03.01.2011 09:45 AM

In today’s Sun: Why nobody is asking for Iggy to leave

“Why isn’t anyone asking for Michael Ignatieff’s resignation?

I mean, it’s not like they wouldn’t have just cause. In federal Grit land, things continue to go from bad to worse.

The Liberal Party’s fundraising is a shadow of its former self, with the Conservatives routinely raking in $5 for every two received by the Grits. Many rank-and-file Libs despair of their party’s policies –this year, with Ignatieff outflanking the Harper government on the right on Afghanistan, or informing his followers the oilsands are an instrument of national unity.

And there are the polls. The most recent batch reminded despairing federal Libs that their hated adversary, Stephen Harper, is perilously close to a Parliamentary majority. While Liberal support dips below 25% -something even Stephane Dion managed to avoid.”

52 Comments

  1. bigcitylib says:

    Dead on. Big question is, what if next election (whenever it is) produces another Tory minority? I’d prefer continiuing to turn Iggy into a better Lib than looking around for a new guy.

  2. canadiansense says:

    Changing leaders won’t fix the party. A former Liberal President referred to the changes in 2004 to campaign finances as “dumb as a sack of hammers” if memory serves correctly.

    The Liberals and NDP have never recovered with reaching out to regular Canadians with a simple message and a small donation of $ 200-500 per year. Elections Canada can back it up.

    I believe the message of being negative and wasting time on fake outrage is undermining the left. Canadians did not punish the Conservatives for the global recession in the by elections. They may not reward them either for it but we throw out the bums when they piss us off. According to every pollster Canadians are not angry at the Federal government.

    I would check with the provincial governments regarding their tax policy.

    I disagree with your characterization of the Chretien majorities. They were a result of the Perfect Storm. The destruction of the B.M. PC party compliments of two regional parties. Reform and Bloc in 1993.

    The vote splitting in the right and dismal showing of the NDP/Green in 2000 gave the Liberals their last majority as a result of ONTARIO 100/101. This won’t ever happen again for any party.

    • Philip says:

      Wow. Thanks for your mighty insight Mr. Canadian ” I have zero credibility now” Sense. Don’t ever change.

    • Namesake says:

      You’re so full of it.

      The “simple message” at the dark core of all the CPC’s fundraising successes IS negative, as are the two Harper-appointed Dark Lords CPC Senators driving it.

      One of whom, “was involved in [the] development …[of] the new suite of anti-Ignatieff ads …and is a firm believer in their effectiveness.
      …For all those who say that negative ads turn off voters, Mr. Finley responds: ‘Politics is an adversarial business. Kellogg?s doesn?t make their money by telling everybody General Foods are a great product.'”

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/retreat-of-the-tweeting-senator/article1921844/

      The other is profiled by the Carleton U. journalism & international affairs Prof. Andrew Cohen, here:

      “[Irving R.] Gerstein isn’t your garden-variety bagman. Fundamentally, he is an uber-partisan -fierce, proud, unapologetic and unreconstructed. In fact, [he] is to the Conservatives what Rabbi Baruch Korff was to Richard M. Nixon during Watergate. Or, what Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, the Iraqi Information Minister, was to Saddam Hussein when he was denying the Americans were occupying Baghdad. Both had, let us say, their own reality.

      You have to occupy another dimension to see the world as darkly as Gerstein does. When raising money, he spends little time celebrating the government’s record; he assumes you know that. Senator Cassandra simply wants to clarify the choice: it’s us or the Apocalypse!”

      http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/pays+partisan/4363194/story.html

      • H Holmes says:

        Fundraising is easier of you have core issues that people fell passionately about and the people that care about have money.
        IE Gun lobby.

        We are not doing a good enough job of turning passionate issues into money, some of this has to do with the issue. For example if it is state sponsored program, that usually means that the group that wants it doesn’t have money to get their members to donate to make it happen.

        We still rely to heavily on large donors and we don’t do enough “keg sizing” of our smaller donors, IE losing a little money, for a perceived benefit that increases the overall contribution.

        I am hoping some of this will be fixed soon.

  3. Namesake says:

    And there’s at least two more reasons I can think of, which I’ve noted before:

    6) Unlike the last PM, Ignatieff does not dither endlessly before taking a stand; but unlike the current one, he does not refuse to change his mind and admit when he was wrong, either. He has repeatedly demonstrated CAN be persuaded out of a faulty decision, both by the unfolding of facts and events and by his caucus, and is not nearly as arrogant or autocratic as some PMs we know, which is probably a welcome relief to many who are tired of seeing the PMO deciding and running everything in government.

    7) It would backfire. Usurping or cashiering yet another leader so soon — what, one every two years? — would play into the CPC’s hands in portraying the LPC as, well, weak in several ways I won’t mention, for obvious reasons, and severely damage their electoral prospects.

