On the right we have Harper who despises the Canadian "socialist" welfare state but has to talk nice about programs such as medicare since he doesn't like to commit political suicide-- although he came near to doing so by provoking the opposition with his ideologically loaded economic update. Harper is a great admirer of the US conservative movement and also a supporter of many Bush policies including his invasion of Iraq.
In the middle, we now have Michael Ignatieff who also is a great admirer of Americans but more of the ideological froth of democracy, freedom, and human rights. Ignatieff identifies even more with Americans than Harper:(CBC)
It did not take Ignatieff's opponents long, for example, to discover his past speeches and journalism in which he assiduously identified himself as an American. He talked and wrote of we, us, our way of life, our constitution, and our leaders; he even went so far as to say "Being an American is not easy."
He even wrote a book called Empire Lite in which he supports what is very much like the PNAC program. He uses the term "empire" in a positive rather than a negative sense:(CanadianEncyclopaedia)
While he rejects charges that he sounded like an apologist for George W. Bush's policy, Ignatieff did write that the new U.S. empire's "grace notes are free markets, human rights and democracy, enforced by the most awesome military power the world has ever known."
Ignatieff pushes a type of humanitarian imperialism an ideological strain that is found also in the neoliberals surrounding George Bush. This view justifies intervention in trouble spots and so-called failed states on moral grounds. The Iraq war was justified by Saddam Hussein cruel rule and human rights violations. The UN often fails to take timely action so that the US and its allies such as Canada must act. Of course there is no talk of economic or power interests just hi falutin moral discourse or rather rhetorical moralism. Ignatieff is all for a more robust Canadian military to play better our role on the world stage as junior partner in helping out with Imperialism Lite.
Ignatieff was a cheerleader for the NATO intervention and bombing in Serbia as well as US and our mission in Afghanistan in a project named Operation Enduring Freedom, perfect Imperialism Lite lingo.
He was an outspoken defender of Canadian troops in Afghanistan at a time when many Canadians were having doubts. He had been an early cheerleader for George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq. He had even excused what he called coercive interrogation of al-Qaeda prisoners— what others have described as torture.
So the Liberals now have as leader a human rights expert who justifies coercive techniques much as did some legal apologists for the Bush administration. As with Manley, Ignatieff is also a big cheerleader for our Afghan mission and the military: (CBC)
As deputy leader, Ignatieff was probably influential in getting the Liberals to agree to the extension of the Afghan mission until 2011. He was arguably the most vocal Liberal in support of Canada's military involvement in that country.
During the recent election campaign, Ignatieff appeared at rallies with Dion in support of the party's so-called Green Shift, which included the controversial carbon tax. In fact, Ignatieff was the Liberal who first raised the idea of a revenue-neutral carbon tax during the 2006 leadership campaign.
But in November, after the election that saw the Liberals reduced to their lowest percentage of the popular vote since Confederation, he told reporters that the carbon tax and Green Shift was dead, and that a new environmental policy would have to be crafted.
While Ignatieff is keeping the ghost of the coalition around to scare Harper into making some concessions in his upcoming budget we can expect that ultimately that he will support the Conservative budget or at least make certain it is not defeated.