Sunday, August 06, 2006


(Scroll down for update) From a story in Sunday's Toronto Star on Michael Ignatieff, bolding is mine:

Two weeks ago, the Star sought the views of the 11 leadership hopefuls on the Mideast, asking what they would have done differently than Harper and what, as PM, they would do now.

All commented. Only Ignatieff was unavailable.

When asked why, an Ignatieff spokesperson couldn't answer and said someone would call back later with a reason. Later that day, campaign director Ian Davey telephoned to say Ignatieff's mother-in-law was ill in Hungary.

"He's overseas — there's an illness in the family," said Davey, adding he wouldn't contact Ignatieff about a phone interview. Later, a high-placed source said Ignatieff was definitely on vacation.

Last week, however, back in Toronto, Ignatieff told the Star his mother-in-law was, in fact, not ill.

"There is no health crisis," he said. "There never was. Anybody who said there was, was not authorized to say that. I never purported to say that."

He apologized for the confusion.

UPDATE: I guess it all depends on the meaning of the word “crisis.” I’m told that, while Michael’s mother-in-law is indeed in poor health (hey, she’s 84), she is not gravely ill or on her death bed. Which, I guess, is why Michael said there was no “health crisis.” Not well yes, but health crisis? No.

So, if you’re following at home, he was on vacation, visiting his mother-in-law who is not in as good shape as she used to be. He followed the Middle East issue, but chose not to comment not because of any health issues, but because he felt it wasn’t yet appropriate. And there are health issues, just not a health crisis, he took his vacation to visit his ageing mother-in-law.

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bigcitylib said...

Good find! I thought I had read earlier that Iggy was "on vacation", but assumed the guy must have mis-written.

You've given me the subject for another post! I will link and H/T later today. Iggy has some explaining to do.

Darren McEwen said...

Just be honest with us. We'll judge you later. But now we get to judge you on taking a vacation AND on a senior campaign working misleading the media about it!

Anonymous said...

Iggy told the truth and a staffer blew it - huh? The whole world is coming to an end because Ignatieff was up front about his vacation - now we wouldn't want a politician to tell the truth would we?

This is just so over-blown it's a joke and face it, the other candidates a using this for their own political posturing.

Oh gee, Jack Layton just got back from a canoeing vacation - oh the horrors. How can Canadians put up with this taking vacations stuff. We are doomed if politicians take vacations.

Anonymous said...

I was an ignateff apologist. I admit it.

I didn't love his silence on the middle east because I think everyone in the international community should quickly call for peace and ceasefire.

However, in light of the familial obligations he had I will willing to give a little slack.

But, what really bothers me here (even worse than the silence) is that the Ignatieff campaign used the family illness lie intentionally to buy some time until he came back (and probably won't be called on it by anyone on his campaign). They even had well-respected blogger Cerberus posting on everyone's message board, spreading the lie.

BCerinTO, since you have submitted evidence #1, I will give you #2:

This link below is to MiCHAEL IGNTIEFF'S WEBSITE which used the illness excuse to everyone, publically. This isn't only Ian Davey and Cerberus: everyone on that campaign knew this lie was posted "straight from the campaign" on their own damn website to help dispel rumors that he was dropping out (and to explain why he couldn't comment on the middle east):

Anonymous said...

Hah. Great name of the post Jeff.

I agree with anon above, since it was on his website he should be accountable.

Karen said...

Anon, not just the other candidates.

Harper on Question Period today mentioned something to the effect that, while he was at the G8 and in Europe, working on the ME situation and the opposition was on vacation. (I'm paraphrasing here, but that was the thrust of it).

Ignatieff? Layton? Dunno, but it was a jab, made with a grin, seen by a lot of Canadians, or will be tonight.

Anonymous said...

When you post this on your Leadership Campaign Website:

"Straight from the campaign:

Michael Ignatieff is most certainly not withdrawing from the leadership race. He is currently in Hungary with his wife, dealing with an illness in the family. He has specifically declined to comment on the current situation in the Middle East while he is away."

