Some missed facts about that anti-Ignatieff piece in the Guardian

There was a bit of a buzz yesterday about an article published in the left-wing pages of the Guardian, a British newspaper, by Michael Stickings. However, most commentators missed a few important points about its significance. First though, here are some quotes from the piece,

“Why did Ignatieff do what he did? Because he has no interest right now in bringing down the government and thereby being compelled to share power. Because his political career has been about his own glorification, about his desire – for it seems to be the only reason he entered politics in the first place – to be prime minister. He may generously be called a chameleon, a shifty academic difficult to pin down, but perhaps more accurately he ought to be called an egotist who is sure of his own superiority and who seems to lack any real passion for the country he intends to lead.”

As the Toronto Star’s Haroon Siddiqui put it back in December, Ignatieff has been even more of a George Bush cheerleader than Harper:

As is well-known, Ignatieff supported the war in Iraq, a position he only semi-retreated from last year, in year four of the botched occupation. Even then, he argued that he had been wrong for the right reasons (saving the Kurds from Saddam Hussein), while opponents of the war may have been right for the wrong reasons (ideological opposition to Bush).

He also supported the use of such harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects as sleep deprivation and hooding, even while saying he opposed torture.

He was also an advocate for American exceptionalism in defiance of international law.

“To me, though, he has never seemed to be much of a Canadian, and certainly not enough of one to be our prime minister. It’s not that he has spent so much of his life overseas – mostly in Britain and the US. It’s that he has seemed to aspire actively to be anything but Canadian, and more specifically to be American. Which is fine, in a cosmopolitan sort of way, but he comes back to Canada with an air of condescension about him, as if he has seen the world and conquered it and has now decided, with the coaxing of a party eager for him to lead it back to the promised land, to sully himself in the world of politics supposedly on our behalf but really because he just wants to be prime minister, so great would it look on his resumé, a capstone to a long and successful career.”

So who is Michael Stickings? Some have pointed out that he’s a Liberal-minded fellow who writes a blog. But let’s dig a bit deeper.

Michael Stickings isn’t just some grassroots Liberal-minded blogger, he’s a senior policy adviser in Dalton McGuinty’s public service! Stickings is listed as a senior member of the Ontario government’s “Strategy and Results Branch” of which reports to the Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Stickings, now a senior public service staffer in McGuinty’s government, supported Bob Rae for the latest round of the Liberal leadership,

“I supported former Ontario Premier Bob Rae for the leadership, but Rae pulled out of the race late last year”

What we’re seeing here is an explicit shot across the bow and not one by just some Liberal-minded blogger against the federal Liberal leader, this is much more.

A senior policy adviser to Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario public service and admitted Bob Rae booster wrote this about the Liberal who will run to be Prime Minister in the next election,

To me, though, he has never seemed to be much of a Canadian, and certainly not enough of one to be our prime minister. It’s not that he has spent so much of his life overseas – mostly in Britain and the US. It’s that he has seemed to aspire actively to be anything but Canadian, and more specifically to be American.

This isn’t just some wannabe Liberal hack. This shows that there are some serious questions about Ignatieff among well-placed Liberal supporters.



  • NeilD

    I was thinking that Rae wasn't finished yet with his leadership bid when he beat Iggy to be interviewed on television right after their meeting with Obama at the Ottawa airport last week. He gave a full interview to CTV while Iggy had to be cut short minutes later during his interview when Obama was seen walking to Air Force One in the background.
    It just looked bad to me as I would have thought that the Liberal leader should have been the only one speaking about the meeting.

  • WarrenT

    Excellent backgrounder. Makes one agree with NeilD that Rae is not through running yet. Iggy appears vulnerable in his personal life and some background about his faild marriage, his adult children and his 2nd wife would be useful.

