to speak up about it until AFTER the election.

            Ignatieff was a hypocrite and still is.

          • You are missing an important word, FV – publicly. You have no idea what he may or may not have said behind closed doors. During an election, when you are already trailing in the polls, you don’t publicly slag your own party’s platform… not if you plan on staying with the party, anyway.

          • FV excepts no excuses…where opposition politics is concerned.

          • What about the voting rights of all the people who chose to vote for the Conservatives — rather than the Bloc, for example. Had they not signaled this to the PM, there would have been long-term damage done to democracy in Canada.

          • there are numerous high-school level courses on Canadian government which will answer this question for you.

          • It was a rhetorical question. I am not seeking “answers” from a high school text book. As Ignatieff points out, in politics you must have the support of the legal framework — as well as the support of the people. Many many people were aghast at this move by the 3 losing parties — and they were right to be.

          • Then they don’t understand our political system. That’s a failing of our educational system.

          • “Then they don’t understand our political system” Of course they do. No one is claiming the action was illegal — but it was a bizarre attempt to undermine a government that was just elected with an increased percentage of the vote and without their being given a reasonable opportunity to govern at that stage. The strategy was planned during the election. A coalition of losers — that’s what it was. It is not as though Canada has 30 different parties that must work out a deal to see who will govern. In this instance, the front runner was simply being side-lined before the government even had a chance to bring down a budget. It’s legal, but does not pass the smell test.

          • Yet Harper was willing to give it a go in 2004. Would it have been OK then?

          • It will likely NEVER be okay with many Canadian voters when losing parties in an election move almost immediately to in essence ‘nullify’ the results of the election that left one party in the leadership without offering to go the polls. Of course, it is dangerous to go to the polls when the voters are exhausted from a 300 million dollar election and things might go even worse for you.

          • Regardless if its ok, the rules allow for it. A fact that Harper was rather conveniently unaware of. Conveniently because he had proposed much the same just 4 years earlier.

          • It doesn’t matter if the rules allow for it. It only matters if the voters approves of the actions of the political parties. Otherwise, the parties run of the risk of completely alienating the voters. You can believe what you want but the voters brutally punished the Liberals in the next election.

          • Both forms of legitimacy are important, both in the process [ the rules] and in regard to the popular will[ the election results] Obviously the coalition didn’t give enough thought about the latter. But to just say the process doesn’t matter if some part of the public object is simply wrong.

          • kcm2, you are stuck on a distinction between “can you do it vs. should you do it.” No one said the latter wasn’t true but perception is EVERYTHING in politics, whether you want that to be the case or not. You can argue legitimacy until the cows come home but what really should care about is palatability. Do you want to be right or do you want to win? Liberals have to start thinking about what appeals to the Canadians who actually get out of their houses and vote. As Paul Wells said so wisely today, you can’t make change if you don’t get elected.

          • Actually Dion said he wasn’t aware of the deal prior to or during the election.

          • The ridiculous thing is that you all congratulate each other on your wit and yet you LOST!!!! Perhaps it is time to put away the arrogance and stop underestimating Stephen Harper! He has handed you guys a can of whoop ass how many times now? At what point do you admit that this was not palatable to Canadians and it is done. Move along.

          • Oh come on! Let it go. It just wasn’t meant to be. Harper made a colossal blunder by going after the per vote subsidy fresh off the election win with a minority government. He gave them a rare gift. What did they do with it? They imploded. They couldn’t keep it a secret because they couldn’t help but gloat. Jack Layton was getting a cabinet seat, something that would never otherwise happen. Liz May would be a senator. Gille Duceppe was writing himself a golden cheque. They were smiling like they just pulled off a big business coup. Meanwhile, in all their backroom fevered strategizing and backslapping, they somehow dismissed the fact that Stephane Dion could not converse competently in English and more importantly, the dismissed their arch nemesis, Stephen Harper. They were completely unprepared for what he would come at them with. To round all off, they fail to hire a professional to tape Stephane Dion’s address to the nation. Now, you can complain all you want about how evil Stephan Harper but if Pierre Elliott Trudeau was here, they would be going head to head. PET could bring it in a battle.