    • Sean says:

      no backfire… I don’t think the public cares a wink if we change leaders… and BTW can the Libs possibly be punished more than 23%?! There ARE no electoral prospects. Its time for Liberals to admit that. We are looking down the barrel at the worst showing in history.

      • Namesake says:

        come on, these current polling numbers aren’t a good indicator of what would happen after a full election campaign: when has there ever been a full month of negative ads outside an election? Once they’re answered IN an election, and once there are debates where Harper can’t pre-approve & cut off the questions & won’t be able to stick to the spinerama TPs, it won’t be such a one-sided fight.

        • The Doctor says:

          I agree with Namesake to this extent — we don’t even know what the defining ballot question will be next election. And a lot of things can change in a campaign — history is full of examples of this. Kim Campbell looked good going into the 1993 election. And David Peterson looked good going into that Ontario election that gave us Rae’s NDP. And so on.

          Changing leaders won’t do a thing to address two significant problems that the federal Liberals face these days:

          1. The fact that the vote-splitting these days is occurring on the center-left side of the spectrum.

          2. The fact that the party is extremely weak west of Ontario, and with the Bloc owning huge swaths of Quebec, it’s more important than ever these days for a federal party to do well all across English-speaking Canada — not just in Ontario (and as has already been noted, Chretien was able to rely on taking ridiculous numbers of seats in Ontario because of vote-splitting on the right — that is not on anymore).

  4. Ted says:

    Notice how they torqued the headline to your article? “Top 5 reasons the Liberals will suffer along with their leader”.

    Interestingly, Ignatieff is just about exactly where Jean Chretien was in 1993 and Harper was in 2005; and Harper is just about exactly where Campbell was in 1993 and Martin was in 2005.

    And in many respects, Iggy’s in a much better position with a party more united that Chretien or Harper had the benefit of. At the same time though, Harper had been through an election as leader before and Chretien was a veteran of elections.

    Just sayin’.

    • canadiansense says:

      Really?

      The NDP are Greens are tanking? The CPC are splitting the vote with the PC?

      No this is NOTHING like 1993. Jean Chretien was a career politician that could “raise money”, he had the “Red Book” and the Liberals are being judged on it today.

      • Cath says:

        Chretien could also connect with the everyman – so too does Harper. Dion, Ignatieff, Martin? Um….no.

        I heard Charles Adler read almost your entire column on his show today. Really good coverage for a good piece WK.

        • Ted says:

          Harper connects with the everyman????? What Harper are you talking about? In the last election fewer Canadians voted for him than in 2006. His vote count went down. And he had the lowest level of support among eligible voters in the history of the country with only 22% voting for him.

          • Cath says:

            He’s still connecting in a way that’s working for him. Iggy? Not so much…actually little sense that he’s getting past the hierarchy.

      • michael Bussiere says:

        Harper connects with people!? That dull-as-a-plank mean-spirited SOB connects with television sets using phony-as-hell ads. Get him out among human beings in an election campaign and he connects – NOT!

        Harper also has targets painted all over his ass this time.

  5. Pedro says:

    Here goes. Lord knows why I can’t get on your comments page.
    You are right. Ignatieff should go.
    The Liberal party used to be a hotbed of policy debate and new ideas. You’ve fallen into the trap of Harper’s tactical war.
    Get out in front and have a raucous debate about the future of Liberal philosophy,
    Have some patience and find the new prince.
    Igantieff is so AOL. The future is something past Twitter.
    Canadians aren’t voting Liberal cuz’ they think of Liberals as Zellers, not even WalMart.

    • Ted says:

      Where does Warren say Ignatieff should go?

    • The Doctor says:

      Pedro does remind me of something — what the ##$% came out of that Ideas Conference (or whatever it was called) that the LPC had a while ago? I’ve heard SFA about it since shortly after it happened.

      • Cath says:

        while we’re in a question asking mode when are the Liberals going to do what Rae promised after the last election and let the ground support grass root membership elect their leader and rebuild their party?

        Until that happens I’m thinking the LPOC will be going nowhere fast.

  6. nic coivert says:

    The party that needs to replace their leader is the CPC. Everyone knows that if Harper can’t get a majority in the next election, whenever it is, the knives will be out for him. Then the next election can feature a campaign veteran in Ignatieff versus a rooking leader for the Cons.

  7. Malcolm Barry says:

    A Leader has to have Loyalty and it appears the Liberal caucus is behind Ignatieff and accepting his decisions. Ignatieff is an intelligent likable man and works very hard at his job and it will be up to the electorate to decide who is the best Leader. I realize that nobody is perfect but I want Ignatieff speaking on my behalf now and in the campaign debates. I saw and heard Mr. Lapierre on CTV yesterday state that not one person that he spoke with in Quebec mentioned the alleged Million Dollar political scam by the Federal Tories and has no effect on the voter. It is difficult to believe this.