  • Bec

    The connection to the Ontario Premier, certainly brings a whole new piece of intrigue to possible leadership aspirations, by someone.
    Is it Bob Rae, that is stirring the pot or is someone else looking long term, at the Liberal leadership?
    Bob Rae, has surfaced again and as Neil D, points out, that was a definite moment of one-ups-man-ship by Mr. Rae.
    Those darn Liberal egos, are always front and centre.

  • Cale

    Stephen, this is what good bloggers do. Make a case that is good news for the Harper government. You're very good at just getting to the meat of issues in a very direct manner that I appreciate. No nonsense, but respectful just like our current government.

    I actually think what this also suggests is:

    a) despite all of the talk of being a party united, together and strong, the LPOC is just as divided as always and snowing the public…as always.

    b) this makes two Dalton dudes making headlines for Iggy and not in a good way either (Kinsella and now this fellow)

    c) adds more fuel to the fire of Dalton McGuinty making a play for the leadership.

  • Devin Maxwell


    Speaking of ‘missed facts’, how about this statement that you conveniently ignored…

    Still, [Ignatieff’s] better than the alternative, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his vicious band of Bush-lite Conservatives.

    I hope you were paid well for this one.

  • Bruce

    The Chretien?Martin war rages on.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent background. Makes one think that the Leadership run of Rae is not over.

  • Chris


    Hate to quibble, but based on the above screenshot from INFOGO, it seems pretty clear that Mr. Stickings is actually a member of the Ontario Public Service, and not a political staffer in McGuinty's office.



  • Babylonian

    “Iggy appears vulnerable in his personal life and some background about his faild marriage, his adult children and his 2nd wife would be useful.”

    That wouldn’t be the wisest thing to bring up, very un-charitable, and would definatly back-fire.

  • sneaky pete

    luv it :)

  • Stephen Taylor


  • northside777

    …It just looked bad to me as I would have thought that the Liberal leader should have been the only one speaking about the meeting.
    Perhaps the US marquee images of Iggy/Obama were directed more at Rae and that arm of the LPC quagmire…than as Iggy pretending to be 'PM' for a day.
    Interesting…I always thought Bob Rae left the leadership race just a little too congenially and wondered where he would resurface…Bob's a man on a mission…Iggy is a mirror gazer of the highest order.
    The LPC 'shellac over the cracks' reno may just be showing the early signs of shoddy workmanship.
    Let 'er unfold…should prove interesting!

  • Ted

    Here’s another quotation that gets dropped by you and the rest of the Conservative cheerleader coverage of this one British column:

    “I would add that I do think Ignatieff, despite my many criticisms, is much, much better than the alternative, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. If there were, say, an election tomorrow, I’d still vote Liberal, and perhaps with enthusiasm, and I’d do my best to make peace with Ignatieff.”

    I don’t blame you for trying to sow dissent. As a strategy, it worked well with Martin and worked well with Dion. But the Liberal caucus and the Liberal Party as a whole have not been this united and together since the mid-1990s.

    I also don’t blame you and your colleagues for trying so hard to distract and change the channel from the economy and Harper’s poor performance and his every changing excuses for his lack of any vision (in the fall there would never be a recession in Canada because our economy was so distinct; now he says there is nothing he can do except try to pressure Obama to save us all, what leadership) or any sense of what to do and for Harper’s long record of broken promises. If I supported the government right now, I too would be desperate to not talk about the economy, record jumps in jobless rates, record shattering spending, record shattering pork to your own ridings and swing ridings (over 80% of infrastructure spending), and so on.

  • Leasa

    I will be honest here, I have never been a Liberal supporter, but, as a Canadian I would be extra unhappy to see Iggy as our PM. The man hasn’t paid taxes in Canada for 36 years, still owns a home (I think) in the U.S.A. and didn’t even have a liberal membership when he was parachuted into the liberal safe riding. In fact, according to stats Can. he didn’t even contribute to the party. Of all the talent within the LP, why on earth would the members settle for this? Why on earth would they settle for this, without a vote of the membership? And, lastly why on earth would they continue to make the hole bigger in the sinking ship Liberal?

