Monday, August 3, 2009

Michael Ignatieff paying a price for his silence.

Perhaps Ignatieff is unwilling to put forth much in the way of policy pronouncements because he fears the Conservative propaganda machine. However, since the Liberals are in better financial shape now they could spend a considerable amount to counteract them. No doubt Ignatieff prefers to wait until the fall when he may decide to trigger an election. Harper is not losing much if any ground in the polls however and with the economy improving slightly the Liberals may not be able to count on Harper's losing popularity because of the economy.
Maybe the money is pouring in to reward Ignatieff for his co-operative work with the Conservatives in holding at bay the socialist hordes in the NDP and those horrible separatists in the Bloc who also have social democratic tendencies!

Michael Ignatieff paying a price for his silence - Opinion - Michael Ignatieff paying a price for his silence

August 03, 2009
Carol Goar

According to meteorologist Dave Phillips, Ottawa took the prize for the soggiest July in the country. The nation's capital was chilly, damp and uninviting.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says he took advantage of the bad weather to "sit at home and think thoughts." He us promising Canadians an ambitious policy agenda in the fall.

That would be a nice change.

Since Ignatieff took command in December, it has been hard to figure out what the Liberals stand for, how they would govern the country or whether they have workable alternatives.

Ignatieff may believe – or his strategists may have convinced him – that it is tactically smart to withhold his platform until an election is imminent.

But the former Harvard professor is paying a price. His party is stalled in the polls. Voters have doubts about his ability to manage the economy. He is acquiring a reputation as a leader who is more comfortable deliberating than providing a sense of direction.

Liberal MPs are also paying a price. Most have avoided the limelight since Parliament closed, not knowing what they're supposed to say. This makes it look as if they have few ideas or concerns.

It would be interesting to hear what Ignatieff has come up with after spending half the summer wrestling with the nation's challenges.

What, for example, are his guiding principles?

The Liberal leader has issued a steady stream of press releases, accusing the government of neglecting the unemployed, failing to protect Canadian-developed technology, pulling the plug on Canadian isotope production, ignoring the concerns of rural Canadians and dragging its feet on global warming.

But this running commentary is headline-driven. It indicates nothing about Ignatieff's priorities or values.

Is there any Conservative policy he finds so wrong he would be compelled to oppose it, whatever the risk?

The Liberal leader has threatened to vote non-confidence in the government's recession-fighting strategy and its refusal to extend jobless benefits to the millions of Canadians who don't qualify for coverage. But both times he has backed off.

He has said so little about most other issues – national security, fiscal policy, resource development, city building, health care, poverty, aboriginal affairs, the environment or Canada-U.S. relations – that it is hard to tell where he would draw the line.

Does he have a plan to tackle climate change?

Former Liberal leader St├ęphane Dion, for all his shortcomings, was at least clear on this question. He staked his career on the conviction that a carbon tax was necessary to curb energy consumption.

Ignatieff has jettisoned his predecessor's unpopular policy (which he himself advocated two years ago) but has not offered Canadians a replacement.

Has he determined which Liberal traditions he will uphold and which belong to a bygone era?

The confusion over last month's sale of Nortel Networks' wireless business to Ericsson, a Swedish telecom giant, suggests not.

Industry critic Marc Garneau said he saw no reason for Ottawa to intervene. "If we want to play in the big leagues, we have to play by international rules."

A day later, Ignatieff sent out a different message, demanding that the government review the transaction, given the "unique and strategic nature" of the Canadian technology pioneer's assets. He sounded like an economic nationalist – but one with sluggish reflexes.

Has Ignatieff thought about how to restructure Ontario's battered manufacturing sector, restore civility to Parliament, make democracy matter to disengaged voters or marshal the energy and optimism of young Canadians?

He hasn't said so. He apparently feels no urgency.

With luck, it will be sunny in Ottawa this month. Ignatieff needs to get out of his study. The Liberals need to show some life.

Carol Goar's column appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

1 comment:

Ken S from Ramara said...

Hopefully Iggy has spent his time in seclusion figuring a way to poach "Ant-Harperites" from the other parties to support the Liberals. This is the only way Harper can be defeated. As one of those non-Liberal, "Anti-Harperites," nothing Iggy has said/done todate has convinced me to vote strategically this fall to defeat Harper!