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‘That’s the difference between Stephen Harper and me’

Michael Ignatieff lays out his economic vision for Canada


 

The prepared text for Michael Ignatieff’s speech in Toronto this afternoon.

Humber College is in my riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore. President John Davies and some students from Humber are here today. Thanks for the great work you do.

I’m going to talk about what Canada’s been through, the challenges we’re facing, and where we should be going. And I’ll present a Liberal alternative.

Before I do, I want to reflect on the last week in Ottawa.

I was watching a game on television the other night, and in the break I caught one of those Conservative attack ads, saying that I was only in it for myself and that I was going to create this scary coalition with the “socialists” and the “separatists.”

Well, by the end of last week, those “socialists” and “separatists” were propping up Stephen Harper.

As they say, a week is a long time in politics.

At the end of that week, our party stood up and voted no confidence in Stephen Harper’s government.

It was a question of principle.

How can we have confidence in a government whose ambition is limited to their own survival?

A government that defines success as not being in as much of a mess as the United States?

Stephen Harper has been prime minister for four years. So ask yourself:

Are we better off than we were four years ago?

Is our economy stronger?

Our health care better? Our voice in the world more resonant?

The answer is no.

How can we support a government that is so smugly satisfied with achieving so little?

That promises to create 190,000 jobs, then loses half a million?

That can’t supply nuclear isotopes for cancer and heart patients?

That sends body bags to First Nations reserves, and doesn’t have the decency to apologize?

And how can a credible opposition support a government that can’t be trusted with the public finances of our country?

A year ago, Stephen Harper told Canadians our public finances were in surplus—when we were heading into the red even before the crisis hit.

In January, he gave us a thirty-two billion dollar deficit. Then it ballooned to fifty. Now it’s fifty-six billion.

You can’t count on a government that can’t count.

Let’s face it, after this performance, Jim Flaherty might be able to get a job on Wall Street—but he’d never get hired on Bay Street.

Liberals are used to inheriting Conservative mess and cleaning it up.

It wasn’t long ago that Brian Mulroney fudged the numbers. And let’s not forget—Mike Harris and Ernie Eves fudged them too. And I’ll tell you who remembers, better than anyone—Jim Flaherty. He was there.

And what did Dalton McGuinty and Greg Sorbara do first? They opened the books and told Ontarians the truth.

A new Liberal government in Ottawa will do the same.

Upon taking office, we’ll conduct a full audit of our public finances. We’ll open the books and find out where we really are.

That’s step one.

We’ll also make the Parliamentary Budget Officer independent, so that we never have to go through this again. No more wishful projections. No more false promises.

Next, we’ll develop a prudent and transparent plan to get our finances in order.

It will be a balanced plan. If we withdraw the fiscal stimulus too abruptly, we risk a return to recession. Economists call that the “w”-trajectory—and it’s a risk we must avoid. But if we withdraw the stimulus too slowly, we risk burdening our children with debt.

We will find the right balance.

Mais nous ne prendrons pas ces décisions tant que nous n’aurons pas des chiffres dans lesquels nous pouvons avoir confiance. Nos cibles seront claires et crédibles.

Pour atteindre ces cibles, nous devrons savoir contrôler les dépenses. Mais, croyez-moi, il y a un monde de différence entre l’approche libérale de l’approche conservatrice lorsqu’il est temps de se serrer la ceinture.

Pour Stephen Harper, réduire les dépenses, ça veut dire couper l’aide aux plus vulnérables d’entre nous. Ce n’est pas l’approche libérale. Ce n’est pas mon approche.

We will balance the books without making the most vulnerable pay the price.

But let’s be clear.

Expenditure control alone can’t dig us out of the mess Mr. Harper has left us.

We need to get this economy growing again.

Mere recovery isn’t going to be good enough.

Il ne s’agit pas seulement de se relever. Il s’agit de se remettre à grandir ensemble—pour créer de l’emploi, pour générer davantage richesse et pour reprendre notre leadership dans le monde.

Dans les derniers mois, nous avons vu des signes de reprise. Et nous nous en sommes réjouis.

Mais soyons francs. Ces signes de reprise, nous les devons aux Canadiens,  pas au gouvernement conservateur.

In the last few months, we’ve seen some green shoots. And we welcome them.

But what recovery we’ve seen comes down to Canadian resilience, not the Conservatives’ performance.

They can’t take the credit. They don’t deserve to.

Look at their record on infrastructure.

This summer, Conservative MPs announced twelve hundred projects across Ontario. Only two hundred of them actually got funding.

One-in-six.

And across the country, it’s even worse—only twelve percent of approved infrastructure projects are actually underway.

The stimulus was supposed to create jobs, promote recovery, and work quickly.

It hasn’t happened, and we know why. It’s been held up at the Cabinet table, while Ministers bicker over who gets to bring home the bacon to their friends.

In Ontario, Conservative Cabinet ministers took home two-to-three times the average, when their ridings had unemployment levels that were half the average.

Across Canada, Conservative MPs dished out an average of twenty-four million dollars to their own ridings, while comparable opposition ridings got a third less.

Governments are supposed to help everybody, not just the people who voted for them.

Governments are supposed to tell people the truth.

Les gouvernements sont supposés aider tout le monde, pas seulement ceux qui votent pour eux.

Les gouvernements sont supposés dire la vérité aux citoyens.

Well, here’s the truth:

Right now, nearly one-in-ten Ontarians is out of work.

In Windsor, one-in-six people doesn’t have a job. Think about that. One-in-six. For a classroom of thirty kids, you’ve got five families who can’t find work.

In Ingersoll, Suzuki is permanently shutting-down production of the XL7 SUV. Stirling Truck closed down in St. Thomas, Navistar in Chatham.

In Welland, John Deere’s closing—eight hundred people out of work. GDX, which makes auto parts, has let more than a thousand people go so far.

In Hamilton, they used to say that Stelco shutting down was the “nightmare scenario.” Well, it’s happened. Fifteen-hundred people lost their jobs.

And then there’s Toronto. Canada’s financial capital. Well, we’ve got ten percent unemployment in the GTA. That means that on every residential street in this city, there’s a family—or two, or three—that’s lost a breadwinner.

We approved a Southern Ontario Economic Development Agency in the budget. That was in January. Nearly nine months later, not a dollar has flowed.

Is that supposed to be good enough?

This is what we’re facing. And we know there’s more to come.

Forecasters predict that two hundred thousand more Canadians are going to lose their jobs, on top of the million-and-a-half that are already looking for work. And this government flatly refuses to create a national standard for EI.

We need to take a hard look at ourselves and ask: Where is our country going? What’s the game plan in a game where the rules are changing?

Canadian workers know we’re not just living through a temporary downturn. We’re in the middle of a global restructuring of the economy.

Mr. Harper doesn’t get this, but Canadians do.

Many of the things we’ve sold aren’t what the world wants to buy anymore. Many of the jobs we’re losing aren’t coming back.

Canada’s economy is entering uncharted waters. The global stimulus package put enough public investment into the world’s economy to pull demand forward by a year. But that public investment is temporary—it’s going to wind down as country after country hits the deficit wall.  And when they do, the private sector has to be ready to provide jobs.

That’s why we need to plan for growth beyond recovery. That’s why we can’t just be thinking about how to get out of the hole we’re in. We’ve got to figure out how to hit the ground running—fast—once we climb out.

We’ve got to figure out how to grow.

And achieving that growth is where the difference between Liberals and Conservatives plays out. Liberals believe growth won’t happen on its own—that you can’t grow our economy without a government that leads.

***

Un gouvernement libéral fera grandir notre économie de trois façons.

Premièrement, en misant sur l’entrepreneurship, la technologie et le savoir-faire canadien.

Deuxièmement, en investissant dans ce que nous avons de plus précieux, les Canadiens eux-mêmes, les individus autant que les communautés, qu’ils soient dans nos villes ou dans nos régions.

