By Tim Harper, Toronto Star, March 30, 2011
For the legions not yet watching, a peek inside that store window will reveal a man (Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff) who is remarkably comfortable and confident on the campaign trail, a candidate who can counter-punch, stay on message and sprinkle a little passion into audiences who waited in vain for the same from Stéphane Dion in 2008.
There is so much "general talk" that says, "We really want Ignatieff to win this election, but really don't believe he can" among voters that the urgency of his next thirty-some days could not be more clear.
There was a moment recently in caucus, in Ottawa, when Ignatieff set fire to his troops, when he was the impassioned, articulate "man-on-message" according to all reports that filtered into the public media.
It is that Ignatieff that needs to walk onto the bus this morning and every morning from now until May 2, not an angry Ignatieff, not a Harvard professor Ignatieff, not an aloof academic who writes some 17 books and inaugurates a human rights curriculum, but an extraordinary Canadian who is able to wake us up to our own best selves and to re-awaken our highest hopes and ideals because he knows that they are there, not too far below the surface of our scepticism.
Michael Ignatieff is now facing the 30 days the country offers to demonstrate to Canadians that his alternative is worth "buying" because he alternative is more closely identifiable to the picture most Canadians have of our country. There is a slight shift already among the reporters that he can do what he has to do, although no one has openly stated that perception yet. There is a slight tilt to the landscape that was not there even a month ago in the public mood, that suggests the door is ajar in our hearts and minds to at least wonder about the guy and his party, and his thoughts for the future of the country.
"No jets, no prisons and no special tax breaks for the corporations"...leaving some room for options for ordinary people....this is a staked-out position that can and will find resonance, traction, credibility and hopefully millions of "x's" on millions of ballots.
This country also needs to awaken to its own best interests...after a half-decade of "Harper" corporatism and disdain for the opposition and for parliament, it is time to take a different turn.
Perhaps Ignatieff could invite some prominent Canadians to step up and lend their good name in endorsements to his campaign. Everything that can be done, including the best recruiting of the country's best minds and leaders, will be required to push, shove, drive, exhort, and convince Canadians of the need to change direction.
This little voice in this little space will continue to invite Canadians to move toward the Ignatieff option for Canada, simply because it is the best option to change the direction, the tone, the attitude and the policy in Ottawa...And such a change is overdue.