During the recent prorogation of our federal parliament, we heard and read daily of the importance Michael Ignatieff and his Liberals placed on MPs being in Ottawa doing the business of the House. Once Parliament was again sitting, however, the importance of actually attending sessions in the House seems to have given way to other priorities—at least, on the part of Mr. Ignatieff.
“An [Liberal Party] aide promised a fresh series of hot Liberal questions to compensate for the missing leader [Michael Ignatieff], but the lineup delivered oft-replayed themes raised by predictable personalities quoting from memorized talking points.”
– Don Martin
According to newspaper reports, just two dozen MPs were actually in the 308-seat House of Commons at 1:20 p.m. yesterday. More Liberal MPs were having a smoke outside than were at their desks, and the Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and more than a third of his caucus didn’t bother to show up at all. Mr Ignatieff was on a week-long national tour.
Do you remember his lofty pronouncement:
“As I hear them, Canadians are saying: Get back to work in Ottawa, make this Parliament work, and do the job we elected you to do. We are listening.”
By now Canadians must be quite used to politicians of all stripes telling them one thing, but doing another when it suits them. Mr. Ignatieff, though, seems to be in a class of his own in this regard. Yet I don’t think he means to be hypocritical. I believe the words are given to him to say by his handlers and he delivers the lines without actually believing in them. So it doesn’t have the same meaning when he does the opposite to what he tells Canadians.
During a week when the opposition was given the floor to debate its own issues, Mr. Ignatieff’s absence from the House cannot be excused.
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© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
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