Thursday, August 31, 2006

I find your lack of faith disturbing-- UPDATE

I know they feel Linda Diebel has taken some creative liberties in past interviews with Michael Ignatieff, so if the good folks on his campaign feel she misrepresented what he said in her piece in the Toronto Star today please let me know. And I hope she did. Otherwise, Michael, say it ain't so.

Here's the jist of it:

Toronto MP Michael Ignatieff won't commit to running in the next election if he loses his bid to become leader of the federal Liberal party.

"Depends who's leader," Ignatieff said yesterday when asked at a meeting with the Toronto Star editorial board if he would run for the party in the next election if he loses the leadership vote in early December.

Hey Michael, if it's Volpe I'm with you. In fact, you'd be more than welcome in my No Joes Liberal Party™. But otherwise, I don't at all like the thought of someone that only wants to be the leader and isn't committed to staying on the team if he loses.

I also have to question his political instincts here. I'd be interested in hearing the question that drew this answer, but still his answer was so wrong. Let's say he doesn't intend to stick around if he doesn't win. You don't say that Michael! You answer something like I'm not going to discuss hypotheticals, we're running to win and I plan to be successful in Montreal. I've been a Liberal for yada yada, next question.

Even if he does become leader, its incidents like this and others that make me wonder if his political naiveté would be liability to the party, particularly given that, say what you will about him, Steve Harper is a cagey political operator.

But strategy aside, as someone who values loyalty to the cause quite highly, and who likes Ignatieff and has had him ranked quite highly on my own preference list of late following my own candidate of choice, I find the revelations in this Star article quite unsettling. I hope there's a clarification here, and soon.

UPDATE: Here's a lenghtly partial transcript of the interview from the Star, and Cerberus (who is backing Ignatieff) responds to the story here.

UPIDYDATE: It's a Star Wars reference. Lack of faith disturing...anyone? Anyway, CP has a story on Scott Brison tearing Ignatieff a new one and calling him an "error-prone amateur" and comparing him to a jet skiing Stockwell Day:

"These gaffes are damaging to a leadership campaign but they will be terminal to a national general election campaign," Brison said in an interview.

Gerard Kennedy saying the same thing more diplomatically, with faint praise indeed:

"I don't think Mr. Ignatieff pretends to have a lot of experience, per se. I think that's one of the things he would argue is offset by other attributes."

Ken Dryden taking a shot too:

"This is pitch-in time, get-mad time, do whatever needs to be done time," Dryden said. "Some things are more important than who is party leader . . . this isn't a time to pick up your marbles and go home."

and Ignatieff offering a clarification of sorts:

Ignatieff clarified his intentions in an interview Wednesday with The Canadian Press.

"Let's be clear. I am planning to run in the next election in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. I love being an MP and I've enjoyed it enormously and I'm looking forward to doing it again," said Ignatieff, who first won election last January.

He added that, whoever wins the leadership race, he will do whatever he can to help him or her defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the next election.

Asked why he didn't say that when the Star first asked, Ignatieff said he considered hypothetical questions about his political future should he lose the leadership contest to be moot.

"I feel I have good reason to believe I'm ahead in the race and I plan to win. So the hypothetical is not going to arise."

Oy, man. I could go on and make some comments here, but I'm done.

UPDATEARONI: Except, here's Dion in the Globe this morning:

Stéphane Dion, former senior Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin cabinet minister, said he would support whoever the new leader is and show the same loyalty he showed to both those Liberal prime ministers.

However, he added he expects to be "loyal to myself."

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


Karen said...

Here's a deeper look at the interview.

S.K. said...

It's obvious that MR. Ignatieff only ran for a seat in Parlaiment because he thought he could be Prime Minister and it surprises no one that he's not interested in public service. The same for Rae. Neither one of them will run for a seat if they lose the leadership.

Anonymous said...

I think Linda Diebels question was just plain stupid. It wouldn't be unusual for anyone to reassess their future after a leadership campaign. Why didn't she ask the same of Rae, M. H. Findlay, Kennedy and the rest?

It's no secret she favours Kennedy and she should be so obvious. It's not fair to any of the other candidates.

Again, everyone "runs" with anything that might be considered negative on their party when it comes to Ignatieff.

I certainly could come up with some questions that would put a negative light on most of the candidates - i.e. Dion's secret donator (this doesn't feel right).

You know, you Liberal blogs are giving the conservatives so much ammunition your starting to look inept.

I know I'm anonymous and people will say why not say who you are. I am not a "regular" blogger, but I just couldn't help myself on this utter over done garbage.


Karen said...

I agree with anon/Sonya, in that the question was stupid.

I think it's honest to say you'll assess a situation, when you're actually faced with it.

