Monday, July 31, 2006


(Updated at bottom)

I've already talked about Ignatieff's silence a couple of times so I'm going to wait until all the details are public before weighing in. Politicians are human beings too (except Dick Cheney) and sometimes personal issues must take precedence. And sometimes technology and/or airlines let us down. At this point, we're just hearing about a few no-shows which have some of Michael's supporters a little uneasy. It should be noted that A BCer in Toronto sheds a bit of light on the invisibility act here.

In addition, as a supporter of a candidate other than Michael Ignatieff, I don't have a real problem with Michael spending a month in the middle of the leadership race outside of the country. In fact, I would encourage all of Gerard's opponents to go on lengthy vacations overseas for August - I hear Chile is beautiful this time of the year.

So rather than pontificate ad nauseum about the values of communication and the responsibilities of being a party leader, I'll instead take up the Frog Lady's challenge and come up with the top 10 reasons to explain Michael Ignatieff's disappearance:

10. He was flying Air Canada. 'nuff said
9. Jimmy the K had a "chat" with him
8. This is all part of a complex Cylon plan to ensnare the human race
7. Michael is wherever Andrew Coyne goes to when he vanishes without warning
6. He's too distraught over the cancellation of "The One" to campaign right now
5. Michael is simultaneously running in the Hungarian Presidential primaries
4. Has become engrossed with the blogosphere, posting frequently under his alternate identity
3. His campaign team felt this was the best way to dispel accusations that he has spent too much time outside of Canada
2. He's taking construction holidays to show he's in touch with Quebec culture
1. Stephen Harper was in charge of his evacuation from it might be a while

UPDATE: Via the Liberal mole, today's Team Ignatieff newsletter:

Each week we use these updates to give our team the inside scoop on what's happening coast to coast in Michael's campaign. After a few weeks of 'quiet', when Michael and Zsuzsanna were in Hungary with family, we are about to launch into the second half of this leadership campaign.

Tomorrow, Michael will be publishing an op-ed in a major national paper and doing a series of national interviews. Talking Points for everyone on our campaign team will follow in the morning to keep you up to date. From there, Michael picks up his campaign tour by heading to Manitoba on Wednesday, Kenora and Northern Ontario for Thursday, and to Quebec by the weekend.

We had previously planned to kick off our August tour in British Columbia, but an unavoidable delay on Michael & Zsuzsanna's return from Europe affected the scheduling of that trip. Michael is looking forward to heading back to BC for the Liberal Caucus meeting in three weeks and will take some additional time before the Caucus to meet with the team & all of his BC supporters. It’s a 35-degree day in downtown Toronto right now – if there’s one place we’d all like to be, it’s the west coast!

THE PRODIGAL SON RETURNS UPDATE: Iggy's op-ed is in the Globe today and it's, not surprisingly, a very well written and well thought out piece. Mind you, it trumpets the same thing every candidate outside of Brison and Volpe have already said and it would have been nice to hear this from Ignatieff two weeks ago. If Ignatieff wants to spend a month outside of the country during a leadership campaign, that's his (ill-advised, I'd say) prerogative. No one is denying the importance of family. But to go silent is just weird and would be completely unacceptable from a Prime Minister or opposition leader. Even if he was with sick family, he should have spent a few hours a week talking to the campaign team and drafting a statement on the Middle East conflict.


  • You should go at Iggy a little harder on this one.

    There's no way, in this day and age, that a politician can afford to be out of contact for close to a month. I know he's not PM or opposition leader yet, but when he is, he won't have the luxury of 4 week vacations, no matter how sick his family gets. How hard is it to pick up the phone for an hour and talk to his campaign team?

    By Blogger Jeff Thompson, at 6:56 p.m.  

  • Agreed, this is a vetting for the leadership.

    I understand the need to be with family, but everyone who runs for public office is aware of this and knows they have to balance both family and job.

    This is even more an issue when you say you want to run the country. If you win you have to care for over 32 million people.

    When Trudeau got divorced he still had to run the country!

