Monday, June 21, 2010

Oh Iggy

It's taken awhile, but I'm now officially disenchanted with Ignatieff. Not that I was ever really enchanted. When he first showed up to claim the mantle of Liberal leader, the media was all in a tizzy, the kind they reserve for Canadians who've made it elsewhere. Some of us were a little leery of a man who thought he could waltz in after a 30-year absence to claim the top job in the land, (and Harper was quick to read that mood and capitalize on it). Now his Igness has been here for 6 years, but his "here" is not our "here", and the man seems totally out of touch with Canadians.

Take his recent foreign policy announcement. Really? That's the priority? Because if he had happened to read this recent Nanos poll, it's clear that it's not even on the radar for most Canadians, who list healthcare as their top priority, followed by the economy and jobs, the environment, high taxes and education.

The Nanos poll was somewhat unique in that it didn't provide a list of choices, but simply asked people to list their top concern. Nobody even mentioned foreign policy. I don't care if it is his pet project. Being PM is not about indulging your hobbies. And we certainly don't need the Liberals committing to extending the Afghan mission just because his Igness wants a higher profile on the world stage. It distresses me to think that he's more interested in impressing the US and the Brits than he is in addressing Canadian's concerns.

And then yesterday, taking a page out of Nancy Ruth's book, he told his caucus that if they couldn't contribute to victory, they should "shut up". Y'know, it's just so awkward when someone with Iggy's patrician mien tries to talk in an unfamiliar vernacular. It rings false. Not only that, it would seem to signal a willingness to adopt Harper's tight control of message. Jesus, is that what you've learned from the past 6 years Michael? If so, you can count me out.

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  1. Just disenchanted? Aren't you furious that he signed a detainee documents deal full of loopholes, all so he could avoid the risk of a showdown election? That was the last straw for me.
    And today we see a headline that we may never see them, as was foretold by the NDP, Mr. Champ and Prof. Mendes. I despise the Cons, but their "He is not a leader" messaging is spot-on.

  2. For me, disenchantment comes after furious. I was angry last week for the very reason you mention, but this week I've washed my hands of him. If he is still leading the Libs and if they are still flailing about come the next election, I will be voting NDP or Green.

  3. The Libs are just as worried about Afghan torture coming out as the Cons.

  4. Exactly what do you hope to accomplish with this constant bad mouthing of Iggy and lamenting the Liberals? I really have to ask.

    A private incident with party faithful should have remained behind closed doors. I'm sure it's the first time a leader (of any party) told a meeting attended simply by a handful of party faithfuls to shut up if they disagreed with them. Iggy surely be the last. The difference is I don't see anyone publishing an incident like that from meetings from other parties.

    Anyone who has followed me from when I was on blogspot knows Iggy was never my first choice for leader. However, we're stuck with him. Lamenting about him isn't going to make him go away faster, rather it just serves Steve and his Harpercon cheerleaders.

    The Nanos poll may not indicate foreign policy as being a priority to many Canadians, but it's still important, since Steve has wrecked our reputation on the world stage and unless he can prove these summits were worth every penny spent, he will continue to be a laughing stock on the world stage.

    Voting NDP or Green just helps Steve get his majority. And speaking of nitpicking, lamenting: the NDP didn't really fair much better themselves. More than half the things they did or didn't do was more about being contrary to the Liberals than anything else.

    Just sayin'

    Anonymous, according to that Nanos chart, Afghan detainee documents aren't high on the list of Canadians' priorities neither.

  5. I understand your concern ck. It's not just the shut up comment, which is neither here nor there. It's more the missing in action shenanigans for such things as the budget vote - stuff I hoped would be different under Ignatieff but which is just Dion redux. He has failed to inspire, he has failed to oppose, and now he proves he thinks foreign policy is the way to connect. Or perhaps he doesn't care if it connects or not. Either way, I'm pretty much fed up, and I've voted Liberal in every single federal election but one.

    It's true the NDP have been playing tag-team politics, but at least they seem to be gearing up for an election.

  6. Quite frankly, Ignatieff is the only one talking about foreign policy.

    Consider this: when Harper dodges our global responsibility to curb dangerous climate change - that's foreign policy NOT at work. When Harper touts trade with Colombia as Colombia joins in the creation of a regional development group that explicitly excludes Canada and the US - that's misguided foreign policy. When you talk about 0.7% you're talking about foreign policy. When we talk about the loss of respect for Canada overseas, we're talking foreign policy. When we're championing human rights over economic trade, we're talking foreign policy. All these topics (and many more) are regular posts on Pro Blogs.

    PM Wilfrid Laurier posited that the 20th Century belonged to Canada. Where are we today? Pearson positioned Canada to be a leader in the middle east and in the fight against global poverty. Where are we today?

    You can say that Iggy should tackle health care right off the bat, followed by the economy and taxes; but the reality is that the Liberal Party needs to get back to Liberal issues to bring back Liberal voters who stayed at home in 2008. Hammering Harper on his poor work abroad is easy and it is a start at building a comprehensive national platform.

    Liberals can talk about the environment and the affects of a high CDN dollar right now and give our hand away MONTHS before an election. Or they can get back to Liberal issues - pick their base back up through little teases like a re-energized foreign policy platform, and address health care when they come to that bridge: which is at the same time the Conservatives get there. Which may be two weeks before an election.

    At least then, there won't be enough time for the Harper Party to set up a demeaning website mocking Ignatieff's position. They'll have to shoot from the hip, and hopefully hit their own feet.


  7. My brother ran for the Liberal party last election. While he was out knocking on doors people said over and over that they could not vote for Dion. That, I believe is why Liberal voters stayed home in droves on election day.

    I absolutely agree that the Liberals need to get back to Liberal issues. I'm simply making the point that Ignatieff seems to be ignoring the issues that matter most to Canadians in favour of his pet area of interest. It makes him seem distant. That's a label that will not wear well come election time.

    Personally, I was beyond frustrated by this last session of Parliament, culminating with a pathetic lack of opposition to that dog's breakfast of a budget. All that tough talk and then, ooops, we're short 30 members.

    That's the kind of thing that causes supporters to lose heart and seek solace in the arms of another party. I'm not a member of any political party, so I feel perfectly free to slag or praise whoever I choose.

    As for the Liberals showing their hand too early, I confess I hadn't thought of that. I hope you're right.

  8. The Liberals really need to distinguish themselves from the Conservatives. Lately it seems as if we had a choice of selling out to big business quickly with the Cons or slowly with the Libs. I would like a little more choice as to who is governing Canada.

    Toward this end, I think a coalition with the NDP and the Liberals would be a good thing for Canada, as I think we have had enough of the centre-right silliness.

  9. I agree. The Liberals swing leftish or rightish depending on who's leading. Iggy seems rightish, as was Martin. NDP input would definitely be helpful.