Monday, August 24, 2009

Ignatieff Interview

With the summer lull winding down, I've been quite curious what narratives the Liberals will push heading into the fall session. This Ignatieff interview gives some very superficial insight on what might lie ahead.

It's important for the Liberals to pivot off the pre-occupation with criticizing the issues in the immediate, and start to articulate a vision. The "down the road" narrative, which I think will be a key argument if we are to have a fall election. EI can be used as the backdrop to reinforce another theme (which Ignatieff speaks to), that being you can't co-operate with these guys, they are an obstacle to stability and good government. However, EI isn't an election winner, the discussion will surround who has a plan to deal with the deficit, who has a plan to reshape our economy to compete in the global economy. The Conservatives are quite vulnerable on this front, because they are more managers than planners, very little in the way of forward thinking that speaks in a cohesive fashion:
What is the vision to help the restructuring of our economy after the recession? Is zero. So that's the problem I have. I am at a government that does not work. What should I do? Keep it alive because people do not want an election? Or bring it down and say what I really thinks of me, that is to say that we deserve better than that. I'm thinking. "

I can't stress enough the importance of the word "vision" here. We crave that, we desire something to get behind that speaks to a better tomorrow. It's cheesy on one hand, but if Ignatieff is armed with a comprehensive plan, that brings all facets together, towards a singular goal, it will and can fly. I don't doubt the messenger in this case, but he needs the substance. Conservatives don't do vision, they do tear downs, they react to liberalism, they manage like Canada is a giant Walmart. We can occupy this ground and it's a winner.

I like the response on the coalition question:
"I'm not against political arrangements between parties to run a minority Parliament. I am ready to negotiate with other parties to advance legislative proposals. But beware, I always spoke arrangements, no coalition. "

There is a central argument here, a contradiction in the Con logic that we can use to push back. Harper can speak of coalitions and he WILL in the campaign. However, on a common sense level Canadians understand that co-operation between parties is required, in fact it's one of their chief beefs with politics as a whole. We attack Harper's inability to work with others, a potent criticism, with ample examples. Beside that argument, this idea of "arrangements" isn't something to be feared, because it simply acknowledges a practicality that people are well aware of. Reject a formal coalition, push the idea of co-operation concurrently, and you neuter their attacks while positioning yourself as the only one that get this "mess in Ottawa" to work. I'd even throw in a few jabs at the Cons, tell Harper he's welcome in PM Ignatieff's office anytime to discuss "arrangements".

I also like the characterization as "arrogant", this push for a majority from the Conservatives. The laundry list of problems at the moment, and this government thinks they deserve a stronger mandate. Labelling you opponent as arrogant, and somewhat detached because of it, is a strong "buzzword".

Just snippets, nothing terribly substantive yet, but I'm encouraged by the language I hear.


RuralSandi said...

Interesting that Harper's reason for putting us in an election last fall was that he felt parliament wasn't working.

If that was good enough for Harper, then it should be good enough for the other parties to want to go into election.

Also - the other issues like troubles for Canadians overseas, isotopes, etc.

Tomm said...

I think you put a lot of words in Ignatieff's mouth.

When he is speaking directly to Canadian's HE will be speaking DIRECTLY to Canadian's.

Is Joe Lunchbox going to understand Ignatieff? Or is he going to come across like an abstract academic?

Also important is how is the MSM is going to translate his words, since we can both agree that occassionally he needs a plain English translator.

He is clearly a man with a lot to offer Canada, but like Dion, he may be getting painted into a corner.

I know I come off as a broken record, but the Grits need some policies. Even policy principles, something to show to Canadian's. And then something they can use to screen material through like a filter. It would give a semblance of foundation and not just knee jerk reaction to Conservative thoughts and plans.

The Conservative's have law and order, proud nation, personal responsibility, as what Canadian's see as core values, the Liberal's need to generate their own.

RuralSandi said...

Cons have core values? Why isn't Harper sticking to the core values?

Crime - ya right.
Proud nation - ya right.
Personal responsibility - LOL, that's a good one.

Harper has betrayed the core values, he does not taker responsilibity (fine exampe he is) and proud nation - we don't need Harper to make us proud, we already are. Proud includes proud of our institutions, protecting citizens overseas, accountability (where the hell did that go?).