Et troisièmement, en étant davantage présents là où ce sera payant : en Inde, en Chine et dans les autres pays émergents.

A Liberal government will grow our economy in three ways.

First, by standing up for Canadian entrepreneurs, Canadian technology, and Canadian know-how.

Second, by investing in the Canadian people in every region of the country.

And third, by going where the growth is—India and China and other emerging economies.

***

Of the thirty major world economies, we rank thirteenth in terms of expenditure on Research and Development. That percentage has fallen since the Conservatives took office. They have actually cut funding to our research councils.

A Liberal government will do more, not less, for our innovators and researchers.

Nous allons promouvoir l’innovation et la croissance dans tous les secteurs de notre économie, y compris le secteur minier, le secteur manufacturier, la forêt et l’agriculture. Parce que même dans nos domaines traditionnels, nous devrons savoir innover pour prospérer.

We will offer incentives for small and medium businesses to hire and train workers, especially young workers hardest hit by unemployment.

We’ll make a priority of manufacturing research and commercialization, to help our businesses bring new products and new technologies to market.

We’ll tackle the challenges in our venture capital markets, to drive more private investment to Canadian biotech and high-tech entrepreneurs.

And we’ll help manufacturers invest in plant and machinery, to improve their productivity.

Under Stephen Harper, where do you think we rank, out of thirty leading economies, in terms of labour productivity growth?

Twenty-sixth. Twenty-sixth out of thirty.

We’re not just falling behind, we’re falling out of the race.

We can’t grow our economy unless we turn our productivity around, and fast.

We also need to invest in our success stories.

A Liberal government will stand up for flagship Canadian companies, made-in-Canada technologies and key intellectual property—with an investment review process that protects our national interests. We will welcome foreign investment, but we’ll require foreign companies to build and sustain Canadian jobs and head offices.

Stephen Harper dropped the ball on Nortel. He let a Canadian champion fail, and sat back while invaluable pieces of intellectual property were sold off to foreign bidders. The fact that the Conservatives have refused even to review that sale is astounding. It’s dereliction of duty. It’s the Avro Arrow all over again.

Nortel wasn’t a one-off mistake. There is a pattern of dereliction. Inco and Falconbridge, Stelco, Alcan, Canadian nuclear medicine. The Conservatives are not standing up for Canadian industries and Canadian workers.

Pendant 50 ans, nous étions responsables de la production du tiers des isotopes médicaux utilisés sur la planète. Sous le regard de Stephen Harper, Chalk River a été fermée deux fois. Et plutôt que de régler le problème, il a abandonné et il a tourné le dos au monde.

Un gouvernement libéral n’abandonnerait pas leadership canadien en médecine nucléaire; un gouvernement libéral le renforcerait.

Le Canada prospère quand le Canada agit en leader.

Nous ne pouvons pas laisser aller notre avantage concurrentiel. Un gouvernement libéral ne laissera pas le Canada être devancé.

Canada prospers when Canada leads. We can’t trade away our competitive advantage. And under a Liberal government, we won’t.

We can’t grow our economy unless we keep the price of our goods globally competitive. That we need to be most efficient users of energy in the world.

And after four years of Conservative rule, we’ve fallen behind.

The ecoENERGY renewable power program is running out this fall. The Conservatives are letting it expire. The comparable U.S. program was extended until 2012.

President Obama is putting six times more per capita into clean energy and research than Stephen Harper.

We’re investing less in renewables than the State of Alaska.

When it comes to clean energy, Stephen Harper isn’t just behind Barack Obama. He’s behind Sarah Palin.

Bâtir une économie durable, compétitive, avec de l’énergie propre, doit devenir un enjeu national. Ça ne peut pas se faire sans un leadership fédéral.

Et en ce qui concerne les changements climatiques, nous allons établir des politiques fortes et non plus attendre après les autres. Monsieur Harper attend après Washington. Nous, nous n’attendrons pas.

Nous allons créer un système national de plafonnement et d’échange de carbone avec des cibles absolues. De cette manière, nous entrerons à la conférence des Nations Unies sur les changements climatiques à Copenhague la tête haute. Nous y entrerons en leaders, pas en lâcheurs.

***

Second, we’d grow our economy by investing in people and communities.

We would enable our cities and communities to invest in transit and water systems—and we’d do it by permanently increasing the gas tax transfer.

We’d flow money right through the municipalities, to the people on the ground who know where the money is needed most—in community infrastructure.  Economic development in our regions depends on building networks of broadband, bridges, and asphalt.

Si vous ne pouvez pas avoir de communication cellulaire ou l’Internet  en Gaspésie, comment voulez-vous développer le tourisme? Nous ne voulons pas un Canada où les espoirs et les opportunités ont quitté les régions pour les grandes villes.

We want a Canada where you can build a future in the rural, remote and northern communities where Canadians want to succeed.

***

Finally, a Liberal government will grow our economy by going where the growth is—India and China and other emerging economies.

Stephen Harper hasn’t been to India. And he refused his only invitation to China. Our market share in both countries has fallen since he took office. We’ve run our first trade deficits in thirty years.

We can’t afford to keep losing ground.

A Liberal government would learn from our success under Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin—and bring back the Team Canada trade missions.

We’d also enhance the commitment to our gateways—Atlantic and Pacific—key to our export performance.

In the last year, Stephen Harper has only delivered 15 percent of the Pacific Gateway funding he promised. That’s an 85 percent failure rate.

We’d also lead in our relationship with the United States.

“Buy American” protectionism freezes our manufacturers out of state and municipal procurement markets. Those markets are worth eight hundred and sixty billion dollars. Canadian jobs depend on our government getting us the needed exemptions.

Other non-tariff barriers are hurting us, as well.

Country of Origin Labelling requirements mean that Americans pay more for food and Canadian pork and beef producers pay with their livelihoods.

Également, le resserrement à la frontière et les nouvelles exigences pour les passeports sont en train de faire entrave au commerce et au tourisme. Le nombre de visiteurs au Canada en provenance des États-Unis est tombé à son plus bas depuis une génération.

After four long years, all the Conservatives can point to is charter flights for NHL players. If that’s the extent of their success, you know how much our relationship with the Americans has deteriorated on Stephen Harper’s watch.

It’s not enough to spend a few days in Washington, have your picture taken, and call that a plan.

We need a full court press here. From the White House to the state house, we need to use every instrument of Canadian influence.

We need to enlist our American business partners and get them to see this isn’t a Canadian problem alone. Europe is tearing down borders and tariff barriers. The whole of North America will lose out if we don’t stand up together against protectionism and a thickening border.

We can’t move forward on these challenges without federal leadership. A Liberal government will provide it.

***

Tout ce que nous faisons doit s’intégrer dans une stratégie de croissance globale.

Nous allons travailler avec les provinces et les territoires pour investir dans nos étudiants, dans nos professeurs et dans nos chercheurs.

Nous allons travailler avec les grands leaders canadiens. Nous allons nous battre pour eux. Nous allons leur ouvrir de nouveaux marchés à l’étranger pour qu’ils créent plus d’emplois.

De l’Atlantique au Québec, au Nord de l’Ontario, à la Colombie-Britannique, nous allons aider notre secteur forestier à mieux transformer le bois.

Souvenez-vous : Stephen Harper a annulé un plan d’aide pour l’industrie forestière de 1,5 milliard de dollars du précédent gouvernement libéral.

Nous, nous étions prêts à offrir des garanties de prêts, et à aider les entreprises à se moderniser. Stephen Harper a tout annulé sans rien proposer d’autre.

Nous n’avons plus les moyens de tant d’erreurs. Nous méritons mieux.

If we bet on Canadian entrepreneurship, Canadian technology, and Canadian know-how—

If we invest in people and communities—

And if we go where the growth is—

We can do more than just recover. We can launch Canada forward, toward a better future.

But all of it depends on setting the right frame for growth—and directly addressing Canadian fears about the future.

People across Canada are still reeling from last year’s crash. Canadians want to know that what happened to their pensions, savings, and investments won’t happen again.