    By Blogger Davenport Liberal, at 7:04 p.m.  

  • Yeah I dont think that it is the fact that he is taking time off that people are talking about. Its the lack of explanation from his campaign and the apparent lack of communication within that campaign that is appalling.

    By Blogger KC, at 7:06 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger The Liberal Times, at 7:09 p.m.  

  • He will call for a cease fire (three days after everyone else) and call for Hizbollah to be disarmed (10 days after Scott Brison and Bob Rae did)

    By Blogger grit heart, at 7:12 p.m.  

  • Maybe he was just respoding to those complaining this race has been too boring. If anything, he has provided some entertainment during the summer leadership lull. And man, it's crazy hot in the T-Dot today.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 7:16 p.m.  

  • While we all have the right to have an opinion on this...something as blatant and stark as his absence and lack of contact with his team, leaves me unable to comment. When things like this happen, we're usually shocked when the truth comes out. So far, it's all specualtion and innuendo. was said in Biloxi Blues,
    "It's AFRICA hot", in TO!

    By Blogger Karen, at 7:22 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger The Liberal Times, at 7:28 p.m.  

  • If their was a family emergency, his absence is forgiven. Klein disappeared for a week and half after his mother passed away.

    If I recall correctly, Klein didnt keep everyone in the dark on what was going on.

    By Blogger KC, at 7:33 p.m.  

  • I don't have any speculation or innuendo, but I AM disappointed -- this isn't acceptable. Has it really been four weeks?? For a sick mother-in-law? Or is that just speculation...? Confused...

    When people's own mothers are sick, they can find a phone. Heck, when people themselves are sick, they can dial and talk, or email.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 7:34 p.m.  

  • Some have also speculated that Mr. Ignatieff has suffered from major depression at times during his life, causing him to "drop off the face of the earth" for periods of time until he feels better. During his academic carear and time as a broadcaster he also had several long, less than explained abscense.

    Winston Churchill, Mac King and other great leader have dealt with depressive illness, so it's not a killer to him as a possible great leader, but just something to consider.

    By Blogger A Toronto Liberal, at 7:48 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger The Liberal Times, at 7:50 p.m.  

  • A Toronto Liberal said...
    Some have also speculated that Mr. Ignatieff has suffered from major depression at times during his life, causing him to "drop off the face of the earth" for periods of time until he feels better.

    This comment really concerns me. Who really is Iggy? Does he really just love being out of this Country? Might make a great foreign affairs minister or ambassador to the U.S. but not leading this chilling Lib's party.

    Any chance he gets to leave he does. That does not show Leadership in my eyes especially when you are in the Leadership race.

    Well officially for me this Iggy guy is out of the race. And in my eyes the only credible candidates left are Dion and Rae.

    By Blogger thelib, at 8:33 p.m.  

  • You are going way too easy on Iggy, CG.

    There is no legitimate excuse for his political absence. Furthermore, an article by him in the Globe almost 2 weeks after the Middle East crisis started is absurd. It is meaningless.
    The future leader of the Liberal Party has to react quickly in a crisis situation. Kudos to Rae, Kennedy and Dion, the other frontrunners that have responded timely to the crisis.

    If this is the way Ignatieff is going to conduct himself as Leader, he will never have my support as Leader. Even worse is the fact that his political silence was actually a campaign strategy. Anybody can issue a statement 2 weeks later with the luxury of watching how events have already unfolded and being able to read all of your opponents statements before you release your own.

    I strongly encourage other Liberals to not select Ignatieff as the next leader. We deserve better.

    By Blogger true liberal, at 9:05 p.m.  

  • You are going way too easy on Iggy, CG.

    There is no legitimate excuse for his political absence. Furthermore, an article by him in the Globe almost 2 weeks after the Middle East crisis started is absurd. It is meaningless.
    The future leader of the Liberal Party has to react quickly in a crisis situation. Kudos to Rae, Kennedy and Dion, the other frontrunners that have responded timely to the crisis.