  • Ted

    Classic conservative strategy.

    Losing on competence, losing on trust, losing on economic and fiscal management… so try to sow internal dissent and go attack his character and his family life. Go after his personal life, his failed marriage, his adult children? Attack him for his wife?

    You really make me sick. You are the worst part of petty partisanship. My only wish is that there were even more of you because Canadians are so sick of your and Harper’s type of petty partisan politics that we are ready to kick you into another decade of complete irrelevancy if more of us could see how you actually operate.

  • Valerie Vaillancourt

    Finally some comments about “Iggy the Snake”. When Bob Rae went hat in hand to ask why Iggy didn’t tell him that the elders of the floundering sheep liberals, would never have elected him. We can only surmise Iggy’s reply, “ahh, but you knew I was a snake to begin with.” Most curious though, was, no one in the media picking up on Rae the loser’s comment about Khadr. After Harper saying for months that there was a process that has to be gone through in the States regarding this terrorist before Canada can do anything. Rae was told the exact same thing by Obama.Which he did his mia cuppa on the news conderning this. Frankly people, why anyone would want either Iggy the snake or Rae the loser running anything is beyond me. I have voted liberal 98% of my adult life, but, until they get someone with an ounce of brain power in their Leadership, I will continue to vote for Harper. I like his style and the quiet dignity he has brought to the PMO. So unless you idiots can come up with something better than Martin, Dwebe Dion or Iggy the snake, I will just sit out going back to your kind of governing.

  • Chris

    Or just stickings trying to be the talking head flavor of the week. Come on a lot of what is said in his article does not belong in the news or even in an editorial. Stickings should have had the tenacity to express some of the more personal content in a private setting, especially considering his party connections

  • canadian_2

    As always, focus of Harper Tory types is ALWAYS tactics and gamesmanship.

    The differences between the worldly and internationally reknowned Ignatieff and the never been outside Canada political backroom boy Harper are certainly manifest, and seems like some of his supporters also notice the difference and are trying, as usual, to muddy the waters with mud.

    Plus ca change….

    PS how's that “economy couldn't be stronger, certainly won't go into deficit” thing we heard so much about just a coupole of months ago working out for you?

  • Beer and Popcorn

    The Liberal camp reminds me of France in the world wars – can’t stop fighting long enough internally to even get around to turning the guns on the enemy

  • paulm

    Clicking on Blogging tories to this post (or Halls of Macademia, I clicked both), got me locked out of the University of Western wireless internet system for 'malicious use'.

  • John

    This guy is a Dipper who worked on the PR referendum. Got to love it when the Conservatives and the Socialists work together because they are afraid of Iggy. This guy is a nobody who put his name to something that came out of some CUPE union office.

    What a waste of ink.

  • Gabby in QC

    Are you related to Terry1?

  • batb

    canadian_2: “The differences between the worldly and internationally reknowned [sic] Ignatieff and the never been outside Canada political backroom boy Harper are certainly manifest, and seems like some of his supporters also notice the difference and are trying, as usual, to muddy the waters with mud.”


    The fact is, Iggy's ” international worldliness” is what disqualifies him from leading the federal Liberals and vying for the Prime Ministership of Canada. He hasn't lived here for over 30 years and has never been in politics before. What makes anyone think he qualifies as the PM of our country–especially after having been parachuted into the riding that elected him?

    On the other hand, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's having lived in Canada all of his life supremely qualifies him for political leadership in our country. He's also spent years in the Parliamentary trenches in Ottawa, which gives him far more political experience and Canadian context than Iggy. Just because a person has spent his whole life in Canada doesn't mean he's not “worldly.”

    Can I make it any less muddy, or clearer, than that?