Canada hosts the G8 in Huntsville next year. We can use that moment to propose new regulations to create financial stability in global markets.

A Liberal government would expand the G8 to include the members of the G20, and we would offer to host and fund a permanent G20 secretariat in Canada.

That’s Canadian leadership. That’s what’s been missing these past four years.

At home, we will keep our tax rates competitive.

En juin, monsieur Harper a dit : “nous n’augmenterons pas les charges sociales.”

Puis, il y a quelques semaines, il a annoncé une augmentation des charges sociales de treize milliards de dollars.

John McCallum, our Liberal finance critic, asked the Conservatives a simple yes or no question: Is Mr. Harper’s hike of EI premiums a tax increase?

The finance minister’s parliamentary secretary stood up and said “no.”

Let’s tell Canadians the truth.

We need to have an actual discussion about what to do about EI premiums, and when. But, instead, the Conservatives are just bringing in a tax increase, without admitting that they’re doing it.

You can’t have an honest debate with a government that only plays games.

All of this brings me to the fundamental distinction between Stephen Harper and the Liberal Party.

Back in July, after the G8 Summit in Italy, Mr. Harper gave an interview to The Globe and Mail, in which he said, and I quote:

“I don’t believe that any taxes are good taxes.”

Think about that for a moment.

“Je ne crois pas qu’aucune taxe soit bonne,” a dit Stephen Harper.

C’est une déclaration renversante pour un premier ministre.

It’s an astonishing statement for a prime minister to make.

We pay taxes, Mr. Harper, so that premature infants get nursing care when they’re born; so that policemen will be there to keep our streets safe; so that we have teachers to give our kids a good education.

We pay taxes, Mr. Harper, because we’re all in this together.

It costs us something, but it makes Canada the place it is: a place where we look out for each other.

But Stephen Harper doesn’t think that way.

Stephen Harper thinks no taxes are good taxes because he believes that the only good government is no government at all.

Liberals say no.

We don’t believe in big government, but we do believe in good government. If we give up on good government the way Mr. Harper has, then we will cease to exist as one great people sharing one great country—and Liberals will never let that happen.

That’s the difference between us and them.

That’s the difference between Stephen Harper and me.

His is an ideology of the past. An ideology that’s contemptuous of anyone who sees government as a means to do good.

It’s an ideology that vaporized the day Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy a year ago.

When Wall Street crashed, even the most ardent free marketeers turned to government to save the free market.

The last year has proved government’s value, as the guarantor of risk of last resort in the capitalist system.

The last year blew Stephen Harper’s ideology out of the water.

Liberals believe in good government. Canadians believe in good government.

You can’t get growth without good government. But growth alone is not enough.

Canadians want their economy to grow again so that we can be the just and compassionate society we want to be.

And let’s be honest, we’re not as just or as compassionate as we could be. We still have promises to keep.

Last week in Ottawa, I met a man who is suffering from ALS—Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It’s debilitating, tragic and terminal.

His wife came with him and they told me that under the EI system, she can only access six weeks of benefits for compassionate leave to look after the man she loves.

Six weeks of compassionate leave.

Is that the best that Canada can do?

We’ve just got to find the resources, the growth in our economy, so we can keep our promises to the people—like that loving wife—who represent the best of us.

Recession must not make us mean. It must not divide Canada into two—into haves and  have-nots.

Of the thirty wealthiest countries in the world we’ve got the seventh-largest GDP per capita.

But where do you think we rank in terms of poverty? Nineteenth.

Or infant mortality? Twenty-fourth.

That’s what I mean when I say, “we can do better.”

A Liberal government will grow our economy so we can invest in national early learning and childcare, for every Canadian child.

A Liberal government will grow our economy so we can improve our health care system, with a national strategy for health promotion.

And so we can help our seniors age with dignity, by securing pensions and strengthening the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

That’s why we need growth. So that—

Every Aboriginal Canadian gets a world-class, not a second-class education.

Every new Canadian is empowered to build and serve our country.

And every farmer can make a decent living and hand their farm on to their children

Où les politiques agricoles trouvent leur origine à la ferme et non à Ottawa.

Où les artistes ont l’appui et le respect qu’ils méritent.

Et où un droit humain tel que “travail égal, salaire égal” est protégé.

We can keep these promises.

We can restore our faith in our government and in ourselves.

And as we near our country’s hundred-and-fiftieth birthday, in 2017, we can build a prosperous, compassionate Canada, proud of our achievements, and ready to take on the world and win.

We can do better—and we will.

Thank you.


 

‘That’s the difference between Stephen Harper and me’

  1. "Well, by the end of last week, those “socialists” and “separatists” were propping up Stephen Harper. … At the end of that week, our party stood up and voted no confidence in Stephen Harper's government. It was a question of principle."

    So what exactly is the principle here? Every time the NDP and Bloc vote one way the Liberals will vote the other from now on?

    • "Well, by the end of last week, those “socialists” and “separatists” were propping up Stephen Harper."

      Well, when you're right, you're right. There is absolutely no difference between giving the opposition a take-it-or-leave-it confidence vote, and a formally organized coalition.

      • Both perform drole irony and illustrate the pragmatic state of our broken democracy. Both are symptoms of the same problem.

      • What I can't figure out is why he calls it a matter of principle. It's an abuse of language that puzzles me. Ignatieff has principles, this just doesn't happen to be one of them.

        His response here is purely strategic, nothing wrong with that, but why call it a principle? After a while it begins to look like "principle" is just another word for strategy. And then people complain that voters are getting cynical.

      • What I can't figure out is why he calls it a matter of principle. It's an abuse of language that puzzles me. Ignatieff has principles, this just doesn't happen to be one of them.

        His response here is purely strategic, nothing wrong with that, but why call it a principle. After a while it begins to look like "principle" is just another word for strategy. And then people complain that voters are getting cynical.

      • AVR –do a little research. I didn't see Stephen Harper appointing Jack to a Cabinet posiiton, and letting Gilles veto any confidence motion in the House of Commons for the next 18 months. THIS IS ONE ISSUE! There is a huge difference! And just think, none of it was done behind closed doors or with press releases and photos of a legal document which will be in effect until 2011. If the coalition isn't a potential reality, why doesn't Ignatieff take steps to recind the agreement. Until that's done "formally", Canadians have no reason to trust him. (We learned that with Dion).

    • It's personal. They take turns voting against Stephen Harper, the man.
      Because it has become a sin to vote for Harper.
      It's not about the elected government, it's personal.

      • Maybe it is. You want to suggest that Harper isn't largely responsible for that with his well established habit of getting nasty and personal with his opponents?

        And we don't elect governments. We elect MPs. In the current parliament, the Conservatives form the government because they have a plurality of seats, and the tenuous confidence of the house.

        • Voting against Harper, making it personal, was well established in 2004 and has yet to change.
          I see no difference in the number of personal attacks that fly back and forth between the left and the right,
          except that it's 3 against 1.

          • The day conservatives learn to shed their victim mentality will be a good one for us all. It would benefit their cause immeasurably, and the nation would gain from the constructive engagement with a perspective that has some good contributions to make to our political discourse.

          • But 'it's not their fault'!!

            How many times have you heard them give themselves excuses after excuses: the banks are the cause of the financial credit crisis, the Americans are the cause of the recession, a staffer left the binder behind, a bureacrat sent the body bags, it's the Liberal senate's fault that we were forced to break our promise and appoint our cronies to the senate, we were forced to pass a stimulus assistance to help Canadians against our will, it's Dion's fault we had to break our fixed election date promise, [CONT…]

          • Coming after your comment that Harper victimizes his opponents,
            that's pretty funny Sean.
            I don't see the difference.

          • I think OLS has outlined the case ably. There is a difference. And I was sincere in saying that the country needs the participation of conservatives, needs their perspective, ideas and grounded approach.

            But in the same way that many socialists are embarassed by the NDP these days, conservatives need to demand more of their parties. And to take ownership of their failures and successes as a piece.