    If this is the way Ignatieff is going to conduct himself as Leader, he will never have my support as Leader. Even worse is the fact that his political silence was actually a campaign strategy. Anybody can issue a statement 2 weeks later with the luxury of watching how events have already unfolded and being able to read all of your opponents statements before you release your own.

    I strongly encourage other Liberals to not select Ignatieff as the next leader. We deserve better.

    By Blogger true liberal, at 9:06 p.m.  

  • I'm not an Iggy supporter, but I find comments like, "I've heard that he suffers from depression"???, dangerous.

    Unless comments like that can be substantiated, I think they are way off base. No one deserves off hand accusations, I think there is a word for that, if it isn't true...mmm, starts with an L, I think.

    By Blogger Karen, at 9:10 p.m.  

  • Volpe suffers from a horrible brain wasting disease, right T.OLib?

    By Blogger Manitoba Liberal, at 9:19 p.m.  

  • "10. He was flying Air Canada. 'nuff said"

    As a pretty huge fan of WestJet, I had to laugh at this. I'd rather crawl than fly Air Canada.

    Thomas @

    By Blogger Thomas, at 10:32 p.m.  

  • Thanks for the link, CG!

    Happy to see Iggy hasn't been turned into a goat - but when he comes back, he'd better have Elvis with him.

    By Blogger The Frog Lady, at 12:24 a.m.  

  • By the way, Bart - from Dick Cheney to Andrew Coyne and SB - this was a fricking KILLER post, man.


    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 1:12 a.m.  

  • "I'm not saying anything about the incident until we have the facts, but as long as I'm here, let me tell you what I think."

    If you're going to comment on it, comment on it. If you're not, don't post the goddamn milk-carton and rehash the shallow problems you have with the man. Whatever your motivations, it seems disrespectful of what could be a serious situation.

    As for me, I have a lot of time for people who say that he should have been in touch. Just something formal from his campaign team to say that he was out of the country, bur seized of the issues. A good explanation is owed for that.

    For those people who say that his absence, explained or no, is unacceptable, I have only one question: Do we or do we not want a political system that includes people who do more than claim family values?

    What makes me sick is that someone, somewhere, by this time tomorrow, if the rumours are true, will have posted something to their blog implying that he crassly utilized a family illness overseas to get press coverage.

    A quick glance at his resume will indicate that's a false accusation. But notice who makes it. Chances are they will have crassly used the opportunity of a family illness to criticize him.

    Some of them will even have done it without claiming they weren't.

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 1:53 a.m.  

  • Could be he doesn''t wannt it.
    But then who wants this turkey?


    By Blogger syncrodox, at 2:00 a.m.  

  • Heh. The milk carton idea crossed my mind as well. Nice one.

    He's back now and the op/ed is in the Globe & Mail. Maybe things will settle down about this.

    By Blogger Red Tory, at 6:32 a.m.  

  • My brother is not nearly dour enough looking in this photo to be Michael Ignatieff. Mi has never been cute, he's always been dour.

    By Blogger S.K., at 8:15 a.m.  

  • We don't use the term "family values" in Liberal party much gauntlet. Its usually just thinly veiled sexism, homophobia, anti choice christian view points that we try to stay away from.

    No one needs to be MiA for almost a month without contact in an election campaign. Hes trying to prove he can beat the conservatives and run the country. Its a job interview right. He's just proved he's not up to it. No one else took a month off. No else couldn't be bothered to issue a statement about the middle east untill it was very clear what was going to happen anyways.

    This man wants to run our country right, eventhough he hasn't been here much and none of his immediate family is Canadian. So what does he do, he leaves the country for a month to be with his non Candian Family and doesn't even have the willingness to contact his campaign or his supporters about his views on a situation of global importance.

    If that what you want go for it, but I think its a piss poor desperate excuse for a leader and he can never win an election against the Conservatives. He is an arrogant foreigner and has just proven that without a doubt.

    By Blogger S.K., at 8:23 a.m.  

