04.23.2012 05:55 PM

Meanwhile, back at Yale, Adam Goldenberg is furiously tweeting about the merits of separatism

In the future, if you are to look up the dictionary definition of “idiotic,” this will be one of the examples offered up.


  1. AP says:

    Michael Bliss pretty much summed up Ignatieff in 2006 when he wrote:

    “None of this would likely have happened if Mr. Ignatieff had not deliberately fanned the embers of Quebec nationalism in his campaign for the Liberal leadership. Without Mr. Ignatieff’s publicizing of the issue, it probably would have simmered harmlessly. He is a classic example of the irresponsible intellectual who advocates what seem like good ideas, and only afterwards comes to understand and regret the unintended consequences of the positions he has taken. He did not learn the lessons of his ghastly Iraq folly. After making mistakes that would have humbled and silenced most thoughtful men, Mr. Ignatieff instead chose to bring his carpet bag of ideas back to Canada. Millions pay the price of the Ignatieff ego.”

  2. SaM says:

    And u picked him over BobRae in 2008

  3. Dan says:

    For an “intellectual”, he seems extremely, extremely stupid. But remember that he didn’t have much of an intellectual profile until he gave a “liberal” defence of torture, and Bush’s war. Then he suddenly found a lot of fans in the American intelligentsia.

    He’s the best thing that ever happened to the NDP.

    • Mulletaur says:

      First sentence, totally agree. Second and third sentences, not so much. It’s just that we didn’t know about him in Canada.

      • Bozo says:

        The would-be intellectual world in which Iggy is semi-successful runs on vanity. This is just Iggy doing his Mt. Sinai schtick.

  4. Shawn says:

    Wow… thank goodness he was never really able to hide his true self well enough to gain serious power. This is as foolish a thing as I’ve ever heard a current or former federal Liberal leader ever say.

  5. Tiger says:

    It’s what he doesn’t know that he doesn’t know that’s the problem…

    But yeah, 2006 showed what a hash he can make of complex files.

    Re the comment about Ignatieff as an intellectual — no, he had a solid reputation in the 1990s. I was a young fan of his — great biography of Sir Isaiah Berlin! But the big problem is, he didn’t live through Canadian history from the mid-1970s through to 2005. And that matters — that matters a lot!

    Would’ve done fine as a mid-level or even high-up cabinet minister, where he was subject to someone above telling him “Shut up, Michael,” on certain files. Not a good choice for PM for that reason. Needs someone to tell him to be quiet on some issues.

  6. Tim says:

    He just makes up shit that he thinks people want to hear.

  7. allegrafortissima says:

    The prof’s interview on Quebec is “idiotic”, and you guys are the brightest bulbs in the box – am I reading this right ?

    I would love to read some comments written by French-Canadians here.

    • Marc L says:

      Sure, please let me oblige. The comment is indeed idiotic. Not only is it idiotic, because it is patently false, but at the same time, it helps Mme. Marois and her crowd. Thanks Michael, thanks a hell of a lot!

      • Corey says:

        I’m french canadian and I’m suprised at the reactions to Ignatieff’s statement. The comment is not idiotic, it’s actually an interesting argument. I don’t think it’s very useful for any society to describe it’s best intellectuals as idiotic. Intellectuals are supposed to think and to challenge things, that’s an important role they play. And Ignatieff is one of the best.
        Seems to me people are reacting with their hearts and not their heads. Lots of what he is saying makes sense. I seem to remember that Pierre Trudeau, a staunch federalist, warned about giving special status and powers to Quebec. He didn’t think it was necessary, and he vehemently opposed it. Maybe he would agree with Ignatieff that giving Quebec semi-independence establishes the idea that there’s something about that province which requires a separation of some sort from the rest of the country.

        • Marc L says:

          I’m not contesting that aspect of it. Quebec IS different from the rest of the country, especially from the standpoint of its language and its culture. It IS distinct. But that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable that Quebec will become an independent country. In fact, support for sovereignty has not been increasing in recent years, despite all the attempts on the part of sovereigntists to generate a crisis, and despite Harper’s actions, which have alienated many Quebecers.

          • Corey says:

            I agree Marc. I don’t know however that Ignatieff meant to say he thought Quebec would eventually be sovereign. Sounded to me more like he was saying that’s where the logic leads, that’s the direction things are headed in (and have been headed in since the first referendum). That may not be true, but I think it’s still food for thought. If anything, his comments should serve as a warning about the drift between Quebec and the rest of Canada. Ignatieff has thought and written plenty on the topic of nationalism (not just Canadian nationalism), there should be some respect for that and some concern at someone of his knowledge making those comments.

