Dr. Dawg

Is Michael Ignatieff a sleeper agent

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Iggy what me worry.jpg

…for the Conservative Party of Canada? I was joking a while ago. Now I’m really beginning to wonder.

What on earth does the man think he’s doing? Opposition is all very well, but for goodness sake take a leaf from cunning old Mao’s Guerrilla Warfare—“The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue.”

The enemy is advancing. Possibly not as fast as we were led to believe, but with clearly superior force. Those two polls I link to might differ with respect to the Cons, but the Libs are stuck in the high twenties, and nothing seems to be able to move the scale.

Yet Ignatieff’s team is going to oppose the budget, sight unseen, to prove that they’ve finally had enough. If the NDP doesn’t save their worthless necks by capitulating for a few crumbs, we’ll have a Spring election. With the Libs as far behind the Cons as 16%.

As Mao would say, “desperate recklessness.”

What brought this on? Since Iggy waltzed into our political lives, he’s been a weak reed, flipping, flopping, and agreeing with the government on fundamental questions (free trade with the genocidal narco-state of Colombia, Middle Eastern policy, pay equity, the tar sands, you name it). Where there has been disagreement, it’s been all loud bangs and flashes.

Take the Afghan detainee document issue, for example: an historic ruling on parliamentary privilege was obtained, and since then not a single document has been released. Materially, nothing has changed. The Liberals unaccountably refused to press their advantage. Or, once again, on a bill to ensure ethical mining practices abroad, Iggy and the backroomers made sure that sufficient of their trained seals were absent from the chamber to lose the vote.

We’ve had, in other words, possibly the most flabby, ineffective Opposition in Canadian history. And now it suddenly wants to play chicken with the burly Blue Team.

Anyone for Tennyson?

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Maybe Iggy’s looking for his place in Canadian political history:

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!

But “All the world wonder’d.” And I among them.

If there is indeed a Spring election, it promises to be a childishly easy contest for the Harperites to win. What are they up against, after all? A party without an articulate alternate vision, with no clear policy differences and no electoral issues to galvanize the voters. An election brought on almost for its own sake, a government toppled over a budget that the Liberals haven’t even seen. One can easily imagine the hay Harper will make with that.

The democratic deficit could have been a great issue to take to the people, one breakable into good sound bites for Canadians who already have a sense that something is amiss with Ottawa’s one-man rule. But that takes careful preparation over several months, solid groundwork and a coordinated communications strategy. Under Ignatieff, it hasn’t happened.

It’s just the Liberals’ luck that they have lumbered themselves with a person who lacks even the most rudimentary political instincts. Ignatieff is the leader who was once prepared to fight an election on EI reform. Wow, that would have set Canada on fire.

And it’s just the Conservatives’ luck that they have one of their own in all but name running the official Opposition, whose wooden personality and inept political moves keep the government afloat by default.

Stephen Harper is one of the least winsome politicians we have ever beheld, a cold and brittle man whose chief emotion is petulance. Any strong and warm opposition leader could give him a run for his money. But, for all his obsessive touring, the patrician Ignatieff has nothing remotely approaching the common touch, and no Trudeavian charisma to compensate for that, or for his signal lack of focus and direction. It’s the northern version of Kerry vs. Bush, and we all know how that turned out.

And now, perhaps goaded out of his bashfulness, he’s driving the Big Red Bus into a wall to prove he’s a player. A Harper majority? All Steve has to do at this point is wait for the crash.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on March 3, 2011 10:13 AM.

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