Thursday, November 13, 2008
I support Iggy
Michael Ignatieff is set to join the Liberal leadership race this morning. So let me be one among many to announce my support for him.
I supported Stephane Dion with all my heart in 2006. I was one of the original 18% of the party that did so (although I didn't make it to the Montreal convention, I merely voted for Dion during Super-duper weekend.) At that time, both Ignatieff and Bob Rae had failed to convince me either of them were right for the party leadership. My main stumbing blocks against Iggy were his support for the Iraq war plus his relative absence from the country in his adult life. Against Rae, it was his terrible NDP past, as well as his non-existent roots in the Liberal Party.
Today, I'm glad that Ignatieff has recanted on his earlier support for the Iraq fiasco. Two years later, Ignatieff's stints abroad seem less of a liability. We will have to defend them, if he wins. We'd do well to remind Canadians that most of his time abroad was spent in Great Britain (not America), as if that might make a difference (it just might). Surely Canadians can admire a fellow countryman who achieves great things outside of the country.
But surely Ignatieff's strengths will overpower these attacks. Ignatieff is a brilliant man, he's grown into a top notch political leader since first being elected almost three years ago. He is nuanced, sophisticated, but tough. Between he, Rae and Dominic LeBlanc, there is no question in my mind that Ignatieff is the best candidate. He's as progressive as Rae on the social issues, yet can credibly speak to the majority of Canadians in the centre of the political spectrum (unlike his former university roommate.)
I was surprised to see Gerard Kennedy pull out of the race yesterday. As he failed to maintain a national team after the 2006 race, his decision yesterday seems to make sense. Although if my straw poll on the right is any indication, it seems Kennedy still had much support out there. Regardless, the race is now very focussed between three main candidates.
In 2006, many Liberals including myself thought we'd embrace something very different in Stephane Dion to send a message to the public and to the party establishment. Sadly, our error gave us the worst election result in modern Liberal history. We can't let that happen again.
Iggy seems more than ready to take on the reins of leadership. I'm deeply curious to find out where Ignatieff will take the party and, if given the chance to govern, take the country. He's been a good soldier, now it's his turn to be the leader.
On an entirely different subject, let me say what a bizarre post this is. Don't worry, I won't be inviting you to my wedding...