        • So as Wilson says, since 2006, what is supposed to be an effective working parliament, has had their nose out of joint that they are not in power. They are not and never did work in the best interests of Canada. They take every effort to obstruct and block legislation, and offer no effective input or solutions. If I were Harper, I'd be pissed of too!

    • Hey, I got a minus five. Funny how if you say anything negative about Ignatieff here, you get bombed with minus ratings. It's almost as if Ignatieff fans were uh, immature or something.

    • Hey, I got a minus five. Funny how if you say anything negative about Ignatieff here, you get bombed with minus ratings. It's almost as if SOME Ignatieff fans were uh, immature or something.

      • Funny how you feel entitled to a positive rating. It's as if the numbers mean something to you.

        • Look up "irony", it's in the dictionary, then read what I said again. The sense of entitlement you think you see isn't there.

          • Ah yes, I looked up "ironic," read what you said again, and oh dear me, the irony you say you were using is now completely apparent. I am so very sorry I did not see it the first time. You are definitely not a terminal fool.

            Thus ends your lesson in the use of irony for the day. You're welcome.

  2. Bravo. finally someone with a coherant plan

    • Too bad Conservatives are already acting on his plan, eh.

  3. Now that's a plan!

  4. Eh? Not sure what you guys are seeing. I see mostly vision statement and though it's presenting a vision I generally agree with, there's only a few "plan" items in there.. and the only coherence seems to be "spend more money" but no indications of where it'll come from — and in fact several indications of where it will *not* come from, which is a problem.

  5. He raises some excellent points. Unfortunately I just don't see how the Liberals who consistently acted without principle during over a decade of majority rule are in a position to criticize the Conservatives who consistently acted without principle during three years of minority rule.

  6. He raises some excellent points, some of them copied directly from Reagan's 1980 campaign.

    Unfortunately I just don't see how the Liberals who consistently acted without principle during over a decade of majority rule are in a position to criticize the Conservatives who consistently acted without principle during three years of minority rule.

  7. He raises some excellent points, several of them copied directly from Reagan's 1980 campaign.

    Unfortunately I just don't see how the Liberals who consistently acted without principle during over a decade of majority rule are in a position to criticize the Conservatives who consistently acted without principle during three years of minority rule.

    • Because the Conservatives still have the same guy in power who's been acting without principle since the first day he gained power.

      Also, there remains a difference between promising something and not doing it (removing the GST) and promising something and doing the exact opposite (not taxing income trusts, not caving to the US on softwood lumber, not appointing unelected senators)

      • How about the difference between reversing one's self on prior promises and illegally bribing people with public money? I'm not sure that changing the guard really gives the Liberals any moral high-ground here.

      • How about the difference between reversing one's prior promises versus illegally bribing people with public money? I'm not sure that changing the guard really gives the Liberals any moral high-ground here.

        • Actually, it does. In fact, it did when Martin came in because he did the right thing, had it investigated, had members charged, took ownership of it, and took steps to prevent its future occurrence. It's unfortunate that no government is incorruptible, but once we acknowledge that fact, the best we can hope for is that when corruption is found steps are taken to deal with it. In this case, I believe they were.

          And when Harper's party changes the guard, I'll take another look at them too.

          • I think you may have a valid point. I think you'll agree, however, that Ignatieff's words would be more credible if he acknowledged the problems his party has had with integrity and reaffirms his commitment to turning over a new leaf.

          • Absolutely. Although I'm not sure what good it would do for Ignatieff to dredge up adscam yet again, I would certainly welcome a reaffirmation of commitment against that kind of thing happening.

            Unfortunately, that certainly wasn't in this speech. A lot of reasons why we shouldn't trust Harper, but not a lot of reasons why we should trust the Liberals again. Until they get into power again though, I'm going to go with innocent until proven guilty, and hope that Martin's actions were sufficient to purge the worst.

        • Are you talking about the Economic Action Plan advertisements?

      • And you ignore the election promises that this government did get through parliament, which is much longer than the promises not met.

        • Again, "promises not met" is not the same as "promises actively broken". I'm willing to give leeway for a gov't not meeting promises. (such as health wait care times) I don't like it terribly, but I understand it happens.

          However, when a government promises one thing and then takes action to do the exact opposite? That's an entirely different kettle of fish. That changes the nature of the game from incompetence to outright fabrication. And once you know that what a party says it will do has ZERO correlation to what they'll actually do, there's no way that anybody should vote for them again until the party has changed the structure.

          • Like when Chretien won on the promise to kill the GST?

          • That'd be one of those "promises not met", had he turned around and raised the GST? That would have been "promise actively broken" Of course, I didn't vote for Chretien then because getting rid of the GST would have been a dumb ass move when we were saddled with that much debt. Cutting that revenue stream would have only deepened our deficit, or forced it to move to some other form of taxation that was probably not as efficient.

  8. no ONE A PLAN. I don't see his plan ,How can he do better? He has no plan and digging a hole deeper.
    his leadership is in trouble, he needs a plan to clean up his party own mess first.Life guard for Mr. Iggy ,please.

  9. 'Upon taking office, we'll conduct a full audit of our public finances.'

    And then promptly tell Canadians,
    'it's worse than we were told, we have to raise taxes'……. right out of the Liberal play book.

    • In that Conservatives consistently lie about the true size and scope of the financial crap-storm they've created and hide it from the public, then yes, I guess having to come into office and take steps to deal with worse than expected Conservative budgetary bungling i right out of the Liberal playbook.

      • As anyone in Ontario who remembers the Harris government can tell you, cooked books are Jim Flaherty's specialty

        • Unfortunately Danby, the Ontario gov't's books were in surplus at the end of the 02/03. It was the 03/04 fiscal year that had the whopper deficits. You might remember that year, it was the one Greg Sorbara had his hands on the tiller for the last six months of the year.

          • You mean the Tory surplus that an independent auditor examined and determined had been fabricated in a failed attempt at re-election, and as really a massive deficit? Sure, try to blame Sorbara. We're not that stupid.

      • Name one organization/analyst that made projections/predictions about this recession, that they didn't later re-evaluate, numerous times.
        And that includes Budgetary Officer Page, the Bank of Canada, the IMF……

        • So you are confirming that Harper's projections are full of crap.

          Good. At least we agree on something.

          • Everyones projections were full of crap when compared to historical actuals.
            But there was a razor thin surplus for 2008, as Flarhety projected.

          • At the beginning of December, he predicted a $100 million surplus for 2009.

            Which there decidedly will not be.

          • And the Liberals and Dippers ran on no deficit , balanced budgets, in Oct.
            Two months later, in Dec, the coalition formed and they were demanding over $30 Billion in stimulus spending. Which is as far from balanced budgets as you can get.

            Canadians are not stupid, they understand this. Liberal supporters seem to have trouble with the reality of the situation.

          • The reality being that the Liberals and NDP acknowledged the need for spending and what it might do to the government's books while the Conservatives were over $100 million dollars in la-la-land.

            Sure, nobody got predictions about the recession right, but the Conservatives certainly seem to have got them even more wrong than most.

    • -10! Wow, congratulations! You must have said something either truly incomprehensible, truly rude, or truly on-the-mark regarding the Liberal Party.

      …and looking over the comment I see that we're looking at option (c), on the mark. Based on Ontario's provincial Liberals, anyway.

    • -10! Wow, congratulations! You must have said something either truly incomprehensible, truly rude, or truly on-the-mark regarding the Liberal Party.

      …and looking over the comment I see that we're looking at option (c), on the mark. Based on Ontario's provincial Liberals, anyway.

      • Actually now that I think about it, "truly rude" wouldn't get you down to -10 anyway. Only complete gibberish or something that grates on the fragile worldview of leftist partisans would do the trick. (and complete gibberish would be iffy – if they misinterpreted it as something vaguely on-side it could really backfire)

  10. ''….Finally, a Liberal government will grow our economy by going where the growth is—India and China and other emerging economies.

