Michael Ignatieff: Not Canadian Enough

Send Dr. Ignatieff to the UN, back him in a bid to become Secretary-General, let Harper co-opt him as Secretary of State for External Affairs or Minister of Finance. He's bright and accomplished, pragmatic and shrewd. But he's not Canadian enough to be Prime Minister. Shortly after his undergrad years in Toronto, he left the country and largely stayed away until it was time to pull out the knives on Paul Martin's political career.

He never had to live through the near-dissolution of confederation and deficits spawned by Trudeau. He didn't have to struggle through the interest rate spike in the 80s and the economic turmoil it caused here in Canada. He wasn't here for the recession of the early 90s and he hasn't experienced the changes (good or bad) that were wrought here by the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement or the later NAFTA.

If you want a Prime Minister whose academic record is prestigious and impeccable, Dr. Ignatieff is your man. But why not be concerned that he is gut-familiar with what it means to be Canadian today, and how we got here -- familiarity that can only come through living through it at first hand. Dr. Ignatieff's record has qualified him for many things, president of the IMF for example, but I don't believe it's the kind of background we need in a Canadian Prime Minister.

1 comment:

Arthur said...

So last night Rex Murphy and as much as praises Ignatieff (cbc.ca/national/archive will get you there) for all the cunning he gained by being gone from Canada so long. I like lots of what Rex says and will continue to do so but I disagree with his assessment of Dr. Ignatieff categorically. Being cunning is useful but being more Canadian would make him a better Prime Minister.

But perhaps being Canadian isn't going to matter to people as much as political disagreement with whomever is in power now will. If that's so, then it's a poorer comment on where we are as a country than the behaviour of our political parties has been so far since the last election.