Thursday, November 24, 2005

Ignatieff Running

I just got back from the University of Calgary Liberal Association's Death by Chocolate fundraiser. Michael Ignatieff was the guest speaker and he took to opportunity to announce that he would be running for the Liberals in the upcoming federal election. He didn't say which seat he had his sights set on and, last I'd heard, the party still hadn't found anything for him, but he seemed pretty sure of it. So take it for what it's worth.

I'll throw a full recap up tomorrow.

UPDATE: I got an e-mail from someone who tells me that the Toronto Centre riding association has called a "very important" board meeting for Monday. This might just be for election preparation, or it might be because of those long time rumours that Bill Graham will step aside to let Ignatieff run in his seat.

UPDATE...err...RECAP: I figured I'd keep all the Ignatieff stuff in one post, so here's my quick recap of the event itself:

Good crowd (around 100 people) and most people I talked to were looking forward to the campaign, even though Calgary is a wasteland. As for Ignatieff himself, he's still got that Dalton McGuinty speaking style and he's certainly more of a polished politician than Ken Dryden (who they had at the event last year). He worked the room andhad some meetings with local Liberals earlier in the day (or so I hear...) which tells me there's a bigger plan in the works than being a humble backbench MP for Toronto Centre.

Content-wise, it was probably less critical of Martin than his Liberal convention address but still had more of an academic than a political feel to it (for starters, it was long). National Unity, as always, was his major theme and he emphasized having a strong federal government that treats all Canadians equally (hear hear!). This guy's best shot at becoming Liberal leader is definitely for a Liberal leadership campaign to fall during the build-up to a third Quebec referendum.

Speaking of which, he went after André Boisclair a bit and gave a few strong arguments against separatism - mainly economic but a few on "identity" as well.

All in all, a strong speech. I'm glad he's running for the Liberals. It's premature to talk about him for leadership until he's had some experience in Ottawa, but he'll be a nice addition to the Liberal benches.


  • Elginton-Lawrence!

    By Blogger daveberta, at 2:47 a.m.  

  • Parrish's riding of Mississauga-Erindale has also been rumoured...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:01 a.m.  

  • Somebody's got to beat Rob Anders. It might as well be Ignatieff.

    By Blogger James Bowie, at 3:45 a.m.  

  • Wow! Are any media reporting this? I wonder if Ignatieff let this slip when he wasn't supposed to. I can't imagine that the Herle Gang wouldn't want to unveil him as a candidate with balloons and streamers.

    By Blogger PR, at 4:03 a.m.  

  • Oh boy, we get to hear how George Bush was right to go into Iraq, for the next 6 weeks.

    By Blogger Greg, at 7:03 a.m.  

  • It has been an open secret that he would, so the bigger surprise is that he has actually stated it without being able to say where.

    Mississauga-Erindale is probably not winnable for him, due to iraq stand. Parrish was playing to the home crowd. On the other hand, she did win by 12,000.

    I doubt that Ignatieff will get too many favours from Martin though, because he has entered with an all but explicit intention of becoming leader. The Martinistas have a bad record of playing nice with the other kids in the yard on that sort of thing.

    By Blogger OttawaCon, at 7:13 a.m.  

  • It used to be rumoured that he'd run in Toronto-Danforth. Maybe he should try Calgary Southwest instead.

    By Blogger RP., at 8:08 a.m.  

  • How about Edmonton Strathcona?

    /tongue only half in cheek

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:29 a.m.  

  • This potentially throws a wrench into Dalhousie's Graduate Symposium, where Ignatieff was to be a keynote speaker.
    Talk amongst us grad students here has him pegged as Foreign Affairs minister if both he and the Liberals are elected (anything but a certainty on both counts), but we can't agree as to just which riding he would be taking.
    I can easily see him becoming greatly frustrated with the Martin people though, since he's to the right of most of the public opinion polls that The Board governs by.

    By Blogger RGM, at 9:35 a.m.  

  • He's only to the "right", if you want to call it that, in the sense that he is not anti-American and favours a strong military response to terrorist Islamic fundamentalism, but the balance of his views are very much at the core of traditional Liberalism: strong federal government, a significant role for the state in the economy, strong on human rights.

    I doubt the Martinites think of him as a threat. He is at least two elections away (including this one) from even considering running and there is no way he has the ground troups or the Canadian political experience or the policy platform to mount anything against Martin. And they'll know that. What happens after he is gone (and when that will be) is another question.