          • Nonsense. If the GG hadn’t been asleep at the switch, there’s every reason to think the coalition could have succeeded.

            And if not, all that would have happened is that their would have been another election.

          • Oh bullsh*t! The woman was doing the GG job just like vast majority of GG’s did before her. She complied with a request from the sitting PM. If the coalition had been strong, it would have stood up to a little “proroguing”. Let’s face it. They were out-maneuvered due to their own incompetence.
            Had the coalition pushed for another election, then things might definitely have gone differently but they didn’t.

        • The coalition exposed its participants as weak, ineffectual, and potentially damaging to the cause. A Liberal, an NDP, and a PQ leader appearing together in front of the flag? A bad strategic blunder. It became an easy target for Conservative attack ads. Canadians didn’t like it.

          • Canadians didn’t think anything about it….attack ads were at fault for villifying a legitimate move.

          • Why do you feel the need to rewrite history?

            There were people all across this country demonstrating against the NDP/LPC/BQ coalition agreement to overtake a newly elected government.

          • And there were 100 times that number of people demonstrating against a government proroguing itself out of losing a vote of confidence. I bet that made you mead, huh?

          • Indeed: there were and always are two sides to any story.

            EmilyOne pretends there was only one side to the story, and therefore I asked her why she felt the need to rewrite history. But EmilyOne does not want to answer questions.

          • So much irony.

          • 100x, really?

          • Demonstrating or signing a Facebook petition?

          • Yes ;-)

          • Indeed. Yes. Both.Perhaps, 98x, I apologize.

          • Haha! That is the real crux of the issue. The Conservatives are tough buggers. They got out in that January weather and used their feet to demonstrate. The Liberals and NDP were on their computers in the warmth of their homes.

          • You and Dean Del Mastro, rewriting history to make for glorious Conservative party.

          • There is no need to re-write history when it comes to the ill-fated coalition attempt. It was an abject failure. Full stop.

          • you mean like proroguing parliament?

          • You’ll have to talk to the GG of the time about that….she failed in her job.

          • Canadians did think about it — and I guarantee you, many did not like it. In fact, if you recall, support for the Conservatives went up significantly once that fiasco took place. Lawful is one thing — but politically palatable is another issue entirely. Coalition of losers is exactly the right description. and it deserved to fail.

          • Canadians didn’t think at all.

            This is what comes from taking plumbing but not knowing how your country works.

          • Are you meaning to imply that Canadian’s are not well educated? Puleeze — there are many Joe Blows out there (some plumbers) who are far more politically savvy than many university grads. If you mean having an understanding of the lawfulness of the coalition — most people recognized that, but found the reality (so soon after an election where Conservatives had gained seats) to be unpalatable. Do not assume that people are stupid just because they do not agree with your political views.

          • Educated? No.

            42% of Canadians are functionally illiterate.

          • that would be the people that voted Liberal/NDPQ, correct…

          • I am sorry, but you are – wow lack of words – schmuck or schmuckete…

          • Simply factual.

          • what facts – 42% of Canadians are functionally illiterate – where did you see this info, would love to read it.

          • this is the problem with the left – they think anyone who does not agree with them are stupid – I dislike the elitist label as I think that makes conservatives that use it look bumpkin like – but I have to say if the shoe fits – my brother who I have deep respect for is the most patronizing and condescending person when politics comes up – the Liberals have the right to lead and anyone who votes against them is an idiot. The left taught Conservatives how to make attack ads. The left just makes my jaw drop.

          • Oh please. Even our erstwhile PM was apparently ignorant of how our system works. The average voter may well have had a sense something about it wasn’t right , but that was it, judging by the deluge of nonsense filling up the comments section of every paper at the time.