And not one single person on the campaign refutes it, then every person on that campaign are guilty of the lie as well.

Darren McEwen said...

"Iggy told the truth and a staffer blew it - huh? The whole world is coming to an end because Ignatieff was up front about his vacation - now we wouldn't want a politician to tell the truth would we?"

His website told a different story and he's responsible for what goes on it. His people, including his senior campaign organizer, told a different story. You can't have your entire campaign mislead people and then have your candidate swoop in after two weeks and clear the air and you only then say "who doesn't want a politician to tell the truth?"

We of course want the truth but it's been a long time coming.

Anonymous said...

it could still have been an illness, and altho i'm no iggnatieff backer i do think this is getting overblown. So maybe the messages got a little mixed up, or maybe he'd prefer not to state that his mother-in-law is ill; it's a private thing.
But the jist of my problem is that, unless he was in the middle of the amazon, he had ample time to relay a simple message about the middle east, and said he'd comment more later. Don't send some old press release from another time, and no wonder people were wondering if he was going to drop out. For a few weeks there, all intense purposes he did drop out. Let's get the grumbling out today and move on to something of more importance, like Harpor's subtle slide on the mideast issue. Here's another example of the guy 'who tell's it like it is' and who 'doesn't change his positions by polls' telling something different as if it weren't, and making a change in tact because of the polls.

Anonymous said...

We weren't allowed to critique his mid east silence then because he has a sick relative.

Now we aren't allowed to critique him because that was a misunderstanding.

Basically, he is the lord almighty and we all should worship him blindly or shut the hell up.

Anonymous said...

I can just see that "I'm entitled to a holiday" quote played over and over by the tories right next to david dingwal in the next election.

"I'm entitled to a holiday."

That isn't the response your campaign uses when you are away.

"I'm entitled to a holiday."
"I'm entitled to a holiday."
"I'm entitled to a holiday."
"I'm entitled to a holiday."
"I'm entitled to a holiday."

Anonymous said...

What really upsets me is that the Liberal bloggers (especially the young ones) seem quite knowledgeable and show some intelligence in their blogs - until recently.

Sad. We don't want them to become like the little minded conservative bloggers do we? In fact their hurting the Liberal party - because Harper is paying attention - he made a remark in an interview about other politicians being on vacation (with a smirk). If you were wise you'd go on to something else - the Conservative spys are out there and any negative thing that comes out is stuck with a "Liberal" label and not necessarily a specific candidate.

Dion, Brison, Bennett, etc. are put in one box and this will be a strategy that Harper will use.

Best to continuing pointing out Conservatives errors, cronyism appointments, etc. Seems the journalists are sleeping on these issues.

Penelope Persons said...

Annie-mouse suggests that Steve is reading our blogs and getting ... ammo from them!! Odd, most of the ammo I've been seeing has come either from the MSM or various candidates' websites!!

I have plenty of problems with Dr. Ig apart from his being "entitled" to his entitlements.... in this case a holiday. And I really don't want him chosen as next Liberal leader.

First, there's the preachiness, as he tells his students what's really going on...

"I've been following [the situation] minutely from the beginning and watching it unfold and figuring out when was the time when a statement would be important and relevant," said the MP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore....

Several top leadership contenders called for a ceasefire in the early days of the war...

They were fools. Their comments were unimportant and irrelevant.

He went on.... "[I]t would have been too early to push for a ceasefire last week [when the other candidates spoke out]because "it was very important for Israel to send Hezbollah a very clear message" that kidnapping soldiers and firing rockets on Israel will not be tolerated."

The other candidates were rushing to judgement. Idiots. They too should have been holidaying or working on their tans

"A ceasefire on the Israeli side becomes logical for Israel when it has achieved its military objectives and when it reaches the point of diminishing returns, and that is the point we've reached now," he explained.

