Just a couple of week ago, I was about to write off the New Democrats as I assumed progressive voters would flock to the Liberal party to try to prevent a majority government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. But the Liberal campaign has been so lame, and Michael Ignatieff’s leadership so ineffectual that Jack Layton and his party have been handed a reprieve.
Now many progressive voters are thinking “Tory majority” and they want an effective opposition—something they are unlikely to get from Michael Ignatieff. Then Jack Layton out-performs Ignatieff by a country mile in both leaders’ debates and the floodgates opened for the NDP.
And things are only likely to get worse for Ignatieff. The Nanos Research nightly tracking poll’s leadership index has the professor at 13.4 points on “Trust”, 17 points on “Competence”, 19.1 points on “Vision for Canada” and 49.5 points overall, for a poor third place behind trend-leading Stephen Harper at 105.4 points and the surging Jack Layton at 67.6 points.
Now the Liberal leader is sounding shrill and the smell of fear hangs like a pall over Liberal Party headquarters. As happy as I am over this turn of events, I can’t help feeling sorry for this poor man who has been a fish-out-of-water since he joined the rough and tumble of Canadian politics.
Ignatieff hit a real low-point the other night repeatedly screaming “rise up!” at his audience in a Howard Dean–like rant and comparing our government to a Middle East dictatorship. Didn’t work for Dean’s 2004 Democratic presidential nomination; won’t work for Ignatieff’s bid to be prime minister. If memory serves, that was the US presidential campaign in which Ignatieff told a reporter he planned to vote for Democratic hopeful, Senator John Kerry.
Ignatieff’s rant and his cheesy attack ads show the Grits are in a downward spiral. They even have the two men, Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, who cut the heart out of healthcare funding back in the 1990s trying to save their bacon on the campaign trail. Of course, Ignatieff wasn’t in Canada so may not know of the anti-healthcare policy of his party back then.
Seems Canadians are rising up alright, but for Layton, not Ignatieff.