Ignatieff responds

Read the Liberal leader's speech, in which he comments on the Conservative attack ads

Ignatieff respondsAfter the jump, the prepared text for remarks delivered by Michael Ignatieff tonight at an event in Toronto.

Merci. Bon soir.

Thank you Joe (Mancinelli) and good evening.

I want to talk with you this evening about the challenges we’re facing as a country, about the pain that so many Canadians are feeling during this recession.

And I want to thank you—the people in this room and the members of LIUNA right across the country—for the work you’re already doing to lead our recovery and shape our future.

But first, I hope you’ll forgive me for saying a few words about some recent developments in our politics.

Certains d’entre vous ont surement remarqué que les conservateurs ont décidé de s’intéresser sérieusement au Parti libéral de Michael Ignatieff.

En fait, ils sont allés jusqu’à diffuser à la télévision nationale des publicités négatives me reprochant les années où j’ai habité et travaillé à l’étranger.

Some of you may have noticed that the Conservative Party has recently taken a serious interest in the Liberal Party of Canada and its Leader.

And the Conservatives think you should be interested in me, too.

They’ve bought ads on television stations across Canada, attacking me for having lived and worked outside the country.

We knew it was coming. When you’re down in the polls, when you’re presiding over the worst collapse in employment on record, you try to change the channel. You try to make Michael Ignatieff the issue.

Well friends, Michael Ignatieff is not the issue.

We’re dealing with record bankruptcies in this country. Record job losses. Widespread economic uncertainty. That’s what matters to Canadians right now.

People care about whether or not they’ll be able to keep the job they’ve got, or find a new one, or find work for the first time. They’re worried about whether they’ll be able to retire, and whether they’ll be able to keep their family finances afloat.

And now, when we’re facing the worst economic crisis in a generations, the Conservatives are spending their energies—their time and money—launching personal attacks.

That’s wrong. That’s offensive. And Canadians know it.

Je vais laisser un message à Stephen Harper :

Monsieur, encore une fois, vous avez mal compris l’état d’esprit des Canadiens.

Notre pays connaît un nombre record de faillites, un nombre record de pertes d’emplois et la pire récession en plus d’une génération. Voilà les enjeux qui touchent les Canadiens.

Plutôt que de concentrer leurs énergies sur ces problèmes sérieux, ce gouvernement a jugé bon de consacrer son temps et son argent à des attaques personnelles.

And you know what, friends, like many of you, I have lived and worked outside this country. And I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. I’m proud of what I’m accomplished—as a proud Canadian.

Canada is a great country because Canadians are a great people. Our roots, our life stories, our family histories, cover every single corner of the globe.

Like many Canadians, I’ve seen our country from the outside. As a writer, as a teacher, as a war reporter, I’ve seen Canada from afar.

And when you see Canada from afar—when you see our unity and our purpose and our strength—you see a country that is proud of its diversity, that is strong and united in its diversity, that is an inspiration to the whole world.

Stephen Harper doesn’t understand that.

To Stephen Harper, if you live and work outside the country, you’re somehow less Canadian.

Friends, you and I know better.

We know that no matter where we come from, where we live or have lived, we are all, and always will be proud Canadians.

Comme beaucoup d’entre vous, j’ai vu le Canada à travers les yeux du monde.

Et comme beaucoup d’entre vous, je sais que le Canada peut être beaucoup plus que ce qu’il est.

Le Canada est un pays avec des habitants qui viennent des quatre coins du monde. Et vous et moi savons qu’il s’agit là d’une des grandes forces de ce pays.

Stephen Harper ne comprend pas ça. Il aimerait vous faire croire que les Canadiens qui habitent et travaillent à l’étranger sont, d’une certaine manière, moins canadiens. Nous savons tous que ce n’est pas le cas. Peu importe d’où nous venons, nous sommes d’abord et avant tout de fiers Canadiens.

I’m in politics to make my country more united, more prosperous, and more compassionate. My Party  will never, ever set region against region, person against person, or group against group for the sake of partisan advantage.

Un gouvernement libéral, sous ma gouverne,  travaillera toujours pour l’unité de ce pays—il ne montera jamais des régions ou des groupes les uns contre les autres.

Un gouvernement libéral comprendra toujours que la magie de ce pays, c’est ce que nous accomplissons ensemble.

That’s what the times demand of us. That’s what’s demanded of our country. And that’s what we’re going to do together.

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