  8. Frederik Boisvert says:

    @Warren: Didn’t you support this guy??

  9. Not that Gord says:

    I’m going to stick up for the man here, and note that he’s basically being pilloried here for saying something with a great deal of truth to it that nobody here wants to hear.
    I’ll concede he got some of the finer points wrong, but his central thesis I think is a sound one: that we’re looking more and more like a country that won’t hold. Canada is a remnant of empire that never really seemed to gel. We don’t know what we are and define ourselve by what we aren’t.
    I live in the Prairies. I have my whole life, more or less. I have far more in common with the people directly south of me than with a Torontonian, a Quebecois or anyone from Atlantic Canada.
    I don’t actually happen to think the folks south of us are much more coherent a country either. They’re equally a remnant of empire, held together by their foundation myth and the expectation of ever better economic time.
    Want some proof of that? Look at a map of Europe. Where are the straight lines? They don’t exist, because they have nation states defined largely by time, war and ethnic and language divisions. Eventually, over the great sweep of time, North America will look more like that, I suspect.
    In the meantime, we have nationless states that increasingly look like they have no purpose for being.
    I look forward to my time in the stocks now. Make sure to throw that rotten food and animal dung with as much force as you can muster.

    • Mulletaur says:

      Europe is moving towards ever greater unity, not separatism. (By the way, the French and most of the rest of Europe mock Quebec separatists.) With the defeat of the BQ in the last election, the prospects for unity haven’t been this good in Canada for many, many years. But even if one admits the points you make on some purely intellectual plane, it is a wonder that this man had the arrogance ever to believe that he had what it takes to succeed in politics. I believe that is Warren’s point. He’s an idiot – a highly educated one, but still an idiot.

      • Not that Gord says:

        I’m not sure I can agree that Europe is moving toward greater unity. England/Scotland, the ongoing talk of separation in Belgium, the Czech-Slovak split of the 1990s. All counterfactual, I would suggest.
        I equally disagree that the prospects for unity have never been this good. I would acutally say they’ve never been so dangerous or fraught with peril. They’ve elected a party that’s like poison to our current government and will be treated as such. I suspect this is their last federalist kick at the can.
        Never been so sure why everyone celebrated the demise of the BQ so heartily. They were in the process of morphing into a regional party much like the old Reform at the time, which wasn’t dangerous. I suspect they’ll eventually be back like gangbusters — or something just like ’em. And if things play out federally like I expect they will, they’ll be able to point and say “see, we told you.”
        As for arrogance in politics, please. They’re all arrogant. That’s what make ’em polticians.

  10. SF Thomas, Ottawa says:

    Iggnatieff is stating what he thinks may happen in the capacity of a political observer and commentator, that he thinks Quebec may realistically become its own country, even if he disagrees with it. He isn’t in the capacity of a political leader anymore so he’s free to say what he wants. Given the situation in the UK with Scotland it has some parallels.

    I don’t agree with him nor do I think this is an incredibly likely conclusion a this point. Most people in Quebec just don’t care about separatism anymore. Yes they may care strongly about Quebec and their own identity and issues, but they are probably pretty indifferent to the whole separatist, nationalist debate at this point and are probably more or less okay with the status quo. (Harper getting kicked out of office would probably help though).

  11. kenn2 says:

    Yes, the threat of Quebec separation should hopefully recede further when Harper is finally defeated. “We hates Quebec” is an unspoken but still potent plank of the CPC western base.

    • Marc L says:

      Depends by whom. It’s hard to see how a Liberal government would make much difference…remember the sponsorship scandal, well it’s still fresh in prople’s minds over here, which is one reason why the Liberals enjoy so little support. And the last referendum happened under a Liberal government at the Federal level, and that’s when the country came the closest to splitting up. Now if Mulcair comes in pandering to Quebec, well that may be another issue.

  12. Nic Coivert says:

    I don’t agree that what he says is idiotic. It seems more like a shot across the bow to me, a warning. Trying to structure nations on an ethnic basis is dangerous indeed, and I think he knows that. Nations defined by economics and geography are a much safer bet. Curiously, Canada fits into neither. It may be that my children’s Canada will be a country in name only. And Harper is taking the country that way.

    • Corey says:

      I agree Nic. That’s precisely what Pierre Trudeau warned against in his pre-political days: ethnic-based nationality. Ignatieff is making a good point about the danger that poses to a country with multiple entities like the UK or Canada.

  13. Robert K says:

    Iggy is a narcissist.
    Quebec didn’t vote for him so they have rejected Canada (he being the embodiment of Canada).
    They could not have rejected him.

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