Thursday, December 28, 2006

Man of the Year

Time doesn't have a copyright on it so, for the third straight year, I'm ready to crown my Person of the Year. Last year, Belinda took the honour for her waltz across the floor which grabbed headlines and changed history. In 2004, I went with Ralph Klein for his re-election and interference in the federal vote. And while Stephen Harper is the obvious choice this year, I think picking the PM is a big cop out (although not as lame as picking "You", I guess) so this year's Calgary Grit Person of the Year is...

Michael Ignatieff

A year ago, Michael Ignatieff was fighting for a seat in Etobicoke Lakeshore, admit virulent criticism that he was anti-Ukrainian and supported torture. It was as messy a run for office as you'll ever see in a safe Toronto seat (which, for the Liberals, are most Toronto seats). A year later, he came within a few gaffes of winning leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada and, despite his loss, he drove much of the political agenda in 2006 and is now Deputy Leader of the LPC. Not bad for a rookie.

As the frontrunner, Ignatieff grabbed most of the headlines in the year long Liberal leadership race and, as Dion said in his acceptance speech, took the lumps because of it. Everytime he sneezed, his critics said it was proof his immune system couldn't handle the top job and his supporters said it was a sign he wasn't a typical politician and that the sniffles were why they loved him. His stand on Afghanistan may have been the reason Harper called a snap vote on extending the mission and he led the debate throughout the entire leadership race (often arguing both sides, as one scribe wryly commented).

But despite what many Liberals say, the Liberal Party is not Canada and to be man of the year, there needs to be some meaningful and lasting contribution to the country. Ignatieff did just that during the Quebec nation fiasco this fall. While Ignatieff's ownership of the nation motion was proportional to the motion's popularity for much of the year, it's hard to deny that he got the ball rolling on it. No policy this year was more controversial and none has the potential to have a larger long term impact on the very nature of our country. Those who support the motion feel it will squash separatism while those who opposed it (such as myself), feel it's a very dangerous step towards the edge of the cliff. Time will tell, but for better or worse, Ignatieff's role in this debate made him influential in 2006.

Michael Ignatieff is not a politician but that's what made him a gift to blogging in 2006. Big ideas, big gaffes, and a polarizing figure - the holy trinity of blog material. One presumes Iggy will continue to provide good fodder in 2007.


  • Gimme a break, Ignatieff should not be in politics anywhere ever! He's a complete loser. From what I hear, he's not too bright as a political scientist either.

    He is my "Un-Person of the Year"

    By Blogger George, at 4:05 p.m.  

  • Damn right...if it wasn't for Harvard's football program, no one would have ever heard of the place.

    By Blogger Leny Vilekoskytch, at 4:22 p.m.  

  • I have also posted additional awards in my blog. These are the ones who I think deserve accolades for the 2006 year.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:42 p.m.  

  • Good choice.

    I supported Dion, but one of the things I will credit Ignatieff for is that while he was frontrunner, he didn't run the typical frontrunner campaign, which tries to be all things to all people and say little that offends; he genuinely attempted to introduce new ideas and policies that no other candidate had. Like David Bowie said, "he took it all too far," but he made the effort.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 5:41 p.m.  

  • Shock and Awe Dan

    Shock and Awe

    I was preparing a post on this myself...I'm divided three ways and dont know how to break the tie..

    By Blogger Anthony, at 5:46 p.m.  

  • Well written as usual Bart...oops, Dan.

    The What Do I Know Grit.

    By Blogger James Curran, at 6:59 p.m.  

  • Oh...and Cambridge and Oxford...nothing but soccer schools.

    This is a man who would be blown out of the water in any sort of political discussion by any of the three other people who habitually attend at the Powerplant.

    By Blogger Leny Vilekoskytch, at 10:37 p.m.  

  • Werner:

    Brilliant usual.

    By Blogger Devin Maxwell, at 12:40 a.m.  

  • Yes, he probably was ultimately the bigger newsmaker this year - you're probably correct.

    Interesting. The more I think on it, the more I think you are correct.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 10:35 a.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger S.K., at 11:14 a.m.  

  • Wow lmao. Michael was in all the papers because he had the big big guns, artillery even, behind him. How can a man make so many mistakes with Senator David Smith coaching him on a daily basis? Oh my God Calgary.

    Biggest disappointment of the year. Biggest putz of the year, biggest loser of the year maybe. Man of the year?????? You can't have more backing, money, organization and political experience behind you than Ignatieff. A trained monkey would have done better.

