Friday, January 22, 2010

Bob Rae Plays the Met. OK. Not The Met, Just the Piano. This is SO Funny

Bob Rae has got such a great sense of humour. It's a Canadian thing, eh?

Michael Ignatieff hosted a Facebook question period yesterday, and I missed it. I got busy doing other things, and completely forgot. However, the transcripts are available here.

Mr. Ignatieff and I have the same birthday, May 12, but he's just a few years older. That's my six degrees of separation I guess. Although, surprisingly he never mentions sharing a birthday with me. Oh well.

Here are some of my favourites:

Mario Lagüe (moderator): 3:02 [Brad Bossack] - Greetings, as a member of CAPP (Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament), I wish[...] to speak of changing the currant democratic structure to providing and endorsing more participation within the process decision making. As you have seen, there are many Canadians who are feeling very disenfranchised, and are rallying to be heard in a new way. What are your feelings and idea's on democratic renewal in this country?
Thursday January 21, 2010 3:09 Mario Lagüe (moderator)

Michael Ignatieff: Politicians need to get out on the road and answer tough questions face to face with voters. there:s a hunger for direct participation and involvement. Thats what I discovered on my tour of colleges and universitiesand I want to keep on going with town halls in every Canadian community I can get to.

Mario Lagüe (moderator): And here's a question from Brent Nellis - Mister Ignatieff, I will be finishing a degre[...]e in sociology next year and I am currently interested in pursuing graduate studies or working for Statistics Canada. However, the open disdain that the Conservatives have shown for science and research in the past is making me nervous about meaningful career opportunities in Canada. How would you guarantee permanent academic independence for Canada’s research institutions, such as Environment Canada and the granting councils, and how would you integrate the work of Canadian researchers into the government’s policy-development process?

Michael Ignatieff: conservatives have cut funding to our research and granting councils. I want to reverse these cuts in government and restore our investment levels in basic and applied science. Its the key to innovation, jobs and future growth. Im passionate about this.

[Comment From Mike Brown Mike Brown : ] Mr Ignatieff, I would like to thank you for your cross country tour of universities. I had the opportunity to see you speak here in Calgary. My question is as follows: I recognize that post-secondary education is a provincial issue but just like health care it can be influenced by the federal government. Here in Alberta we are facing large increases in tuition each year without a comparable increase in quality of education. In fact, the quality has tended to decrease. Should the Liberal party form the government, how do you hope to help students cope with increasing tuition and, as a result, increasing student debt?

Michael Ignatieff: You get the grades, you get to go. That needs to be our motto for higher education in Canada. In practice this will mean higher levels of student aid, more grants than loans, and where loans are applied, longer repayment terms and lower interest rates where possible. We also need to incentivize hiring of young graduates from colleges and universities. The current level of youth unemployment--double the national average--is just too high.

[Comment From Joe Turcotte Joe Turcotte : ] Mr. Ignatieff, your recent university tour and this online town hall seem to indicate that you're hoping to reach out to a new, and often overlooked, segment of the Canadian population-- the youth. Could you please explain what role you see for Canada's youth in politics today and describe any changes that the political system itself should take to engage/incorporate us?

Michael Ignatieff: I got involved first time when I was about 17 and once bitten at an early age, you stay bitten. Parties need to reach out and engage young people and give them responsability early on. I was a national youth organizer for Trudeau at age 21, and that was a challenge. Bottom line: I trust young people because when I was young someone was crazy enough to trust me.

You mentioned that one thing you learned from your tour is that Canadian youth are really interested in international development. Will the liberal party make improving Canada's aid (reforming CIDA, etc) part of the next election platform as a result of the issue's importance to Canadians?

Michael Ignatieff: We need to focus Canada:s international aid on poverty reduction. That means focussing on Africa. We also need to get our CIDA professionals out of Ottawa and into the field. And finally, we need to increase funding to our great NGO partners, who are often so good at delivering great programs efficiently to those who need it most.

Following is a very funny video of Jack Layton that I had posted before. Now if my girl Elizabeth could maybe play the drums, we'd have us a band.

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