    Stephen Harper hasn't been to India. And he refused his only invitation to China….''

    really?
    ''…Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced last year to deepen trade ties with India, Canada has already opened two trade offices in Hyderabad and Kolkata''.
    http://www.newkerala.com/nkfullnews-1-116143.html

    China to Canada: 'We cherish this relationship'
    …Yang returned the good vibes, saying the global recession provides a good opportunity for the two nations to work together. "I'm glad to see that trade between us has grown and our two economies are really cut out for each other."

    And now tentative plans are underway to have Harper visit Beijing this fall as part of a trip to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in early November in Singapore. The idea of a Harper visit to China got a warm response from Yang, who declared "we are for high-level visits both ways."
    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/655573

    • Oooooh, -3 for exposing MI twisting the truth.

  11. Election, please.

    • Absolutely. We don't want one, but damn, do we ever need one now after last year's waste – and finally, a well-articulated vision for the future of this country rather than Harper's half-assed stimulus/economic action plan and his cross-our-fingers-and-hope-the-free-market-saves-us approach.

  12. Best line ever:

    Let's face it, after this performance, Jim Flaherty might be able to get a job on Wall Street—but he'd never get hired on Bay Street.

    • I thought this one was better:

      When it comes to clean energy, Stephen Harper isn't just behind Barack Obama. He's behind Sarah Palin.

      • I totally agree with you, OSL. That is shocking! Then it's funny. I wasn't quite so fond of your favourite quote, Sean, since I don't think even Wall St. would give Flaherty the time of day.

  13. ''Are we better off than we were four years ago?
    Is our economy stronger?''

    And these are questions to ask in the middle of the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression?
    Canadians are not stupid.

    ''Our health care better?
    Our voice in the world more resonant?''

    Actually, yes.
    But we will expect to hear how it is our healthcare has worsened,
    when Liberals are demanding PMSH tell those Americans how good our system is.
    And I'm pretty sure all Canadians appreciate how Canada is sitting front and center, as a model, on the world stage, during this economic crisis.

  14. That sends body bags to First Nations reserves, and doesn't have the decency to apologize?

    I'm surprised that Ignatieff is still harping on this issue, despite the eye-rolling from most observers when he tried to make political hay out of this last week.

    • It certainly makes me wonder about Ignatieff's capabilities when he can't or won't distinguish between a defensible action that has some some unfortunate optics when viewed in the rearview mirror and a pre-meditated, intentional insult.

      • Again, probably for the 100th time, when a defensible action turns out to have some unfortunate optics when viewed in the rearview mirror, why not apologize? For God's sake, we're Canadians! The joke about us is that we apologize when somebody backs their grocery cart into us. We can take an apology in the spirit it was intended, which is that we are sorry for the unfortunate optics since that wasn't our intent. I totally do not get this absolute refusal to apologize for anything, ever. Oh, wait, here's one. Harper got up and blasted Ignatieff because some professor somewhere said something. Harper thought it was Ignatieff. When he discovered it wasn't, he DID apologize. That was pretty much the last we heard on that subject. Tada! Problem solved! Is there a long learning curve or what?

        • But Jenn, they actually did apologise. Profusely. In the House of Commons. As soon as the question came up.

        • Hi Jenn:

          I wasn't really approaching this issue from the perspective of the apology, or lack thereof. Rather, I was commenting specifically on the magnitude of the "original sin" and how Ignatieff's comment seems out of proportion to me.

          And I thought there was an almost immediate apology from a Health Canada offical in Manitoba? As well, I recall a comment or two from some other Ministers (other than Minister Agluqak). If an adequate apology (I'm not sure how the adequacy will be judged) has truly not been issued, then I will agree with you on that point: What's the holdup?

        • The Health Minister made a very gracious apology almost immediately

          • I saw the gracious words the Health Minister said, and they were great as far as they went. They stopped just shy of an apology though, and that's what I don't get. Unless you guys have a link to an apology by her (or any cabinet minister for that matter, I understand she wasn't in the HOC that day) that I haven't seen? I'm not sure I would have picked this particular issue to get completely hot and bothered about, but I do think the First Nations need a sincere apology for the poor statement body bags said about the Government of Canada's concern for their wellbeing, AGAIN. Especially from Aglukkaq, who one would think would be happy (not to mention sincere) to apologize for the bad optics. To be clear, I don't think anyone needs to apologize for sending body bags to a First Nation community. I do think someone in the government (either the Health Minister or Harper himself, preferably) needs to apologize for the appearance of callousness that it caused. Since we did this before. And meant it.

          • I don't think the Minister has apologized, though Health Canada did, and she expressed regret.

          • OTTAWA — The federal government admitted Thursday that it was insensitive to send body bags in a shipment of medical supplies to First Nations communities awaiting help to prepare for the fall flu season.

            Meanwhile, officials said the shipment in no way reflected how severely they expected the swine flu virus to hit native communities this fall.

            Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, who on Wednesday ordered an investigation into the controversy, followed up Thursday with a statement saying as an aboriginal person she was offended and that what happened was "unacceptable."

            "To all who took offence at what occurred, I want to say that I share your concern and I pledge to get to the bottom of it," said Aglukkaq, who was attending a meeting in Winnipeg with her provincial and territorial counterparts.

            In her absence from the House of Commons, other Conservative MPs faced the storm of criticisms levelled by opposition parties.

            "What happened was inexcusable. It was unfortunate; it was regrettable; it was incredibly insensitive," said Transport Minister John Baird.

            Aglukkaq's statement stopped short of the personal apology that Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff called on the minister to make. But, later in the day her department issued a full-fledged mea culpa and sought to explain why the body bags were sent to communities including the Wasagamack First Nation.

            "Health Canada apologizes for the error that was made in the number of body bags that were ordered for the Wasagamack First Nations. We regret the alarm that this incident has caused," said the statement.

            Health Canada did not specify what that number was but according to media reports, the reserve, located about 600 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, received at least 30.

            Body bags are among the medical supplies Health Canada routinely delivers to the nursing stations on First Nations reserves the statement said, and they are not necessarily related to pandemic preparations being made for aboriginal communities.

        • The Health Minister made a very gracioous apology almost immediately

  15. YYZ, I don't want to say so… Bob Rae a senior Liberal, Liberal leader in waiting … is worst than Jim Flaherty for 1000 times in Ontario.
    You better ask Bob Rae to get a job in Wall street.
    What Iggy said , just said. No one pay attention.

      • So Ignatieff can talk about Mike Harris' finance minister (incidentally, Flaherty was not finance minister when Eves fudged the budget in 2003 – the budget was balanced under Flaherty), but it is wrong to mention the record of a former Ontario premier who is the biggest heavyweight on Ignatieff's team? What gives?

    • Bob Rae runined Ontraio, we all know it.Flaherty picked up after him!

    • Connie, I beg you to refresh my memory. The only thing I remember is Rae Days, which I personally thought was a pretty good idea. What did Bob Rae do that was so terrible?

  16. ''-We will offer incentives for small and medium businesses to hire and train workers, especially young workers hardest hit by unemployment.
    -We'll make a priority of manufacturing research and commercialization, to help our businesses bring new products and new technologies to market.
    -We'll tackle the challenges in our venture capital markets, to drive more private investment to Canadian biotech and high-tech entrepreneurs.
    -And we'll help manufacturers invest in plant and machinery, to improve their productivity.''

    Other wise known as Canada's Economic Action Plan
    http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/eng/index.asp

  17. Excellent speech. Delivery civilly in a classic point/counterpoint style that lays bare the deficiencies of the current regime and gives hope for the future.

    and then… send in the trolls: the barrage of same-old/same-old Con talking points

    • I double checked, this is not Liblogs nor is Macleans in anyway operated by the LPC,
      so 'trolls' with the same-old/same-old 'Liberal' talking points have an equal opportunity here.

