Saturday, October 28, 2006

Where Will We Be On December 3?

I was just reading Jeffrey Simpson's column in today's Globe... Simpson calls Ignatieff a fool for pushing the idea of Quebec as a nation and makes a pretty fair case for it. It's got me feeling a bit glum.

On the one hand, there are pundits who say that no leadership candidate has ever had as big a lead as Ignatieff has and not won the leadership. On the other hand, Ignatieff is being seriously criticized from both within and without the party - to the point that he is starting to look like someone who doesn't have the support of rank and file Liberals and can't win a general election. When we wake up on December 3, the last thing we need is a leader who's so bruised and battered that he's crippled from the start and a party that once again is deeply and bitterly divided.

I haven't been happy with Ignatieff's public relations gaffes (Quebec, Israel/Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan). I still think he might make a good prime minister, but he doesn't have any political experience and he's not learning fast enough. Still, if the Ontario Returning Office hadn't lost my Form 6 and left me off the delegate ballot (and if I had won a place) and if Rae dropped out, I would still probably switch to Ignatieff.

I speculated in a previous post that Ignatieff wouldn't have given up tenure at Harvard if he hadn't had some pretty hefty reassurance from some pretty hefty party insiders that he was going to win. I have to wonder what those backers are thinking now. There have been some defections at the front of Ignatieff's campaign team because of some of his extremist statements; have there been any at the back?

I can see two ways to reach a good outcome. Either at some point we pull together and support Ignatieff (and this requires that we soften up some of the criticism during the campaign); or his backers have to start re-evaluating their support. If the former, more people need to start speaking up for the guy. Right now he's hanging out there like a stuck pig on a forklift. If the latter, we need those backers who are backing off to tell us about it so we have a better chance of electing someone else.

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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not softening up. If Ignatieff wins I won't vote Liberal next election. And any leadership candidate that drops off the ballot that goes to him will not have my support in a future race. Ignatieff is a disaster waiting to happen for our party and nation (and by nation I mean Canada).

Jason Bo Green said...

I've thought about this a lot before saying it - but I'm pretty sure I'd vote George W. Bush for PM before I would Ignatieff. (I do find that hard to say, believe me)

His views on Quebec are nonsense - Quebec is not a nation. French-Canadians are, sure - but the multi-ethnic/cultural/theistic province of Quebec is not. There is a difference between "a people" and a piece of real estate. Making Quebec a nation in the Constitution will be a dream come true to the separatists who insist that no part of Quebec can secede to join Canada - the federal government cannot possibly designate Quebec's provincial borders as containing a "nation", it would be suicide: Canada would have no claim to the parts of Quebec that wish to remain in Canada. Ignatieff is a fool - so is any leadership candidate who believes in what he does.

I liked him for a very, very long time, I was very open to him. But he'd make perhaps the worst Prime Minister in our history - I really do worry that. Well, we'll see what unfolds as the Big Day draws nearer.

Steve V said...

I think the important question, how well are his views playing in Quebec? Simpson can call him a fool, but I have heard others say it may well be the thing that gets him over the top.

Anonymous said...

Get over it.....Vive le Quebec libre!

Anonymous said...

Whoah - Yappa - you mean Nikki Holland lost another (that makes 389 form 6's) Form 6 from a Bob Rae supporter in Ontario? Who would have thought...

I would say that she is incompetent, except that I feel she is more malicious than anything else. Can anyone say: fraud = Nikki Holland?

Yappa said...

Re my form 6, I sent it in by mail three or four weeks before the deadline, and then a week later I called the returning office in Toronto to verify that it had arrived. I didn't keep a copy, but I kept a draft, and everything was filled out correctly. After the delegate selection meetings I tried to get an answer as to what happened, but Nikki Holland told me that the party had told her to shut down the office and not deal with any problems. Very disappointing.

Cable said...

That's so strange, Nikki ALSO lost MY Bob Rae f6, leaving me off the ballot. Yappa, have you been in touch with the BR Campaign office in Toronto? Maybe they can backfill you?