Friday, November 24, 2006

Ignatieff Off The Mat

Only a few days ago, Ignatieff's campaign looked doomed and disarray was king. Enter Stephen Harper and all of a sudden you can use the word "momentum" without laughter. Oh sure, Ignatieff has twisted and contorted all over the place on the nation question, but the overarching theme suggests legitimacy for supposed crazy and dangerous ideas.

Despite all the talk about delegates abandoning Ignatieff in droves, I kept reminding myself that the latest controversy might actual play to his advantage with Quebec delegates, something which Chantal Hebert also argued. If this story, and the quotes within are accurate, Ignatieff can expect to leech second-ballot support in Quebec:
poaching a trio of senior Quebec organizers from rival Stéphane Dion...

They include a former candidate from the Quebec City region, a top Dion organizer in the provincial capital, and former Lévis MP Christian Jobin.

"I would say that the majority of Mr. Dion's delegates will be deserting him after the first ballot," said Jobin, who told Dion the bad news on Wednesday...

The Ignatieff forces in the province have spent much of the past two weeks insisting that kind of talk is mere bravado, and that Dion's support will melt away after the first ballot, when delegates will be free to support any candidate they wish.

The reasoning goes that Dion's stiff opposition to supporting a resolution by the Quebec wing that calls for a committee to recommend a way to "officialize" the province's status as a "nation within Canada" has proved deeply unpopular among the large majority of members who approved the motion at a recent party meeting.

Ignatieff organizer and Liberal MP Denis Coderre (Bourassa) said there are "dozens" more officials who will announce they are switching allegiances in the coming days.

If, and this is obvious speculation, Dion's Quebec delegates abandon him in any numbers, he's done. The fourth place scenario demands massive growth and this is impossible with corresponding erosion. Dion relies heavily on Quebec delegates, around 40% of his total first ballot support. If the boasting from the Ignatieff camp is even half correct, Dion might go nowhere on the second ballot, which is complete death. I would expect Dion to pick up other camps supporters on the second ballot, because there is no denying his second choice numbers, but this perception could easily be counter-balanced by a reasonable number of defections.

Things change quickly, what was once considered Ignatieff's albatross, may be his pot of gold. Alot can happen, Rae is still a force, but Ignatieff looks alot better than he did on Monday and I don't think any reasonable person can deny this fact.


Karen said...

I would agree, though Rae, I think, comes off looking weak on the issue. Wouldn't commit to it, until it meant nothing basically. That image is the last thing he needs in Ontario.

I'm a bit confused as to why Kennedy hasn't declared how he see's all of this...though I guess we don't know what the resolution will look like at the Convention.

Steve V said...


I agree with you on Rae, and I confess to some disappointment that Kennedy has basically disappeared.

Steve V said...

"we handed the separatists their nocturnal emissions on a silver platter."

Or maybe we simply admitted the obvious, supported by the vast majority of Quebecers. The rather lukewarm response in Quebec, almost like "duh", tells us that all we did is get up to speed to an inescapable reality.

Karen said...

canuckistanian, I would agree with Steve. All of this being laid at Ignatieff's feet, ignores the obvious.

There has been much ado about how he flip-flopped, but if you examine his comments, he hasn't actually. Take sound bite's, yes it sounds as if he has. That said, I think he'd do well now to be quiet and humble.

Quebec did react with a big, duh. Being from Quebec, now in Ontario living with someone born in Ontario, this is an argument we've had often. The word Nation may not have been used, but that the rest of Canada had difficulty understanding the concept and finally resigning yourself to that fact, is something, I think, Quebeckers have done for some time.

Steve you put it well. It was a reality, it was inescapable, it's just interesting that it happened in our time.

Aside, I like Kennedy and thought before all of this, he was doing really well. I don't think he'll win at this point, but I hope he pulls something clever out, in response to all of this. He HAS to win a seat...he'll be taken care of for good reason, he deserves it, IMO.

Anonymous said...

You are correct. Iggy is far too dangerous for us to ever allow him power in OUR country.

Anonymous said...

You have it all wrong re: Kennedy.

He is the only one demonstrating some leadership on this issue by not just jumping on a bandwagon. This was nothing but a political ploy by Harper. It has no real meaning for Quebec, it is semantics.

Kennedy has been quoted previously as saying that he has no problem with Quebec being called a sociological nation. Unlike Ignatieff, he does not want the constitution re-opened and he would not be so reckless to throw around the word "nation" during a leadership race.

This issue should not hijack the leadership race. Ignatieff is responsible for that. Unlike Ignatieff, Kennedy does not flip flop on issue from week to week. He is a man of his word.

Alison said...

This whole issue has worked to the advantage of Harper and also Iggy (in the sidelining of Dion and Rae).
No one else benefitted.