          • And again with the plumbers! What did they ever do to you? Were you married to one at some point?

          • Perhaps “she” IS a plumber. It is that self-hate phenomenon. She IS also an Albertan!

          • It certainly may be the right description given our system. A supposedly democratic system that thereby leaves the majority of Canadians “losers”.

          • Yes, we see the difference between the two. Harper’s government was convicted of political fraud with the in & out affair – yet that lawbreaking is perfectly palatable to most of the CPC base.

      • That’s almost certainly wrong. If dislike of Dion were a big liability, it would have come up instead of the “zomg we’re handing the country to the separatists!” bit harper kept harping on.

      • No, it was a coalition in need of the BQ and THAT is what offended Canadians.

        After the 2008 election the NDP and LPC together had LESS seats than the CPC. The BQ was needed for the coalition to make the numbers count.

        • well stated – this is exactly what turned the tables on the idea, made it look like a coup d’état and not politically sound – especially after an election showed the electorate did not want them.

        • Harper was good enough at math to try the same thing in 2004, after the election in which the CPC and NDP combined had less seats than the Liberals. The BQ would have been needed for the coalition to make the numbers count.

    • So, should Ignatieff have decided to step out of the Liberal party and sit as an independent, just as Rathgeber, the media darling, had done when HE could not agree with his party consensus?

      • Kindly don’t make your silly remarks to me. I’m not interested.

        Find someone else to bore.

        • Thank you for reading my post and responding to it.

          May I remind you that reading or responding to my post is optional.

          Or are you thinking the same way Ignatieff does: “Others made me do it!!”


        • I guess you don’t have an answer.

          • I guess you don’t have a question.

    • I don’t see how he would have written an honest book and remained silent about Dion’s fumbling. Not much of a secret, anyway.

      • Since he did far worse than Dion….even after all the warning he got…he should have had enough sense to keep quiet.

        Dion did not attack Ignatieff, and we know he had cause. And neither Martin nor Rae have attacked Ignatieff. Ignatieff here is the only one without courtesy.

        • What is your point? Why is “courtesy” more important than honesty in setting the record straight. Ignatieff has left politics. I think he should feel free to be candid in presenting his view of things, and there is no reason for him to continue to feel loyalty to Dion. Anyway, it’s not like he is dissing on the current Liberal leader (maybe that’s for a follow-up book).

          • He wasn’t ‘setting any record straight’…..he was attacking Dion personally. He was never loyal….so he didn’t get loyalty in return…..he lost, and badly.

            Courtesy….something we had when there were gentlemen in govt. It was all part of being honourable.

          • “something we had when there were gentlemen in govt.” When was that? Not in living memory would be my guess. Regardless, Ignatieff at this point has no reason at all to look after Dion’s feelings. Dion is free to respond to the criticisms.

          • Well not since Harper showed up, that’s for sure.

            Almost everything in Parliament runs on ‘gentlemen’s agreements’….but that only works when you have gentlemen.

          • You have badly misjudged Harper. And the only “gentleman’s agreements” that I am aware of (in recent years) are of the Liberal Party’s “wink wink, nudge nudge” variety.

          • What ‘you’ are aware of….and reality….are two different things.

          • Not at all. Do you live in Ottawa? If not, then I guess you missed a lot of the “wink, wink . . . nudge nudging” that characterized how things got done under Chretien.

          • PM Jean “brown paper bag” Chretien…

          • I thought that was Brian.

          • That is exactly what I was thinking!

          • This has nothing to do with Chretien…or your partisanship. Focus.

            Much of our Parliament operates…and always has….on tradition, precedent and gentlemen’s agreements.

            A great many things MPs, cabinet ministers and PMs do or don’t do aren’t written in law. They are matters of custom and convenience.

            That meant that they could be changed or eliminated if a genuine need arose….without the bar brawl changing the constitution would entail….but it was left to ‘gentlemen’ to decide on if the change was honourable.

