A “convenient Canadian” can’t be Prime Minister
At first I didn’t think there was a knockout punch in the English debate but in hindsight, there was. It wasn’t delivered between Conservative leader Stephen Harper and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. That’s why it didn’t stand out at first. It was in fact a blow, a potentially fatal blow, that NDP leader Jack Layton landed on Mr. Ignatieff.
Around the 59 minute mark of the debate, Mr. Layton calls out Mr. Ignatieff on the number of votes that the opposition leader has missed as a member of the House of Commons: “You have to walk the walk and you have to be a strong leader and respect parliament. I have to ask you then, why do you have the worst attendance record in the House of Commons of any member of parliament? If you want to be Prime Minister, you better learn to be a member of parliament first. You know most Canadians, if they want don’t show up for work, they don’t get a promotion!…You missed 70% of the votes.” POW – right in the kisser. And Mr. Ignatieff is so floored, he doesn’t even respond to the charge in his rebuttal.
I have a friend, Greg Strong, who says that Mr. Ignatieff is a “convenient Canadian” because he is only a Canadian when it suits his agenda. As an American professor, he bad mouthed Canada’s official position on the Iraq war. As a UK writer and journalist, he voted in a British election. Now, he wants to be Prime Minister of Canada so he has donned his Canadian facade.
But Mr. Layton is right. How can Mr. Ignatieff justify his respect for the workings of Canada’s parliamentary system and aspire to the top job when he is not in the HOC when he needs to be? That makes him a convenient Leader of the Opposition as well as a convenient Canadian. I’m not sure that’s good enough to win the confidence of the Canadian public and the right to govern.
With only 18 days to go in the election, I can see Mr. Ignatieff on the floor and hear the referee counting …6…7…8…