From one prospective prime minister to another: “The first thing you need to know when you enter politics is why you’re doing it. You’d be surprised at how many people go into politics without being able to offer anyone a convincing reason why.”
That’s the opening line of a chapter in Michael Ignatieff’s engaging new book, Fire and Ashes, which I’ll be reviewing in full in Saturday’s Sun.
Here the former Liberal leader refers to his own search for a reason. But he could just as well be offering advice to his successor, Justin Trudeau.
What made a number of people initially think — myself included — that Ignatieff would make an admirable political leader was his deft understanding of the issues he wrote about in books and essays. Read more…
Ignatieff really does fancy himself an American which I have no problem with other than the Liberal hypocrisy of hating all things American and electing a leader wedded to the Republic.
I really do question whether Ignatieff has voted in the United States and if he did so before coming back to Canada. In April 2011 I asked about this very subject and was told he had never voted outside of Canada. He later backtracked on that statement after I produced portions of a book he wrote that detailed his voting in Britain.
Either way, Ignatieff once again sees himself as an American.
While the main part of the site is being used to pin the blame for any election that may come on Ignatieff and the Liberals, the site also attempts to play defence on questions surrounding political brands on Parliamentary materials.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has been under fire from opposition parties for handing out a certificate to a restaurant that has both the House of Commons and Conservative Party logos on them. The new website points out that Ignatieff himself has sent out taxpayer funded mail-outs sporting Liberal logos and his Parliamentary office as the return address.
The site was also used to announce that Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro has lodged an official complaint with the ethics commissioner over Liberal MP Shawn Murphy using his MPs office to sell party memberships and promote a Liberal nomination meeting.
Proof that asking questions you don’t know the answer to can be dangerous for a politician…
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff recently told Canadians that the ballot question in the next election will be, “After five years of Harper, are you better off?”
While we await results from the rest of the country and a possible election, farmers have already spoken. An annual survey of farmers for Farm Credit Canada, a government agency, asked farmers whether they are better off now than they were five years ago and whether they will be better off in five years.
The answer is yes on both counts and the numbers are increasing.
67% of respondents believe that they are better off now than they were five years ago. This is a significant shift from last year (2009: 60%).
55% of producers are planning to expand and/or diversify their farm or business in the next five years.
76% of respondents said that their farm will be better off in five years time.
The online panel survey of nearly 4,900 farmers was conducted last fall.
I’ve been an election skeptic for nearly five years now.
In that time we’ve had predictions almost weekly that a federal election was just around the corner. As I’ve appeared on radio and television in that time the most common question has been about the timing of the next election.
As recently as last week I was saying that I didn’t think we would have an election this spring – unless that is the Conservatives unloaded a pile of election-style ads. Those ads are now out and we are likely heading to the polls this spring.
The first ad attempts to show Stephen Harper in a positive light as a leader that gets things done but there are also several others – five in English and four in French in total. The other ads take aim at all the opposition parties, essentially killing off any possibility of the Conservatives finding a dance party for the budget.
So now the questions should be – when will the budget be tabled and when will it be voted down?
That is unless these ads work so well that the opposition parties end up beaten up so badly that they find a way to swallow their pride.
Here’s the ad featuring Stephen Harper at work. It has shades of Reagan’s Morning in America from 1984
Here’s one of the English ads on Ignatieff, it uses Ignatieff’s own words on the coalition against him. Notice the difference in the tone of the narration between the Harper ad and the Ignatieff one.
The Tories even target Jack Layton in what I see as the ad signalling the beginning of an election campaign. The theme again is coalition.
In French the Tories repeat the ad in favour of Harper and also take aim at Ignatieff but in a different way. Using well know Liberals including Justin Trudeau and Denis Coddere they question his leadership
And finally they take aim at the Bloc for being in favour of gangs, and soft of immigration using the image of the MV Sun Sea
Brian Lilley is the host of Byline on Sun News Network and a senior correspondent for Sun Media's Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa. His weekly column is published in more than 30 daily newspapers across Canada and he appears on several leading talk radio stations.
Watch Byline at 9pm ET Monday to Friday and read Brian's columns in your Friday papers.
Brian Lilley is Senior Correspondent for Sun Media on Parliament Hill.
Brian has been covering politics for the last 10 years. Five of those years were spent as Ottawa Bureau Chief.