          • It was you who brought partisanship into this discussion — by implying that these “gentlemanly agreements” have gone by the boards since Harper “showed up.” I merely pointed out that Parliament has not operated this way for a very long time — though I am sure some level of camaraderie still exists on an interpersonal level as do custom and tradition. Your argument that we have somehow lost this golden era of Parliamentary courtesy and cooperation is not very convincing.

          • Yes, when you asked when we had gentlemen. Don’t ask questions if you don’t want an answer.

            Parliament operates this way on many things still….just not the ones under discussion currently. It isn’t ‘camaraderie or friendship or having drinks together. It is how to deal with a subject, situation, problem etc

            I’m not trying to ‘convince’ you of anything….nor am I required to. The situation exists. Deal with it.

          • “The situation exists. Deal with it.” Emily has difficulty convincing people of the rightness of her view, so she becomes imperious. I think that is a sign that you are losing the argument.

          • Not my view, and not my job.

            There is no argument to win.

          • Yeah, that’s what Rubber Jack (NDP+) used to tell the teenage girls at the “clinic.”

          • OUCH!!!! :)

          • to begin with, I do not believe there ever were any gentlemen in politics.
            with that said, if you believe that the current Canadian gov’t runs without “gentlemen” agreements with MPs from other parties then you have a total lack of understanding on how any gov’t works.
            these guys/girl ladies and “gentlemen” have drinks together when not on the air screaming at each other, they are all in the same boat and are most likely friends outside of the arena.
            so, please get a grip…

          • What you ‘believe’ is irrelevant.

          • back to the left thinking, unless your opinion agrees with mine its irrelevant and wrong and you are an uneducated rural hobbit. does that cover your what you call a thought…

          • Bad dawg….I have never been ‘left’ in this or any other lifetime.

          • Any evidence for that now? You’re at least 10 or 20 years behind the times.

          • When was that?

  2. Dick Tuck – The people have spoken, the bastards.

  3. His most ardent critics will remain so forever; they’ll always say he’s
    pro-torture, never forgive him for initially supporting an invasion of
    Iraq, and perpetually claim he’s “just visiting” Canada, no matter how
    long he stays.

    Those are probably two different camps of critics, though. The “just visiting” campaign was surprisingly effective among a certain type of voter (to Canada’s shame, and I hope we do better), but they probably had to use it because on many of the kind of issues above he was too much like the CPC.

    • “among a certain type of voter” Can’t help but wonder exactly what “type” of voter this would be. “Just visiting” raised legitimate questions and some suspicion about Ignatieff’s motivation and he was never able to lay those suspicions to rest. Would this “type” of voter be the type that likes to see long term interest and involvement in the country before stepping up to the plate to be PM? Was this not exactly what Bob Rae felt was illegitimate about Ignatieff’s claim on the Liberal leadership? He was parachuted in as an outsider. It was up to Ignatieff to overcome that image and he did not.

      • people who were aware enough to ask “so why does a life of prestigious jobs abroad make him bad for the job? what does it affect regarding policy?” (Colby Cosh tried, a bit, at the time, and came up with an unconvincing article about being at a water cooler or something).

        The CPC never talked about that. It was all “working abroad bbaaaaaaaaaaaaaddd, (no real job in Canada) goooooooood). That really upst me, becuase I like my country and I don’t like to see us portrayed as small minded and pusillanimous.

        • how did you feel when the Liberals portrayed Conservatives as guns on the streets, thugs, racist/bigots and Nazi’s. Did this “upst” you also?

          • you are going too far with nazis, but the short answer is no, why would it? Saying you don’t want thugs running the country is a GOOD thing. Neat how that works, eh?

