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.

28 Comments:

  • 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 Werner Patels, at 4:05 PM  

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

    By Blogger Small Town Shyster, at 4:22 PM  

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

    By Blogger Mushroom, at 4:42 PM  

  • 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 PM  

  • 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 Antonio, at 5:46 PM  

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

    The What Do I Know Grit.

    By Blogger James Curran, at 6:59 PM  

  • 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 Small Town Shyster, at 10:37 PM  

  • Werner:

    Brilliant analysis...as usual.

    By Blogger Devin, at 12:40 AM  

  • 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 Jason Bo Green, at 10:35 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger s.b., at 11:14 AM  

  • 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.b., at 11:18 AM  

  • 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.b., at 11:29 AM  

  • 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 PM  

  • It seems Shoshana has had a change of heart. This is her view two months ago.

    "Bob Rae has won the Liberal leadership; sorry its over folks. with link stolen from CalgaryGrit
    Read the entire Ekos poll carefully and do the math. This is now the correct link, stolen from Calgary grit, because he is a fucking ,blog genius."

    Sorry CG, it appears you've been demoted to some rank below genius, not because Bob Rae flamed out it spectacular fashion, but because you have selected a baboon as Man of the Year. Shame! Earlier in 2006 Shoshana opined that Ken Dryden was the only person who could save Canada and the Liberal Party (there being no difference between the two).
    Now Gerrard Kennedy is the messiah. Who knows where "flavour of the month" will wander in 2007.

    By Blogger decoin, at 2:57 PM  

  • 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 Jason Bo Green, at 3:51 PM  

  • I blame the expression "You the man!"

    By Blogger Small Town Shyster, at 4:35 PM  

  • I think you made a mistake with Ignatieff. He comes from the "second string team" in the US, which is the Harvard Business School etc, that has produced such notable failures in Canada as Peter Lougheed (of PWA, Canadian Airlines, etc., etc. fame).

    The "first string" comes from Yale, and as we all know, they run the world through their secret organizations and their training grounds over in Arlington at the CIA.

    If you check back, I supported Stephane Dion from the beginning on your blog, and I am happy to see that he won.

    He is going to wipe the floor with the Harpercons, and with other extremist Mark Kan Republicans that think they own Alberta, including the "senator in waiting". I including Emperor George II's mouthpiece in Parliament, Jason Kenney in this psychotic bunch of "neocons".

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 8:01 PM  

  • 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 Jason Bo Green, at 8:36 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 10:02 PM  

  • It is not Stephen Harper the needs an "exorcism"; it is the Parliament of Canada that must have all "neocons" purged from its hallowed halls.

    The problem of Harper and the Mark Kan "neocons" is very much like the problem of the MP from Winnipeg North like Mr. Rose, a real life Moscow Communist. Unlike the US, Canada did not drive the Communists underground, rather these traitors were exposed for what they were, and they withered on the vine, and died.

    That is what we now face as Canadians with the malignant forces of American Republicanism that is spreading its influence and blight across Canada like Osama Bin Laudin is spreading his hatred across the Muslim World in the Middle East.

    We need to get it out of Canada and out of our political system.

    "Neocons" like Harper, Kenney, Stockwell Day, Morton and others of their ilk, are NOT Conservatives, and are NOT Progressive Conservatives. They are NOT Tories. And many are not even Canadians.

    They are fascists, and they should NOT have a home or safe haven in Canada.

    Its time for these Yankees to leave Calgary, and go home. For Good.

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 10:07 PM  

  • 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 PM  

  • Well its perhaps unfortunate CG, but Canadian Liberals have been spooked by all the machinations south of the border, because its hard to believe that any American Government could be THAT inept and THAT incompetent, but we as Canadians know also that no matter how bad it gets, it can also get much worse. We most certainly do NOT need this kind of governance being imported to Canada by the likes of "neocons" like Harper, Morton and Kenney.

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 6:05 PM  

  • I think this was a central factor in determining that Stephane Dion would become leader, and why Michael lost the leadership. That uneasiness among Canadian Liberals reflected the general population, and this is not the first time events south of the border have affected politics in Canada.

    This has been going one since 1867, when the Fathers of Confederation first pulled together to provide for a better defence of Canada against these American political forces.

    I think Michael should go back to academia where he is most comfortable, perhaps with a professorship at the UofT.

    Incidently, Michael's comments with respect to Ukrainians did not help his cause much, it reflected rather the overall uneasiness Canadians continue to feel about American influences upon our political life in this country.

    Comments about "little brothers" as it relates to Ukrainians and Russians was just plain politically stupid.

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 6:13 PM  

  • 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 vsappani, at 6:16 PM  

  • 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, at 7:34 PM  

  • Long term impact of the "nationhood thingy"? Dear God - what's changed in the short term; more importantly, precisely how is it going to change the country other than to further entrench the sharp divisions already in existence throughout the country? Frankly, it's become a fart in the breeze because it is a meaningless term. If Iggy is the Man of the Year, then it should be handed out for foot in the mouth disease not seen since Stockwell Day was the leader of CCRAP!

    Meantime, we can all rub our collective hands with glee over Dion's surge in the polls as Canadians from Coast to Coast have made the environment their number one issue as they sit in their SUV's with the heat cranked in a line up at the Tim Horton's drive thru.

    I am going out on a limb to predict that the environment, like the nationhood thingy, will also become a fart in the breeze in the upcoming federal election because the economy is slowing down, there is no growth in the manufacturing sector and the auto sector predicts a major slump in car sales for 2007. In short, economy trumps environment any day of the week and that my friends, is going to be the number one issue in 2007. Just waiting to see the reports from economists - remember, all it takes are three consecutive quarters of negative growth for a recession and the last quarter saw no growth.

    Very simply, we are overdue for a major economic downturn and I think a recession will tuck away Dion's green aspirations very quickly thank you very much.

    By Blogger Left Right and Center, at 10:44 AM  

  • 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 PM  

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