Thursday, October 15, 2009

A liberal Liberal leader

Once upon a time, we had a really good prime minister, named Jean Chretien.

Then CTV and Global and the rest forced him out, getting the more conservative Paul Martin elected, and Canadians voted him out.

Then there was the mistake that was Stephane Dion, and then CTV and Global and the rest got another compliant conservative, Michael Ignatieff, elected Liberal leader.

Canadians are rejecting him too. We don't want a conservative Liberal leader; it's bad enough having a conservative Conservative leader. We want a Liberal leader who will protect social programs, ensure public health care, say the right things on the environment and foreign aid, and govern prudently.

In other words, everything Ignatieff hasn't been thus far.

We worried about Ignatieff being out of the country for so long not because we think he became less of a Canadian but because in that environment he has completely lost sight of was liberalism is for a Canadian. He has failed to see, for example, the things that made Chretien so popular - we knew he would play ball with business and conservatives, but that he was a street fighter and a scrappy populist who wouldn't let us down. And he never did.

Ignatieff sounds like he wants to bring our social programs into alignment with the U.S. Seriously. Not. Good.

Unless Ignatieff launches some kind of campaign to convince people he's a LIBERAL, not a Conservative plant, he's toast. Seriously.

And we'll end up with a Tory majority because the Liberal vote stayed home and the Tories - sensing blood - made the most of a 49 percent electoral turnout.

Ignatieff can't become Obama - maybe Gerard Kennedy can, if given the chance - but he can reinvent himself. He'll have to spend some money, and get out of Ottawa, and hit Main Street. Now. Not in December, not in April, now.

It's the last chance for the Liberals - they might not survive over this winter.