  8. nic coivert says:

    that would be the rookie leader, rooking must have come from all the crow talk

  9. Sean says:

    Also, no one wants to take over and clean up the mess that has left behind. When he resigns on election night, it will be a clean break.

    Right now there isn’t time to make a change with an election right around the corner. However, if there isn’t an election this spring, I think there will be a move.

  10. MontrealElite says:

    The surest way to revive the LPC is for this country to go through a Harper majority.

    • jStanton says:

      Bingo!

    • MississaugaLibPeter says:

      Based on what idiotic premise? Why? Because it sounds good?

      As asanine of a premise as the idiots who said that Harper would self destruct. It sounded good and made folks all fuzzy inside at the time. But not based on nothing more than wishful thinking.

      Folks, Ignatieff was my LAST choice in Montreal in 2006! But he is nevertheless far superior to more Harper on so many fronts – from integrity to world travelled.

      I would prefer Ignatieff to be my professor (than Harper), and I would prefer Ignatieff to be my prime minister (than Harper).

      It’s time to support Ignatieff and the Liberal team. And that includes you too WK. It’s time to take the bully out. It”s time to bring back democracy to Canada.

      We are paying for not taking Harper out in 2009. Standing idle now we will all be guilty of a Harper majority.

      • Namesake says:

        Hear, hear.

        Look at their new priorities in the Estimates released today: increases to Lawn Order, but:

        cuts of roughly 20% to Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

        http://www.nationalpost.com/Federal+government+spending+fall/4366297/story.html

        “Environment Canada faces a 20 per cent cut, bringing its budget to $872-million. That includes a 59 per cent reduction in spending for ?Climate Change and Clean Air? and a 51 per cent cut to substances and waste management.”

        http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/turning-off-stimulus-taps-saves-10-billion-ottawas-estimates-show/article1924899/

        More Listeria Meats & Walkerton Water, anyone?

      • jStanton says:

        Your premise is either delusional or idiotic. The issue is not about the relative merits of these personalities, but rather about what can be achieved. Given Mr. Ignatieff’s lack of popularity and the low likelihood of him changing his fundamental nature sufficient to impress blue-collar Canada, he cannot defeat Mr. Harper without a coalition.

        Since he has eschewed that possibility, he can provide no solution to Mr. Harper, and a continual Harper Party government leaves Canada in an unconscionable rut. A Harper majority however, enables a house cleaning at the LPC that may lead to better results for them in the polls, and, if Mr. Harper has a “hidden agenda”, it should become fluorescent enough for voters to finally judge him on it.

        And spare me the “save Canada” infantilism. If Mr. Harper is such a danger, then why has Mr. Ignatieff chosen to continually support the government? Why has he not brought the government down? Is he complicit in the “destruction of Canada” by Mr. Harper?

        The head-in-the-sand, all-pull-together kumbaya bullshit is what’s wrong here. Evidently some people are unable to count seats in the House, evaluate polling data, or assess the likelihood of a uncharismatic political neophyte suddenly, after three years, seizing the hearts and minds of “ordinary Canadians” who don’t like him because he’s not comparable to Mr. Harper.

        We need change in this country – and that begins with a change in government. Mr. Ignatieff’s failure to embrace a coalition with other opposition parties is standing in the way of that, so he and his cabal need to be replaced, and a Harper majority accomplishes that. Expecting that Mr. Donolo’s fairy dust will magically change the firmament is what is asinine.

        So, to “save Canada”, you should lead – by actively pushing for a coalition government, follow – simply by voting for whichever opposition candidate has the best chance of winning a seat, or get out of the way – by ceasing to undermine the fastest and most expedient methods of replacing Mr. Harper.

        .

        • Namesake says:

          Gee, by your ‘give them enough rope to hang themselves’ logic, the best thing would be for all Liberal voters to stay home, or better yet… to vote Conservative.

          And then, what, for the next five years, you’ll be like Joe Clark, saying: don’t worry, they’ll wear out their welcome, just you watch… we’ll be back bigger than ever. Except that’s NOT what happened, is it: the federal PC Party died, altogether… assimilated by the ReformBot Borg.

          Maybe a new centre left party would form. Or maybe the NDP would rebrand & expand itself. But at this rate, chances are, there would another 10 to 15 years of CPC rule, not just one more kick at the can. So, no thanks.

