Mind you, Mr. Ignatieff doesn't give his number to just anyone - Macleans.ca

Mind you, Mr. Ignatieff doesn’t give his number to just anyone

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So the Justice Minister convenes a press conference Monday morning to discuss the government’s crime agenda. And, at least judging from the transcript, he appears to have been suffering from a rather serious bout of displeasure.

“Once again, the opposition parties, the Liberals, NDP and the Bloc are playing politics at the expense of the safety and security of Canadians.”

“So what do these stalling tactics and lack of action mean to Canadians over this summer?  It means that they would still find themselves victims of identity thanks to the opposition.”

“I’m here today to call on Michael Ignatieff and his Liberals to ensure that this happens.  I’m calling on the Liberals to pass C-15 into law before the Senate rises this summer. For once, we need the Liberals to stand up against these gangs, the people who exploit Canada’s most vulnerable citizens, particularly our youth.”

And so on. Reporters press Mr. Nicholson on various matters and then the pesky Tonda MacCharles, a writer employed by a paper the Prime Minister reads and respects, asks an entirely unreasonable question.

Question: Mr. Nicholson, I may have missed something here, but you being the reasonable quiet patient man you are with all the compromise…

The Hon. Rob Nicholson: Thank you, thank you, this is good.

Question: …why, have you called Mr. Ignatieff and tried to have a discussion with him about moving this bill through?  You’ve heard from Marjorie LeBreton and if you haven’t, did your Prime Minister raise it in the discussions with Ignatieff last week?  Have you had any discussions behind closed doors with them?

The Hon. Rob Nicholson: Well, the, the process is similar to when I was the Government House Leader.  We take these matters up on a regular basis with our colleagues and the other parties in both places and this is why I specifically quoted  Marjorie LeBreton and what is happening to our drug bill in the Senate, and believe me, I’m, I work very closely with Jay Hill who is the Government Leader in the House of Commons, with respect to

Question: Yeah, (inaudible) the Liberals in the Senate. So have you talked to Mr. Ignatieff?

The Hon. Rob Nicholson: No.  Exactly.  I’m saying on both counts.  I mean I, as you can see, we’re stalled on our legislation right across the board here, whether it’s the House of Commons or the Senate and I’m specifically concerned about this drug bill and again, I work through the Government Leader in the Senate.

Later week on The National, Peter Mansbridge busted Michael Ignatieff on essentially the same question of bipartisan communication. Ignatieff, if memory serves, was lamenting that he and the Prime Minister hadn’t spoken since January. Mansbridge pointed out, in much nicer terms, that modern phones allow one to both receive and send calls.

In fairness, politics would be far less fun if politicians were actually expected to discuss their differences directly.