        • You have the wrong perspective. No one ever said jobs abroad were unacceptable — but rather, if you are going to waltz into Canada and go after the PM’s job in very short order, then you need to convince people that your reasons are for the betterment of Canada . . . and not just a good career move or seeking power or prestige. Most people having lived away from a country for many years might have felt the need to refamiliarize themselves with the country, its people and priorities. And, if you do not . . . then you need to be clear on whatever vital contribution you are making — Ignatieff was not. It is not the CBC’s job to make the case for Ignatieff, and in politics you need to be able to respond to criticisms from every direction. Ignatieff was politically naive and it showed.

    • he left for 30+ years, came back, lost and left again – I believe they call that just visiting. so what is so wrong about stating the truth?

      • QED.

  4. Although Ignatieff’s published a number of ‘books’ they’re almost identical in their format. I read ‘Virtual War.’ I wouldn’t, however, recommend it to anyone unless you’re really curious to see what his style of writing looks like. While he certainly addressed his subject matter I found that it lacked the sort of in-depth analysis that you might expect from a tenured Harvard professor who majored in foreign policy relations.

    • I’ve read Ignatieff’s book ‘The Lesser Evil’. It is abundantly clear in that book, too, that Ignatieff does not understand the role of responsibility in contrast to rights.

      Here, too, now, Ignatieff seems to think that responsibility does not have to be taken in order to claim rights.

      Yes, Ignatieff had the right to come back to Canada to enter Canadian politics. But now it seems that he is unwilling to take full responsibility for his own actions.

      Ignatieff really doesn’t get it.

      • I always thought of him as that hated expatriate. The Russian spy. The double agent ready to sell out the country’s secrets to the highest bidder. The Harvard elitist. The Pretender to the throne. If I’ve missed anything in this characterization of him please feel free to let me know.

        • I don’t know about Russian spy, but I think you covered it…

  5. Iggy is behaving now as he should have then. When the party left him out of the nefarious scheme as Deputy Leader they doomed themsleves – indeed it was a coaltion of losers and canadians gave them the message loud and clear twice – you do not lose an election and then get all the losers together and turn around and make a backroom deal to get power with bargians made to separatists !!! – this is so blatantly obvious than anyone denying it only makes themsleves look silly at best or just an out and out a hyper partisan – there are 2 confidences required in our system (1) parliament and (2) the people – Dion is the source and reason for the demise of the liberal party and takes the most responsibility – the fact that the coalition of nutballs didn’t even tell Iggy as Deputy leader proves the fact – they knew that not only was it depsarate it was STUPID especially telling everyone in front of the Pariliament on national TV – and if there is one thing the average canadian will not forgive in it’s leaders is stupidity – in the past our PM’s who have any actual time in office are not selected by popularity, intellectual weight, charismatic personality (to a point) they are selected because the average canadian knows that to be a leader in our system you have to be able to do what is right for the country and that usually means behaving using the power and using it effectively which more often than not means being being a real son of a you know what –

  6. What you certainly missed is this:

    When Rathgeber decided to sit as an independent because he could not bare to sit with a party he could not agree with, he was described as a hero.

    When Ignatieff decides to NOT sit as an independent when he was in disagreement with his party about the forming of coalition with the NDP and BQ, HE must be seen as a hero.

    So which is it, members of the media?

    Should Ignatieff be considered a hero for towing the party line against his wishes?

    Time for the media to make up its mind. You can’t have it both ways.

    • Well, you need to understand the general philosophy here. If you reject the Conservative Party, you are a hero. If you do anything to undermine the Liberal Party, you are a villain. Very simple to understand, really.

      • In deed!

  7. I have not read the book, but have always felt that Ignatieff in politics was like a fish out of water. I am guessing he would have learned some useful lessons from the experience. Perhaps one lesson would be that if you are running to be Prime MInister, then you had better have a better reason for doing so, rather than just personal ambition. It was never clear to me why Ignatieff even chose to go into Canadian politics. He was interviewed at an early point (in Britain, I believe) and when asked “why” — he did not seem to have a clear reason. Perhaps he explains his motives in the book.

