Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I mean "he's into torture" in the nicest way possible

Brad Lavigne, today:

“We know that we attract Liberal and Bloc voters, not by going into their seats and saying what bad people they are, but rather by our sharp criticism and contrast with Stephen Harper.”

Brad, in August:

NDP National Director Brad Lavigne set the stage for an election war for the left with the Liberals by suggesting Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was into torture, into Iraq and out of the country … “Mr. Layton has written a book about investing in Canadians and their communities. Mr. Ignatieff has written books defending torture,” said Lavigne. “Mr. Ignatieff has defended and supported the war in Iraq … If Mr. Ignatieff or Mr. Harper were prime minister in 2004, Canada would still be in Iraq today.”



  • It's pretty sad that the torture thing is still running around. Is Brad lying, or has he not read the book?

    By Blogger Jesse, at 9:31 a.m.  

  • I am positive that Ignatieff has written more books than Brad Lavigne has ever read.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:44 a.m.  

  • See, and it's now going to be tough for "Anonymous" to turn around and say he's not saying what a bad person Brad Lavigne is!

    By Blogger Jesse, at 9:45 a.m.  

  • Actually Ignatieff's support for the Iraq war is the main reason why I will be voting NDP next time around. If the Liberals had chosen someone else as their leader they could have ran dozens of ads highlighting Harper's strong support for a war that turned out to be a disaster. Why they didn't do this under Dion I will never know.

    By Anonymous MPAVictoria, at 9:49 a.m.  

  • The LPC is a party with a once proud tradition of peace-keeping and social responsibility. Liberals can scream and shout and stomp their feet all they want but it wont change the fairly simple facts; Mr. Ignatieff was a strong supporter of the war in Iraq, he has defended "unconventional" interrogation techniques, he is the most right-leaning leader the LPC has had, and on a number of important issues it is difficult to distinguish him from he Conservative counterparts. Brad Lavigne's politicing and spin are irrelevant to the fact that the Liberals are behind in the polls because the majority of Canadians don't like or trust Mr. Ignatieff. Given what a terrible PM Harper is, if the LPC had a better, more centerist, more inspiring leader they would be way ahead.

    Nash your teeth all you want, attack the NDP and blame them for the LPC's problems - those things won't bring the LPC back to its former glory.

    By Blogger Kirbycairo, at 10:18 a.m.  

  • Interesting how the left always overlooks one of the primary reasons why Ignatieff initially supported the Iraq war: his experience working with and reporting on the plight of the oppressed Kurdish minority in Iraq's north, who were treated brutally and violently by Saddam Hussein.

    I disagree with both the war and Ignatieff's position at the time, but let's not pretend it wasn't made in the context of his long-standing work on human rights.

    As many call for armed intervention in Darfur and elsewhere, just what the doctrine should be when it comes to forcefully intervening to protect oppressed minorities is something worth deep thought.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 10:26 a.m.  

  • I am on the left Jeff and I certainly don't forget the context in any way shape or form, I know the story and was an activist on the issues in the days when George Bush addressed a joint session of Congress to convince them not to cut funding for Hussein's regime after the gassing of the Kurds. I have been there, I know the drill. None of this erases the fact that a man like Ignatieff should have understood that there was nothing altruistic about the American invasion of Iraq and the outcome of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis was in the cards. We can argue about intentions till the cows come home, the outcome is clear. Ignatieff laid down with dogs and he got up with fleas and these are the positions which will enture that he never becomes prime minister. Nash your teeth, it is just the way it is. He has some good qualities, and I would rather see him PM than Harper, but I call them like I see them.

    By Blogger Kirbycairo, at 11:00 a.m.  

  • Jeff I read your blog often but on this you are dead wrong. Anyone with half a brain could see what a disaster the invasion of Iraq was going to turn out to be. Whatever reasons Ignatieff had for supporting the war he should have realized that the incompetents inhabiting the white house at the time were bound to make a mess of it. The fact that he didn't shows an astounding lack of judgment. His support for the war also deprives the Liberals of what I consider to be their best asset in a campaign, Harper's strong support of the Iraq war. I am a potential liberal voter but until they pick a new leader I will be casting my vote for the NDP.

    By Anonymous MPAVictoria, at 11:12 a.m.  

  • Ignatieff has said he was wrong, and that he wouldn't do it again, and that he recognizes he got caught up in his desire to help the Kurds.

    Has Layton never made any mistakes? Or Rae?

    I"m not saying that not-realizing that the invasion was going to be a disaster because of Bush's incompetence was unimportant. But I'm curious where the line is.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 11:41 a.m.  

  • Jesse I think the question that you have to ask yourself is has Layton or Rae made any mistakes of that magnitude?

    I just cannot support anyone who has made that kind of error in judgment for the job of Prime Minister.

    By Anonymous MPAVictoria, at 11:50 a.m.  

  • 1) Does Afghanistan look that much better than Iraq right now?

    2) I believe we have to allow our leaders to make mistakes. I think Ignatieff's record on human rights is good, and, in this case, was too good, leading to an error in judgment that he has admitted. You're obviously entitled to continue to refuse to vote for him on this one issue, but, for me, it's a little over the top; he was too eager to help out the people of Iraq, and he failed to realize how dumb Bush really was. I think the totality of his record has to be judged, not just one mistake.

