The ploy has infuriated the Liberal Leader, who used an interview with CTV’s Question Period Sunday to call the Conservative attack a distortion of the truth that crosses the line.
“My family lost everything in the Russian revolution. They started over again in Canada. They came here with nothing,” Mr. Ignatieff said. “My dad laid [railway] track in British Columbia. He put himself through university. He lived the immigrant story.”
The quote here doesn't do justice to the disgust Ignatieff demonstrated, turning this issue around into a statement about Stephen Harper, how they will say or do anything in the name of power, how they are no boundaries, it's just gutter politics of a kind Canadians won't endorse.
Unlike our American cousins, our political discourse tends to have "don't go there" parameters, we like to think a certain civility exists, an honour amongst thieves at the very least. This low, low brow assault the Conservatives have launched against Ignatieff's family is actually an opportunity. Not an opportunity of our chosing, but one the Conservatives have clumsily given us, and one we should now welcome.
In response, the Liberal Leader accused the Tories of twisting the facts and acting outside the bounds of decency. “Their attack on me is a disgrace. They’ve attacked my patriotism. They’ve attacked my commitment to the country. And now they’re attacking my family.”
He said the Tories’ targeting of his character and family is unparalleled in this country. “These personal attacks are unprecedented in the history of Canadian democracy,” Mr. Ignatieff charged.
“[Stephen Harper] is absolutely out of control. He thinks he can get away with and say anything,” the Liberal Leader said. “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian. I am a proud Canadian. I won’t take that from him or from anybody else.”
He added: “Canadians got to ask themselves is this the kind of politics you want? This is a prime minister who is prepared to say anything to hold on to power.”
Do you reward these people with your vote? Do you sanction the lowly attacks on Ignatieff's family, is this what you want, will you endorse it at the ballot box? I can't think of more fertile ground than a discussion about all that is wrong with Ottawa, clearly implicating this "regime" as the primary force, a referendum on how the Harper government operates. While the Liberals aren't setting the world on fire, Conservatives shouldn't comfort themselves, because their is clearly widespread "disgust" with our current political discourse. Who bears responsibility?
On this question, Ignatieff can get heated, indignant, the issue almost demands a free pass on the soapbox, a lecturing tone. No, rather than just let this pass, Liberals need to embrace the attacks on Ignatieff's family, because you simply will never find a more offensive example of the "politics of personal attacks", it's the money shot, the glory hole.
I can almost guarantee, on this issue, the Conservatives will lose and Ignatieff will have a sympathetic ear. People can get lost in the semantics of what is historical fact, it doesn't matter in the least, the general theme is clear and unmistakable. There is nothing worse than going after someone's family, we all know that line and this is why the Liberals should shove it back down their throats, with zeal!