Ignatieff taking high road

The federal Conservatives are running negative advertisements about Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

The federal Conservatives are running negative advertisements about Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

The TV spots point out that the Harvard University-educated academic has spent 34 years outside of Canada but now thinks he’s the person most qualified to lead this country.

That sort of criticism is fair enough. After all, as funnyman Rick Mercer has noted, Ignatieff wants to be prime minister so bad, he actually moved here to try to get the job.

The television ads may be pushing the envelope in suggesting that the Grit leader has “no long-term commitment.”.

But then again, if Ignatieff’s political ambitions fail, who really believes he’s going to stay in Canada?

In such a case, he might very well head back to the United States.

As a politician, he’s a bit like Peter Pocklington was when he tried to become leader of the federal Conservatives in 1983.

Pocklington wanted to start at the top — just like Ignatieff.

Ignatieff and Pocklington both apparently think it’s OK to want to be the boss without having paid your dues.

No doubt, the Tories are hoping their anti-Ignatieff TV ads will allow them to define the party leader, just as their anti-Stephane Dion TV spots helped them paint him as a man without leadership abilities.

Ignatieff’s response to the negative ads has been rather restrained and mature.

Instead of getting angry, he’s simply expressed disappointment with the Conservatives’ tactic.

That’s an intelligent approach to take, as letting the Tories know that they’ve got his goat would only encourage them.

Ignatieff said recently that the new Conservative TV ads attacking his commitment to Canada don’t bother him on a personal level.

He said they’re offensive because they attempt to define who is and who isn’t a good Canadian, based on the amount of time they’ve lived in Canada.

That’s a smart position to take as his statement makes it appear as if the Conservatives might have something against immigrants claiming to be good Canadians. (It’s no secret that the Liberals have long courted the immigrant vote.)

Of course, in the past, the Liberals played hardball with Stockwell Day (when he was leader of the Canadian Alliance) and Stephen Harper (the first time that he ran as Conservative leader).

But, in all fairness, one can hardly blame politicians for practising politics from time to time.

The negative ads have some chance of succeeding as the Conservatives are said to have lots of money to buy time on TV.

The Liberals, on the other hand, are poor and so far have only managed to post a rebuttal on YouTube — where relatively few people are likely to see it.

In any case, Ignatieff is to be congratulated for taking the high road. By doing so, he appears to be primeministerial.

And maybe that will work for him.

It didn’t work for Dion, but Ignatieff is a different sort of leader.

Both men are keen intellectuals, but Ignatieff appears to have more common sense and a bit more charisma.

He could be Canada’s next prime minister.

And if that doesn’t work out for him, he won’t be the first failed politician to return to the halls of academia.

Lee Giles is an Advocate editor.

Just Posted

Rural transit service rolled out

2A South Regional Transit will link Innisfail and Penhold with Red Deer

Some Red Deer waste collection schedules change due to holiday season

Tuesday collections will be moved for two weeks

Red Deer ‘champion’ helps hospital by sharing ongoing petition

It’s been about three years since many physicians at Red Deer Regional… Continue reading

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Funding down for Red Deer Christmas charities

Food hampers and toys for children going out to those in need

Alberta’s Sundial starts shipping to AGLC this week

Sundial’s Rocky View facility has received the green light from Health Canada… Continue reading

Penny Marshall dead at 75, best known as TV’s Laverne and director of ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’

Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ’70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley”… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Most Read