Monday, January 11, 2010

Stalking Michael Ignatieff as He Engages Students at Dalhousie

So as promised I will be stalking Michael Ignatieff, since the media at times has a tendency to lose him. All summer he was appearing across the country, and all summer journalists (and I use the term loosely) and pundits claimed he was in hiding.

Liberal bloggers began posting photos, calling it Ignatieff's 'hiding in plain sight tour'. I'm calling my tracking of his whereabouts 'Stalking Michael Ignatieff'.

Today he was in Halifax where he made several stops, then spoke to a standing room only crowd at Dalhousie. You can see from this photograph taken by Keith Torrie, that he is really in his element, engaging young people and reminding them that it's their future that's at stake.

What a nice contrast, promoting education, while the Reformers are trying to discourage higher learning, referring to experts in their field as 'university types' or 'elitists'.

Of course Susan Delacourt stole my idea, and she is tracking Michael as well. I just knew she would do that.

She's calling her little jaunts for some unknown publication, the Toronto Star, I think they call it; On the road with Ignatieff. Whatever.

January 11, 2010
On the road with Ignatieff

The Liberal leader is in Halifax today, on the first day of his cross-Canada campus tour, and I'm here to see how it starts -- which explains why blogging is a little light today.

This morning, he stood and fielded questions for an hour with students at Nova Scotia Community College and then did a scrum with local and national media. This afternoon, he'll be at Dalhousie, where I'm told we can expect a visit from the 22 Minutes gang. (They are soooo copying my idea too)

Some initial impressions from this morning:

* The questions were remarkably good; this was an articulate and interested bunch of young people -- many training to be broadcast journalists, judging by their announced area of study. They had questions about the economy, about new airport-security measures and even on Ignatieff's past writings about torture and fighting terrorism. And yes, they also wanted to know about Afghan detainees and whether they faced torture after being handed over by Canadian troops. Which means, we can assume, that they aren't the kind of people that the Prime Minister was referring to, in his CBC interview last week, when he said Canadians don't care about this issue.

* Ignatieff looks reasonably relaxed, as his handlers had hoped. He is making an obvious effort to be as non-partisan as possible (though there were a few, predictable shots at Harper). Several times, he went to some lengths to explain that he was trying to keep partisan politics out of the discussion. And when one student tried to get Ignatieff to criticize Harper for saying he watched only American news, the Liberal leader, interestingly, didn't bite. He said that Harper should be watching news from other countries, including the U.S., but he should also be watching CBC and Peter Mansbridge as well. (No mention of CTV or Global; I assume that was an oversight.)

* He took a couple of pokes at himself as well, saying that he probably should have learned to play chess better when he was younger (a student asked him if he believed it was good for expanding one's brain) and that no Canadian, except his wife, should have to look at a picture of him going through one of those airport body scanners.

I'll send some more dispatches after the Dalhousie event.

Sure you will Susan, you little copycat.

One more photo from Keith. When I first saw this I thought Michael's head was on fire, but I've been assured that he's OK. You can get a pretty good idea of the crowd here.

I'll check back tomorrow with more coverage. Wait'll Delacourt finds out that the airline lost her luggage (after they retrieved it from her hotel room because somebody alerted them that there was something ticking inside one of her suitcases).

That'll teach her to steal my idea.

Emily out.

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