    Foreign Affairs right off the bat? I would expect a Parliamentary Secretary first to get his legs and then moving up to the front benches.


    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 10:00 a.m.  

  • (In the post above, by "running" I meant running for leader.)

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 10:01 a.m.  

  • He made a reference in his speech to running in Toronto so I suspect it will be a riding there. Someone else pressed him on the question later while he was working the room and he said something along the lines of "I have a riding but can't announce it yet - I'm still learning the communications strategy."

    We know that Coyne is running in Layton's riding. Hard to say if you'd call Mississauga part of my hunch is that a Liberal MP has agreed to step aside.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:39 a.m.  

  • Stop the presses. AC is running for the Cons?

    How is his French, a propos de rien?

    By Blogger matt, at 10:52 a.m.  

  • Cerberus said...
    He's only to the "right", if you want to call it that, in the sense that he is not anti-American and favours a strong military response to terrorist Islamic fundamentalism, but the balance of his views are very much at the core of traditional Liberalism . . .

    He favoured Canadian participation in the war in Iraq and in ballistic missile defence. I agree with him on those positions, and I've been told more than once that I was on the right of the Liberal Party (I'm now a "free agent," so to speak, as I didn't renew my membership), hence my comments on his foreign policy views. These are what people know most about Ignatieff, since it is what he has spent much of his career discussing, and those will be two sticks that the Dippers will be able to use against him.

    By Blogger RGM, at 11:17 a.m.  

  • If Ignatieff runs, he will lose; unless the Libs can find him an absolutely safe riding.

    I expect that, after his defeat, he will run back to the U.S. where I expect he is happier, anyway.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:37 a.m.  

  • Toronto Danforth!
    Watching Sven and Hedy bash each other to piece will be so much fun, why not have another lefty royal rumble.

    By Blogger Hasty, at 11:50 a.m.  

  • This is good news for the Liberal Party. Someone with vision and guts is a rather rare commodity these days for the Liberal Caucus. I agree with the three-headed dog that he is a few turns away from challenging for the party's leadership as he still would have lot to prove as a parliamentarian, and thus may escape the ire of Junior who is desperate for fresh blood.
    As for those that think that the War in Iraq is a righty thing and that war in general is a righty thing for that matter, remember it was a democrat who brought the US into Vietnam, WW2, WW1, the Mexican War, etc...
    In the future please do not refer to the Iraq War, or the Afghani War as right wing policies. They are policies of the present government and Mr. Ignatieff does not betray his Liberal roots in supporting the US war in Iraq (which I do as well).
    The only folks who are betraying their roots are Liberals who believe that Junior represents Liberalism. For your information, Junior represents Junior.....end of story.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:00 p.m.  

  • I would go with Mississauga-Erindale also.

    By Blogger Jason Cherniak, at 12:04 p.m.  

  • Ottawa Con said

    "Mississauga-Erindale is probably not winnable for him, due to iraq stand."

    You clearly have never been to the riding. Iraq is yesterdays issue, most of the people don't give a damn about it.

    I am guessing because of Parrish shenanigans, you were under the mistaken impression that the riding has a large Muslim population.

    The riding is pretty much a lock for the Liberals.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:07 p.m.  

  • That would be great: seeing Ignatieff with his strong anti-anti-Americanism taking over from Parrish with her strong anti-Americanism.

    And for the record, before spinmeisters obscure his record, I've seen him speak and read him a number of times be extremely critical of the US. Particularly Abu Ghraib and their economic and fiscal fallicies, um, folicies, er, I mean, policies. On BMD, he said straight up that while the concept of united continental defence is critical and we have to be at the table, that the US has so far failed to prove its case on the technology for this particular aspect of continental defence.


    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 12:36 p.m.  

  • The only way he'd get to be an instant cabinet minister is if he runs as a Tory then flips over to the Grits.

    Otherwise, I hope he likes sitting up in the nosebleed section.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 12:44 p.m.  

  • matt: cousin to the coyne you are thinking of and running for the liberals. it's in her blood.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:46 p.m.  

  • Deborah Coyne, Andrew's cousin (or sister?) is running for the Liberals in Layton's riding. She's also the mother of Trudeau's daughter.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:51 p.m.  

  • toronto centre is believable... rightwing enough to make ignatieff representative without being rightwing enough for a realistic conservative victory. oh the joys of living in a nice downtown neighbourhood as a conservative. have to help out the commies to defeat the liberals, oy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:05 p.m.  

