Michael Ignatieff will deliver what his strategists are calling a “vision speech” Thursday in Ottawa as a prelude to his formal announcement that he is running for the Liberal leadership.
The former Harvard professor and rookie Liberal MP is expected to outline his views on national unity, the economy and his controversial support of the war in Iraq in his speech on Canada and its role in the world to University of Ottawa political-science students.
The speech will be followed, either Friday or early the next week, by a formal announcement in his Toronto riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore that he wants to succeed Paul Martin as leader of the Liberal Party.
The Liberal familiar with his views said that Mr. Ignatieff's approach to national unity is more of a “civic concept.”
“The role of the federal government isn't really any longer about federal-provincial jurisdictional squabbles or who's got the money. [It's about whether] Canadian freedom from coast to coast has the same quality and character.”
Expect plenty of high-sounding rhetoric laden with pseudo-academic phrases and concepts to cover over a complete lack of original thinking and uncritical acceptance of the Liberal Party status quo .
Despite Ignatieff's occasionally hawkish foreign policy talk and expressions of fiscal responsibility, do not expect him to announce anything new.
He's not expected to actually have new ideas, just the appearance thereof.
Since Pierre Trudeau will not rise from the grave, Michael Ignatieff will have to do as the next great philosopher-king.
Ignatieff will be the third declared candidate for the Liberal leadership, and also the third from the Toronto area. And many others will join him--Gerard Kennedy, Bob Rae, Joe Volpe, Maurizio Bevilacqua, Carolyn Bennett, Belinda Stronach, Ken Dryden.
From worldwide Liberal revolution, to Liberalism in one country, to Liberalism in one city.
Let as many Toronto Liberals clutter up the starting gates as possible. Nothing will be more harmful to the party's long-term prospects than the perception that is a Toronto party.
Source: Globe and Mail