Monday, September 21, 2009

The Count Steps Up

I told you that Michael Ignatieff would smite the Harper. And now it begins...

The timing is perfect. Ignatieff needed a few months to raise money and work out his strategy, and the summer is too slow a news cycle, but now that fall is here the Liberals are starting to move their pieces into place. No longer supporting the government, Ignatieff can now move into a more prominent position, taking control and proposing policies. The Liberals are essentially in campaign mode now. (At least that's the way it looks to me, and since I sometimes get quoted by Conservatives as if I'm a party insider, let me reiterate that I ain't.)

I predict that the longer the NDP props up the government, the stronger we'll get. The chances are very good that Ignatieff will form the next government.

If you missed the profile of Ignatieff in the September 7 issue of the New Yorker, you might want to go to a library and give it a read. It reveals a man who will be a very different leader from the lowest-common-denominator operator that we have now. Harper was a backroom boy, a crafty wheeler-dealer who follows a blunt and simplistic ideology. Ignatieff is a political commentator who has spent his life grappling with issues like how to balance the rights of the individual and the rights of the community, and he is ready to step up and redirect our nation in a way that hasn't happened since Trudeau. But Ignatieff will take us beyond Trudeau's liberal individualism (viz, the Charter of Rights) to a more sophisticated and evolved state of collective rights that will reconcile individual rights with our reality as a multicultural mosaic and state based on two cultures (or three, if John Ralston Saul has his way). Canada needs Igantieff's leadership to move us beyond the morass we've been in with Quebec, first nations, and pressures from new immigrants. The next election will be historic, and Canada hangs in the balance.



WesternGrit said...

Great post Yappa!

Koby said...

I can not think of anything worse than extending collective rights. In fact I would love to see what collective rights we have now abolished.

The Liberal party of the 1960s is dead. It has degenerated. Gone is a commitment to universality.

The Liberals right now are putrid mix of identity politics, neo conservative economics and asymmetrical federalism. Alas the other parties are even worse.

Anonymous said...

You must be kidding. Ignatieff is an ivory-tower intellectual whose musings have very little impact or application to real-world people, nevermind Canadians in particular. His grasp and understanding of economics and business is close to nil. Most of his criticisms of the Harper government are nonsensical: a budget deficit, when he and the other opposition leaders were encouraging Harper to spend even more on stimulus? An implication that somehow, were he Prime Minister, "Buy America" could be solved? Simplistic criticisms of "free market ideology" when the current Tory government is expanding size of government at a rate that would make any previous Liberal government blush?

The Liberals should have kept their powder dry. But it doesn't really matter, since in substance, their program differs little from the Tories, even though partisans of both parties will desperately insist otherwise.

Marc Bernard said...

I did miss the New Yorker profile, but I'm sure the trolls who craft the "Just Visiting" ads didn't.

My fear is that we continue to turtle, and let them define the Liberal party and leader they way they want to.

To you and I, those ads are ridiculous, but the sad thing is, they work. Especially when there's no comeback.

Yappa said...

HI Marc -

I agree completely. The ads are extremely effective, and they even affect Liberals by weakening our enthusiasm. Dion was totally undone by Conservative attack ads.

I was worried about Ignatieff, but now that he has some money and has started his own ads, I'm hopeful. Rather than fighting on their level (dirty), I think we just need to keep putting out our own message and crafting our own image. No longer propping them up will help with that.

Yappa said...

Hi Koby,

At some point, we just have to deal with these issues. If they were easy we'd have fixed them by now. Last year Harper convinced much of the population that the coalition was bogus because the Bloc was involved, and yet they make up a large part of our MPs. For heaven's sake, the separatist party has been the official opposition. Canada needs to evolve.

Koby said...

I understand that politics is art of the possible. However, compromise is an end point; it is not a starting point.

Ask Canadians which version of the Liberal party they prefer, the Liberal party of Universal health care, a minimum number of vacation days, the CPP, and a bold new immigration system based on points or the Liberal party of the Atlantic and Kelowna Accords, mandatory minimums and an immigration system that allows immigrants to sponsor their parents and grandparents even though the whole point of having high levels of immigration is to mediate against effects of an aging population. It is a pretty easy choice. Canadians prefer the idealistic 1960s Liberals and their commitment to universality to the pandering calculating Liberals of today

Yappa said...

Hi again, Koby,

I have to agree that I'd like to see a Liberal party with more spunk, more progressiveness, and more effectiveness. I don't agree about Liberal economics though: I think they need to be fiscally responsible. The Conservatives and NDP aren't.

Anonymous said...

I do not like what is going on in Outremont, and Iggy did not stop it. I think Marin Couchin should have be allowed to have a nomination meeting. ,but no....reminds me of Dion when he just put a person he wanted to run in Outrement, and he lost...goodbye Outremont

Bert said...

From the CBC transcript:

"I told him that we have been soliciting female candidates and we not only intend to have women candidates, we want them where they can win." - Michael Ignatieff

Implying what Michael ?. That they wouldn't be able to win anywhere else ?. I can't believe he said that. And the Liberals said that PMSH didn't like women.

Yappa said...

Hi Bert -

Without knowing the context, I can guess exactly what he meant by that, because it's a big problem for women in all parties - and every other group that isn't part of the old boys' clubs. It happens too often that women are "allowed" to run in unwinnable ridings. (I know: nothing is completely unwinnable, but you know what I mean - a riding that's considered safe for another party.) So a party can say it has all these female candidates, but most of them are not in viable ridings. It has infuriated me for years. There is a lot of empty rhetoric about evening up the gender balance in politics, but it's not happening precisely because nobody is taking on these pragmatic issues.

Sussannah said...

Speaking of Ignatieff, have you seen this attack ad against him that popped up the other week?