  • There are a lot of mother's to Trudeau's daughters I bet

    Trudeau = Daddy Mack
    gotta givem props on that front

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:07 p.m.  

  • And for the record, before spinmeisters obscure his record, I've seen him speak and read him a number of times be extremely critical of the US. Particularly Abu Ghraib and their economic and fiscal fallicies, um, folicies, er, I mean, policies. On BMD, he said straight up that while the concept of united continental defence is critical and we have to be at the table, that the US has so far failed to prove its case on the technology for this particular aspect of continental defence.

    Ignatieff has never come close to being 'extremely critical' of US foreign policy. He's an apologist for 'Empire Lite,' offering tactical critiques here and there, but nowhere seriously challenging the basic assumptions of the imperial masters.

    He doesn't like Abu Ghraib? Good for him. Read the Human Rights Professor's section on torture in his book, The Lesser Evil, and you'll find he thinks torture isn't quite a black-and-white issue: there's plenty of grey area between acceptable 'duress' and 'absolute degradation' of the interview subject, the hard-headed Michael Ignatieff is duty-bound to tell us.

    As for missile defence, his speech at the Liberal convention on the matter was disgraceful, showing contempt for people. What 'table' does he think a Canadian representative would be seated at, either in the development of the rules for BMD, or in the crucial moments of a supposed attack. Moreover, what possible say would the ordinary Canadian--the one at whom the 'Canadian-at-the-table' scenario is aimed--have over the BMD system's use? He, along with all the others making the 'Canadian-in-the-room' argument are simply trying to scare ordinary people into believing that they'll lose something important if they don't sign on to the BMD plans of the Bush administration: in fact, there's no prospect of those people ever possessing that important leverage or influence, so the argument is fundamentally a dishonest rhetorical trick aimed at manipulating the public.

    I can't believe this lightweight is taken as seriously as he is.

    By Blogger Stephen, at 1:14 p.m.  

  • Ignatieff is a unite the left candidate. More like him would please me mightily.

    By Blogger Greg, at 2:06 p.m.  

  • Stephen:
    you say

    I can't believe this lightweight is taken as seriously as he is.

    but then you use terms like "imperial masters."

    Under your logic with regards to BMD we should pull out of NORAD and NATO as well?

    If Ignatieff is a lightweight then I'm sorry Stephen, you're a featherweight.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:37 p.m.  

  • Current scuttlebutt has Tony Ianno stepping down so that Ignatieff can run in Trinity-Spadina.

    Seems unlikely, given the general feeling that Olivia Chow is going to run for the NDP again. She is a real threat in this riding whichs skews to the left.

    By Blogger David Simpson, at 3:22 p.m.  

  • Actually Trinity Spadina would be a good choice for Ignatieff. It is full of media and academic types, people just like him, as well as a real bedrock of long-time ethnic Liberal voters. And frankly, I wouldn't worry about Olivia Chow. She couldn't beat Tony Ianno, a guy who is no one's idea of a ball of fire. She wouldn't do at all well against a really high-profile candiate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:42 p.m.  

  • It could be anywhere - every Toronto seat (except Layton's) is pretty much a safe Liberal seat.

    By Blogger mothermarion, at 3:49 p.m.  

  • Actually Bart, the Toronto Centre riding association has had a meeting scheduled for Monday, November 28th for months. Your post that they have called an 'important' meeting is accurate - this meeting is just as 'important' as every meeting of association. You were right about the part, we will be discussing election planning at this meeting and how Team Graham is ready for the campaign.

    As recently as two days ago, Mr. Graham told Mike Duffy on CTV that he is running again. Now why would he say that on national TV if it wasn't true? I am a frequent reader of your blog and always enjoy your opinions but I just had to comment on this one.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:55 p.m.  

  • Deb Coyne is AC's sister.

    Hopefully her run will inspire her little brother to run in the future. I'd love AC to be in Parliment, but it's always more fun to shoot spitballs from the outside.

    What's the payoff for Bill Graham going to be? He seems to like his current role in cabinet too much to be pushed out...

    By Blogger The Hack, at 4:03 p.m.  

  • AJ;

    Could be. I was just going on an e-mail I got from a member of the riding association.

    Ianno stepping aside also seems like a strong possibility.

    Anyone else involved with the Liberals in the GTA have a lead?

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:36 p.m.  

