Three Strikes Against Michael Ignatieff

Posted on Friday, January 30 at 12:35 by Robin Mathews

Three Strikes Against Michael Ignatieff

A truth lodged in the minds of many Canadians is that “You can’t trust Stephen Harper”.  What can those Canadians do now when they have to add “You can’t trust Michael Ignatieff, either?”

Ignatieff’s demonstration that he prefers the politics of Stephen Harper to those of Jack Layton is Strike Three.  That is so, especially, in the light of the NDP’s obvious willingness to go a long way towards the Liberals in order to make a coalition work.

The basic fact has to be acknowledged.  Ignatieff feels closer to the Stephen Harper group than to the New Democrats – and Stephen Harper is a Far Right Reactionary.  Ignatieff has, in fact, entered a coalition of the Far Right.  As Liberals across Canada awaken to that fact they will suffer some sleepless nights and some powerful testings of their loyalty to the Liberal Party.

To begin: already the Far Right nature of the budget is being uncovered.  There is no genuine effort to deal with the immediately unemployed.  Nothing has been built in to shore up and grow scientific, medical, and research capacity and (Canadian) independence.  Over-kill on (permanent) tax breaks for large corporations is high-profile.  More will follow.  That’s fine with Michael Ignatieff who has always been on the Right of the Liberal Party.

To his discredit – both in fact and in terms of public perception – Ignatieff is copying Harper’s internal Party despotism.  Ignatieff’s aide uses Harper openly as an example of “good” Party discipline.  “Ian Davey is Michael Ignatieff’s principal secretary and he admires Stephen Harper’s steely control over the national media and the Conservative caucus.”  (Globe and Mail, Jan 28 09 A8).

Nothing good can come of that. 

With uncharacteristic speciousness, columnist Lawrence Martin, on the same day, seems to praise Ignatieff for wanting “to separate himself from those guys”.  Ignatieff, remember, is not separating himself from “guys”.  He is separating himself from much of what is believed to be good, progressive politics in the Liberal Party.

Those facts make us ask who Michael Ignatieff really is.  The answer is not pleasant.  Born with a golden spoon in his mouth, Ignatieff has always dwelled psychologically among the Bilderbergians – the wealthy elite which wants, quietly, to run the global economy for “the few”.

His life has been that of an observer and a “joiner”.  What he has joined is telling.  When the George Bush administration (with Britain’s Tony Blair) was building the Iraq weapons-of-mass-destruction-lie in order to invade, Ignatieff joined the bad guys.  We remember the air was hot with disagreement about invasion, and Ignatieff supported the Bush side arguing to invade Iraq.

Almost worse – when, more recently, the argument about Terror and Torture was aflame, Ignatieff not only supported George Bush’s so-called policy of “soft torture” (activity that Barack Obama has since categorically ruled out) but he did so in one of his books that is there for all to read. 

Ignatieff’s published position in that book is ugly.  He has rejected both of those positions since.  Fine.  But in the Canadian parliament he voted with the Harperites to extend Canada’s role in Afghanistan, and he won his nomination in Etobicoke-Lakeshore by a setup – what one might describe as unsavoury manipulation.

In the light of all that we have to ask what he will approve of – and then live to regret – among the Stephen Harper policies he endorses?  Having helped wreck Canadian democracy, an apology and retraction from Ignatieff some time in the future will be of little use or comfort.

Winston Churchill’s basic statement about parliaments still stands: “the role of the Opposition is to oppose”.  Ignatieff has brushed that rule aside in his first weeks as Liberal leader.

The Liberal Party leader’s endorsement of the Stephen Harper budget is a catastrophe.  It is the “Strike Three” against him.  Strikes One and Two were his support of the war against Iraq and then his support of “soft torture”.

For many of us his endorsement of the Stephen Harper budget is Strike Three.  He has no more chances with us.  He has struck out. More and more members of the Liberal Party, I sincerely believe, will join us in that conviction.

That means many of us must – like it or not – support Jack Layton who still knows the role of the Opposition is to oppose, and who knows ordinary Canadians are not being well-served by the Ignatieff/Harper coalition. 

In addition, many of us must – like it or not – realize that bloc quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe, in his concern for the people of Quebec and their well-being, is a better ally of anglophone Canadians than is either Michael Ignatieff or Stephen Harper.



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