  • Matt


    Stephen’s quote was:

    “Michael Stickings isn’t just some grassroots Liberal-minded blogger, he’s a senior policy adviser in Dalton McGuinty’s public service!”

  • Observant

    The Iggy & Bobo Show …. LOL

    Bobo had better make his move against Iggy very soon because I believe the end of February is the last opportunity for Bob to throw his toque back into the leadeshit race .. otherwise it's smooth sailing to the leadership for Iggy … according to the Liberal constitution and their party executives.

    I suppose Bobo could make his appeal to the riding association presidents to overthrow Iggy and the party executive … a desperate and decisive act of power lust. Perhaps Premier McGuinty supporters prefer the federal Liberals be totally blown up so he can take over and rebuild it in his image.

    Prime Minister Michael Ignatieff … now that's a long long shot …!!!!

  • Stephen Taylor


  • Michael

    Yeh, because being good a playing politics is much better than being an intelligent and well read, with a diversity of experience.

    A lifelong politician (or political lackey/lobbyist) is precisely the best person to lead the country……because?


  • Jim

    Shame on you.

    For someone who fancies himself a ‘political commentator’ with presumed expertise on Canadian politics, in particular, your obvious lack of knowledge about our political system (or your wilful ignorance of it) is remarkable.

    Mr. Stickings is not in any way shape or form a senior policy advisor in “Dalton McGuinty’s public service.” He is a senior policy advisor in the Government of Ontario. A government that is currently led by Premier Dalton McGuinty but could be led by John Tory or Howard Hampton without changing Mr. Stickings’ status.

    You see, in Canada, the public service consists of professional employees who serve the GOVERNMENT, the CROWN, and the PEOPLE, regardless of which party/leader happens to exercise political authority. ‘Permanent’ employees of the public service take an oath to the Crown, not (any) political parties.

    Your attempt to misrepresent who Mr. Stickings is in order to try to ‘break’ a story should leave an indelible stain upon your putative reputation.

  • Liz J

    Yeah, whatever.

  • batb

    Michael, re everything you said:

    “Yeh [sic], because being good a [sic] playing politics is much better than being an intelligent and well read [what?], with a diversity of experience.”

    Actually, Stephen Harper is very intelligent and extremely well-read, and GUESS WHAT? He hasn't spent his whole life being a politician. He worked in the private sector for a number of years. You didn't know that????

    “A lifelong politician (or political lackey/lobbyist) is precisely the best person to lead the country……because?”

    PMSH is not “a lifelong politician.” He's an economist by training. But, he is a political junkie, like many of us, and has spent a long time in the trenches in Ottawa which makes him a lot more experienced and credible a politician than never-in-politics-or-Parliament Iggy. Having not lived in Canada for over 30 years and having been parachuted into his riding and gained the Liberal Leadership by default is precisely the best reason for The Iggster to lead the country … because?



  • Liz J

    The LPC is still the party of the great divide. Chretien/Martin divide has become the Iggy/Rae divide.

    Rae is looking all too smug these days. He pulled out of the race or was forced out by desperate Liberal hierarchy all too easily. How can he be a happy camper when an opportunistic Canadian, “friend” even, comes swanning back after years of absence, with no political experience and gets the top job?

    Nothing much bodes well for the Liberals when that’s the top talent they can muster to lead them and put up to attempt to lead the country. Canadians will know better. We have to have HOPE!

  • Michael

    What private sector job did Harper hold? Running a con think-tank? Don’t make me laugh. Harper is a political outsider like John Baird is mild-mannered.

    “…experienced and credible politician”…that may well be the problem. Harper plays the game, but being a good “politician” doesn’t mean he has good ideas for leading the country. The majority of Canadians know this. It’s why Harper has been rejected as a majority government PM at every asking. You can put lipstick on that pig all you want, but Harper just can’t win a majority…and you know it.

    And having an M.A. in Economics hardly makes you an economist. Bright guy? Yes. Well educated in his area? Sure.