  • Iggy would be a bad choice for the liberals. He runs counter the core principle of the party, in that he holds on to his too tightly. He won't be fluid enough to let go of those principles and any other leadership contender will make mincemeat out of him.
    That and his coziness with the Bush adminstration would make him a better choice as CPC leader.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:36 p.m.  

  • This is a mistake for the Liberal Party. You think Stephen Harper's "culture of defeat" was a barnacle of a quote that could never be shaken.

    Wait til they start pulling out Ignatieff's support of Bush, Iraq and torture. Also don't forget for the last three years the "American Empire" was the talking point of the American media. Ignatieff had his fingerprints all over that discussion, and not in a critical way.

    You're going to make it that much harder to stampede left wing voters to the Liberal flag to stop the scary Conservatives.

    Mistake, mistake, mistake.

    By Blogger Simon Pole, at 5:27 p.m.  

  • Simon, shhh. You'll scare them off. Let them have Ignatieff. The NDP will get a couple of extra seat out of this. Trust me.

    By Blogger Greg, at 6:00 p.m.  

  • As recently as two days ago, Mr. Graham told Mike Duffy on CTV that he is running again. Now why would he say that on national TV if it wasn't true? I am a frequent reader of your blog and always enjoy your opinions but I just had to comment on this one.

    Don't be surprised to see Mr. Graham realize that it is time for retirement. Sometimes these things sneak up on you and suddenly the good burgers of Rosemont will be looking for a new candidate. Happily, someone will be there to carry the colours.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:36 p.m.  

  • Maybe they can make Graham the Ambassador to Denmark.

    By Blogger Greg, at 7:46 p.m.  

  • "This is good news for the Liberal Party. Someone with vision and guts is a rather rare commodity these days for the Liberal Caucus"

    How about integrity. Now there's a rare commodity in the Liberal Party. Is there A-N-Y-O-N-E- in the liberal party that has integrity?

    Horny Toad

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:52 p.m.  

  • Ianno wont step aside. Graham will.
    The other possibility is Bennett stepping aside

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:14 p.m.  

  • Sam Bulte's riding.. Parkdale-High Park.. Put your money on it..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:30 a.m.  

  • North Bay Trapper wrote:
    but then you use terms like "imperial masters."

    Under your logic with regards to BMD we should pull out of NORAD and NATO as well?

    If Ignatieff is a lightweight then I'm sorry Stephen, you're a featherweight.
    Don't be sorry; I may well be a featherweight, but then I'm not the person the Liberal party hopes to sell to Canadians as a star candidate super-brain.

    I'm just someone who's read a few of Ignatieff's books and essays, and thinks the 'emperor' (pardon the pun) has no clothes. So, yes, I adopted a rather sarcastic tone in referring to 'imperial masters' in my post. The language of empire is, of course, Ignatieff's own. 'Masters,' admittedly is nasty-sounding. Ignatieff no doubt would prefer a euphemism like 'leaders of liberal democracies.' The historical record of the people in question on matters of liberalism and democracy, however, makes the power-hungry connotations of the term 'masters' all the more fitting, in my view.

    Re: NORAD and NATO. By the logic of non sequitur, almost any position might be attributed to me on the basis of my calling Ignatieff's pro-BMD argument a misleading rhetorical trick. He's argued we need to be 'at the [BMD] table' so that we can be 'defending what only we can defend.' The argument in question comes from his address to the Liberal convention, and it is both incoherent and misleading. Despite your faulty inference-drawing, however, nothing about Canada's position in NORAD or NATO necessarily follows from my calling Ignatieff's pro-BMD argument for what it is: a piece of nonsense.

    One final point about another of Ignatieff's positions: his defence of unilateral, pre-emptive war (Lesser Evil, pp. 162-167).

    Tonight on CBC Radio's Dispatches, the host interviewed Benjamin Ferencz, one of the prosecutors at the Nuremburg trials, which began 60 years ago this week. Now 86, Ferencz remarked during the interview that he feels a 'chill' go down his spine when he hears people today justifying pre-emptive war in the name of anticipatory self-defence, because this is exactly the justification one of Ferencz's defendants offered for his actions when he sat in the dock at the Nuremburg trials.

    There's no question here of comparing Ignatieff or anyone else to a Nazi. Here's how Ferencz put it in an essay which considers Rumsfeld's justifications for the war in Iraq:

    "Now, I do not wish to compare any Americans to the Nazi leaders. But after hearing Rumsfeld's words, I could not avoid being reminded of the argument put forward by the lead defendant in the Einsatzgruppen trial at Nuremberg, S.S. General Otto Ohlendorf. When asked to explain why his unit murdered more than 90,000 Jews, including their children, the remorseless defendant casually explained that it was justified as anticipatory self-defense."

