Monday, February 23, 2009

The rise of Michael Ignatieff

By Michael J.W. Stickings

My latest piece at The Guardian -- on celebrated public intellectual, former Harvard professor, and current Canadian Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff -- is here.

In brief, I don't much care for him. (I supported former Ontario Premier Bob Rae for the leadership, but Rae pulled out of the race late last year.) Here's a taste:

To me, though, he has never seemed to be much of a Canadian, and certainly not enough of one to be our prime minister. It's not that he has spent so much of his life overseas – mostly in Britain and the US. It's that he has seemed to aspire actively to be anything but Canadian, and more specifically to be American. Which is fine, in a cosmopolitan sort of way, but he comes back to Canada with an air of condescension about him, as if he has seen the world and conquered it and has now decided, with the coaxing of a party eager for him to lead it back to the promised land, to sully himself in the world of politics supposedly on our behalf but really because he just wants to be prime minister, so great would it look on his resumé, a capstone to a long and successful career.

Still, he's better than the alternative, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his vicious band of Bush-lite Conservatives.

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  • And as I said in the Guardian, Liberals have lost my vote

    gryff :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:17 PM  

  • I hope you understand that the conservatives are quoting your article everywhere they can to further their agenda. It is true that the coalition had marginal support according to the Ekos poll but there was also strong negative feeling that Ignatieff was wise enough to know it could have resulted in a back lash. In the long run he has more chance of defeating Harper this way. Many who supported the coalition (and I was one) who also feel he did the right thing.

    The fact remains whether you are a cynic or not, that Michael Ignatieff is Canada's best hope to remove Harper from power. Ignatieff was clear when he said there were flaws with the budget. He had little choice but approve rather than block stimulus during an economic crisis. I hope and trust that when he becomes PM he will make the necessary changes.

    I've read reviews of his books (with includes one of Canada's highest awards for literature) and it is said there is great honesty in his writing. This bodes well as Harper has been far from honest with us time and time again. What kind of prime minister who go as far as to blatantly and deliberately mislead the public about the way the parliamentary system works? Which he is exactly what he did do.

    The women of Canada are counting on Ignatieff to save and protect the rights that have been systematically eroded under Harper.

    Today in the United States President Obama tells us how proud he was to sign The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act which focuses on pay equity for women, and makes it easier for them to fight discrimination.Meanwhile here in Canada Prime Minister Harper has done the opposite. His response to a failing grade on women's rights and equality at the UN was to restricted women's access to the court despite public disapproval. We are told it is to put pay equity back "in the hands of the unions where it belongs", but not every woman is in a union. We are also told there is a problem with long waits for trials. If so this should be addressed, but two wrongs do not make a right. It also misses the point.

    The wage gap only hurts the economy. With equal pay for work of equal value the top goal of the women's rights movement this is not only a symbolically terrible thing to do, and a horrible message to send the women of Canada, but it is also economically senseless.

    The CCPA (an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social and economic justice) produced an e-book called the Harper Record, and the lengthy section on 'Women's Equality and Human Rights' concludes:

    "Under Stephen Harper's Conservative government, women in Canada are witnessing a steady encroachment on the hard-won and still fragile equality rights for which they have fought long and hard."

    Nobody has been able to tell us why was the world "equality" was removed from the mandate for the Status of Women's Council.

    Perhaps worst of all, conservative have also blocked day care funding (thirty years in development in Canada) and which Obama identifies as a cornerstone of economic recovery in America. Real world programs show a return of up to 12 dollars for every dollar invested on behalf of the poorest children, and should make it a win win win. Instead when funding put in place by liberals shortly runs out women will have far fewer choices. More will be forced on welfare or work more jobs. Families and the economy will be hurt.

    So Ignatieff for prime minister? I hope so.

    I look forward to his book about his trip across Canada. I'm not sure how well he loves us, but many women based on his track record feel as if the prime minister we have may actually hate them. There are even facebook groups with growing numbers to prove it.

    from twitter:

    "pay equity/women's rights is not negotiable". Ignatieff on Charlie Rose speaks against torture. He was also true to his word here: 500 missing women touched on in "Canada's failing grade on equality" The CCPA produced an e-book called the Harper Record. Check out the section on women's equality and human rights. (important pdf) "Obama has identified early childhood education and care as required for an economic recovery" "Why Michael will be Prime Minister, part [fill in blank] "

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:33 PM  

  • btw I like Bob Rae, but he gracefully stepped down and choose to support Ignatieff for the good of Canada.

    Bob helps Michael move:

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:59 PM  

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