30 November 2006

Ignatieff: Conscription If Necessary?

In today's policy forum on Afghanistan, Michael Ignatieff stated that all youth should go overseas.

As soldiers???

If Iggy wanted to suggest we should have a national volunteer corps, he should have said so. He didn't.

If Iggy wanted to suggest that every Canadian youth should have sufficient economic security and resources to spend time in foreign lands developing a broader understanding of different cultures, languages, and ways of living so that they could return to Canada wiser and with a greater understanding for their fellow human beings, he should have said so. He didn't.

If Iggy wanted to say that he has travelled around the world from the plush chair of his human rights professorship, and he thinks it was a great experience that qualifies him to be the leader of the party and the country, he could have said so (although that would have underlined the fact that he is an elitist, aspiring philosopher-king). He didn't.

What he did say, in the context of a discussion of our role in a foreign war, is that all Canadian youth should be sent overseas.

I've been to about thirty countries, and I absolutely believe that travel is an incredibly rewarding learning experience, and a fantastic opportunity for personal growth. But as a political leader it's stupid to say that, unless you have a positive plan for ensuring that youths have this opportunity. It's even stupider to say it in the context of a debate on a foreign war, when the obvious (although surely incorrect) interpretation is that if youth can't or won't travel, they should be forced to through military service.

Igantieff's strategy at this convention should have been not to say anything stupid for these three days. He can't manage it. He quite simply lacks sufficient political awareness to avoid saying something stupid for three short, sweet days. How could this possibly be a man that enjoys a plurality of support among delegates?

Perhaps they were conscripted.


Blogger Jack said...

Ironically the globe and mail was making the same point today, they said that Mr. Ignatieff made a huge gaffe on aboriginals.

November 30, 2006  
Blogger Gavin Magrath said...

Well it's not irony, bnut it's also not surprising. What is surprising is that people still seem to honestly believe he can be the leader of this country. I'm not saying everyone should support Gerard Kennedy, but Iggy only stopps putting feet in his mouth when he takes a break to look for more feet. And as far as I can tell the biggest hting going for him is that back in March, the party elite decided he was the right guy. I think it's about time they chanegd their minds.

November 30, 2006  
Anonymous ruralontarioliberal said...

Gavin, were you present at this session or is this second hand info? Are there transcripts of the session.

If true, it is disturbing and yet not surprising given and thirst for military misadventures.

November 30, 2006  
Blogger Small Town Shyster said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 30, 2006  
Anonymous Werner Patels said...

I have no more respect for Ignatieff.

Lost all respect for Iggy

November 30, 2006  
Blogger scott said...

He's right. If you study the patterns of most despots and dictators, on average, they were not well traveled.

Most of the time, they only left their perspective countries when they were forced to [exiled]. However, even when exiled they seem to make their way back. How nice.

December 01, 2006  
Blogger Gavin said...

Scott - for sure. And I should perhaps repeat that I have travelled extensively and lived/worked for a substantial period in two other countries than this. It's more the manner of raising the issue (during a plenary on a war!) and the fact that without some recognition of the barriers to travel (e.g. lack of wealth) and some plan to address them, he sounds at best like he's mouthing empty platitudes (travel is fun!) and at worst like an elitist (respect me for my worldly wisdom, ye provincials).

I think it's just another demonstration of his disconnection with ordinary people that he wouldn't think of these things before opening his mouth.

December 01, 2006  

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