    If we are to have anything like a functioning system of international norms, the argument for unilateral anticipatory self-defence must be rejected formally as well as in substance.

    Flawed as they are, the Nuremburg precedents, the UN charter, the Convention on Torture and the rest of the fragile international legal framework represent real milestones on what Ferencz has called our 'slow crawl towards civilization.'

    The problem with Ignatieff's arguments is that, while purporting to defend our 'civilization' in an 'age of terror,' they in fact send us all crawling in the wrong direction.

    By Blogger Stephen, at 1:09 a.m.  

  • What does he have to gain by getting elected to sit in opposition in a Conservative minority government? He's shooting himself in the foot. His political future lies as philosopher-king-as-savior after Martin is dumped - to be Trudeau all over again. Sitting meekly and powerlessly in Parliament is a waste of his time and a blast to his image.

    If he really is running in TO, I would bet on Dryden quitting, and Ignatieff taking his place. I suspect Dryden understands what a sad spectacle he is making of himself as the party's day care pimp.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:13 a.m.  

  • Sorry to jump the gun on you Stephen. When you wrote, "What 'table' does he think a Canadian representative would be seated at, either in the development of the rules for BMD, or in the crucial moments of a supposed attack." I assumed that you were saying that the Americans would have the final say on any real decisions. Do you feel that this reality (and I do agree with you that it would be a reality) is in any way incongruent with what goes on in NORAD or NATO?
    Well thought out arguements and impressive use of the Nazi reference, however, that slope is a little too slanted for me to take seriously.

    By Blogger NorthBayTrapper, at 1:39 a.m.  

  • The Toronto Star and Globe & Mail are both confirming this today. Still no word on which riding.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:29 a.m.  

  • It's Rosedale, not Rosemont.

    And running Ignatieff in Toronto-Centre would be a mistake. It is NOT a safe Liberal seat. It only appears that way because Bill Graham is locally popular. Remove him and it could easily go to the NDP.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:45 a.m.  

  • Kevin:

    The Liberals are very safe in Toronto Centre, especially with Graham. The riding is split almost evenly by Bloor Street, with ultra-wealthy Rosedale on the north side and often ultra-poor St. Jamestown, Moss Park and Regent's Park on the south side.

    The Conservatives don't have a chance and seem to have written off the riding in the last election and maybe even with this with Lewis Reford. But they are the only ones to have won the riding other than the Libs.

    The Dippers can't get a vote from Rosedale and the mistake that the NDP keeps making is assuming that the working poor will vote NDP just because they are working poor. The NDP didn't come close in the last election even at polls south of Bloor Street. Graham keeps getting the Now Magazine "Best Toronto MP" nod, and he really does work hard for his constituents and knows the local issues even though he's flying around to Hans Island and elsewhere these days, but it sure isn't just him. The riding goes Liberal provincially as well.


    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 12:10 p.m.  

  • Three Headed Dog = bang on

    His constituents love him. He works hard and deserves a call back.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:41 p.m.  

  • Cerberus,

    Sorry if I was unclear. If Graham is running Toronto-Centre is safe. If he's replaced by a drop-in, I'm not at all sure that he is. Graham is a lot more popular than the party locally, and the people I've talked to in the neighbourhood have reacted very badly to the idea of him being pushed aside for a newcomer.

    Ignatieff would still probably win, because Reford is a nobody and Shapcott carries his own baggage (a anti-poverty activist does not go well in Rosedale). But he's beatable, and Graham isn't.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:25 p.m.  

  • I would have to agree with Kevin in terms of reaction from the community. Also, Mr. Graham has certainly earned and shown over the last few months that he is a strong cabinet minister who would be missed in Ottawa.

    It makes more sense for a backbench MP to step aside, one that possibly has been elected several times and is convienced to retire earlier than expected. After all, we are probably going to have another election in a year or a year and a half from now anyway.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:09 p.m.  

  • I've heard rumours about Thornhill? It's a liberal stronghold and it's where Ignatieff's family moved to when they came to Canada.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:22 p.m.  

  • Kadis came out today with an email to all GTA MPs. She is not giving up her riding..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:20 p.m.  

