The "Home Alone" PM and other Ignatieff remarks
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff appears to have decided that when it comes to attack ads on him, the best defence is a good laugh. So here's what he has to say about the one "positive" Conservative ad (see link here), featuring Prime Minister Harper burning the midnight oil in his office. Here's Ignatieff, during quite a spirited speech with candidates and MPs this afternoon. Maybe I've been here too long, but I heard shades of Chretien's tone, circa 1993, in this speech -- pride in the team, poking fun at Conservatives, a lot of we-love-Canada stuff. Here's Ignatieff, on the ads:
I don’t know whether you saw that, in the Chamber of Horrors ads they released last week, there was a very funny one. It was supposed to be the positive ad? In which, there’s this kind of lonely guy, alone, working late at night. Did you see that? Lonely guy, working alone, kind of a “Home Alone” guy? Hasn’t got any friends, you know? Doesn’t get out much, you know? I felt kind of sorry for him really.
Yes, yes, fine, you may say, but what did Ignatieff have to say about an election? (Note how I am assuming that if you're reading this blog, you share the tiresome fascination in Ottawa these days with election timing.) Here, verbatim, are the segments of the speech that dealt with that subject. Read them as you will; they're deliberately ambivalent. They are also, I'd bet, some of the lines he's now rehearsing for an election campaign when it does come. (And yes, he appeared to be speaking without a prepared text or a Teleprompter.)
When you ask the question, which we were asking this morning, the question of are we ready for an election. This isn’t a question about organization or platform or planes or detail. All of that stuff sounds pretty good to me, actually.
There’s another question, a deeper question. Are we ready to serve the people who put us here? Are we ready to fight for the Canada we love? Are we ready to fight for the Canadian family? What’s the answer to that? Yes. Yes. Yes.
The other thing about that ad, that little image is that he’s not listening to anybody. Total silence. … Because whatever you can say about this party, God, have we listened this year. Have we ever listened! … He shut down Parliament. We opened it up.
I don’t know when it’s going to come. We’re not seeking an election. We’re not seeking to provoke an election. And we make no apologies for that in times past, we’ve put partisanship aside to support government measures. But we are not the guarantor of the future of the Conservative government. We are here to oppose this government and we’re here to replace it.
This election, when it comes, will be a choice between governments. It is not a choice of protest votes. It is not a negative choice. It’s a chance in which Canadians can affirm, from the deepest sources of their allegiance, what values they support, what vision they want to endorse, what future course for their country.…
When we ask this question about whether we’re ready, it’s not about being ready for an election. It’s about being ready to serve. It’s about being ready to fight for the country you love. The country you grew up in; the country you want to hand off to your children and grandchildren....
It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s not about him. It’s about the people who put us here. The people who put their faith in us. That hard-pressed middle-class family who wants someone to stand for them and fight for them and put ground under their feet. And we shall. Thank you.