Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Toronto Star has Washed Its Hands of Ignatieff. Why Haven't You?

No one can accuse Tom Walkom or Jim Travers of being conservative shills, anything but. The same goes for the Toronto Star itself, probably the strongest voice for Canadian Liberals. Yet they've all but written off Michael Ignatieff and his wobbly, timid leadership of what he's transformed into today's Conservative Lite Party of Canada.

Read this, and this, and this. And this is just scratching the surface.

The Liberal Party is not supposed to be Canada's alternate conservative party. The Liberal Party is supposed to be, as the name suggests, liberal. The Liberal Party is not supposed to be Stephen Harper's Parliamentary water boy. The Liberal Party is not supposed to cower and flinch every time Harper fakes a punch.

Look, this guy has had 18-months during which he's gone from bad to worse. The country and the Liberal Party are the worse off for it. Time after time this leader has gone to the wrong side of policies, the Harper side. Michael Ignatieff did not get handed the leadership so he could be the best thing Stephen Harper has going for him. He was not given the keys to Stornoway so he could while away his time jockeying for position instead of doing his job as Leader of the Opposition.



Jim Parrett said...

It's a pity. Listening to Ignatieff speaking now at the Empire Club, he is making good points. He is a good orator but not a strong leader. With the surrender of the upper hand on the detainee issue, the Liberals continue to play into Harper's hands. Words are not enough. We need opposition in Canada. Not Conservative-light.

Anonymous said...

I'll never defend Iggy. I think he's failed miserably to identify the Liberals as something other than Con lackies.

But here's the deal: Travers, Walkom and others may be able to speak their minds, but the reality is that the Star is still owned and operated by the same conglomerate that owns Bell, the Globe and Mail and the CTV.

They're playing us for fools and they're doing a very good job of it.

This kind of stuff reeks of intentional policy to discredit the leader of the opposition.

The Mound of Sound said...

Playing us for fools, Anon? That's a pretty big conspiracy theory, don't you think? They're trying to subvert the Liberal ranks? Sorry, I don't buy that. I'll go by the content.

Anonymous said...

So exactly who would lead the Liberals in the next election? I don't see anyone of quality and electability rushing to fill the gap....
At least with him they've fallen about as far as they cab, and can only bounce upwards. Having said that, I don't care for his style and don't think he can win an election. But who is the credible alternative - and puhleese don't say Bob Rae!

The Mound of Sound said...

Anon, the Libs need to select an individual with the essential core attributes. First, the person must be a proven leader. Unfortunately, leadership was never the strong suit of either of the last two LPC leaders. They need someone with keen political instincts. Harper isn't good but he is lucky and, most importantly, he's shrewd. That's how he's mauled every Liberal leader since Martin. In the rare instances when Harper faces a showdown he can't manipulate, he folds. The rest of the time he's just a cheap bully.

The opposition is responsible to oppose the government, at every turn where that's appropriate. How did a minority prime minister manage to stack a majority position in the senate? Easy, nobody stood up to him. How does Harper get to gag the public service and transform what belongs to the Canadian people into his personal propaganda agency? Easy, nobody stood up to him.

Neither Dion nor Ignatieff really grasped that politics is a blood sport, that its top ranks are no place for the weak and timid.

Intellect is great, it's wonderful but it's not the foremost quality needed in political leadership and, without a lot more, it's nearly meaningless. We've had two professors and, when it was their turn at bat, both struck out with the voting public. Selecting someone who can best play to Liberal insiders but not the voting public all but guarantees Harper a majority, eventually, and ensures a Liberal party that can't even serve properly as the Opposition.

I sense that Ignatieff always saw himself as above the fray as though political combat was beneath him. Worse yet, from the way he tried to steer the LPC to the right alongside the Harper cons, he showed a horrible grasp of Liberal values. I'll say it again - the right is where the Liberal Party goes to die. It's where they are now and it's why they're gasping for air.

Ask yourself this. Does Harper seem to mind Iggy's swing to the right? Does it trouble Harper, does it threaten him? Of course not. It helps Harper every day in every way. Harper is doctrinaire, he's pursuing an agenda "incrementally" and the closer the Libs draw to him, the more credibility they add to his agenda by making it seem that much less radical and un-Canadian.

As for choosing the next Liberal leader, I don't have a dog in that fight. All I want is someone experienced, balanced and capable of connecting with the Canadian public.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the name Louise Arbour mentioned. I think she would be able to pull it off.

The Mound of Sound said...

Yes, indeed. I have been periodically promoting Ms. Arbour for the past couple of years. I exchanged e-mails with Iggy about her and he assured me the LPC had made overtures. Of course that was when he was wrangling for Dion's job so who knows what really happened.

The reason I didn't mention Arbour here is that I don't want to see the LPC fall back on another "messiah" candidate. That hasn't exactly paid dividends so far, has it? I would far sooner see four or five truly worthy candidates squaring off, each demonstrating that he/she has the heart and the guts to lead the party to present an alternative that captures the minds of the voting public. That's a tall order but it begins with vision.

The LPC needs to take the fight to Harper now. It's not enough to hope you can throw something together when Harper calls an election. He beat Dion to a pulp by springing a surprise election didn't he. That was tactical brilliance by Harper completely unanswered by the LPC. Had Harper not stumbled a bit he might have pulled off the majority he craves.

Watching the LPC over the past four years has been watching an organization virtually asleep, as though waiting for the Canadian public to come to their senses and turf Harper. But why would they? Beyond Harper's base, what do the others who vote for him see? Think about that.

They see a conservative government that poses as a moderate party. That image is reinforced by a Liberal opposition that, time and again, either supports Harper's legislative initiatives or ducks votes. What does that tell the public except "this guy's not that bad if the Libs back him." Then have the Libs drift to the right alongside Harper and, suddenly, we've invented the myth that Canada and the Canadian people have "shifted to the right." It's not true but, then again, it doesn't have to be.

By acting this way the LPC has turned itself into Harper's Parliamentary water boy. All that they're missing are the big shoes, the baggy pants, the red nose, the makeup and the funny hats.

We expect rival parties to oppose each other and, when we don't see that, when it's not done, what message is there except the current guy isn't all that bad?

You won't get the country back on an even keel if you trust the job to milquetoasts and losers.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, let me say that I'm anonymous only because my advanced age has left me a little confused about remembering 22 or so different passwords.

I'd like to know (as a liberal since Uncle Louis) just what is so wrong with Rae? I'm not as willing as some to knee jerk him into obscurity and even less likely to think that past discretion must mark a man for life.

I'd also like to know why anyone is so damn sure that Canadians (poll- wise or otherwise) aren't tilting right?

These are sincere questions.

BTW. BT's are cordially invited to STFU in this matter and keep their heads firmly up that warm place that it invariably is.


The Mound of Sound said...

I haven't seen any indication that Canadians have moved significantly to the right beyond the extent they've been pushed there by the far right Conservatives or the slightly less right Ignatieff Libs. I think that we're still pretty much centrist on reproductive rights, capital punishment, universal health care, progressive taxation and even the environment. That said the political religions are making their voices heard more loudly under Harper than ever before. To me, that just makes them fair game (I'll stay out of your religion if you stay out of my politics).

As for Bob Rae, I agree with you Sedum. I'm willing to let him earn my support just as I was willing to do that once for Ignatieff.