LOL Tomm is saying Joe Lunchbox is stupid? He knows when he out of work, when times are tough and if he happens to be of any colour other than white he won't be protected if he goes to visit family.

Oh, and Joe Lunchbox better not get cancer.

Anonymous said...

OT - Steve, can you tell me why so many lib blogs no longer return to Liblogs when one presses the 'go back' key? I'using Chrome, but I believe this is also the case using IE.



Steve V said...

Ignatieff has spent far more time mingling with Joe Lunchbox than Harper. Ignatieff has spent a lot of time on the "street", his pedigree isn't one that's spent his life in some detached academia.

Steve V said...


No idea. Works for me. Maybe email them to let them know.

Tomm said...


You can disagree with my words but that doesn't mean what I say doesn't have some resonance.

Canadian's, of all creeds, have found a new sense of pride and connection with our military under Harper. And they like it. Harper has also been less "nuanced" in his foreign policies, and Canadian's like that too.

Regardless what YOU think, the average Canadian sees Harper's government as one with greeater commitment to law and order than the previous governments. And they feel they can trust that it will continue.

With respect to personal responsibility, the Conservative government has worked to decrease their involvement with the people. For example, no national daycare, against all the charter challenges, arms length from business, cut strings to provincial monies, cut taxes.

All of this is something tangible that the Canadian voter sees. It brands the party.

The Liberal's aren't generating a new brand the voter can trust. Their chances of winning an election will keep decreasing, in the absence of Tory gaffes.

Are you comfortable sitting back with 80 seats waiting for Tory gaffes?

DL said...

The Tories have been able to pass their entire agenda with their "informal arrangement" with the Liberals. Reading between the lines, I guess what Ignatieff is saying is that he hopes the Tories will return the favour and support all the policies Ignatieff would bring in as PM. So we will go from a Tory government with passive Liberal support, to a Liberal government with passive Tory support.

Tomm said...


I don't disagree with you, but that isn't the word about town.

Joe Lunchbox sees a middle class guy from Calgary who has scraped and held a bunch of mediocre jobs running the country with strength and competence.

Joe Lunchbox also sees another guy who talks funny, seems to be overly pleased with himself, has narrow shoulders and doesn't seem connected physically to anything Canadian.

Ignatieff has to wear golf shirts, be seen hanging out, and photographed with some iconic Canadian images in the background.

Golfing at Kananaskis... watching a rodeo... drinking a beer... eating something at a farmer's market... and looking comfortable with a cup of coffee at a table.

Tomm said...

And an adidtional comment, Ignatieff has to be seen doing these things more than once, like he actually enjoys it.

RuralSandi said...

A portion of Silver's article today in the Globe and Mail:

Monday, August 24, 2009 10:56 AM

Attack Ignatieff's Office Day
Robert Silver

As a Globe columnist (first appointed as such last week by the "World Socialist Web Site" - and as we all know, what they write is nothing but the truth, hence others have taken to calling me same), I am really angry this morning.

You see, if I am going to take on the title of columnist (rather than hack political blogger), surely I should also be entitled to all of the benefits that come along with such a prestigious position.

Yet for some reason when the memo went around to the Ottawa political media posse on Friday that they all had to write negative stories about Michael Ignatieff's office in the next 48 hours, I was totally shut out.

...and it goes on.

There you have it - journalists are being forced to write negatively about Ignatieff.

Time to fight back - much like the Glenn Beck situation - call their advertiser or something - this is totally undemocratic and unacceptable.

What has our country/media come to?

Tomm said...


I couldn't find anything on the Globe & Mail website to corroborate.

JimmE said...

I love summer! I love how everything political goes all Topsy-turvy. I love how Tomm pulls stuff from milkweed fluff & makes The Present PM all dewy fresh. Keep spinning those milkweeds into gold only angry geezers will buy! Ah sweet summer whine!

Jerry Prager said...

When Stephen Harper told lies about the nature of Canadian democracy and used the GG to prorogue parliament because he had no vision whatsoever beyond the malice he brought with him, when Stephen Harper walked his son to school and then shook his hand, I saw a man so out of touch with his heart that I knew his emotional intelligence was completely untrustworthy, he's the son of an oil man and serves no interests but oil and its allies, there is not a single thing about the man - including his Karla Homolka eyes - that I admire or desire in a Prime Minister. Stephen Harper - too mean and small for Canada.