I must confess, one of the more off base narratives I've seen making the rounds is this nonsensical notion that the Liberals under Michael Ignatieff are akin to Harper's Conservatives. Now, to be clear, it's fine to criticize, as I've done, when you see a particular policy that resembles the government line. The recent debate over Gaza is a clear example, it troubles me that Ignatieff has taken such a "firm" stance, that has won him accolades from surprising sources. However, viewing one issue in isolation, as representative of an over-arching similarity, is both intellectually dishonest and factually insignificant.
Michael Ignatieff is nowhere near Stephen Harper, and if I thought for a second he was, I simply wouldn't support him. Period. In reality, what first brought my endorsement of Ignatieff was a re-introduction, wherein I reviewed the words, the pedigree, the speeches, the policy presented, on my own terms, without some of the "conclusions" people have drawn, lifting bits and pieces, here and there, to create some sort of anti-progressive monster. In other words, what does it all tell me about where Ignatieff sits, rather than the interpretation of others, many with their own bias and agenda? What I found was a leader that shared many of the same values, possessed a boldness of thought to think out of box, and above all a intellectual curiosity that demonstrated the clear capacity to learn from experience, to entertain input and react accordingly. I actually saw the potential for greatness.
The other day, Ignatieff met with Layton to discuss the upcoming budget. According to Layton, the meeting went well, which assumes some "agreement". Now, if these two men can find some common ground, does that equate to Ignatieff being the same as Layton? Sounds silly, but that's exactly what I see, when people select an issue and run with it as indicative of totality.
Listen to an Ignatieff speech and compare it with Harper. Listen to Ignatieff speak on the environment, the less fortunate, the federation, the role of government, human rights, etc, and then compare it with Harper. Maybe Ignatieff will overlap Harper on certain points, but just as likely he will disagree in a fundamental way. My only point, criticize where warranted, that's my perspective, but don't extrapolate a branch as representative of the entire tree. Just because I'm disappointed with a particular policy, doesn't mean I now doubt Ignatieff as a far, far better option than Harper, doesn't mean the Liberal Party has abandoned it's left flank and embraced right wing policies. If I say "Ignatieff sounds like Harper", that is only an expression of disappointment on a particular issue, one that I happen to be passionate about. However, it is just plain wrong to take the next step and then argue that because of said position, there is no difference between these two leaders, because the next day you will see an issue like Omar Khadr come to the fore, and the clear distinctions will be reaffirmed.
I still like the new guy, I like him a lot.