  18. […CONT]

    … it's the market's fault we had to break our no income trust taxes promise, it's Wajid Khan's fault we had to break our promise about releasing his report, it's all the fault of the past Liberal government, it's the Vast Leftwing Media Conspiracy of Hatred Against the Conservatives fault, it's the coalition's fault, it's McGuinty's fault we can't get along (you know, that "small man of confederation" who is in charge of "the last place you would want to invest"), it's Charest's fault we blew it in Quebec, it's Danny Williams' fault we won no seats in N&L, etc.

  19. "How can we have confidence in a government whose ambition is limited to their own survival?"

    This is a bit rich coming from someone whose party's primary ambition seems to be power for its own sake.

    • That's a tired old line. Try something new, like: Liberals have no principles…sigh!

  20. How can we have confidence in a government whose ambition is limited to their own survival?

    This is a bit rich coming from someone whose party's primary ambition seems to be power for its own sake.

    • OK. Will it be Prentice who takes the early lead or Kenney? Does Bernard Lord have a comeback chance? Maybe that's why he wasn't give a job-for-life (at least until 75) in the senate like other Conservative cronies.

      Who is your pick to replace Harper after he loses Smith?

      • My vote is with Prentice. Actually he's one of the few of them that would have a chance at my vote. I also like Chuck Strahl, but I don't see that as likely yet.

      • My bet is that its Bob Rae vs. Jim Prentice. And the battle to see who can move further left.
        Both Harper and Iggy won't survive the next election. Harper will hold government but will resign. Iggy will get booted.

        • Harper resign? Perhaps if hell freezes over and Santa Claus moves there to shack up with Irma Grese.. maybe.

    • After a rainy summer of thinking thoughts,
      MI comes up with 'other people's ideas'……

      No no, Liberals MUST keep their unelected leader. No replacement talk, please!

      • "Other peoples ideas" hmmm, well MI can honestly say" At least i hav'n't stooped to plagarism."

  21. Just why do the Liberals think that they can get traction out of the Chalk River isotope crisis? Canadians aren't stupid. They understand that this is reactor is over 50 years old and that no government can turn this around in a few weeks.

    • Indeed, Canadians are not stupid. They know full well that to turn things around, you actually have to try.

      This government has known about the problems for 4 years now. And have done nothing except decide to abandon Canada's international leading role and get out of the business altogether. What leadership. What standing up for Canada!

  22. Okay, so now he's building a narrative. I can start to see a coherent communication strategy here.

    I think there's at least 2 more speeches out there before we see an election. The Libs need to time this one perfectly so that the narrative is just being finished by the time the campaign starts. Plus, we need to get the Cons ads on the books in an election instead of the spend-like-a-drunken-sailor outside of the writ period.

  23. As i Lib partisan i have to say i like the speech as far as it goes…and it's been too long coming but…preaching to the choir is fine – Iggy offers airy fairy vision stuff to those who like it [ i do ] while SH offers classic Tory paranoia the other day to those who need it. It's a bit of a wash, although i'm surprised that Iggy isn't clinging to the coat-tails of Obama at least as desperately as Harper is. For me, i just wish Ignatieff would do something bold for once, try at least and appeal to swing voters or even god forbid Conservatives. I suppose he's tried that on the oil/tar sands, but i'd like to see something that grabs people, that's risky…there's little hope of ever seeing that from SH. All in all it's not a bad strategy to position yourself as the party of the future…particularly since you might not want to remind folks about everything in the Libs past.

    • Is suggesting he would permanently increase the gas tax transfer to municipalities "airy fairy vision stuff"?

      Is promising to bring back the successful Team Canada trade missions "airy fairy vision stuff"?

      Is saying that to strengthen our nation and our national unity we need to have a consistent national standard for EI, we need high speed rail between major urban centres all "airy fairy vision stuff"?

      Is promising to make it illegal for the Government of Canada to ignore its own citizens abroad?

      Ignatieff has laid out way more specific policy positions than Harper had laid out when the 2006 election campaign started.

      The vision is clearly there, unlike with the Conservatives. But starting the last few weeks, he has gone beyond "airy fair vision stuff" and has given us the binoculars to see the stones on the path to that horizon.

      • Hmm, maybe airy fairy vision stuff was a little overstated, but you have to admit this fleshing out of his vision for the country has been a long time in coming – prhaps i’m allowing my personal biases to show too much, i’m not a fan of Ignatieff’s – he was fine as an academic, but he leaves me cold as a politician. Still, i’ve been wrong before…

      • Agreed, plus identifying the problems with the current strategy: 7th wealthiest GDP ratio, 19th in tackling poverty; trailing Alaska on environmental; funding cuts to our research councils. But mostly, he came right out and stated that the bulk of the jobs we've lost in this recession won't be coming back. That's a pretty worrying thing, and if we continue to bury our heads in the sand a la Harper, this recession is going to last forever. He does have a plan–a vision, if you will–that's a little more likely to work than ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away.

  24. If Mike Ignatieff had been in Canada for longer than 4 years he'd realize that many of the problems he talks about have been around since the Liberals were in power. Canadians aren't stupid. They have longer memories than only 4 years.

    • Oh contraire!

  25. Me thinks the professor protests too much.

    Pretty tough to make that Ignatieff and Harper are any different when he admits he "won't tear up" the agreements Harper has signed with Ontario and BC Liberals to increase sales taxes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oZ-LsBKM3U

  26. Canadian exports to China in 2006: 7.8 billion
    Canadian exports to China in 2008 (in the midst of a recession): 10.5 billion

    So under Harper trade with China has grown 10.4%/annum.

    What about India?

    Canadian exports to India in 2006: 1.7 billion
    Canadian exports to India in 2008: 2.4 billion

    Growth rate of 12%/annum.

    How does that compare with Chretien (for whom trade with China started at a very low point).
    Canadian exports to China grew 11.7%/annum under Chretien. Exports to India at 10.9%. In other words, Harper's record is just as good as Chretien's, in spite of his decision to mention wrongfully imprisoned Canadians.

    Where's the beef?

    • Let's hope a journalist poses this directly to Iggy at the next opportunity.

      • The beef is, under Harper, we now have a trade deficit with both countries whereas before we had a trade surplus.

        The beef is, under Harper, we went from being the leading trade partner with the US to being third.

        The beef is while these changes are taking place Harper has antagonized China and hasn't even bothered to visit either country.

        • The reason for both the trade deficit and declining US-Canada trade is the rising value of the Canadian dollar. It makes our exports more expensive and our imports less so. Stephen Harper has had little to do with this, since Canada has long had a policy of a floating exchange rate.

          Trade deficits don't matter and are self-correcting anyway. Why should anybody care whether we export or import more from one country or another? The logic behind this is an idiotic notion that exports are good and imports are bad. Yet, what is the point of exporting goods? To make money. What is the point of making money? Buying stuff. What are imports?

          As for the US, I agree that slow growth in trade with the US is a problem. It has been a problem since 2000, when growth in trade stalled. In 2000 exports to the US were 359 billion. In 2005 they were 365 billion. That is a growth rate of 0.3%/annum (much slower than Harper's 1.4%). It is not clear to me that Ignatieff is addressing the problem since his statements have emphasized dealing even less with Americans, while criticizing Harper for an overly bilateral approach to trade.

          As for visits – they really don't matter. You talk as if the only political interactions between Canada and China (or any other two countries) are face-to-face meetings, or high-level red phone interviews. Ignatieff knows enough about international relations to realize that this is an utter fiction. Bureaucrats on both sides are constantly interacting. Trade deals can be conducted without a single meeting taking place.

          I posit this. Canadian trade to other countries is mostly exogenous and driven by the global economy and events in other countries. Insofar as PM's can influence trade, Harper has differed little in any substantive way from Chretien or Martin, who Ignatieff says he will emulate.

          • You claim that Harper's policies have had little or no impact on the exchange rate, really? His ambition to turn us into an Oil superpower or some such bosh has had no effect eh? And no effect either on our relative decline as a manufacturer either i suppose? Granted that both of the trends had been in place prior to Harper becoming PM. According to your anaylisis one might actually wonder just what Harper has done with his time in office – apart from desperately holding on to power that is.

