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Stop Iggy?

A mass mailing went out today to all Liberal party members, something done by many of the candidates over the course of the campaign. Unlike the others though, this one is advertising against a candidate rather than for one, promoting a site called Stop Iggy. While I do not wish to see Ignatieff win the leadership, I believe this is about the worst thing his opponents can do.

The letter warns: "We are a group of longtime active members of the Liberal Party of Canada who are disturbed about Michael Ignatieff's bid for the leadership of our party. A self-styled left-of-center Liberal, Michael Ignatieff is anything but. He supports both the war in Iraq and Missile Defence/Weaponization of Space, is an apologist for torture, and is against the Kyoto Protocol. In addition, he has suggested that he would privatize Medicare. Do we want a leader who is similar to Stephen Harper in so many ways?" It goes on to say he could actually be elected and implores Liberals to carefully consider their votes.

My view of Ignatieff is fairly simple: he sees Canadian politics through an American prism, where liberal is a swear word and supporting soldiers is not distinguished from supporting the wars they are fighting, where there is a President, but there is no clear leader of the opposition. If he loses the leadership, I fully expect him to return to academia and abandon his political career until his next opportunity. I see him as running for "President" in Canada, as opposed to for the leadership of the Liberal party or for leadership of, at least for the moment, Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

I do not, however, believe that an Ignatieff victory would cause Canada to disappear in a puff of red, white, and blue smoke, or that his victory will end the Liberal party. It has endured leaders like Ignatieff before, namely in the form of John Turner and Paul Martin, and it can again. As such, I think the StopIggy approach is bad.

The StopIggy approach is, ironically, playing in the game Ignatieff is more used to. Making it a negative campaign based on attacks rather than the promotion of another's policy and merits puts us in a race closer in nature to American primaries than to a party leadership race ostensibly based on policies and principles. At the end of the day, all the leadership candidates have to stand up on stage, shake hands, and work together to get the Liberal party back on the other side of the Commons, with whoever won being responsible for guiding the rest of the candidates and the rest of the party. The new leader is highly influential in the direction of the party, but is not all-powerful and would be hard pressed to move the party in a direction that it does not wish to go.

If Shawn Jackson, the registrant of StopIggy.com, and others who believe Ignatieff should not be leader truly believe that he should not be the leader, they should pick one of the other candidates who they do believe in and back them passionately, positively, and proactively.

It is not even necessary to support a top-tier candidate like Dion, Rae, or Kennedy. In fact, it might even be better to support a smaller-time candidate so that you can influence that candidate's direction when it is time for them to support another at the convention. If you believe one of the other candidates would be better than Ignatieff, see to it that your choice wins, rather than seeing to it that Ignatieff loses. When you force one candidate to lose rather than another to win, nobody wins, and the Liberals remain to the speaker's left.

Think of it this way: is Joe Volpe really a better choice than Michael Ignatieff?

Posted at 15:02 on August 22, 2006

This entry has been archived. Comments can no longer be posted.

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Sandi writes at Tue Aug 22 18:31:33 2006...

I'd like to know which candidates are involved in this - I won't vote for anyone resorting to this pathetic approach.

This is shameful and looks bad for the Liberal Party.

liberal woman writes at Tue Aug 22 18:39:30 2006...

It's understandable members may not agree with every candidate's views in the liberal party. So be it. But when you want to send such an inflammatory email as the one cited (btw I'm a member and I didn't get it) you should have the BALLS to indentify yourselves. STAND UP AND BE COUNTED.

Dontcha think??

Daniel writes at Tue Aug 22 18:45:19 2006...

Agree wholeheartedly -- this tactic does nothing to call attention to the real issues of the leadership race. Putting forth an option, ideas and reasons to support a candidate may be more difficult but its much more appealing -- although from past and US experiences, this kind of attack does have its results. I support Rae because he brings an unprecedented level of experience, has demonstrated a history of public service and is one of the 'smart guys' in the room (of which there are more than two in this race)... I am regularly tatooed with the usual retort on my candidate but rarely am questioned on how his policy ideas would take us into a 'liberal neverland'. Can he win in Ontario? I personally believe that a Liberal team led by Bob Rae could win anywhere, including Alberta... But if there was concrete proof that Rae was one of the frontrunners, I'd expect a similar email from some ABR zealots.

Jason Townsend writes at Tue Aug 22 19:00:01 2006...

The webpage has been around for a while, and remains (AFAIK) shrouded in secrecy.

They're operating on the old principle that repetition counts for more than substance. I think at this point people are getting a bit too familiar with the real life, non-kitten-eating Ignatieff for this to have much impact.

Andre writes at Tue Aug 22 20:41:30 2006...

I don't really see how this is any different from the Volpe thing that happened awhile back.

Joseph writes at Wed Aug 23 13:24:18 2006...

Andr, didn't Volpe receive a bunch of donations through Apotex from people too young even to be party members? How do you equate that with anything Ignatieff has done? The argument that I heard was that Volpe had permitted some of the shoddy kind of politicking that we are trying to clean up, and that he therefore may not have learned anything from the corruption that dumped both the Mulroney and the Chretien-Martin people from office. I don't know who to support yet, but I can't equate Ignatieff and Volpe.

Dee writes at Wed Sep 6 23:39:13 2006...

Look how much impact bloggers had during the Lamont/Lieberman race. Hope it works in this particular case.

From what I hear most ordinary Canadian voters don't even think he's 'Canadian' and know he's Martins' toady.

Just so you know? I'm not a member of the Liberal party just someone who used to vote for the party.


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