Monday, March 31, 2008

Ignatieff Should Stay

I can't think of a worse way to bring more unrest, than replacing Ignatieff as Deputy Leader. Hebert reports that the issue was raised this past week, and today we hear:
Some of Stephane Dion's top advisers are planning to press the Liberal leader in the coming days to dump Michael Ignatieff as deputy leader, CTV News has learned.

But some in the Dion camp believe that that Ignatieff, Dion's former leadership rival, is privately undermining the Liberal leader with critical and disdainful remarks.

Earlier this week, Dion demanded an end to the political sniping within his party after several shots were made at his leadership.

Some of his advisers want Dion to project a tougher image as leader. They argue it would send a strong message to party dissidents, by demoting the politician perceived as his greatest threat.

Let me get this straight, people would rather have Rae as Deputy Leader, that somehow sends a message. You can say whatever you want about Ignatieff, but seems to me you just replace one threat with another- is there a person alive who believes Rae runs for office, without the ambition of future leadership?

The argument seems to stem from the fact that most of the dissent in Quebec comes from former Ignatieff supporters. Considering the fact that the majority of Quebec Liberals supported Ignatieff, isn't just basic math that complaints would come from that camp? How is it Ignatieff's fault that Dion lacks supporters in his home province, why do people demand that Ignatieff have Stalin-like control over free thinking individuals? I think Ignatieff is clearly the scapegoat here, an excuse to gloss over the real problems in Quebec.

Yes, demoting Ignatieff would send a message alright. It would have the effect of a purge, which would trickle down in Quebec, and may well lead to more revolt. What everyone seems to be forgetting here, there is no Liberal Party in Quebec without the Ignatieff supporters, that's just reality. The party now has less than 10000 members, I suspect if you cull to get to Dion loyalists, you wouldn't be able to fill a Junior B hockey arena. No, circumstance demands that you find a way to work with these people, you find ways to include them and to some degree, you must appease. The alternative is political suicide, plain and simple, and it will backfire, the gateway to a Harper majority.

Demoting Ignatieff and putting in Rae, is the equivalent of replacing Cassius with Brutus. What's the difference in the end, especially when you factor in the damage. Leave it alone.


wilson said...

A wise Dion would eliminate the position entirely (as PMSH did) to play up the 'team' theme, and hand Iggy an additional, very important and time consuming portfolio.

Steve V said...

Harper's one man band stategy is hardly the template I would follow, it actually speaks to less of a team.

Anonymous said...

And Coderre is the latest victim. I'm sure the Quebec Liberals will really enjoy that.

wilson said...

I'll give you that, but the Deputy PM position holds ONE member higher than the rest,
and is like the leaders choice of the 'runner-up'.
Dion needs to set himself apart from the 'team', he is not a member, he is the 'leader'.

Just because Harper did it, it's a no-no?

Anthony said...

ignatieff is done steve

when faced with two options since becoming leader, can you think of one instance where Dion chose correctly

Steve V said...


If Dion's advisors are seriously considering this, then they should be replaced, because god help us in an election.

Austin said... could just be that CTV is stirring up the pot, with these supposed "insiders" play up to the insecurities of the Quebec wing...

All in line with the narrative...

I wonder if CTV realizes that its role as "state organ" is becoming so blatantly obvious...


Anonymous said...

Good post Steve.

A lot of party members are getting more annoyed that Dion's advisors seem to be increasingly looking for a scapegoat rather then looking inwards at their own failures.

I still make time to come out and support the party whenever Ignatieff is in town. He is the reason I continue to send cheques to local candidates. I can guarantee that any such move would cripple the party heading into the next election, and not just in Quebec.

There is no doubt about it; some of his former supporters continue to bitch to him in reunions about how bad Dion is as a leader. But Ignatieff’s answer to those criticisms has always been consistent. Its not about Dion, its about our party as a whole failing to adjust to the role of opposition and holding Harper and his team to account.

In fact, I would say at this point that Ignatieff is the only reason I would vote for LPC over the Green's. And Im sure many other Liberals are thinking the same thing.

Steve V said...


Hebert said the same call came last week during the meeting. While not the best source, given her hatred for Dion, I take her source as accurate.

Anonymous said...

Ignatieff should be dropped for no other reason than for his influence over Dion and therefore the capitulation of the Afghanistan file and thus lack of Liberal majority this spring.

Replacing Iggy, with the former NDP premier who racked up even greater provincial deficits than Flaherty, would be just plain stupid.

Anonymous said...

