In typical Michael Ignatieff fashion, the chief Grit tells voters in Quebec that he really doesn’t care if they do not owe their loyalties first to Canada. He told a largely-Quebec audience in last night’s French-language debate [here I’m quoting from a piece in the National Post by Graeme Hamilton], “you can be a Quebecer or a Canadian in the order you prefer.”
Many like the National Post’s Kelly McParland finds fault with this sort of sentiment, and so do I. But Ignatieff wouldn’t understand that: he’s an international-man who has voted in a British election and once claimed (however falsely) that he planned to vote in an American election. Ignatieff’s probably voted more times in a foreign country than he has in Canada.
A person, who’s spent as much of his adult life abroad as Ignatieff has, cannot be expected to have the same gut feeling for Canada as we do. For most of us, it’s Canada first, last and always; it’s Canada right or wrong.
Yes, there are those Canadians who find patriotism old fashioned and there are Canadians whose first loyalty lies elsewhere, but, for the most part, Canadians put their country before their region or non-Canadian/international affiliations, and strongly believe their leaders should also feel the same way. Many Canadians were not at all happy that the previous Liberal leader, Stéphane Dion, held French citizenship while running to be our prime minister.
Canadians may not show their patriotism quite so openly as, say, Americans, but nevertheless they feel every bit as deeply about Canada. Look around during the playing of the national anthem at a hockey game against another country and you’ll see what I mean. Or sit in a bar and watch a Canada-against-any-other-country game of any kind and you’ll see what I mean. Ask one of our many soldiers from Quebec who they fight for, and they’ll tell you what I mean.
Had Ignatieff been around all those years, he’d know this.