  • Sorry Gauntlet, but the harsh and meany-meany truth is that it actually really *IS* unacceptable. National leader aspirants must act like national leaders -- the ball has been dropped but good.

    Nice attempt to rhetorically excuse Ignatieff, but you get an F for Failure. Sorry kiddo - better luck next time. Your "true family values" schtick doesn't hold (I know, I know - it would be so great if it did!). If Trudeau or Kennedy or Churchill's own kid was ill, that wouldn't mean a 4 week break while a major international crisis with global implications festered.

    'Fess on up here, mistah - Ignatieff's fumbled.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 9:14 a.m.  

  • It's unfortunate that the blogs are balkanizing a little bit and reflecting the animosities between leadership camps.

    I think CG did a good job of a humourous, but good natured poking, but no, he's criticized for being insufficiently fanatical for the anti-Ignatieff crusade. Well, darn. It only says good things about Bart and dubious things about some others.

    Incidentally: Michael on the Lebanese conflict, and Taber on Ignatieff on the conflict.

    Kudos to SB for getting her blanket denunciation in early, but I'm not sure how much traction that logic has outside of certain quarters of the Gerardosphere.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 10:21 a.m.  

  • Jason,

    Stick to the facts.

    Do you believe it is acceptable for a leadership candidate to comment on the Middle East crisis 3 weeks after it starts??

    Do you believe Ignatieff is displaying leadership ability by commenting now on the crisis once it has already unfolded and his leadership opponents have already commented weeks ago?

    It is not partisan. Ignatieff's behaviour is concerning.
    This is not someone who has demonstrated leadership.

    By Blogger true liberal, at 10:29 a.m.  

  • I'm really surprised by the few out there popping their heads up in sad attempts to defend this absence.

    Michael Ignatieff is running for Prime Minister of Canada. He is supposedly the leading Liberal leadership candidate. As Frank McKenna said, if you become Liberal leader the odds say you'll become Prime Minister.

    Frank McKenna said something else too. Politics and particularly high political office is an "all consuming job". Something you are working at 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

    If we were to have a terrorist attack in the middle of the night or on a Saturday we wouldn't be waiting until the PM came into the office at 9 a.m. the next work day for a response. We would have a response right away. We certainly wouldn't be waiting for a month for the PM to return from Eastern Europe regardless of how personal or valid his reasons were to be there. This is an extreme example that hopefully will never come to be BUT there are surely regular occurrences that require the PM’s intervention in the wee hours and certainly on the weekends and during vacations and family emergencies.

    Though Mr. Ignatieff is not the Prime Minister today, he is in the process of trying to become the Prime Minister and must show an ability and willingness to live up to the requirements of the office.

    He has horribly failed the test of ability and willingness in his absence during which time his own campaign said he was "unreachable".

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 10:40 a.m.  

  • I am a proud Tory, but I will make this observation. If Iggy has disappeared, that probably means his is in the lead.

    By Blogger Jim Burnett, at 10:40 a.m.  

  • Truelib: To be frank? I believe the same people would have criticized Ignatieff for any comment made at any time. If he'd come out with a Rae position, a Kennedy position, a Brison position, or one anywhere else on the spectrum, they'd be on him regardless; his timing would have been pilloried if it has been "too early" and as soon as one or two days had passed he'd already have been condemned for being "too late."

    Perhaps a few bloggers are diconcerted by Ignatieff's not deprioritizing his family to issue the usual boilerplate motherhood statement. What can I say? Not me. I like his statement, and I wish it were the official attitude of the government. But I don't for a moment imagine Steve is going to listen; nor do I expect a fair hearing from the Ignatophobes.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 10:43 a.m.  

  • Jason,

    Just to be clear S.B and her insano ramblings thankfuly stopped suporting Kennedy a few months ago and is now on board with the boring (and BROKE!) Ken Dryden snooze-o-fest.

    Now to move on to topic. The Ignatieff statement is a solid piece of work by him and shows he would make a great foreign affairs minister in a future Liberal government.