  8. John Ibbitson is right in his book, The Big Shift, the Laurantian Elite just doesn’t get the fact that power in Canada is shifting to the West and they are totally out of touch. Iggy is a perfect example of this elitist group. They think the world revolves around their communal navel. For 3 Liberal “men in black” to think they could change Canada by recruiting an outsider, Canadian or not, is the height of arrogance, as only a Laurantian elitist can be. The fact it didn’t work is proof of Ibbitson’s point. And obviously the media doesn’t get it either because in the past few days, we’re inundated with stories about Iggy and his new book. We don’t need Iggy to write a book about what we already knew.

    • John Ibbitson is right in his book, The Big Shift,


      Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand stopped reading exactly there.

    • Thank you for speaking for all of us. I wasn’t aware “we” had all given you the green light but your arrogance clearly trumps MI’s arrogance.

  9. Since we are looking back this is worth another read – http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/05/04/no-country-for-good-men/ – at the time i thought it was by far the best obit on MI’s time in politics – i still do.
    Clearly Potter was angry when he wrote this, but that’s what makes it ring so true. Ignatieff make his own mistakes but the cowardice of the LPC for not backing him or finding a narrative for him [ or simply rejecting him] and the fecklessness of the media in general for essentially enjoying the spectacle of the liberals getting the boots put to them, rather then condemning the tory tactics is evident. Other then a few good columns by Coyne or Potter, maybe Simpson and Martin, i can’t recall i lot of outrage from the so called liberal media. It’s just a blood sport for many of them and principles are for losers.
    I didn’t like MI either, but Potter is right, we failed him as much as he failed us. He didn’t have any right to expect to be PM given his performance, but neither did he deserve the treatment he did receive by those in the political/journalistic class who should have known better. I’d hate to think any of them had my back.

  10. I’d like to know why it is that since the time of MacKenzie King, every single individual brought forward as a “leader” by the Liberal Party has been some sort of strange fruit cake.

    a) King roaming 24 Sussex and getting advice on a Ouija Board from his dead mother.
    b) Pearson who could never get elected in a riding where anyone actually knew him, lisping his way to Moscow and back every 2 months to receive Kremlin instruction on how to run the country. The dead maple leaf flag he stuck us with is the exact same colour as the hammer sickle.
    c) Trudeau becoming PM at 50 years of age while still living at home with his mother. Then while paddling a canoe over to Fidel Castro’s birthday he was picked up seasick and crying by the US Coast Guard and deported. Showing up later at a Grey Cup game wearing a magician’s cape and a gondoliers hat. Finger saluting the taxpayers out of train windows.
    d) Chretien – is there a need to elaborate?
    e) McGinty – a Norman Bates look alike fully practiced in Psycho economics.
    f) Smitherman – the shattered wife of a missing husband
    g) McWhinney – WTF?
    h) And now the sad tale of Princess Ignatieff

    I couldn’t find this many wackos if I sent a detective agency out looking for them and yet the Liberal Party runs them down like a bloodhound.

    • The guys we let run the country for the better part of a 100 years were all either weirdos or commies getting orders from the kremlin – gotcha[ backs away slowly]

      • You lost me. I didn’t pick up on any commies until Lethter Pearthon had that little affair with Herbert Norman.
        So as you’re backing away slowly don’t disappear into one of Dave Miller’s $400,000 pay toilets. :-)

        • Oops there was an earlier one.

          Sometime in the mid 1940’s Robertson Davies wrote a Samuel Marchbanks piece in the Whig Standard.

          Davies had just come from Ottawa on the train and remarked that as he looked back at the Ottawa skyline it reminded him of the skyline of M-S-O-W and that the outline of the parliament buildings on the horizon reminded him of the K-R-M-L-N.

          That’s from the 1940’s I thought it was odd when I first read it in the 1970’s. But it makes more sense now after 50 or 60 years of Liberal Party socialism has taken its toll

          • Yeah they really did a good job of relegating us to the bottom of the global pack now, didn’t they. It’ll take Harper the rest of his life to haul us back into the big leagues again.