He's pointed out it's a hypothetical and I think he goes on to say, he'd determine how he can best serve the Liberal cause, by looking at what is in front of him, when the time comes.

Jeff said...

Shoshana, I believe Bob has made clear he will run, win or no win.

Sonya, and KNB, I don't think it was an unfair question at all. In fact, it was a perfectly valid one, and a question he should have considered already. It's something Liberals want to know, are you committed to sticking with the teamand working hard even if you don't win. Loyalty means a lot. As uzurper mentioned this is a particularly important question for Ignatieff to answer because he's already dealing with the expat baggage and needs to overcome that by showing he didn't just come back for the centre chair. It's also more of an issue for Rae as a newcomer to the party, but as mentioned he has said he'll run.

As for blogs giving the Cons ammunition, that's just silly. I don't think they'd have missed this, it was above the fold, front page of the Toronto Star.It's a valid issue that concerns me as a Liberal.

And the word you're looking for is donor.

Jeff said...

Uzurper I'm sorry, I accidentally deleted your comment when I was trying to delete a typo-ridden comment of my own. Here it is though:

Uzurper said...
She didn't need to ask Mr. Rae the same question because he has been stating publicly for months that he will run for office as a Liberal MP regardless of the outcome of his leadership bid.

As for the others - I don't think we need to worry about what Stephane, Dryden, Bennett, Fry, etc. are going to do - they have proven themselves on more than one occasion.

Iggy is the guy that everyone has their doubts about, and it looks like he confirmed some of them.
3:00 PM, August 30, 2006

S.K. said...

Bob will not run if he loses. He didn't even become a member until he thought he could be Prime Minister. His excuse that his girls were young and therefore he couldn't be a member was laughable. I know lots of p[eople with children who are Liberal members. He didn't have any problem being ONtario Premier with children. The man is full of bullshit. I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him. $100 bet on that BC'er.

mezba said...

so you want to be MP only if you are the leader of a party, not otherwise.

Doesn't that show your thirst only for the top job and nothing else? No serving the people and all that?

You are quite right in saying that even if Mi didn't wanna stick around he shouldn't say so. Leader of the Liberals will have to be politically smart, 'coz now we will be running against incumbents.

Jeff said...

Too rich for my blood Shoshana. For now I'll give Bob the benefit of the doubt by taking him at his word, and should your prediction come to pass you may feel free to trumpet the flamability of his slacks.

Anonymous said...

You're right - the word is donor and I foolishly didn't take the time to proofread. The correction really wasn't necessary. Mistakes are made folks.

Rae has only been a Liberal for a few weeks and of course I think he'd say he run rather than have any more negativity about him. Doesn't mean he won't change his mind afterwards.

Ignatieff has been a Liberal all his life and that's pretty loyal to me. It may be that he's just considering serving the party in another capacity or maybe he will run for MP again - the question is really unnecessary at this point.


Lolly said...

"Don't doubt my devotion to the Liberal Party of Canada. You wouldn't do this occasionally difficult job if you weren't seriously committed to it."

That is a direct quote from the same article knb comments on.

This is a lame question which has been asked to previous Leadership Candidates who admittedly were front runners in their day. The case in point was to JNT in 1984. Much to the chagrin of centre of the universe Liberals he not only won his seat in Vancouver ( part of his committment to western Canada( sounds like Kennedy committing to run in western Canada don't know where, don't know when).

Against all odds, in 1984 check out the book by Stephen Clarkson "The Big Red Machine" to see how much venom accumulated in the mouths of some Liberals over that one. Winning the Leadership review in 1986 convention really made them apopoplectic.

The truth is out there, somewhere. Mi is correct in his statement, you don't have to be an elected member to do great things/work in the Liberal Party.

Another thing, I don't recall anyone asking Donald Johnston if he was going to stay when he was seeking the Leadership.

If Winnipeg is classified as the west, I'll laugh so hard I'll cry.

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Anonymous said...

"Ignatieff has been a Liberal all his life and that's pretty loyal to me."

- Yeah a liberal who spent over 20 years in another country. Do you honestly think this guy has any ability to relate to canadian voters beyond his quickly eroding celebrity status? Dare I say it, but this guy is Canada's answer to Joe Lieberman. He's a power hungry schmuck, mostly conservative attempting to operate under a liberal banner. Libs, run don't walk away from this guy.

Karen said...

A bcer said Loyalty means a lot.

I agree, but I see no disloyalty in saying that the facts on the ground would have to be assessed, as to whether or not being an MP is how he can best he feels, he can best serve.

Besides folks, he hasn't said he won't run, you're making an assumption and arguing it as fact.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone remember a leadership campaign where this question was not asked?

This is one of the first questions our frind MI should have been prepared for by his supposedly expert advisors. Oh sorry, that's right, they are too busy promoting themselves rather than helping their candidate.