    By Blogger Manitoba Liberal, at 10:44 a.m.  

  • Congratulations, btw, on your profile creations, NBLib and Truelib, and your combined profile views of... 24. Does that count as "popping your head up?"

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 10:46 a.m.  

  • Jason T,

    "Come on, be reasonable," is what I feel like saying.... but, are you maybe talking just specifically about a certain set of folks?

    Me, I'm no "Ignatophobe", you've seen me say before that I think his being out of the country has made him into bigger and better person, that it shouldn't count in any way against him, and is in my book a big plus for him. If it's "bad" that Bush never left the US, how is it not then "good" that Ignatieff has worked in higher profile positions outside than he could have attained if he'd stayed? I like and respect quite a lot about him.

    the same people would have criticized Ignatieff for any comment made at any time

    I don't think so - me, I've been very very critical about his silence on the matter, but I wouldn't have criticized this statement just for sake of criticizing it.

    I would say this: his plan for disarming Hezbollah seems unrealistic because it doesn't seem to carry specific details -- I could just be missing them, though?

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 11:03 a.m.  

  • I just wanted to reiterate KNB's comments about throwing out terms like "depression" dangerous. Unfounded and out to lunch. It would have been interesting had Iggy stayed out of contact even longer. Then he could have been abducted by aliens or better yet, gotten a tv reporter pregnant so he's had to leave the country... oh wait, wrong guy!

    By Blogger Scooge, at 11:21 a.m.  

  • JBG: I respect what you're saying; more people than just die-hard anti-Ignatieff types can think that he should have been back and commenting. CG has pointed out some Ignatieff supporters who felt that way.

    Ignatieff's fallible; I just don't think that his being in Hungary or not commenting registered in a negative way outside of this blog discourse we're in. Certainly not in the way that would be required for it to be a blunder. Actually, it'd be easier to make the contrary argument; that Ignatieff has made the comment in the manner and time that could actually (possibly) make a positive difference vis a vis Canada's attitudes.

    Politics unusual? Certainly. Blunder, no, I don't think. Bit awkward on some blogs but the whole blog debate is a little poisonous at the moemnt anyway, and as I said, he's gonna get slated by some folks whatever he says.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 11:27 a.m.  

  • Maybe he's just watching the polls to see whose position on the Mid-East causes them to get torpedo'd.

    or maybe he's digging for buried treasure, since it seems thats about as realistic as the fund raising attempts by the Liberal candidates.

    Oh wait, the Leadership candidates could buy Lotto tickets for this weekend, I hear the pots in both about right for an election campaign.

    That "no grassroots support" thing appears to be sucking for the candidates.

    Or perhaps it's just Haying season, and Iggy's discovering his Ukranian roots by working like the little guy.

    Or maybe he's closeted with Harper right now, planning his conversion to the Tory ranks... where there's money.

    Man... the possibilities are endless.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 11:50 a.m.  

  • Mr. Dithers Part II. As I am sure my buddies at TDH Strategies (all of the partners at TDH Strategies)are disturbed at how reminscent the Iggy campaign is of the Paul Martin Jr. organization. Much like Paul, it takes Iggy weeks to comment on the issues of the day, and when he does, he parrots the lines of others before him. Much like Paul, Iggy has 18 co-chairs on his campaign, all of whom are making cabinet (even "Dr." Ruby Dhalla). I am sure the partners at TDH Strategies are big fans of promising every single member of the Liberal caucus something, in order to get their support. I am not sure what the partners at TDH Strategies were promised by the Iggy jaugernaut (perhaps a client) but he sure is a die-hard supporter now.

    Perhaps the partners at TDH Strategies could get together in the company boardroom (mom's breakfast table) and tell everyone why it took Mr. Ignatieff 21 days to formulate an opinion on the Middle East? Will it take him this long on all pressing issues to form an opinion? It is a joke, but I suppose as they say, a campaign is a reflection of the individuals that a candidate surrounds himself with, a sentiment that I am sure TDH Strategies would agree with

    By Blogger fartcatcher, at 1:07 p.m.  