  • Does one have to lock up a nomination before the writ is dropped or can it be done once the campaign has begun? Time's kind of running out, isn't it?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:35 p.m.  

  • I hope he doesn't go Trinity-Spadina. I'm sitting on my hands because Tony Ianno is a Martinite and I'm voting NDP. If a goddamned torture supporter is going to run in this riding, I'll have to get off my butt and campaign for the NDP. I have better things to do with my time.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:46 p.m.  

  • Apparently he's anti-torture, if you can read through this whole thing:

    Serves me right for not double-checking stuff posted on blogs.

    I think he could have just said, "Torture is evil." and called it a day, mind you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:17 a.m.  

  • NorthBayTrapper wrote:

    Sorry to jump the gun on you Stephen. When you wrote, "What 'table' does he think a Canadian representative would be seated at, either in the development of the rules for BMD, or in the crucial moments of a supposed attack." I assumed that you were saying that the Americans would have the final say on any real decisions. Do you feel that this reality (and I do agree with you that it would be a reality) is in any way incongruent with what goes on in NORAD or NATO?
    Well thought out arguements and impressive use of the Nazi reference, however, that slope is a little too slanted for me to take seriously.

    You didn't jump the gun as far as I can see.

    I posted, you challenged, I responded, and now we're into what looks like a serious exchange. Good stuff all round, I'd say.

    If I understand your post, you're asking me how the 'final say' the US would have on missile defence might differ from the 'final say' the US already enjoys (de facto) on NATO and NORAD decisions. Again, if I understand your point, you're asking me why it's such a departure to turn a 'final say' over to the US on BMD, when we already effectively do so on other NORAD and NATO issues.

    I think you're raising really important issues here. Before I respond at length, though, can I ask if I've correctly understood your position? Feel free to contradict me if I've misrepresented your views.

    By Blogger Stephen, at 5:10 a.m.  

  • GJH

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:36 a.m.  

  • Etobicoke-Lakeshore: proving that all of the arm-chair quarterbacks were dead wrong. Alleluia - its a go.

    By Blogger mothermarion, at 10:10 a.m.  

  • Don Valley East


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:29 a.m.  

  • Anonymous

    Ignatieff is sorta,kinda, against torture except when he is not:

    Subjecting detention to every possible form of legislative and judicial scrutiny is one way to prevent legitimate interrogation, involving isolation and some non-physical stress, from turning into outright torture. But it has been argued that keeping to this line is bound to be futile in so-called ticking-bomb cases, where torture may seem to be the only way to extract information necessary to save innocent civilians from imminent attack. In these cases, majoritarian interest would seem to trump rights and dignity claims. Law professor Alan Dershowitz has argued that the temptation to use torture in such a case might be so strong that whatever we might think about torture in the abstract, the pressure to use it might be overwhelming.

    The issue then becomes not whether torture can be prevented, but whether it can be regulated. (emphasis mine) Dershowitz suggests that instead of trying to maintain an unrealistic ban on torture, the US should regulate it. Police authorities needing to torture a suspect would apply to a judge for a "torture warrant" that would set limits to the type and duration of pain. Limitations on the admissibility of evidence extracted under duress would continue to apply, but the information could be used to prevent impending attacks. Anyone found torturing outside the terms of the warrant would be guilty of a criminal offence.

    So if a judge says its fine to torture, it's fine to torture. Then everyone can go to the faculty club for a drink. Nice.

    By Blogger Greg, at 2:04 p.m.  

  • His logic reminds me of Fat Tony's from the Simpson:

    Fat Tony: "Bart, um, is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?"

    Bart: "No."

    Fat Tony: "Well, suppose you got a large starving family. Is it wrong to steal a truckload of bread to feed them?"

    Bart: "Uh uh."

    Fat Tony: "And, what if your family don't like bread? They like... cigarettes?"

    Bart: "I guess that's okay."

    By Blogger Greg, at 2:08 p.m.  

  • Greg, I don't think that was his point in that paragraph. I think Iggy's describing the point he's about to knock down. i.e. As this dick says, let's regulate torture with torture warrants!

    I might be wrong. That essay is too convoluted. 'Torture is evil' would still be better.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:18 p.m.  

  • Yes, to be fair to Ignatieff, his position is not Dershowitz's. He doesn't favour torture warrants.

    He wants to distinguish what he considers acceptable treatment of those being interrogated('coercion' is okay) from 'torture' per se.

    'Convoluted' is a good word.

