JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CANADA’S POLITICAL IMPASSE AND THE FUTURE OF THE LIBERAL PARTY   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY JEFFREY SIMPSON IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“Desperate measures don’t have to be stupid measures…”

Jeffrey Simpson, as one who regards your analyses often with admiration, I must say you could not be more wrongheaded here. This column suggests a party insider blubbering.

Getting rid of a political liability like Ignatieff is not extreme: it is the most usual, work-a-day politics, much like dumping a poorly performing minister.

Even further, since Ignatieff was never properly elected as leader, being parachuted into both his riding a few years ago and then into the leadership by backroom insiders, he is owed nothing by most voters.

And one might perhaps have developed a different view, had he taken command and proved a Trudeau of Chretien, but, no, he has proved a Stanfield. Actually that is unfair to Stanfield, because, despite his weaknesses as a politician, he was an admirably honorable man.

Ignatieff is uninspiring and even boring, and he is unimaginative, surprisingly so, considering his much-vaunted academic background.

And when it comes to honor, Ignatieff stands before us in a badly tarnished suit of armor indeed. I can never respect a man who has said the things he has said in the past, most especially one pretending to be liberal (in the best sense of that word).

He is a crypto-neo-con. He is anti-democratic. His is no genuine voice for human rights, despite the risible pretensions of his past chair at Harvard. He comes off as a wine-and-cheese fop without having any of the devastating wit of a Disraeli.

I think my views in this have some valid application, because I’m the kind of voter the Liberals are seeking, progressive in all social matters and traditional and sound in finances, as well as one who votes for integrity and character regardless of party.

And for me, those qualifiers mean I can never vote for Ignatieff.

I am deeply distressed over the national political impasse we are at. Ignatieff can never be elected prime minister. Harper can never command a majority.

Yet the narrow extremist Harper is cunning and aggressive, and he is permitted to rule much as though he had a majority, and the man is trashing all our traditions of civility and decency in politics, aping every shabby view and technique of Newt Gingrich twenty years ago.

We need change, but not just empty gasbag change.

Until sentiments in Quebec come into a new balance, the only genuine changes I see possible are leadership change in the Liberal Party and a merger or coalition with the NDP.

Parties appear and disappear over time. They are not a set of Egyptian pyramids to stand forever. In Britain, the Whigs disappeared, the Peelites disappeared, the Liberals disappeared, and today Labour is fading.

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