I think Ignatieff has earned the deputy leader position. He came in second at the convention and when asked what role he wanted he made a smart request. Since then, in my opinion, he has worked very hard for the party.

I also think Dion and Ignatieff work really well together. I've come to enjoy the one-two Dion-Iggy combo in question period. It will be interesting to how the QP dynamic will change.

If Mr. Rae wants some acknowledgment then lets see some hard work. Personally I don't have much experience with the man but during the leadership campaign I was most worried about him winning. Furthermore, I am holding him responsible for our platform (ultimately Dion is responsible) ... if he can impress me with that then I'll be very happy. Maybe that would be a nice comeback to the "Rae days" chorus: "oh, you brought up 'Rae days' again, here's a snippet of new policy, hehe."

I believe Mr. Ignatieff when he says he is doing all he can to get Mr. Dion elected as Prime Minister. These bi-elections are seeming to me, right now, as a victory. It will be real nice to see three fresh and talented new faces on the benches.

RuralSandi said...

Announced - Ignatieff is staying put and that's the way it should be.

Face it, so far Ignatieff is the only one who can get under Harper's skin, make him lose his cool and for that reason it's worth it.

Besides - if Dion did a number on Ignatieff it would look very suspicious against Rae - who's the one I'd watch quite frankly.

You know, it has come out that the press in Quebec were totally wrong about Ignatieff (fundraiser), etc. I hope a follow-up apology or correction is to follow.

No wonder people don't trust the press anymore.

CTV make me sick.

Steve V said...

Well, it looks like Dion has made the right choices. Good. Nice to see Gerard in there as well.

Steve V said...

"Face it, so far Ignatieff is the only one who can get under Harper's skin, make him lose his cool and for that reason it's worth it."

He's been very effective in QP.

Steve V said...

I guess Coderre is the loser.

Anthony said...

the job in defense is done steve, the mission has been extended.

what more was there left to do...

Steve V said...


Good spin my friend :) The job on defence is anything but done, there is a ton on the table moving forward. It's a salvo, no question.

Anonymous said...

If Ignatieff is demoted, it will be the straw that break the liberal pussy cats back.

I don't think Dion is that dumb, but I don't deny Rae is slimmy either.

Anonymous said...

Jane Tabers face was as red as a beet when she was spewing those lies yesterday on QP...they are trying to get MrRae in there so they can bring up his past as we are doing to Flaherty. They are already at it in day one.

Mark Dowling said...

If MH-F is a "legitimate star" how comes she only rates an Associate portfolio while Kennedy gets intergov, which has had a huge profile during the Harper presid... er... prime ministership.

Steve V said...


She was just elected, the others do have some past experience.

BTW, she was great with Flaherty today, made him turn red and all.

Gayle said...

The article never said Rae would be replacing Iggy, nor did it say Dion was considering the demotion. In fact, it said the opposite.

Maybe we should consider the source and not get our knickers in a knot about this type of gossip.

By the way, I think Coderre got what he deserved.

RuralSandi said...

Maybe he's taking it slow- but Rae was totally ineffective today. Martha did okay. I think Dion has to be careful not to hurt others - Martha have NEVER been in government before while others have been in and worked for the party for years and years. I think she's a bit of a schmoozer.

Anonymous said...

History lesson -
the day Martin announced his bid for the leadership I predicted Liberals would lose the election under him.
Prediction 2 -
Dion will face the same fate as his predecessor....and I don't care how many Liberals there are ready to jump up and tell us what a great, intelligent guy he is; that's not the POINT!
The country doesn't see Dion at the helm.
Of course, there's always the possibility the country has had enough of song and dance men, in paticular the King of The Pricks and on that basis Dion could squeak by.....but I wouldn't bet on it.
Time to forget the little things and start working at whats best for Canada.

Anthony said...

what spin steve?

the big issue on defence has been solved and Coderre also got O'Connor shuffled out...

How is that not success?

Steve V said...


Then why is Coderre "unhappy"? And, why is everyone saying Wilfred received a big promotion?

I think this was the compromise, some pushed for Ignatieff, Dion decided to go this route. Subtle enough that people like yourself can frame it, but clear enough that everyone knows what Dion did.

Anonymous said...

Wilfert gets a promotion as he becomes a full shadow minister. Coderre gets sidestepped into Heritage. Bryon has not been in Cabinet under Martin nor Chretien.

Coderre will be tested real soon. Due to the Phoenix Coyotes not qualifying for the NHL playoffs, the chance of Shane Doan being appointed Captain Canada for the World Hockey Championship is quite high. Maybe Denis should insist on having a French Canadian co-captain in the House of Commons pretty soon.