          And although Ignatieff has certainly distanced himself from it, he hasn’t really changed that much from his original, reluctant, “A coalition if necessary but not necessarily a coalition” stance:

          thanks to the dust-up here this summer, he IS officially open to forming one after the next election, if need be, and if it’s close enough to warrant and validate that;

          he’s just not going to RUN on that, but under the Liberal’s own colours.

          http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20100606/ignatieff-coalition-100606

          • jStanton says:

            …yeah, right, he’s going to wait and see.

            If Canada is burning, why isn’t he making nice with Mr. Layton and M. Duceppe, instead of playing “my seats are bigger than yours”? Oh right, some pin-head has told him that “you will never garner the redneck vote needed for a majority if you make a deal with ‘separatists'”, as if the rednecks would ever vote for him anyway.

            He needs the epiphany that a majority is outside of his grasp, so that he can move on to what is within it. That is leadership of a coalition, which is his for the asking. The fact that he is holding out for the impossible majority, while Canada burns, means that he is NOT the man we had hoped for.

  11. anonlinereader says:

    The liberals have bragged for years about their “bench strength” . M.P. for M.P. I must agree . All of these quality prima donnas better take management training and set up a caucus committee to use their abilities as a team .

    Iggy is everything we need as a leader and spokesman . The only people that will gain from a great savior is backroom boys and special interest . Iggy’s Sunday night interview with Lawerence Martin proves he gets it . A cabinet lead government bringing policy expertise to the table . Rae group on foreign affairs , Brison bunch on finance etc . .

    Take harper 1 man government , gravy sucking pmo party big wigs and hanger on parisites and shove them into CCCE or some other special interest .

  12. Cameron Prymak says:

    I recommend Kathleen Petty’s discussion from a couple weeks ago,

    “Can you rely on political polls and the pollsters who analyze them? Pollster Allan Gregg from Harris Decima and former parliamentary reporter Paul Adams have a few warnings.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/thehouse/past-episodes/2011/02/19/tmx-lse-deal-when-business-and-politics-collide/

    I thought Allan Gregg made some interesting points.

  13. jenjen says:

    It’s also too late to change the leader. The government is itching for an election in May (or not), before any cracks emerge in the economic recovery.

  14. Neil Singh says:

    The Liberal party need to go through a revival they were expecting one after the Chretien-Martin years never happened. They continue to focus on thier hierachy of backroom boys. The LPC need to bring the youth into thier party and actively go seeking students and other professionals into thier party the only way it will grow or survive. Maybe the LPC need to start a culture war who knows.

  15. MJH says:

    Are the LIberals really sure they want an election now? The stars dont seemed aligned!

    Can Michael I. back down now after saying at year end he will bring the government down??

  16. Joseph says:

    Anyone who thinks they can predict the outcome of an election based on pre-election polls is fooling themselves.

    My prediction. Harper is at his high water mark, the same high-water mark he has hit several times. Two months ago, he lagged and the Liberals rose a bit. Now we’re back to the high con / low lib ebb. All bets are off during a campaign, but I think Harper will under perform and Ignatieff will over perform their respective expectations.

    Harper may still have a minority but it will be a smaller one.

    There simply is no reason to think Harper’s popularity will rise during a campaign. If anything, he’ll shoot himself in the foot at least once. And, Ignatieff, despite the hammering that people like to do to him, comes across quite well when the camera reveals he’s not the boogeyman the conservatives have tried to make him out to be.

  17. Who is Michael Ignatieff?

  18. Interesting –

    http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Tory+scheme+violated+Elections+federal+appeal+court/4368325/story.html

    Oops, another potential complication,

    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/03/01/john-ivison-tory-budget-slashing-claims-dont-stand-up-to-scrutiny/

    The theme I see is that the *record* of the government will come under a lot more scrutiny once the writ is actually dropped.

    Then, there’s only one poll that matters.

  19. Actually, both Ignatieff and Layton are performing so poorly that if an election were held today, (Deposed Egyptian President) Hosni Mubarak’s party would win a majority of the seats. That’s without fudging any election result. The Liberals could do better with drag queen Enza “Supermodel” Anderson as their leader.

  20. Derek Pearce says:

    The nitpicking should stop at least for now– Ignatieff should fight one election and be judged afterward. Whatever the result of the next election, the Liberal Party should agree to an end to government funding of parties, & also switch to a 1-member-1-vote party. This will make individuals feel more invested in the party and they’ll give more $, as they realize they have to pony up and match donations to the Conservatives. This may lead to an initial really lean time, but the party should have a bit of patience and it’ll pay off. Play the longer game and let people get sick of the government.This would also force people to take a harder look when comparing the Liberals and NDP. The Conservatives have decided that politics in our country will become more polarized and American-style. It’s time to stop moaning about it and fight back on their own terms, and win. Small-l liberals are patient, but they’re not wimps.

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