          • Firstly, what has Harper done for oil that Chretien/Martin didn't? George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq made Canada an oil superpower, not Ottawa.

            You are right that I think Harper has done little. I think most Prime Ministers accomplish little of substance when it comes to trade. The exceptions are:
            1. Macdonald's national policy
            2. Bennett's Ottawa conference
            3. Various tariff reductions under King, and the facilitation of lend-lease
            4. Diefenbaker's move to a floating exchange rate
            5. Pearson's auto pact
            6. Mulroney's signing of US-Canada free trade and then NAFTA

            Even then, most of those changes occurred in an international climate that favoured and impelled such changes. Ignatieff's claim to be able to increase trade with China is similar to Diefenbaker's ill-informed promise to increase trade with Britain. Trade is driven more by decisions at the firm level, not the national level. The main barriers to trade are not ones that can be legislated easily any more, either. Canada and China each have MFN status with respect to each other, so its not like you can cut tariffs.

          • Stephen Harper has had little to do with [the rising strength of the loonie], since Canada has long had a policy of a floating exchange rate.

            Well, this is faint praise, but he has been modestly less willing to devalue his country's currency through a morass of stifling debt than other countries' governments have been. I guess that counts for something.

      • Unfortunately, my experience is that the news-media has no comprehension of international relations. They use the same principles one might employ to analyze gossiping old biddies, or Hollywood couples (OMG: is Putinbama breaking up). States make policies driven by their interests, and don't care about diplomatic snubs. While in some cases snubs can impact domestic public opinion (for instance, Bush's unpopularity in the EU made it politically difficult for politicians to side with him), that argument makes little sense when applied to China – the world's most powerful autocracy.

        China needs things that Canada has. Natural resources and high-tech goods. Canada doesn't need to suck up to China by enlarging the role of the G-20 (to the detriment of the G-7/8, where Canada matters far more). Indeed, I remember a time when the argument for trade with China was to make the Chinese so reliant on the west, that the west could use that reliance to increase pressure for democratization.

        • Really, can you imagine China as a democracy? I would like China to have a better human rights record, plus I would like them to have more stringent manufacturing legislation (especially for exports) and yes that would increase the price but so what? But I truly believe that China at this time could not possibly operate under any other political system than the one they've got now, which the Chinese people themselves feel pretty happy with I understand. As far as I can tell (mostly from watching Olympics coverage it is true) the Chinese leadership isn't like the old Moscow entitled few, everybody really does get their little portion, and works their little portion. Plus, if you've heard, our democracy is broken, so maybe we should worry about fixing our own before we go ramming it down someone else's throat.

          Whether this change in attitude would help us in trade, I have no idea, but I don't think it could hurt.

          • But I truly believe that China at this time could not possibly operate under any other political system than the one they've got now, which the Chinese people themselves feel pretty happy with I understand.

            Nice little East Asian condescension you've got going there, Jenn. Don't give the yellow people freedom, because I don't think they can handle freedom. Nice. Really nice.

          • Huh. You may have a point, but is it any more condescending than your attitude of 'we know what you need better than you know what you need'? I am not in a position to "give" them anything, and I don't believe you are either. It strikes me as most egotistical to consider yourself giving "the yellow people freedom", rather than their earning the freedom on their own. After they desire it, which I'm still not convinced they do.

          • Words-in-mouth syndrome, Jenn. I responded to what you wrote, and you're inventing what I think.

            Nowhere have I suggested I have the power to "give" anyone their freedom — believe me, if I had that power, they'd have it already. But nowhere will I ever suggest that a collection of human beings could neither handle nor want it. And absolutely nowhere will I suggest that someone suffering under a totalitarian regime should lead us to presume that someone is cool with it. Big difference.

          • Yeah, but a lot of people — probably the vast majority — are cool with it, in China or back under Communism in Eastern Europe or in Germany or here, if the moment is ripe. That's the point. That's why totalitarianism is a danger. Lots of people actually do like it. Your own neighbours might like it.

          • Hell, come election day, even Andrew Coyne likes it! But no, I reject that the majority of a country's citizens, presented all alternatives, happily opts for totalitarian rule.

            You'll love this: I am conjuring the memory of a Mark Steyn quote, just for you (paraphrased, given the ravages of time on the memory): "That's why there are three thousand Syrians in Oslo and five Norwegians in Damascus." Or something like that.

          • I agree they might prefer something else if it were magically offered pain-free, but what most people want is peace and stability, and then prosperity.

            I don't grasp the Steyn quote. Is he saying that totalitarianism is bad for the economy? Then China is not totalitarian. Is he saying that immigrants want to move to vastly richer rather than to vastly poorer nations? That would be about his normal level of insight. We don't have enough examples, historically, or countries that are both rich and totalitarian to see whether people will immigrate to them, but something tells me yes.

          • I agree they might prefer something else if it were magically offered pain-free, but what most people want is peace and stability, and then prosperity.

            I don't grasp the Steyn quote. Is he saying that totalitarianism is bad for the economy? Then China is not totalitarian. Is he saying that immigrants want to move to vastly richer rather than to vastly poorer nations? That would be about his normal level of insight. We don't have enough examples, historically, of countries that are both rich and totalitarian to see whether people will immigrate to them, but something tells me yes.

          • Well, Jack, something tells me the five Norwegians are in Damascus only for the money. I suspect you will get a wide variety of responses from the Syrians in Oslo, responses like "after they killed my brother and his family, I gave up everything I owned to get my wife and two sons out of there…"

          • I thought the Syrians in Oslo were mainly economic refugees; and the Norwegians in Damascus aren't exactly looking to settle down.

  27. Ironically, the reason exports have grown slower under Harper (apart from the recession) is largely that Canada-US exports grew rapidly under Chretien and slowly under Harper, with a high dollar and the US downturn.

    Exports to the US grew 7.1% from 1993-2005. They grew 1.5% in 2006-2008 (actually they have barely grown since 2000).

  28. So Mr Ignatieff says that a Liberal government would expand the G8 to include the members of the G20. This is not a unilateral decision by Canada. All members of the G-7, G-8 and G-20 will have views.

    In any event, the G-20 already exisits so he doesn't need to create another one. Does he know that there will be 35 countries and organizations represented at this week's meeting of the G-20. Does he plan to invite all 35 to participate in his secretariat? Why not invite everyone. Gee! A second United Nations. What fun.

  29. So Mr Ignatieff says that a Liberal government would expand the G8 to include the members of the G20. This is not a unilateral decision by Canada. All members of the G-7, G-8 and G-20 will have views.

    In any event, the G-20 already exisits so he doesn't need to create another one. Does he know that there will be 35 countries and organizations represented at this week's meeting of the G-20 in Pittsburgh? Does he plan to invite all 35 to participate in his secretariat? Why not invite everyone. Gee! A second United Nations. What fun.

  30. So Mr Ignatieff says that a Liberal government would expand the G8 to include the members of the G20. This is not a unilateral decision by Canada. All members of the G-7, G-8 and G-20 will have views.

    In any event, the G-20 already exisits so he doesn't need to create another one. Does he know that there will be 35 countries and organizations represented at this week's meeting of the G-20 in Pittsburgh? Does he plan to invite all 35 to participate in his secretariat? Why not invite everyone? Gee! A second United Nations. What fun.

  31. So Mr Ignatieff says that a Liberal government would expand the G8 to include the members of the G20. This is not a unilateral decision by Canada. All members of the G-7, G-8 and G-20 will have views.

    In any event, in case he hasn't noticed the G-20 already exisits so he doesn't need to create another one. Does he know that there will be 35 countries and organizations represented at this week's meeting of the G-20 in Pittsburgh? Does he plan to invite all 35 to participate in his secretariat? Why not invite everyone? Gee! A second United Nations. What fun.

