I'll bet if you went out on the street today and asked Canadians what they were doing on June 10, 1991; they would remember in vivid detail the day the North stood still.
Or would they?
Sadly, they probably would not, and that's a shame; because it was such a monumental date in our history and indeed that of the entire world.
No I'm not referring to the devastating volcano in the Philippines, the collapse of the Soviet Union or the death of the mullet as a favourite hairdo for men.
I'm referring to the day that the Kingston Whig Standard quoted Michael Ignatieff as saying "Taxes have to rise; there is no other way”
OH THE HORROR!!! Even after more than 18 years, the memory of that ominous statement still haunts me.
I just visited the ridiculous website set up by the Conservative party to bash Michael Ignatieff and I'm feeling a little nauseous. Is this what Canadian politics has been reduced to? It's absolutely horrible. I knew that Harper had a mean streak, but this goes beyond mean to borderline insanity.
However, while it's clear that the Conservatives are desperate, having to dig up stuff from 18 years ago; the site also reveals that they're not terribly bright. They have been campaigning on two basic points. That Mr. Ignatieff will raise taxes, something that most Canadians know is inevitable given the state of our economy; and the fact that he spent 34 years outside of the country.
Yet, the revelation from the Kingston Whig Standard piece (Kingston is in Ontario, which is in Canada for those Conservatives not aware of that ... I could see Jason Kenney or Luc Harvey maybe having a problem, so I'll wait while they catch up .... ), shows that he still had an impact on our news. But what was this in reference to?
We have to look back to 1991, when Mr. Ignatieff's opinion was being sought. We were in the middle of an energy crisis and a global recession. Brian Mulroney was racking up the largest deficit in our history (his record was recently broken by Jim Flaherty. Yeah! Go Jim) and OPEC had us all in a choke hold. It was also at this time that we were beginning to take a serious look at our environment and how we were impacting it. All of the brightest minds were being put to use to chart a course toward stability.
Hmmm ... energy crisis, global recession, record breaking deficit and environmental Apocalypse. Sounds like deja vu all over again, and those things are still foremost on Mr. Ignatieff's mind; only this time he has an opportunity to do something about them.
In 1991, when Stephen Harper was sitting on Deb Grey's lap as her assistant, reading his latest edition of the National Citizens Coalition Bulldog magazine, no one was looking to him for solutions to international or even national problems.
Now it's 2009, and we are still not looking to him for solutions, because we've realized that after 3 1/2 years, he clearly has none. Instead he is busy trying to discredit those who do.
Mr. Ignatieff may have been out of the country for 34 years, but he was not in a Turkish prison. He taught at universities like Oxford, Harvard and Cambridge. He was a respected journalist, author and sought after academic. MacLeans magazine named him among the "Top 10 Canadian Who's Who" in 1997 and one of the "50 Most Influential Canadians Shaping Society."
I need to repeat that: one of the "50 Most Influential Canadians Shaping Society." Not just shaping Canadian society but a Canadian shaping society at large.
Is it wise for the Conservatives to allow Michael Ignatieff to let Canadians know what he was doing for those 34 years?
If he had brought this up, it would have looked like bragging, but now that the Cons have, he will just be defending himself. Gee, for a smart guy, Stephen Harper sure is dumb da dumb dumb.