    There's so much 'on the one hand, on the other hand' in his section on torture (at least one part of which contradicts what he says in another part of the book), that it is hard to know what to make of his position.

    By Blogger Stephen, at 6:20 p.m.  

  • Thanks for the post Stephen. You have gotten my point bang on. Canadian's should be concerned about American stewardship over us. The problem is that we have followed this doctrine as a country for far too long (the not so free ride on military investment). Ironically our anti-American policies are drawing us closer to them.
    If we wish to be responsible partners in any of the aforementioned organizations and if we wish greater flexibility and clout with our foreign policy we need to step up. If we want to be true partners is BMD we need to help fund the programme, to help develop the programme and show an independent spirit. I would put forward that we need to accomplish the same in regards to Norad and NATO.
    I look forward to an honest debate about BMD. I am saddened by what happens too often--a sad knee-jerk anti-americism stance that does nothing but secure our deluded view of ethical superiority.
    Please keep posting Stephen...I find your posts well thought out and engaging.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:47 p.m.  

  • It's official...Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:53 p.m.  

  • What a truly remarkable thing - Canadians debating the ideas of someone who has demonstrated the courage to enter public life. Ignatieff is already changing the very nature of Canadian politics.

    By Blogger mothermarion, at 12:14 a.m.  

  • By the looks of the muck flying around I would say he is a very brave man to boot.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:32 a.m.  

  • Ignatieff bid for Toronto riding sparks protest
    Nov. 27, 2005. 03:41 PM

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:39 p.m.  

  • "My difficulty in taking Ukraine seriously goes deeper than just my cosmopolitan suspicion of nationalists everywhere. Somewhere inside I'm also what Ukrainians would call a great Russian and there is just a trace of old Russian disdain for these little Russians."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:41 p.m.  

  • Here is today's statement by Michael Ignatieff

    I was delighted to learn today that I have been confirmed as the Liberal candidate for the electoral district of Etobicoke Lakeshore. I look forward to running under the leadership of Prime Minister Paul Martin in the next election campaign.

    I want to first thank Jean Augustine. She is a remarkable Canadian for whom I have the highest regard. She has set an example of service to the citizens of Etobicoke Lakeshore and to all Canadians that I will strive to emulate. In her many roles, but especially as Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Women, Jean Augustine made a remarkable difference. I am truly honoured to inherit her legacy.

    It was a special pleasure to meet with the many Liberals from Jean’s successful campaign team in Etobicoke Lakeshore over the weekend. Their warm embrace of my candidacy has been deeply gratifying.

    Now I would like to directly address the allegations that surfaced at the 11th hour in relation to my nomination.

    I have a deep, personal affinity with the suffering of the Ukrainian people at the hands of Soviet Russia and a deep respect for the Ukrainian-Canadian community. My own family escaped to Ukraine following the Russian Revolution, when they lost everything. My ancestors are buried in Ukraine. I have visited their graves. I have made it a point to understand the horror of mass killing and starvation imposed by the Soviet regime in the 1930’s. I have lectured on the Ukrainian genocide in my courses at Harvard.

    But my sympathy for the historic plight of the Ukrainian people goes much further. As a journalist, I have traveled many times to Ukraine and spent months there trying to better understand its history. I have taken my children to those national parks of Canada where Ukrainians were interned during World War I. I have tried to translate the horrible weight of the Ukrainian experience not only to them, but also to thousands of students and readers.

    My family, like so many Ukrainian-Canadian ancestors, left Ukraine to start a new life in Canada with nothing but the clothes on their backs. That is why there has always been a tremendous mutual respect between the Ignatieff family and the Ukrainian-Canadian community. We all came here to build a great country, based on inclusion and not exclusion. That is why I am so pleased to see Canada and Ukrainian-Canadians take such a leading and inspirational role in the modern Ukrainian democracy movement.

    I was saddened to learn yesterday of an attempt to distort my words and pervert my meaning in a discussion of the Ukrainian experience in one of my books, “Blood and Belonging”. Anyone who reads the entire chapter in question, rather than merely the phrases that have been cited in isolation and out of context, will quickly recognize that my sole purpose was to rebut, not assert, the odious stereotype of Ukrainians that has been wrongly and unfairly attributed to me.

    This is a transparent attempt to twist my writings with the objective of sowing division and strife in Liberal ranks on the eve of a campaign. I am satisfied that tactics of this sort tend to rebound heavily on their perpetrators when weighed against the truth.