    It's like when students get lower than is statistically random for multiple chioce tests, ie. less than a trained monkey would. So sad! The faster that man goes back to the States or England and talk about how he doesn't lose sleeep or doesn't know what a war crime is and get accolades for pontificating, the better for this party. God forbid he opens his mouth during the next election campaign.

    A beer and popcorn comment from a Liberal commentator cost us the last election. This man needs a holiday in Hungary during the next campaign, or a trained monkey by his side to help him with the press.

    By Blogger S.K., at 11:18 a.m.  

  • I still can't believe this compare with Kennedy a man who was never going to win had no federal profile no seat and very little backing, who managed to win while losing and made very few if any mistakes during the campaign. His move to Dion when he did at convention was considered by many pundits the political move of the decade. He has positioned himself perfectly for a future leadership or at least significant cabinet position and influence federally and that's saying something for a two time loser without a degree. His position is worth every penny donated to him and he didn't even spend that much to accomplish what he did.

    The management of his campaign was almost flawless except concerns at nomination meetings about culural slate which did cost him some support, but allowed him to deleiver his delegates in the end.

    Compare this to the buffoon, baboon, oh sorry Harvard professor who did worse than a trained baboon, for Senator Smith and y9ou havre clearly either pandered to the oposing camp, which is still machinating by the way, or you have clearly eaten to much turkey.

    By Blogger S.K., at 11:29 a.m.  

  • Feelings seem very strong !

    CG, are you offering a cash prize
    along with your award?

    I respect opinions but am concerned about damaging reputations permanently.

    A New Year is coming and it's time to wipe the slate clean and make new assessments.

    Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, and Judge John Gomery all made contributions and shaped the Canadian political psyche.

    Why pick just one?

    My own favourites for Man of the Year are auditor-general Sheila Fraser and and Rick Mercer.

    In fact, I think they shoudl work together.

    There is good stuff in the Auditor-General's report. It would be a lot more entertaining if Rick Mercer presented it.

    If that works out perhaps he could be the public and parliamentary committee spokesperson for Rona Ambrose so she doesn't have to face all the flack on the environmental file.

    But I digress . . . .

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 2:22 p.m.  

  • Why do people, year after year, fail to grasp that "Man of the Year" is not "Ace Cool Guy of The Year", but "Newsmaking Person (or sometimes Thing) of the Year"?

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 3:51 p.m.  

  • I blame the expression "You the man!"

    By Blogger Leny Vilekoskytch, at 4:35 p.m.  

  • Whenever Joe's in the room, I feel like I'm the only person who doesn't think that Stephen Harper needs an exorcism. I think he's doing an alright job, really.

    Shyster, I think you may be onto something!

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 8:36 p.m.  

  • Yeah, to clarify, this is newsmaker of the year, not saint of the year. I do like Iggy more than the last two people I picked for this, but I think it's obvious that I don't have a MI poster hanging in my house anywhere.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:48 p.m.  

  • Shoshana talks as if she knows everything about politics makes such degrading statements about MI. No wonder that no one likes her even in her our campaign team, least noone at the top knew her or disowned her comments as not something from the Dryden team.

    There is a old saying in India- Barking dogs dont bite and I think you fit well into it.

    Lesson 1: Have some humility. Dont talk as if you own the party. I doubt even if you could deliver 5 delegates to Dryden.
    Lesson 2: Give respect and learn from the learned. MI is respected around the world. He might not be perfect, but he won the most support in the first round and he is world renowned for his work. I have no clue on what your GPA was, but I know for sure you never went to a top school. I know what it takes to go to Harvard and MI was one of the most respected profs there and in many other place.

    Lesson 3: Move on. What are you, the saviour of the liberal party? huh? I was gung ho against Bob Rae, but now I will be campaigning for him, whether he runs in Willowdale or whereever. The leadership is over and we need to unite the party. Stop gettting high on kool aid and move on and get a life.

    By Blogger Rural Empowerment Program, at 6:16 p.m.  

  • Shoshona:

    I don't think you are in any position to call anyone "loser of the year" after the year you have had...

    By Blogger Devin Maxwell, at 7:34 p.m.  

  • Calgary Grit
    I agree with your feelings on Michael and his refreshingly honest and candid approach to politics. We need more people of his substance trying to change our way of life. As an aside, you may note I have enjoyed your viewpoints and have you linked on my Blog..Browners Blog as well.
    Have a great 2007 and keep up the musings !!!

    By Blogger Browners Blog, at 5:02 p.m.  

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