    3) Do you have other litmus tests for a Liberal leader?

    By Blogger Jesse, at 12:13 p.m.  

  • Jesse, you write that Ignatieff's "record on human rights is good" what about his support of unconventional interrogation techniques? That is another pretty big black mark on his record. And not realizing that George the Lesser was incompetent is a pretty big lapse in judgment to overlook.

    Regarding Afghanistan I agree with you that it is a mess at the moment. However I see no way we could have avoided participating after 9/11 and at least we were able to use our troops there as an excuse to keep us out of Iraq.

    As for other litmus tests for liberal leaders I have a few.
    1) Must be pro-choice
    2) Must support gay rights
    3) Must support workers right to organize
    4) Must oppose further tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy
    5) Must support medicare

    What about yourself?

    By Anonymous MPAVictoria, at 1:13 p.m.  

  • Jeff, I remember that context well - and agree, it's within his long-standing stance on human rights, and stemming from his visits to Hussein-era Iraq.

    However, I also clearly remember Ignatieff's scoffing admonitions to those who opposed the war - they were in conversation on CBC Radio (I believe with Michael Enright, tho I'm not certain). Long before he returned to Canada, before the Iraq War even began, long before anyone thought he might run for an office, he was on live radio publicly haranguing and berating anyone who didn't support his war.

    I get that people are conflicted, Jeff -- I myself am, and often. I don't believe Ignatieff fantasizes about torture, that he had a secret alliance with Bush's cabinet, or that he prefers torture over other methods. But I'll be honest: I know he held absolutely ZERO respect for opponents of the war, which is far less respect than I gave his supportive views, and I know that before he even stepped foot in Etobicoke, I didn't care for the guy.

    It's well time for a new PM, and Ignatieff so far doesn't seem up to it.

    what the doctrine should be when it comes to forcefully intervening to protect oppressed minorities is something worth deep thought.

    Here's a deep thought: no torture by our side.

    By Anonymous Jacques Beau Verte, at 1:28 p.m.  

  • On unconventional methods, to be honest, I'd have to read The Lesser Evil again. If it's inhumane treatment, then it's a war crime, and I'm opposed. If it's... otherwise unconventional, I suppose... then I do think there's some room for flexibility, but I'm thinking of things like lying to the subject. Can you clarify for me what exactly Iggy said in the book that you were uncomfortable with?

    On Afghanistan, why is a pol who supported the war "because it was impossible to avoid post 9/11" not objectionable? What if Iggy thought Iraq was impossible to avoid post-9/11? Would that really be better?

    I'd agree with most of those, although I wouldn't demand a candidate pledge never to cut corporate taxes, and I'd probably be a little more precise on medicare ("must support ensuring that all Canadians have access to publicaly funded, medically necessary procedures"). I'd also be uncomfortable supporting someone without a credible commitment to combatting poverty and climate change, and to increasing Canada's role in the world.

    Which brings me to my final point: your Iraq War litmus test is, unlike the others, not about positioning but about the past. Does it seem fair to say "no second chances"?

    By Blogger Jesse, at 1:28 p.m.  

  • I am one of those former Liberals that you need to win just to get back to the traditional low levels of Liberal support - 33-35%. And you won't do it as long as Ignatieff is leader. I don't really care that he changed his mind on Iraq, not that I really believe him. The list of what I would call un-Liberal beliefs of his is too long and too significant for me to ever come back to the party with him as leader, not to mention that he became leader unconstitutionally! Keep Iggy, I'm outa here.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:11 p.m.  

  • In the 2006 leadership race I was adamant that I could not support Ignatieff because of his support of Bush's war. Chretien's choice was and remains to me one of the greatest decisions made by a prime minister in my lifetime.
    That being said, i have had the opportunity to discuss with MI personally his decision, how he views the war since then, and I am comfortable that he is more than man enough to be a great PM. It takes courage to admit a mistake, to change a position that is so sensitive. It takes someone with compassion and a rational heart to make that step publicly. Harper continues today to avoid questions on his choice, on going public into another country and slamming the Canadian gov't and everyone who supported it on the decision to not go to war. Harper plagarized his speech, sacrificed a lowly writer to get out of it, and has shown no ability to accept responsibility on any level. He is all that he wants you to believe Ignatieff is, and more. If you don't do everything possible in our functioning democracy to see him tossed out of office (which means voting for the best party possible in your riding to beat the Conservative), then you will get what you deserve -- unfortunately a lot of others will suffer too.

    By Blogger rockfish, at 11:26 p.m.  

  • Aside from the Colbert-style question about Ignatieff's leadership ("MI: Awful L of O, or worst L of O?"), and returning to CG's point about Brad Levigne:

    I first encountered BL in my student politics days. He always struck me as someone who was happy to say whatever people seemed to want to hear at the moment. I'm frankly surprised there aren't a hundred examples like this, though perhaps as NDP staff, he recognizes he's on the record most of the time and can't prevaricate to the same degree without being caught.

    By Blogger Don, at 8:57 a.m.  

  • Really useful data, much thanks for your article.

    By Anonymous, at 1:50 p.m.  

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