Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ignatieff the Great Liberal Thinker...

Ignatieff may be thinking while Liberal political fortunes burn up. So far he has not been able to catch up with Harper in the polls so he and his party will be left trying to explain to everyone that Canadians do not want an election now. Now will be however long it takes for Liberal fortunes to improve considerably. This is from the GlobeandMail.

Michael Ignatieff puts his thinking cap on
with 'practical Canadians'
Jane Taber

MONTREAL – Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff told participants at his thinkers conference this morning that it felt good to get out of the Ottawa bubble and put partisan politics aside.
As he said that some of the most partisan Liberals in the country were staring right back at him – former prime ministers Jean Chrétien, John Turner and Paul Martin; former Liberal leaders Bill Graham and Stéphane Dion; former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna; a whole host of Liberal MPs and some former party strategists thrown in for good measure. They are here for part or all of the three-day conference.
Billed as a non-partisan exercise aimed at fostering discussion and new ideas in anticipation of Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, the crowd of about 250 looked anything but.
Mr. Chrétien spoke to reporters about what the party has to do to succeed: “Liberals have to do their best,” he offered.
Calling the conference “an accomplishment” in itself, Mr. Martin said: “For Liberals to hear what experts in a wide range of areas have to say is going to contribute to developing a Liberal vision.”
Interspersed among the Liberals were some businesspeople, leading academics, former senior bureaucrats and other experts in their fields, including former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge. He is to lead the discussion tomorrow on Canada’s financial future – perhaps he'll also talk about taxes and the economy, a subject the Liberals in Ottawa seem averse to broach.
“I look at you and you are being described as a bunch of thinkers and intellectuals,” Mr. Ignatieff told the participants. “But you are much more than intellectuals and thinkers, … you are also doers.”
He characterized the people attending the conference as “practical Canadians” who are visionary but also know how to get things done. “This weekend we can broaden our horizons,” he said. “We can put partisan politics aside and heaven knows we can get out of the bubble of Ottawa and that feels good.”
Mr. Ignatieff and his Liberal team did not have a good week in Ottawa; they botched their own motion on maternal health, losing a vote in the House because some of their own MPs opposed it. The national opinion polls have also not been kind to the Grits of late.
But never mind. The Liberal Leader said this weekend is about “reflection, debate and provocation.”
Quoting the late Lester Pearson, who held a similar conference in Kingston in 1960, Mr. Ignatieff said that “if you can’t lead you can’t listen.”
And that’s what he is here to do this weekend – except when he’s talking.
Mr. Ignatieff apologized for speaking far too long in his opening remarks and noted he has a press conference to attend at midday. Then he will be finished talking and will move into listening mode.
(Photo: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

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