Wednesday, October 2, 2013

And the Spectre of the Coalition Rises Again

This time over Iggy's much-maligned/-praised book. What a wonderful way to drag that sordid piece of history back into the spotlight.

However the criticism seems to ring a bit hollow, at least in my opinion. Frances Russell, esteemed author of some such books and usually a good read on National Newswatch, came out with this piece:
Michael Ignatieff may be one of the English-speaking world’s public intellectuals, but he has a flawed understanding of the most basic tenet of British parliamentary democracy: that parliament — not the prime minister, not the cabinet, not the governing party of the day — is supreme...

... In a recent interview with PostMedia’s Mark Kennedy, Ignatieff advanced a novel description of coalition government — that it cannot be composed of what he calls “a coalition of losers” but can only be formed by a “coalition of winners,” although he acknowledged that “you could put together a coalition among opposition parties that would give Canada good government.

“It came as a thunderclap, especially to me. Although I was the party’s deputy leader, I had been excluded from the secret negotiations with the other parties. What I saw was a desperate leader (Dion) clinging to power by any means, resorting to a coup de theatre to survive.
“We lost seats, we were not in good shape. The Conservatives were, what was it, ten, twelve seats short of a majority, and so I just thought a coalition was illegitimate in the sense that the public would say ‘[W]e just sent Mr. Harper back to Ottawa with more seats, what are you doing here?’

Two political scientists disagree with Ignatieff.”Traditionally, it is Parliament, the House of Commons, who decides the formation of the government, the removal of a government, not voters directly,” the University of Manitoba’s Paul Thomas says.
You can read the rest of the article if you wish, but essentially Russell attempts to take Ignatieff to task for saying the coalition lacks legitimacy. Granted you can point to where in the text he says it is "illegitimate," but only those who cannot find the context in anything, or are writing a derisory article just for the sake of pounding one last nail in Iggy's coffin, should accept it at face value.


  1. Ignatieff was an idiot. Before he was elected, I argued that I'd never heard of him - and that fact - that I'd never heard of him - told me he was a no-name nobody who would be a bad leader.

    People told me that the fact I'd never heard of him didn't matter.

    I wish I had a list of those people so I could remind them of the fact that all the folks I have heard of prior to their being elected leader have done a far far better job.

    1. One can argue that Harper wasn't heard of before he ascended to the leadership. He was just a one-term MP and former head of the NCC, things that most Canadians couldn't give two squirts about. He's done a pretty good job as leader so far.

      Besides, it really doesn't matter whether or not you've heard of the person before, its their abilities that count. Ignatieff had never ventured into politics before 2006 so it isn't surprising if you've never heard/seen him unless you were into the very specific topics he wrote about, that doesn't mean he didn't have potential. Hindsight is 20/20.

    2. There are examples beyond just him. I am keeping my eyes out for future people who I don't know who become important to see if the current pattern holds up.

  2. We have added your blog to our "Around the Blog" section on our website -
    We will be reading your blog. Cheers.