  • I find Jason Townstead's desire for a nice, clean leadership contest about idea's to be really funny and naive.

    Come on!

    We are the fucking Liberal Party of Canada. The most ruthless and succusful politcal organization in the western world. We don't know how to play nice. Our party is filled with people that would rather slit a fellow party members throat than allow that person to gain some personal power.

    No matter who wins this leadership there are going to be large groups of angry and bitter supporters of defeated candidates that are going to try to tear the new guy down.

    The only way the new guy will be able to stop this, is not to play nice and have the best policy, but destory his enemies inside the party and leave them on the outside with no infulence.

    I've been around Liberal Politics long enough to know that we are no capable of fighting nice.

    It is what makes us Liberals!

    By Blogger polarslam, at 1:45 p.m.  

  • I really think that Michelle from Michelle's world hit the nail on the head when she siad that volunteers and workers on his campaign have family responsibilities and crises as well, and they don't take three weeks plus off for it without contact or comment.
    I know someone, whose stepfather had as stroke, while working on Michael's campaign in Montreal. He took, I believe, two days off for this family crisis, so he could take care of his mother, then went back to work for IGGY.

    See the difference Jason? We all have families. Someone who wants to lead a country cannot disappear for three weeks for a family matter of his in laws without contact during a global crisis. There was no need for this and I don't beleive that the story is even entirely accurate. It changed a whole lot over the course of that time. I'm not sure it wasn't all a bit of a smoke screenfor something else. Perhaps Michael's own health concerns, which would make a whole lot more sense.

    12:28 PM

    By Blogger S.K., at 2:30 p.m.  

  • The only way the new guy will be able to stop this, is not to play nice and have the best policy, but destory his enemies inside the party and leave them on the outside with no infulence.

    It worked great for Paul Martin...oh, wait a minute...

    By Blogger Jeff, at 2:32 p.m.  

  • Your update is a load of tripe.

    The suggestion that Ignatieff's position is identical to those of other candidates is farcical insofar as it implies that Kennedy has shown the same depth of understanding of the issues as Ignatieff.

    Kennedy wants to send peacekeepers, but apparently doesn't understand that blue helmets aren't going to stop the flow of arms to Hezbollah or erode its popular support in Lebanon. Ignatieff, on the other hand, and to a certain extent, Rae, get this and have positioned themselves accordingly.

    By Blogger Coach Moach, at 2:52 p.m.  

  • "Come on! We are the fucking Liberal Party of Canada!"

    Can we use that as our slogan in the next camapign? The kids might think it's cool and it would give us some edge?

    I have to agree with B.CinT.O that I think the years of war in the party is not something we need to repeat, but I also agree with polarslam that the Liberal Party is not the type of organization where we are all going to get along after a leadership fight. There are going to be bitter, angery former supporters all across the country cause to many Liberal it's not about government, or policy or Canada, but about personal ambition and "their guy".

    However I hope we have enough smart, decent Liberals to cancel out our many, many, many, many, many oppurtunists.

    By Blogger Manitoba Liberal, at 3:03 p.m.  

  • Jason Townsend said...
    Congratulations, btw, on your profile creations, NBLib and Truelib, and your combined profile views of... 24. Does that count as "popping your head up?"

    My profile has been around for about 6 months I created it so I could comment on comment only blogs but I rarely do. I am sorry if that offends you but, unlike some people whom I think should appear more often, I am not running for leader.

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 3:28 p.m.  

  • S.B.: Yeah, I said family values, when I meant valuing family. My bad. As for trying to prove he can beat the convervatives and lead the country? No. That's the same mistake that CG keeps falling into in his reasons for supporting Kennedy. You're confusing the issue of whether or not he can win with the issue of whether or not he should. An expression of his views on an situation of global importance is important, but it doesn't exactly fall into the urgent category, does it? If you want a leader who doesn't know the difference, vote for someone else.

