Translation: The Liberals do not want an election. We will be back to playing Dion II with Ignatieff supporting Conservative legislation at least whenever he thinks the opposition might not support it. Ignatieff says: "somehow we got stuck with the idea that we want an election at any price". I thought that was his idea an idea the popped into his mind because he finally decided he didn't want to any longer support the Conservative government at any price. Ignatieff had better hope the Canadians do not see him as he really is before the next election since they are not likely to elect an incompetent leader.
Canadians don't want election, Ignatieff says
CTV.ca News Staff
Updated: Mon. Dec. 28 2009 5:41 PM ET
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says that Canadians want an "alternative" to the Harper government but is backing off from earlier tough talk of forcing an election.
"What Canadians want is an alternative to the Harper government, and they want to believe that I can be a good prime minister and give them an alternative government," Ignatieff told CTV's Question Period in an interview that aired Sunday.
But when asked what his biggest mistake of 2009 was, Ignatieff responded that what "(Canadians) didn't want is someone talking about an election. And somehow we got stuck with the idea that we want an election at any price."
It was a tough year for a Liberal leader who took over his party with the weight of high expectations. Instead of rebounding after the much-maligned performance of former leader Stephane Dion, the Liberal party watched its poll numbers rise briefly under Ignatieff, then drop to the same historic lows of Dion's.
Still, Ignatieff said, "It's been an interesting year, but I'm feeling good."
In the late fall, pollster Peter Donolo took over as Ignatieff's chief of staff and quickly jettisoned most of the leader's inner circle for a new team.
"If things aren't working you need to make changes. I'm unafraid to make the changes we have to make," Ignatieff said of the move.
Looking towards 2010, the Liberal leader says his priorities are holding the government to task on the economy and on the environment.
"We've got a $56 billion deficit. We've got a million-and-a-half Canadians out of work. We've had four years where they had a chance to do something about climate change and the environment and (the Harper government has) done nothing," he said.
The Liberal party is holding a conference in Montreal in March to address such policy challenges as "meeting the climate change challenge without ... harming the economy, getting pension security for Canadians, making sure we get the economy growing again," he added.
Ignatieff bluntly addressed rumours and some media speculation that he was considering a return to academia, saying, "I'm here to stay."
"The idea that I'm just passing through is more of that Conservative propaganda. I love my country. I've come back to serve. And I want to be a good prime minister," he said.
As they did with Dion, the Conservatives used attack ads against Ignatieff that most analysts have said have effectively branded him to many Canadians.
Ignatieff admitted as much.
"The other guys have spent many millions of dollars trying to rough me up. So a lot of Canadians only know me through the frame of the other guys," he said.
"It's my challenge in 2010 to get Canadians to see me the way they really are -- see that the things I care about are the things they care about."
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