This was dumb, dumb, dumb!

Anonymous said...

Rae, Hall-Findlay and Kennedy have all stated that they will run for an MP seat regardless of who wins.
You know Kennedy means what he says. He stuck by McGuinty and took a major role in renewal with the Ontario Liberal Party.

Ignatieff's remarks are revealing.

It demonstrates the guy is not a team player, he will only be part of the team if he's at the top.
That is not how political parties work.
This shows Iggy's political inexperience.
When the Liberal Party needs to come together and renew, this is hardly the right guy for the job.
An opportunist, pure ans simple.

Anonymous said...

People don't mind calling Celine Dion, Peter Jennings, Mike Myers, etc. Canadians even though they've been out of the country for many years obtaining their fortunes. They're loyalty to Canada isn't doubted even though most of them hold dual citizenship.

And, anyone who isn't 'ambitious' and confident shouldn't be running anyway.

This whole argument is just plain "DUMB".

Karen said...


Well, maybe Celine, lol.

I do think this argument is ridiculous though. I don't see it too much here, (and bcer, I don't read your post this way either), but the old pattern of dividing the party, just can't be 'on' this time. IMHO, we're cooking our own goose in doing that. Honest debate, without taking swipes, great. Petty shots, to place your personal favourite candidate as "better", only serves to re-inforce old misconceptions about this party.

Anonymous said...

Carpet. Bagger.

Anonymous said...

It's pure amateur hour or a Moe Howard-subtle freudian slip. He does know there's a bullseye on his back, doesn't he? I'm beginning to think he doesn't have the shields to defend against the klingon phazers down the home stretch... First disappearing off the face of the earth (only to have late missives give various conflicting info on why he was gone -- take a pill TDHuh!) and now shooting from the hip without removing the gun from the holster.
Rae is a politician. He knows how to answer that question and did so. It's one of the reasons Kennedy is already acquiesing and seeking another riding -- leading me to believe the two are natural bunkmates when and if the time comes...
'There are many ways to contribute...' is like a farewell speech already sketched out on his blackberry. Like you JJ, i do hold Ignatieff in high regard in some areas and waiver in where he sits in my top four. But this just leaves me shaking my head -- your weak spot (at least by your enemies/opponents) is your dedication to Canada... And you come up with this before 20 reporters? If I didn't know better, I'd think MI is the Guy Fawkes behind the Stop Iggy campaign.

Anonymous said...


Winnipegers like me ARE Westerners. Bite your tongue.

Lolly said...

Anon 1:08

Fold any map of Canada and where is the crease ? In the centre, right through Winnipeg.
Ask any British Columbian and you are an easterner.

Kiss my b-o-t--tom.

Steve V said...

Ignatieff is going to need a couple people to cross the floor at the convention. Alienating yourself is surely a bad move politically.

Anonymous said...

I think it's too late to fight the Ignatieff machine.

With nearly half the liberal caucus onside this race is done.

I'm going to vote for Dion (because I've been a liberal for 30 years and he's the only one of the "serious contenders" who has ever shown up at the hundreds of events I've been at over the past decade.)

But it looks like loyalty means nothing anymore.

Everyone would rather take a shot in the dark on someone they can brand with all the hopes and dreams (iggy, kennedy, rae) rather than someone who has earned it.

Brison has correctly identified the 'Stockwell Syndrome' that will hand this thing to Ignatieff.

I'll stand behind whomever is the leader (or at least give them a chance).

Too bad he can't say the same.

Penelope Persons said...

I have always considered Winnipeg to be part of "The West", but perhaps that's because the Bombers were always part of it.

But back to the thread...
Ignatieff may be a flaming intellectual, but he is certainly no politician!! "Depends on who wins"....????

And who might that be, Mr. Iggy?

We can pretty well bet the western agri-farm it won't be Hedy Fry, Joe Volpe, Martha Hall Findlay or Carolyn Bennett, wonderful people though they are, and bravo to them for throwing their hats in the ring...

That leaves us with apparent longshot Scott, and Gerard, Stephane and Ken.

So was Iggy suggesting any of those guys would be hard to work with??

This is a man can't answer a question any more clearly than the stuff he writes!!

Imagine Iggy in the capitals of the world, and in front of thier cameras, trying to clarify the Canadian position on this or that issue!!

What, after all, would have been wrong with "Of course, I plan to work closely with whoever.... bla bla bla" and then, if - God forbid - Joe Volpe won, find that mother-in-law was just too ill, or there was some other "personal reason" why he could not stand.

Brison was right, and to some extent, I feel sorry for the Professor. Because of the media scrutiny, the poor guy has been screwing up every dang week!! The other candidates must be quietly sitting back,smiling and letting him do weekly swan dives on his own swords.