    Jason Bo Green: My argument is not that leadership aspirants ought not act like leaders. If he were a leader, I would expect him to be in contact while absent, and that's what I have a problem with here, too. Iggy fumbled, yeah. He should have been in touch.

    Jason Townsend: It's not a Iggy vs. Kennedy issue, though I notice TDH is parroting my complaint. Funny criticism is still criticism. I just wish CG would call it what it is.

    True Liberal: I'm going to answer the question I think you want to ask, which is do I think it's adequate for a leadership candidate to comment three weeks after the start of a crisis. (It's acceptable, of course, for anone else's candidate.:) Not in the absence of an explanation, no. That's my problem. The absence of an explanation.

    As for whether or not it displays leadership ability, that remains to be seen. You don't judge leadership ability by the first person to say something, or the person to say something new. You judge leadership by what it is they choose to say, and the people that choose to follow. With few exceptions, here, no one is talking about whether or not he is right.

    NBPolitico: Well said. I agree entirely, except with the conclusion that this demonstrates a lack of willingness and ability to live up to requirements he is not currently under. That simply doesn't follow. If you're worried whether or not he would do the same thing as Leader or Prime Minister, ask him, and decide for yourself whether or not you trust his answer. I for one, trust him.

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 5:31 p.m.  

  • coach; I've read all the positions of the candidates and, with the exception of the 2 I mentioned they're all similar:

    -we feel bad for victims
    -Israel can respond but there should be limits
    -immediate cease fire
    -peace keepers

    I know that the assumption is that Ignatieff's position is more thoughtful because he's a brilliant acamedic and has had more time to write it out, but I really don't see a difference. Maybe you can read between the lines and conclude that Iggy "gets it", and Kennedy "doesn't understand peace keeping" but I certainly don't see that in the statements at all.

    And, for the record, I'm GLAD that Ignatieff's statement is similar to the other 8. A lot of his foreign policy positions scare the bejesus out of me, so it's nice to see him a bit more in touch with the mainstream on this one.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 5:32 p.m.  

  • gauntlet (and to a lesser extent, TDH); I've said all along that Iggy should have commented. When I said I'd wait to see all the facts before "weighing in", I was refering to why he missed the stuff in BC and the official explanation and his mid-east statement today, etc, etc.

    Obviously I was being critical of him for going silent for three weeks because...well...he shouldn't have and even his own supporters acknowledge that.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 5:36 p.m.  

  • CG: You may be in a better position to divine the nuances of Kennedy's statement, but I find his statement a rather shallow read.

    I like this particular gem, from his statement on July 18:

    "In particular, I call upon Prime Minister Harper to use Canadian diplomatic resources to dialogue with all legitimate parties in the region to establish conditions to defuse the current situation."

    I dunno about you, but I'm left with more questions than answers after reading that brilliant call to action. Maybe you can help answer my questions:

    How should those diplomatic resources be used? Are we talking about our rep in the UN? Our ambassador to Israel? To the US?

    Who are the legitimate parties? Is Hezbollah entitled to a seat at the table? What about Iran?

    What are the conditions to defuse the current situation? A full withdrawal by Israel? Disarmament by Hezbollah?

    GK later expanded on this by suggesting we send peacekeepers. Leaving aside the fact that there are already UN peacekeepers in Lebanon, peacekeepers are not enough. Something needs to be done to stop the flow of weapons to Hezbollah and to weaken its political support in south Lebanon. Otherwise, if Israel withdraws, Hezbollah will get back to its old tricks.

    Kennedy's failure to understand this shows that he is not the same league as Ignatieff on foreign affairs. But to be fair, I'm sure he could tell Iggy a thing or two about running a food bank.

    By Blogger Coach Moach, at 6:09 p.m.  

  • I dunno, but that last comment just sums it up about the Liberal race...

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 8:22 p.m.  

  • chuckercanuck, I agree. I wonder if Joe Volpe posted that.

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 8:51 p.m.  

  • Jason T: Gotcha, I see what you're saying.

