December 10, 2008

OUTLASTED ANOTHER ONE:

Michael Ignatieff's beliefs: A strong military, an inordinate love of cliches (Kelly McParland, 12/10/08, National Post)

To get a concise idea of his vision of Canada, and his party's place in it, you probably can't do better than that 2005 speech.

So what does the speech tell us? There are some encouraging signs, but also a number worth worrying about. First, the encouraging ones:

• Mr. Ignatieff shows a reassuring willingness to stand up to his party's penchant for anti-Americanism. It's one of the uglier aspects of the Liberal party character, one that does nothing but damage for Canadian interests but which Liberal prime ministers can't seem to bring themselves to resist. Both Jean Chretien and Paul Martin decried it, then exploited it when it suited his needs. Mr. Ignatieff has spent more time in the U.S., and is more of an international citizen, than any of his predecessors, and states categorically that "Being anti-American is a lousy way to be a proud Canadian. A superiority complex towards our neighbor is as foolish as an inferiority complex. Our identity is perfectly secure and it is rooted in our institutions: Parliamentary government, la langue et la culture française, our aboriginal heritage, our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We have always done things differently here. We always will."

• Mr. Ignatieff similarly rejects the Liberal tradition of lauding Canada's military past while starving the army of money, material and political support. Chretien let the Forces wither; Martin slashed and burned in his battle against deficit spending, then tried to make it up with big budget increases when times improved. But Liberals continue to play silly games with Canada's Afghanistan commitment. Perhaps Mr. Ignatieff's best-known position is his support for a strong military, willing to play a serious role on the world stage:

"People sometimes ask me why a human rights teacher is such an adamant defender of a robust military for Canada," he says. "In the failed and failing states of our world, the most urgent human need-the central unmet human right-is security. People at the mercy of tyrants and gunmen need protection, first of all. To protect them, we have to have the capacity to fire back."

• He says the right things. He talks tough on separatism; supports a market economy; declares that no party can be all things to all people, and promotes the importance of individual responsibility. You'd have a hard time finding a Tory who would disagree with any of those priorities


Yet another country where W leaves behind leaders in his own image at the head of both parties. The Real;ist/Left complaint that the Bush years diminished our standing in the world can not be squared with the reality that nearly every one of our allies dumped those who opposed him and chose leaders who ape him.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 10, 2008 3:10 PM
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