Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Agree With Wendy Camp: The Values Held by the Red Tories are Alive and Well in the Leader of the Liberal Party

Wendy Camp, widow of the late Dalton Camp has written a wonderful column for the Mark News recently about Michael Ignatieff being a Progressive Conservative.

I couldn't agree more. He embraces the best of the Liberals and PCs. Both parties that governed from the centre.

In 1993, I voted for Kingston's PC candidate, Barry Gordon, a local auctioneer. I remember the campaign was quite heated between he and Peter Milliken, and as we know, Milliken won and the PCs were reduced to two seats.
In 2001, just days after Peter Milliken was named Speaker of the House, I attended a Gordons auction and noticed that Milliken's sister was in the audience. Barry's wife Alicia, also an auctioneer, announced before beginning the sale, Milliken's appointment.

She pointed his sister out to the audience and stated that we should all be proud and what an honour this was for Kingston. There was a round of applause. That's what politics are supposed to be about. Not this hyper-partisan blood letting that we wittiness today. At some point the discourse must be about what's good for the country and what's good for the Canadian people. But we never have those discussions anymore.

"Just visiting", "elites", "university types". Simple messages to dummy us down.

As Wendy Camp says:

There’s a man out there who has created a deep pool of experience from which we can all draw, through a lifetime spent teaching, observing, and living in the world. He has come home to us and this summer, he has travelled this country talking to whoever will listen. He’s said he has a big red tent in which we can all meet to talk about what we can do for each other and the planet. And under which there is shelter from the storm.

His name is Michael Ignatieff. It just happens he’s a Liberal. I feel he’s being true to himself and by being true to himself, he assures me that he will be true to the people of this country. I am comfortable with the way he thinks, his intelligence, the way he speaks to us and with us across the country, across party lines, in both official languages. I think he’d make a good prime minister. That’s just my opinion.

There’ll be people in the old Progressive Conservative party who’ll say: “Oh my god, she’s gone and turned Grit.” Well, you know what? It’s not about that. It’s about finding the person who best demonstrates the empathy and skills necessary to improve this country and the world beyond it, who best exemplifies those values once embodied by the Progressive Conservatives. That person, I believe, is Michael Ignatieff.

When I first told my friends that I was joining the Liberal Party and supporting Michael Ignatieff, they thought I'd gone nuts. Despite the fact that my parents were always die-hard Liberals, I had become die-hard PC, inspired by a local MP, Flora McDonald.

But I had accepted that the PCs were gone, and flailed about looking for someone to make me believe in politics again. I didn't know much about Michael Ignatieff then, so I read his The Rights Revolution and Blood and Belonging, and I was hooked.

And you know what? I think Dalton Camp would approve. Just ask his wife.

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