Thursday, November 19, 2009

Michael, It's Time To Prove You're a Liberal

Before I'm willing to support the Liberal Party again, I want proof that the party's leader doesn't share Stephen Harper's indifference to torture. I want to know that Michael Ignatieff, the man who endorsed judicially-sanctioned 'coercive' interrogation, has completely purged himself of his past notions that torture is acceptable. Michael Ignatieff needs to convince me (and, I hope, the Canadian public) that he has abandoned his neo-conservative instincts.


It's useful - hell, it's essential - that we all remember precisely what the Michael Ignatieff of just a few years ago really said, what he really advocated. If you're a little fuzzy on that Michael Ignatieff, you really should read this. It's a very thoughtful and meticulous critique of Mr. Ignatieff posted at OpenDemocracy.net in July, 2005.

Is it really a coincidence that Bob Rae is leading the Liberal caucus on the revelations of apparent Tory complicity in the torture of Afghan detainees? Please tell me we don't have a Liberal leader who has disqualified himself from fiercely attacking the government on this.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

How do you disavow yourself of such comments? The best he has been able to do is say he has never supported torture. But that is simply clouding the issue. The type of activities he supported are clearly defined as torture by most organizations. It was people like him who helped lend credibility to the illegal actions of the George W. Bush administration.

Scott Tribe said...

Bob Rae isn't "going rogue" here by joining in the calls for a public inquiry on this.. he obviously had to have the support of Iggy to do so. Dewar called for a publc inquiry this AM - shouldnt by your logic be asking why Jack Layton didn't lead it?

I think this is just a distraction from the real issue at hand here - what the Conservatives and the bureaucracy and the military leaders knew about turning over Afghan detainees. The Liberals were right to join the nDP in calling for a public inquiry.. and I could care less which Liberal or NDP MP did so.

Anonymous said...

Who exactly is the leader again? I'm starting to get confused that it is actually Bob Rae.

Scott Tribe said...

Then, I await your blogpost/comment that Jack Layton needs to come out and publicly announce this.. not Dewar and Harris.

Stop being obtuse.

The Mound of Sound said...

Scott, you're missing the point here. Read that article, that analysis of the truly neo-conservative leanings of the Liberal party's leader. It was published in July, 2005, barely four months before Mr. Ignatieff announced his intention to return to Canada and run for a seat in Parliament.

There are very troubling aspects to Mr. Ignatieff's past Scott and he needs to clear them up with clear, unequivocal repudication of what he previously advocated. This one line gives the worrisome tenor of this analysis: "...he provides conservative arguments to the liberal audience and liberal alibis to the conservatives."

I want to hear it come from his mouth Scott. Ignatieff is supposedly the leader and this is an issue of fundamental Canadian values. It's not 'good enough' that MI speak through proxies.

The Liberal Party is more important than Michael Ignatieff. Liberalism itself is more important than Michael Ignatieff.

LeDaro said...

Oh really MoS. Can MI transform himself? C'mon now, can a leopard change its spots.

Steve V said...

Mound

To be fair, I think the braintrust decided a few weeks ago that Iggy should spend more time out of Ottawa. Not speaking to the wisdom, but Iggy hasn't spent much time in QP since the election was off the table. Rae was asking questions prior to this issue arising, so I don't see the co-relation. Iggy had events planned, events which didn't just come up yesterday. Should he cancel and return to Ottawa? Seems to me the Liberals and NDP are making quite the compelling case on this file, so it hasn't detracted from the seriousness.

Harper is gone, so I think they decided Iggy should be out in the field, nothing more, nothing less.

tjeerd said...

Iggy has no idea if he is for the torture of these Taliban prisoners or not. He has no idea how "Green" to be, how hawkish he should be in Afghanistan, when Harper's "time is up",how much Harper should have spent on "stimulus", the new citizenship guide, the Gun Registry......Iggy would rather choose what wine to drink tonight.

The Mound of Sound said...

Steve, I really think that Ignatieff needs to take this opportunity to lead from the front. It may give him a couple of awkward moments but he needs to stand resolute, to show down Stephen Harper.

Above all else, he needs to lead, to rebuild confidence in his leadership. Bob Rae can't do that for Michael Igantieff.

Cherniak_WTF said...

Nice to see team iggy-fluffer out in force...

I guess it was too hard for Iggy to issue a statement...

Jingles said...

I am really sorry to have to say, I will not vote for Iggnatief. Changing his position at this time will not convince me he has changed his spots. We need someone else to lead the LP.

CK said...

I realize Iggy just put together a good experience new team to help him, but I think it's too little too late. It is time for Iggy to go and the sooner the better. By all means though, if this new team itself is a good one, keep them around for the next leader.
This time they're going to have to go back to a formula that works.
I mean, no Bob Rae, neither.
In history, only French speaking Quebecers succeeded at winning majority gov't (Stephan Dion being the exception rather than the rule).

The Mound of Sound said...

A lot of once staunch Libs have been disillusioned by Mr. Ignatieff's veer to the right and he may pay dearly for that at the polls if the disaffected give the next election a pass.

I can't tell what I'll do when it comes down to it. That probably rests on what's at stake electorally and whether the leader does what's needed to restore the confidence of progressives.

Not that what I do matters. A Libs couldn't get elected dog catcher in my riding. The last Liberal who got any discernable traction out here was Paul Martin.

Steve V said...

Mound

I don't disagree, but this thing is really JUST breaking. Iggy does need to get out front, but a pit premature to pass judgement, given his schedule. I think the Libs have done a great job so far, let's see where it goes.

trthomas said...

Just breaking? Well... Colvin's finally had his oppurtunity to share his concerns and opinions with the general public after years of beaureucratic obscurity behind the Conservative's fire-wall.

However, there have been rumblings since mid-October that what Colvin had to share with us all was highly damaging to top officials and diplomats in and of Afghanistan, and especially to our elected representitives who form the Canadian government.

That what he had to share would confirm many of our worst suspicions that there was, and is still, a major possibility of a cover-up of war crimes in Afghanistan, and thereby our complicity.

Ignatieff's no-show on this issue, especially after seemingly everyone else had prepared for today's testimony with some idea of what could be revealed, is to us unbelievers merely another line tying him to his pro-torture statements of past years.

Of course, on the other hand, Ignatieff trying to court votes now with people who oppose torture might seem a bit reckless on his part, especially with his finally having installed someone who might coach him to a decent finish in any possible coming election. He wouldn't want to be seen flip-flopping regarding his viewpoint on torture, no siree. That'd lose him an election for sure, because Canadians just hate people changing their minds on whether something is merely harsh or actually torture.

Anonymous said...

Join the new United Party of Canada
www.unitedparty.ca

The Mound of Sound said...

Sorry Anon. I did check out unitedparty.ca and beyond a tidy little bundle of platitudes I found nothing of substance.

While I respect good intentions this idea is truly too little, too late. A number of critical decisions that will greatly impact the future of Canadians for the balance of this century and the next will need to be taken within this decade.

Most fledgling political movements don't survive. Those that do take a long time evolving into something popular enough to elect representatives to office. You can't get there on the strength of four motherhood statements.

Sorry but I'll pass on the United Party of Canada.