I'll be fair. It was Ms. Diebel who used the expression 'he explained'. He might, after all, have been speculating, suggesting, contending, hinting....

He was asked if a turning point came when Israel bombed the Lebanese village of Qana on Sunday.

"It wasn't Qana," replied Ignatieff, formerly head of the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. "Qana was, frankly, inevitable.... This is the kind of dirty war you're in when you have to do this and I'm not losing sleep about that."

Good to know Dr. Mike is well rested.... like the Canaanites who have gone to their eternal rest. But I wonder what the turning point was?

"The longer this goes on, the greater the risk of regional conflict drawing in Iran and Syria," Ignatieff said. "At this point, there has to be a diminishing set of returns in Israel's legitimate pursuit of security."

Why does it always take him so long to get to the point? Israel has carte blanche here; their actions are legitimate, and once they have pounded the Lebanese people to crap and destroyed their homes, roads, farms and infrastructure for decades to come, but before the Syrians and Iranians decide to get involved - assuming they are not already propping Hezbollah up - that will be the time for Israel to back off. And no doubt, the Syrians and Iranians will back off too.

And of course, those thousands of kidnapped Lebanese and Palestinians languishing in the Israeli version of Gitmo prisons can stay put til they go to their eternal rest, too.

Darren McEwen said...

I thought I had stopped commenting on this issue but I couldn't resist after reading this comment section, especially the one from the No-Name Brand Blogger.

To suggest that the 'younger Liberals' are helping Harper get under Liberals' skin is hysterical.

The guy is a twit and his staff won't even confirm if he reads a single one of the e-mails, letters or listens to any of the voicemails that his office receives or is ever briefed on how many he gets.

It doesn't take a bunch of Liberal bloggers to convince Harper to bring up a comment about Ignatieff. We don't all have to bow down and get behind Ignatieff. Heaven for bid he lose and the Liberal party crumble to it's knees all because Harper's people were 'spying' on Liberal blogs. I'm not about to give Ignatieff or any Liberal candidate a free ride to 24 Sussex, prove yourself first.


S.K. said...

Lets put it this way the whole "vacation" thing is questionable. Why did they say his mother in law was dead, then sick, then his mother in law and his father in law, then he missed his plane for several days,then he received some bad health news, and then last but not least he's in Toronto and 20 min. later they don't know where he is.

The whole thing sounds a little fishy. He cancelled several engagements including and entire BC tour and the Liberal BBQ in Toronto. There is still more to this story than meets the eye. The man was taking a "rest" very outside the country where no one would find out and his staff didn't knwo when he was returning because he didn't know when he was returning.

Penelope Persons said...

Good point, Shoshanna!

I'd forgotten about the cancelled international flight, the lack of phones and internet... and the cancelled BC trip.

Nobody gets a free ride into 24 Sussex from here, and if Dr Igg had good reasons for not bothering to let anyone know why he couldn't appear where he had made a commitment to be, he should at least have one of his minions let us all know why.

We may be mere worker bees in the eyes of the Philosopher King - but we still have the vote!!

Lolly said...

It is the Rhodes Scholar thing that bothers me, not because I don't appreciate the brilliance of a person, gawd knows there are so few on the planet. I really like what I read about Mi, he is a Liberal throughout all the writings,I like reading his books he donated sevral to the JLMF as part of their fundraising. I am attracted to that intellectual level.

Think about the politicians in our recent past who are/were Rhodes Scholars and the shit that has stuck to them because of their honesty.

Jack Davis, Francis Fox, John Turner.

Then, wonder why it is that political parties have great difficulty attracting 'smart" people.

Darren McEwen said...

Davenport Liberal,

"Iggy told the truth and a staffer blew it - huh? The whole world is coming to an end because Ignatieff was up front about his vacation - now we wouldn't want a politician to tell the truth would we?"

Sorry Darren. Iggy was hiding to avoid the Middle East situation.

That was actually some no-name brand blogger that made that statement.