Monday, December 18, 2006
Like the speed of light, my dislike of Michael Ignatieff is a constant
You won't be surprised to hear that I'm disappointed in Stephane Dion. He's named Michael Ignatieff Deputy Leader, and most everyone in the Liberal Blogs is acclaiming this a wonderful move - with a few notable exceptions.
Most Liberals seem to be applauding this because it shows party unity, or something. Essentially, the argument seems to be that Ignatieff deserved this post for losing.
Let's think this through, though. Quite apart from the number of other well-qualified MPs who could serve, Ignatieff is the one sore thumb. He was a walking, talking disaster during the leadership race, and he's mused publicly more than once about leaving the Commons if his career doesn't take the course he wants. You may dismiss those musings, but they did happen. (Remember "depends who's leader"?)
Is he necessary for the Liberal Party? I would say absolutely not. I honestly can't think of a single bloc of voters that Iggy brings to the table that Dion can't get another way. Quebec is already back in play (thank you, national media, for being wrong again) and Dion's playing it cool with Afghanistan. If anything, Iggy's a liability. He's got zero ability at message discipline, even when it's his own career on the line. Do Liberals want to gamble on what he's going to say - as their deputy leader, remember - during the next election? Remember, Harper lost in 2004 because his caucus wouldn't stay muzzled. Don't think it can't happen to you.
And the issue of party unity is misunderstood. If Ignatieff and his followers are unwilling to work in a Liberal Party led by Dion without having his ego stroked, than he doesn't belong in the caucus, much less the Deputy Leader position. Meanwhile, if he is willing to work in the Party led by Dion without reservation, than this trifle is unnecessary. In fact, rewarding a dissident party member with a position of prominence can lead to disaster - as the Liberal Party of Canada should know, if they've read any history of the Chretien-Martin wars.
Now, with all of this said, I'm going to adopt a wait-and-see approach on this one, because frankly "Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition" is not what you, I, or the kid who serves me coffee at Tim Hortons would call a position of power and influence. Hell, even for the actual Government Deputy Leaders aren't wildly important. So if this is where Ignatieff's career goes to die, I'll be happy.
Obviously, I'm a confirmed NDP voter and blogger, so you don't need to take my advice Grits. But a basic knowledge of your own history would be a good start.
(And why not a dame, huh?)