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What's next for Ignatieff

Nathan Swinn | Interrobang | Opinion | April 7th, 2008

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
Iggy Flop is on the warpath. Yes, Michael Ignatieff, a.k.a. Iggy Flop, the Ivy League maestro and proponent of both the Iraq war and torture if necessary, is right where he wants to be: in the news. There's only two rungs on the political ladder remaining for Mr. Ignatieff to finish off his resume in properly aristocratic fashion - the Leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada and then, naturally, becoming Prime Minister.

Sadly, there are obstacles. First, there's the current Liberal leader, Stephane Dion, who bested Iggy in the leadership convention last summer, and whom Iggy has clearly never fully supported as a loyal party member should. Then there's the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who is Iggy's final target. But first Iggy has to dispose of Dion before starting the campaign against the Conservatives.

For a person of such integrity and education, Mr. Flop has had an odd political career. He returned to Canada after having had a solid career as a journalist, professor at Harvard, Booker nominated novelist, all of which contributed to his reputation as a intellectual heavy, the classic cultured international academic.

After nearly 30 years of living abroad, Iggy returned to Toronto in 2005 to teach at the University of Toronto. Rumour holds that certain members of the Liberal Party actively recruited Iggy with hints that he could succeed then leader Paul Martin. Quite reasonably, once the Iggster was living in the country again, the Liberals wanted him for the 2006 election. That's when Iggy's trouble started. Not having lived in the country for years didn't appear to bother the party, or Iggy. He'd most likely been keeping track of Canadian issues from his lofty tower at Harvard, but Iggy needed a riding to run in. Since he was such a well known personage - maybe not to the average voter, but he was certainly well known amongst the intelligentsia that constitutes the upper tiers of our political class - the Liberals decided that he wouldn't have to contest an unpleasant riding, like in Northern Ontario, or Saskatchewan, or a riding that he didn't stand a good chance of winning. So the party ushered long time Etobicoke-Lakeshore MP Jean Augustine to the sidelines and placed the Flop in her place.

I think it's worthwhile noting that Mrs. Augustine was Canada's first black female MP, and was very active in her riding and the greater Toronto community. Just the kind of person that needs replacing with a white male, Ph.D professor type “rock star” candidate. Upon resigning her seat in late 2005, Mrs. Augustine did endorse Iggy's takeover of the riding.

However, the messy democratic process reared its head. Clearly, the Liberal Party wanted Iggy to be a candidate. There were people in the riding who weren't so happy with being handed Iggy. They made this quite clear during Iggy's first press conference in the riding, when he was booed off the stage, and ended up exiting via the backdoor. Iggy eventually won the riding by five thousand votes.

After Paul Martin resigned, Iggy went after the Liberal leadership. Current leader Stephane Dion eventually defeated him after being the odds on favourite to win. Since last fall bits and pieces of information keep being leaked in the press about Iggy undermining Dion's leadership. Last week Dion called for party unity, once again. Then he demoted one of Iggy's buddies, and repeatedly said rumours of an Ignatieff insurrection were not based in reality.

Here's some reality. Ignatieff is not accustomed to being second in command, and Dion has not handled being opposition leader or the party very adeptly. So while this is a fun fight to follow, what about all the shit that's been passed through parliament, with tacit Liberal consent, over the past months? What chance do the Libs have with either Dion or Iggy at the helm? Seems like, once again, our politicians are putting their party, and themselves, ahead of what's good for the country.
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