Thursday, July 15, 2010

Stop the Dumping...start looking afresh at Ignatieff's potential

By Angelo Persichilli from The Toronto Star, July 15, 2010
Political Columnist Last year at this time, the Liberals were trying to get rid of Stéphane Dion and put themselves in the hands of their saviour, Michael Ignatieff. After 12 months, they believe that Bob Rae, the former NDP premier of Ontario now turned Liberal, is the new saviour.
Last year the opportunity to reboot the party's fortunes came after Dion forced the Liberals to embrace the Bloc-supported coalition with the NDP. This year the spark might be Ignatieff's support for the HST. The question many ask is whether Ignatieff's leadership will last until the end of the year.
Since Pierre Trudeau, no Liberal leader has left on his own terms. John Turner was shown the door by the Chrétienites; Jean Chrétien was forced out by Martinites; we know what happened to Dion and now we see Ignatieff is on the same path.
Columns like the one quoted here are nothing but poison in the Liberal leader's morning joe. Neither Dion nor Chretien deserved the kind of treatment that this column seems to be portraying. If Paul Martin has made the "coup" an indellible tradition of the Loberal Party by working feveriously to oust Jean Chretien, so he could have his turn "at the helm," it is time for the Liberal Party to bid farewell to the tradition.
No one alive during the Trudeau era can imagine his tolerating this "behind-the-scenes carping".
Every political party is filled with the chemistry of political ambition, at a personal level. That's what drives the bus of political life; it shows in every conversation over ever coffee, night-cap, breakfast, lunch and dinner. It shows in every committee meeting, in every ad, and in every policy statement.
However, dumping leaders from the inside because the polls are down, and have been for several months is a self-fulfilling prophecy...it will happen, whether prematurely or not, and the country will not be well served by the process.
Even George Steinbrunner, who hired and fired some fourteen managers has a better record than the Liberal Party is developing.
If party/leader/policy and culture/tradition LOYALTY are not sought and imposed by every member of the party, then there is no hope for political change, through the ascendancy of the Liberals.
Today, Jim Travers, columnist writes about the search for a head of the Munk School of International Studies at the University of Toronto, and the possibility of Ignatieff's landing his parachute in that post, if politics doesn't work out. On the same day, this Persichilli column also appears in the Toronto Star, while Ignatieff fends off the Harper T-shirts with the "friendly" message, "Just Visiting" in reference to Ignatieff's living away from Canada for a couple of decades.
I am not one of Ignatieff's political disciples, but the man deserves more of a chance to see if he can connect with the people of this country. I also believe that his last two or three decades of international living, writing and teaching merit a different perspective than the parochial, provincial, narrow-minded Conservative view of his "estrangement" from the country...He has much to contribute to a country, a party and a people whose willingness to grant international affairs a place on their radar is minimal, at best, especially since international relations are at the heart of every political decision for the coming decades.
Wake up, Canada, and stop buying the Conservative "pablum" that the international scene is mere theatre! It is an extremely interconnected world, and one who understands and seeks to make that understanding an integral part of the new Canadian perspective is worthy of a chance to govern.
The grubbiness of politics, which former House Speaker Tip O'Neill once said, was "all local" must give way to a new vision of the political process...the world is now in need of new governance and new ideas and new leaders are needed for that process, albeit a little vague at first, to take shape. It is a reasonable view that the new "local" is now "global."
Foreign affairs are Canadian affairs and Ignatieff could shoulder the mantle of bringing that lesson to the classroom that we call our home! And what better platform from which to accomplish that monumental cultural shift than the Liberal Party of Canada, much better than the Munk School, although that is not chop liver either.

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