  32. "And what did Dalton McGuinty and Greg Sorbara do first? They opened the books and told Ontarians the truth.

    A new Liberal government in Ottawa will do the same."

    So, Ignatieff will raise taxes despite promising not to, and break most of his campaign promises with the excuse of "I didn't realize there was a deficit, the Tories tricked me". Then take forever to eliminate the deficit, and, a few years later, run a much larger deficit (Ontario currently has a 14 billion dollar deficit for 2009, even higher than Bob Rae's 11 billion dollar deficit).

    • 'Tricked' him? If the numbers are much worse than they are telling us now, then that's much more than gamesmanship. He would have 'tricked' the Canadian people.

    • You know HtoH for an intelligent guy that's an incredibly obtuse statement. All Ignatieff said was he would open the books a la Mcguinty. Everything else is in your head, and frankly better off there.

    • Ignatieff says he wants to construct high speed rail links.

      You know who else greatly expanded transportation networks after taking power?

      False equivalence. It's real logic. Trust me, I'm a doctor.

  33. Well Liberals good luck trying to change the American on COOL and Buy America. Its congress that brought these in and Obama isn't going to be able to change that a whit until he gets medicare passed in the States. Chances of that happening? Zero

  34. "I'm kind of a Pierre Trudeau, gay marriage, tax and spend liberal…I'm a tax and spend liberal" – Michael Ignatieff, in an interview with Evan Solomon.

    Tax and spend liberal. He actually brags about it. That's the difference between Harper and Iggy, Iggy desperately wants to tax and spend more.

    Was it necessary to quote the entire speech, Wherry? Is your campaigning for the Liberals being reported to Elections Canada? It should be. I see the feminists have bailed on Iggy – see Kady and Susan Riley – they know a meal ticket when they see one and Iggy ain't it. Your rapidly becoming the last Iggy supporter in Canada Aaron.

    • So he is a tax and spend liberal instead of a borrow and spend conservative?

    • I think more most Canadians would rather be taxed when necessary than wallow in debt.

      • Actually, most Canadians are cool with taxation because most Canadians don't pay anywhere near most of the taxes.

  35. What an enormous load of bul! A lot of talk, but the bottom line is that he "will develop" a plan. And the EI premium thing. Never in my life have I ever heard a Liberal refer to EI (or UI, or UIC) premiums as a "tax". Not that they didn't treat them as tax, but why should they try to hold the Conservatives to a different standard than they held themselves to.

    Wait a minute, what am I saying? Of course they will. The Ignatieff Liberals are the most dishonest, shallow, phoney, hypocritical version of the Liberals we have seen since………….. Chretien.

    Only a fool would believe anything this man says. I hope he does trigger an election, the he can lose badly and retire to his Villa in France.

    • I could not agree more.I was in Quebec when he promised more power that province.Shameful!

    • From page 6 of the 2008 Conservative Party Policy Declaration (pdf version accessed via their web site)

      "We believe that payroll taxes should not exceed the amount necessary to properly fund Employment
      Insurance because unnecessarily high payroll taxes are a tax on job creation. Lower payroll taxes
      encourage hiring and business expansion."

      But now the Conservatives have gone on record saying an increase to EI premiums is NOT a tax increase. That's what Ignatieff was referring to.

  36. I don't like Iggy.its plain to me, that he really has no vision, he is simply berating Harper.I know this is what opposition parties do.But to keep saying, we can do better, then its wait and see what we can do when we are in power.This is simply not good enough.I would never vote for him,/a) he is a sort of, b) he doesn't appeal to know that much about canada.I do not want a PM training on the job, when I am pretty happy with the one I have.I have voted for both parties, but this time around.I would give Harer a chance at a majority

  37. Ignatieff runs a risk that his new "all oppose all the time" position may quickly remove the novelty from his speeches. He'd have more credibility if he found one or two issues on which to take a non-partisan position. Then people would have to pay more attention to what he says.

    • This is a criticism of Ignatieff that I agree with. I cannot understand why the man went from 'propping up the government' to all opposed, all the time. What is wrong (and this is for all political parties with the exception of the Bloc who are the only ones who seem to understand how this is supposed to work) with voting for things you can agree with, and voting against things you can't? The idea is to get the things that you kind of agree with amended into more of the 'can support wholeheartedly' variety. Fair enough. So you put those amendments on the table, and depending on how strongly you feel on those amendments will depend on whether you vote yea or nea if they don't appear. And why we have to know what everyone plans to do ahead of the vote is also a mystery. Why not make it a lovely surprise for all concerned if we go to an election? It has got to be better than this constant media frenzy of will we or won't we, wouldn't it? Also, that would really put Harper under the gun to cooperate, if he doesn't automatically know he has the votes of one party or another no matter what he does.

      • "Also, that would really put Harper under the gun to cooperate, if he doesn't automatically know he has the votes of one party or another no matter what he does."

        It wouldn't change a thing. The willingness of political parties to cooperate is driven largely by polls and not by the media or advanced knowledge of how parties will vote. Harper gets away with the "take it or leave it" approach because he's in a position of relative strength in public opinion polls and figures he has little to fear if there's an election and that, when push comes to shove, at least one of the other parties will end up supporting his legislation.

        • "The willingness of political parties to cooperate is driven largely by polls and not by the media or advanced knowledge of how parties will vote"

          What planet are you on? I can't tell you how much I want to join you. The willingness of the NDP to cooperate with the Conservatives had NOTHING to do with the Liberals announcing they would vote against the Conservatives? Are you sticking with that? Also, Harper gets away with the "take it or leave it" approach–how many times? How many times would he get a minority mandate and the first day back he loses the confidence of the House. How many times before the GG gives up on him and elections and just asks the opposition if they can form a government? I'm betting less than ten times, do you bet more?

  38. Ignatieff runs a risk that his new "all oppose all the time" position may quickly remove the novelty from his speeches. He'd have more credibility if he found one or two issues on which to take a non-partisan position. Then people would have to pay more atention to what he says.

  39. This speech just provides more evidence why he should NEVER become PM!

  40. That's the difference between Stephen Harper and *I*…

  41. “We have a very, very serious problem with [the U.S./Canada] relationship and I don't think I'm going to be able to fix it until I become prime minister.” – M Ignatieff on CTV's Question Period on 20 September 2009.

    Nice quote Michael…. Not even Kim Il Sung was that arrogant.

  42. [youtube XbB2AypEt3k&feature=player_profilepage#t=12 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbB2AypEt3k&fe… youtube]

    I am not clear does everyone think Michael Ignatieff was being not being honest about this statement.

    “We have a very, very serious problem with [the U.S./Canada] relationship and I don't think I'm going to be able to fix it until I become prime minister.” – M Ignatieff on CTV's Question Period on 20 September 2009.

  43. Liberal no vote a sham

    Tue 03 Feb 2009

    OTTAWA – Newfoundland and Labrador is still getting the shaft in the federal budget, despite Michael Ignatieff's “one-time protest” exception for Liberal MPs.

    “This is just window-dressing to hide the fact that the Liberals are still going to ensure that this budget passes no matter how bad it is for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Jack Harris (St. John's East).

    “In addition to the votes that have already passed, it will take four more to implement the budget. Voting no on just one of them doesn't mean much when you come back and vote yes on every subsequent occasion.

    “Ignatieff merely avoided the embarrassment of having to kick them out of caucus – the fact remains that the Lib caucus including Newfoundland and Labrador members will eventually be standing up to ensure the passage of the budget.”

    “Nothing has changed,” said Harris. “Liberals are still giving their support to a budget that robs our province of $1.5 billion dollars, fails to help struggling sectors, and fails to implement the necessary changes to Employment Insurance.”

    Now the NDP are backing the conservatives?

    • Newfoundland and Labrador have been a have not Province for how long? Time to give something back my friend.

  44. Michael Ignatief seems to be a little too much of a political opportunist.
    Isotopes,body bags.Come on man.
    " A coalition if necessary but not necessarily a coalition"
    He's like a high school teacher.

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