When it was announced a few weeks ago that Liberal deputy leader Michael Ignatieff would be giving a speech at the University of Alberta, in that most Conservative of provinces, you may recall it was noted at the time that CPC officials sent out a call to the party loyalists: pack the meeting, and hold this dastardly Liberal to account!
Like this call to arms from the party's national policy director:
In an e-mail sent to the presidents of 14 Conservative riding associations in Alberta, Vitor (Victor) Marciano says the lecture was arranged by Anne McLellan, the former deputy leader of the Liberals who is now a distinguished scholar in residence at the same institute.
"We need a skeptical, questioning audience for this hypocrite - especially after his recent performance in Afghanistan," wrote Mr. Marciano, referring to the trip Mr. Ignatieff took this month to the war-wracked country with Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion.
"Hopefully many of you can make it out to this lunch time session. Please circulate."
And a party spokesperson at CPC head office in Ottawa:
Ryan Sparrow, a spokesman for the Conservative Party, said there is nothing untoward about a member urging other Conservatives to ask hard questions of Liberals.
"Canadians should be questioning Mr. Ignatieff's and Stéphane Dion's constant flip-flopping on key issues such as Afghanistan," he said.
Well, Ignatieff's speech was Friday. And what happened? Did the Conservative army heed the call to arms, did the keyboard legions leave their basements, give up their lunch-hours for leader and county, and pepper Ignatieff with questions on his “hypocritical” ways?
Yeah, apparently not so much:
There had been some curiosity about whether local members of the federal Conservative Party would show up to question Ignatieff about his "flip-flops" on Canada's mission in Afghanistan. An Alberta Tory had sent an e-mail to riding presidents asking that Conservatives attend the lunchtime session to provide "a skeptical, questioning audience for this hypocrite."
No such inflammatory exchange developed during the event, even though Ignatieff touched on Afghanistan at several points in the speech and the subsequent question-and-answer session.
Quite the mobilization of forces there, Mr. Marciano. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers