Musings —05.03.2011 07:39 AM—
But Canadians weren’t impressed, at any point. From the start, they were unenthusiastic about the former Harvard professor. Liberal lefties thought he was too right wing; Liberal veterans thought he wasn’t ever a politician.
The multimillion-dollar Conservative attack-ad campaigns didn’t help matters, of course. Those ads were designed to define the new Liberal leader before he could define himself, and they worked. (If there is any comfort for dispirited Libs this morning, it is that the main beneficiary of those attack ads wasn’t the Conservative leader who approved them — it was the NDP leader.)
Among many Liberals, it was known the party was heading for a crushing loss for about three weeks. In the past week, however, the bad news got even worse. It came into sharp focus when I got a call from a senior member of Ignatieff’s team of advisors.
But Ignatieff’s departure alone won’t solve the Liberal Party’s many problems. It is unfair to blame Ignatieff for everything that went wrong. The Liberal caucus needs new blood. In many cases, Grit MPs have represented their ridings (well) for decades. But we need new blood. We need new ideas, new passions, new people.
We need to get much better at raising money — after all, it was a Liberal government that ushered in the changes to the way federal political fundraising was done. And that’s not all: The Liberal Party itself needs to become a true federation, and not just a loose coalition of regional fiefdoms.
Better election readiness. Better policy-making. Better unity. And — most of all — a better understanding of all of modern Canada, and not just the urban enclaves where the party still has some strength. All of those things are needed if the Liberal Party of Canada is ever again to be relevant to Canadians.
As I watched Michael Ignatieff from the Sun News TV studio Monday night, I felt sad for him. He isn’t a bad guy. He isn’t what those Conservative ads said he was. In the brief period I worked for him, I thought he was a smart man, one with lots of ideas, and a drive to serve his country.