    PolarSlam: You rock. That was hysterical.

    Gauntlet: "whether or not he can win with the issue of whether or not he should" Now that's my kind of talk! All candidates should be examined in this way.

    Coach Moach/Calgary Grit: I think that Ignatieff does grasp the issue a bit clearer than Kennedy, whose recommendations (as far as I have been able to tell) are a bit platitudinous.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 9:03 p.m.  

  • Not only should we expect Ignatieff to understand these issues better, it's his fucking area of expertise for christ sake! He should have been able to formulate and write an opinion in five minutes, roll it up, put it in a bottle, send it down the Danube and it would have gotten to the GLobe and Mail sooner.
    HE took all day yesterday to write this rather than meet any of his comitments in BC. There is something else going on here and another reason for his absence.

    By Blogger S.K., at 10:35 p.m.  

  • I will concede that Iggy has certainly expanded on his ideas a bit more but he did have a full op ed to do it and the other candidates have just released statements. However, I think all are of roughly the same opinion.

    As for the peace keeping issue, it obviously depends on what the international community decides. I think everyone is in agreement that we'll need more than the current peace keepers.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:00 a.m.  

  • The peace force would have to be massive. Espeicially if Hezbollah refused to disarm (very very likely).

    This would then be an insurgent war, which Hezbollah would see the UN or Nato force as another occupying power.

    Lets say the area needed to be patrolled is about 4000 square kilometers. Thats about 40% of Lebanon.

    The Lebanese population is around 3.8 million. lets guess that 30% of the population lives in the area.

    So we have around a million people on 400 square kilometers.

    Iraq has 27 million, with around 200 thousand army personel.

    That is one troop for every 135 people.

    That works out toe about 7500 troops. However, Iraq has proven that ratio to not be a successful ratio for maintaining order over an area, while disarming an opposing force.

    Original Pentagon planners of Iraq called for just over half a million troops. That would be one troop for every 54 people.

    Applied to the Lebanon example, that would work out to for the sake of rounding 20 thousand troops.

    This troops would have to take similar actions to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, to disarm and fight an insurgent group. However, Hezbollah is much better armed, trained, supplied and commanded than either of the opposing forces in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    This force would be fighting an all out campaign against Hezbollah. Shooting Hezbollah, Killing Hezbollah. Blowing up Hezbollah with airstrikes and artillery. (Since why would Hezbollah ever voluntarily disarm?)

    So we have a force, in a potential quagmire, needing to use force to a greater degree than has been protrested about in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Now we have the question of where does this force come from?

    France has volunteered, so has Norway, under a cease fire that requires Hezbollah to voluntarily disarm. Who will provide forces when Hezbollah doesn't voluntarily give us its weapons? Who wants to be the evil western occupying power in Lebanon, I don't think the Lebanese would really want the French there either (colonialism and all).

    The Peace Keeping force idea is dead in the water. It is still being batted around because diplomats need to be precieved as doing something to change the course of the conflict. The peace keeping force, more like a peace making force (there is no peace to keep, and there will not be) is a foolhardy idea, which is doomed to failure. The UN is good at dealing with problems between states.

    This problem at its most basic, is a domestic Lebanese problem (lack of the exercise of sovereignty over their entire territory). the only solution is to bring the entire country under direct control of the legitament government.

    The UN is terrible at solving these types of problems.

    By Blogger Concerned Albertan, at 3:09 a.m.  

  • KO,

    That was gloomy and pessimistic and cynical.

    ...mostly because I agree and haven't heard a convincing counter-argument yet to cheer up me up....

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 9:47 a.m.  

  • Wow. Tough crowd.

    By Blogger Red Tory, at 10:56 a.m.  

  • I love number 7. Very clever post overall. :)

    By Blogger Dr. Strangelove, at 11:24 a.m.  

  • It can't truly have effect, I consider like this.

    By Anonymous contactos madrid, at 1:08 p.m.  

  • By Blogger Unknown, at 9:48 p.m.  

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