          • Well that’s right, it was your great Cult Leader Pierre Trudeau who brought the country into the “big leagues” right? Made all Canadians revered and honoured throughout the world, right?

            Well, when the great man passed away at a ripe old age they had an enormous State Funeral for the old boy with 81 gun salutes, official trains, and world dignitaties come to offer respect.

            Unfortunately for your argument of “Big Leagues by Liberals,” the only world leaders ex or current to show up were the worst US President ever, Jimmy Carter and Communist Dictator Fidel Castro. Oh yes and the president of Greece. There’s a big leaguer for you. If the President of Greece tried to come here today we’d have to lend him cab fare.

            So, is there anything else you’d like to add for the benefit of my trash can?

        • You lost me at Trudeau at 50 living at home with his mum at the time he became pm. People who are too lazy or partisan to get the small facts right often make me fearful for many other of their factoids.

          • Maybe it’s because he was actually only 48 years old when he became Prime Minister, moved out of the basement or wherever, and found a home of his own over at 24 Sussex.

            But unlike the advertising propaganda he was getting from the left wing CBC he was not youthful, he was not charismatic, he was not handsome (he looked like a fish), he was not wealthy and he most definitely was no genius.

      • I never thought of it that way before, but how true!

        • Watch out Rose, there may still be a commie liberal or two hiding under your bed yet.

          • Or in my bed for all you know.

  11. Perhaps the most offensive notion is this idea that Michael Ignatieff has paid a price for his failings. Michael Ignatieff is doing fine for himself; he is not the one paying for his blowout in 2011, we are. We’re in our fifth straight years of stagnant Conservative economic “recovery” characterized by high unemployment and new jobs being of a low-paying and temporary nature as represented by the record-high numbers in the Temporary Foreign Worker program that have been authorized by the self-professed economic whizzes, but as long as we’re not out in the streets eating each other this apparently entitles them to run a $100-million Economic Action Plan self-promotional campaign. To really needle us, they keep telling us that we can’t vote for anyone else, or it will rock the economic boat because even though they’re simply awesome economic managers, the economic recovery is slow and fragile (it could blow at any moment,) a self-contradictory message if ever there was one. If we put anyone else in charge, I suppose there’s the ever-present danger that we may get a recovery that isn’t slow and fragile. As to their level of transparency and accountability with this majority, no one could state with a straight face that they have provided it. If Michael Ignatieff thinks Dion’s coalition was “illegitimate” he needs look no further as to why Stephen Harper ran right over him for three straight years. If the leader of the Official Opposition is willing to treat a Conservative minority like a Conservative majority, the Conservatives were completely cool with treating it like one too. This led directly to rotten ideological policy like the Conservatives gutting the census, and the philosophical status now where if a poor person falls in the census, but the data does not record them, did they ever really exist?

    I voted Liberal in 2011, mostly because our FPTP electoral system is idiotic and the Conservatives would have thanked me for voting any other way in my riding, largely for my local MP (now a former MP, largely thanks to Michael Ignatieff,) and also because on an objective level I do expect that his government would have been more ethical than the current one. Truthfully, most of my objections to Ignatieff had to do with positions he took prior to his entrance to Canadian politics which were rather illuminating, and which were never criticized anyway, not the issues that turned into his Achilles’ heel. Maybe Michael Ignatieff really did run for heartfelt reasons after all, I wouldn’t know; but a real “thinker” in his situation would have realized that he was someone who was in no position to run successfully, prior to his attempt to do so. And given the foreseeable consequences of running unsuccessfully, he would have stayed out. I’m sure it’s terrible for Ignatieff to have to deal with self-reflection, but there are a lot of people; young people especially; who are looking at a bleak outlook right now because of his failings for whom things are a lot tougher.

    • You are naive to think that either the Liberals or the NDP would have done a better job on economic recovery.

  12. Michael who?

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