Sunday, July 05, 2009

Do Your Homework

Whether you agree or disagree with Ignatieff's approach to the tar sands, that is really irrelevant to this argument about consistency. Ignatieff was in Calgary, and again forwarded his assertions on what the tar sands mean to the Canadian economy, the question of national unity, the idea of not "pitting" one region against another. Nothing new, that's the standard stump speech whenever Ignatieff speaks about the tar sands. However, the piece also commons with commentary from a supposed expert, political scientist Duane Bratt:
"The bigger question that I would have for Ignatieff is that's fine, saying that in Calgary. Let's see you say it in Montreal. Let's see you say it in Toronto," Bratt said.

Bratt echoes a criticism from some Conservatives, that Ignatieff is merely pandering to a region while present, not representative of any true core belief. Bratt, who should KNOW better, given his supposed expertise posits a complete falsehood:
Ignatieff touts Alberta tar sands

Oil industry key to Canada's geopolitical power, Liberal leader tells Quebecers in unity pitch

MONTREAL–Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff brought a pragmatic message to this environmentally conscious province yesterday, defending Alberta in the name of national unity.

Keenly aware that his greatest future electoral opportunity is in Quebec, and his greatest challenge in Alberta, Ignatieff essentially told Quebecers they needed to get with the program when it comes to the Alberta tar sands.

"The stupidest thing you can do (is) to run against an industry that is providing employment for hundreds of thousands of Canadians, and not just in Alberta, but right across the country," Ignatieff told an audience largely of business graduate students at HEC Montreal, a management school affiliated with the University of Montreal.

Aware that the tar sands, one of the biggest oil deposits in the world, and also one of the dirtiest, is a controversial subject in Quebec, Ignatieff told the audience that "all questions of energy policy are a question of national unity."

He said he toured the oil sands in August and concluded that they will determine Canada's geopolitical power for the 21st century.

"We provide more oil to the United States than Saudi Arabia. That changes everything," he insisted. "It means that when the prime minister of Canada goes into the White House, he gets listened to, in ways that Canadian prime ministers have not been listened to before.

"We're not the nice little friendly northern cousin. They can't run their economy without us."

Polls show Quebecers have serious environmental reservations about the resource's development. During the election campaign, Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe repeatedly claimed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's favouritism toward western oil companies hurts Quebec.

Ignatieff repudiated that kind of rhetoric. "Alberta is a valued treasured part of our federation," he said. "Never pit one region of the country against the other when you develop economic policy."

Pretty much the VERBATUM arguments made in Montreal, as made in Calgary, as made in Edmonton. It isn't in the Liberals political self interest to tout the tar sands in Quebec, and this where Bratt's "challenge" probably stems from. The fact Ignatieff HAS "said it" in Montreal speaks to consistency, it rebukes this notion of convenient pandering, because Ignatieff has uttered the same words, where there is more negative than positive to be gained.

I expect more from a supposed "expert", and if Mr. Bratt is so detached from the details, then he shouldn't offer an opinion as though informed, nor should any publication seek his tertiary analysis.


Anonymous said...

Iggy is determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Rather than being an intellectual, he seems determined to remain the same emotionally-driven weather vane that botched the 2006 leadership race.
The world's political situation is just like the global economy: a royal cluster-f*ck.

RuralSandi said...

There seems to be a movement of Anons from the right wing group who are putting stupid negative statements that mean nothing - are they instructed to do this?

They can't even deal with the subject matter under discussion. It's about MISINFORMATION there Anon 4:00 - not the 2006 leadership campaign. What a bore. They do this when they can't face or argue about true facts.

Steve V said...

I guess the point would be, if he's such a weathervane, then why make it an issue in Montreal? When's the last time you heard Harpo speaking about the tar sands in Quebec? There is no political upside, Ignatieff could easily avoid the issue with NO recourse, but he's chosen to speak on it. Like I said, whether you agree or not, it's clearly not a pandering position.

bigcitylib said...

The oil sands stuff has been consistant. Apparently, though, he's anti-asbestos again.Which is fine. Pro Asbestos--I can understand the reasoning. But he's gotta PICK ONE.

Steve V said...

I don't see how he backs off those last statements. Pretty unequivocal.

Marie said...

Why did Ignatieff wear a photo of Trudeau around his neck at the Toronto Pride parade and not at the Calgary Stampede?
Just curious.

Jennifer Smith said...

Probably because the parade this year was in part to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada - thanks to Justice Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

Gayle said...

You are not curious Marie - just silly.

Why does Harper say one thing in French and another in English?

Why does Layton oppose strategic voting - unless it wins him a seat?

Why do people feign curiosity when they really think they are making a point?

Steve V said...

Here's an email response from Mr. Bratt which he said I could post:

"Dear Steve V,

This was one quote over a long interview. In the interview I made several points. First, I said that Ignatief's comments on the oil sands were consistent with his message for several years. For example, I was at a Calgary event when he was running for the leadership the first time where he said pretty much the same thing. Second, I said that this was a reversal of Dion's green shift. Third, I spoke about the contrast with Layton's comments (also in Calgary). Fourth, and the issue you are focusing on, involved the forum. A Stampede Breakfast speech would be the equivalent of the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto. In other words, I probably used the quote that you are referring to (in a twenty minute interview it is hard to recollect everything that was said), but the emphasis was on the high profile nature of his Calgary comments versus comments that were of a lower rung quality in other, Eastern, cities.

Anyway, that is my perspective. I give the interviews, and the reporters choose what to use. I guess in this case, they choose the sound bit, without the larger context of what I was saying.


Anthony said...

As uninformed as the comment from the "political expert" may be, the error was made by the two reporters who published the story and by the editor at the Calgary Herald.