    My record and writings on the subject matter of Ukraine and Ukrainian history are clear. I welcome anyone who wants to review that record to do so in its entirety.

    Etobicoke Lakeshore is a wonderfully diverse multicultural constituency. I am committed to working with the Ukranian-Canadian community, as I am with all the communities in the riding. I look forward to meeting with Ukrainian-Canadians and their leaders from Etobicoke Lakeshore and across Canada, to share views on the Ukrainian experience and discuss my writings with them. They will quickly recognize that Michael Ignatieff is a staunch friend and supporter of Ukrainian-Canadians who has been wrongly maligned by persons with an agenda at variance with that of the Liberal Party.

    Our agenda as Liberals is to build a great country based on democracy, prosperity and inclusion. I look forward to joining hands with all of the citizens of Etobicoke Lakeshore, including all its citizens of Ukrainian descent, as we work to realize these important goals.

    By Blogger mothermarion, at 8:12 p.m.  

  • Liberal democracy? Ha!

    OTTAWA -- The Orange revolution that brought democracy to Ukraine may have just met its match in the nomination machinations of the Liberal Party of Canada.

    Having just sidelined longtime Quebec Liberal Nick Discepola in favour of astronaut Marc Garneau, party insiders this week had their sights set on landing another "star." The abrupt resignation of Jean Augustine, Canada's first black woman cabinet minister, paved the way for the entry of Harvard intellectual and putative Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff in the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

    The loss of Augustine, a three-time chair of the woman's caucus and one-time minister of multiculturalism and status of women, continues the erosion of strong women and minorities in Parliament. That she should step aside for another white male speaks to the absence of true equality that plagues the political process in general and the Liberal Party in particular.

    A longtime party worker fired off an email which sums up the frustration of those in the trenches sideswiped by this clumsy manipulation: "What an outrage. She was the only black woman (representing) the GTA. Couldn't they have found another riding for him? This culture of entitlement is quite tiresome."

    The Grits will lose more than a strong minority voice. The party that literally wrote the book on multiculturalism sends a clear message that when it comes to real role models in leadership, their money is still on white men. And they plan to use your money to make the "democratic deficit" in Etobicoke-Lakeshore disappear.

    Several Liberal members, including the chair of the interim committee on national security, Derek Lee, confirmed Augustine will be offered a job by the provincial Liberal government in the near future. Sources say she will be working on a badly needed strategy for race relations for the education ministry. No one would contest her credentials, but the idea that a federal Grit seat should open at the 11th hour through a future provincial appointment just fuels cynicism. The deal was apparently sealed by Karl Littler, national Liberal campaign director and Laura Miller, who works in the Ontario premier's appointments office.

    Prime Minister Paul Martin says -- with a straight face -- that the Etobicoke-Lakeshore nomination was completely open. At the same time, the party offices in Toronto literally closed their doors to two candidates from the Ukrainian community who were trying to file their nomination papers. Riding President Ron Chyczij could not even get the party to return his phone calls. Just before the government fell, the party issued a statement that Ignatieff had been "acclaimed" as the nominee -- i.e., no one else contested the nomination.

    The reality is while the Prime Minister publicly talks about democracy, the party tries to disqualify those who do not plan to vote "the right way" on a given nomination. An appeal of a 2004 nomination in Davenport that saw 1,700 memberships disappear has yet to be delivered. My own brother saw his membership torn up at a delegate selection meeting in Montreal when he was not voting the right way.

    Supporters of the two local candidates in Etobicoke-Lakeshore plan to contest the nomination at a hastily convened coronation scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight.

    As well, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress passed a resolution calling on Martin to withdraw support for Ignatieff based on a passage in one of his books in which he suggests "Ukrainian independence conjures up images of peasant embroidered shirts, the nasal whine of ethnic instruments, phony Cossacks in cloaks and boots, nasty anti-Semites." (On Monday, Ignatieff said the quote was taken out of context and is in fact an example of a stereotype which he debunks in the book.)

    At best, Ignatieff's arrival as a "star" candidate, in a riding with upwards of 8,000 Ukrainian Canadian voters was ill-conceived. At worst, the political gerrymandering makes mincemeat out of Martin's promise to stomp out the "democratic deficit." This mincemeat may stick around long after the last Christmas pudding has been devoured.

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

  • I find the CalgaryGrit more intersting than his Prince of Darkness

    By Blogger David R. Amos, at 3:48 p.m.  

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