    But has Harper ever…you know…actually worked as an economist? What experience does he have as an “economist”? What is his track record as an “economist”. Has he been quoted or published as an “economist”? Is his opinion widely regarded as an “economist”? Is he an authority on “economics”? Or is he a politician who has very little experience as an “economist”, and relies solely on his university degree to make exaggerated claims about his “economist” credentials?

    You know that’s called? Puffery. It’s not against the norm for advertisers trying to sell a product…but it’s still complete B.S.

    Squawk all you want. Winning the next election isn’t a guarantee for you anymore, and that elusive majority is completely unreachable. That must really burn.

  • Allan Caldwell

    Stop calling him IGGY………..That name is reserved for Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla…….And Jarome is at least as likely to be the next PM than Mr. Ignatieff………..

  • terry1

    Canadian_2…..the Tories are running so scared that a new series of attack ads are now being readied to help bloody Iggy's reputation. I can't wait because there is no way Iggy will lie down in front of that freight train. He will come back swinging and has his own arsenal of tory garbage to throw back at them. Kinsella can roll in the dirt with the best of Harpercrite's minions.

    They know full well Iggy has been a raging success on the rubber chicken circuit and is collecting money at a great clip as the next report will show.

  • terry1

    He should be so lucky… the way Gabby were you one of the hundreds who paid $500 in QC last week to smooze with Iggy? That's got to hurt when the Libs get that much money right in bloc and tory seat territory.

  • terry1

    Is this the government you Tories wanted..secrecy and making sure access to information is stymied through petty buracracy.:
    From a TO Star article on line now:

    Three years ago, Stephen Harper sold himself to Canadians as a champion of federal transparency as he campaigned for the prime minister's job. He promised to “lift up the veils of secrecy” in Ottawa and to foster a “culture of accountability.” After all, people have a right to know what their government is up to. But that was then.

    In a scathing report this week, federal Information Commissioner Robert Marleau reminded Canadians of how far short Harper has fallen from honouring his veil-lifting pledge. Marleau slammed the Conservatives' “stranglehold” on federal communications. He condemned Ottawa's “risk-averse, disclosure-averse” atmosphere. And he hammered the Tories for a “tendency to withhold information.”

    Canada faces “a major information-management crisis,” he warned. Access to information staff are overworked, resources are thin and processes are inefficient.

    And the problem begins at the top, Marleau noted.

  • Omanator

    It appears to me that Bobo or somebody in his corner is already moving. Why would Iggy threaten to bring down the Government? If he is suddenly so rich ( can anybody proof it) it would explain it. However if the emergency money does not go out the doors, because Iggy's head is so swollen, he will get kicked in the butt.
    I don't understand all this talk about non accountability of the ermergency fund. That is the biggest hockwash I have ever heard. The Ministers and the Burocrats have to proof up on it. Besides most of the money will go to already approved constructions. This is one of Iggy's attempt to muddy the waters.

  • Omanator

    So What?

  • Omanator

    Who cares about the Brtish. Their Government is on the left. What else could you expect. Besides the Brits have enough dirt in their own corner to worry about Canada. You should find something better than a British Paper. There are enought leftist papers in Canada who would like to take Harper appart. I wonder if that is the reason why so many of them are going broke.

  • Omanator

    Where are the 40 Million stolen by the Liberals. ?

  • terry1

    Bring some real facts and we'll discuss……….fairy tales are in the comics section.

  • Gabby in QC

    No, Terry1, I don't pay anything to “smooze” with anybody.
    Remember? I'm a conservative. My (3x in 2008 and 1x so far in 2009) donations to the party were given out of conviction, not based on how close I could get to party hacks, or to the leader.

    I hope that answers your insipid insinuations.

  • Michael

    Is that the best you've got?

    It's probably lost in the shuffle with Cadman's “financial considerations”, the millions in “in and out” funds, Jim Flaherty's untendered friends' pockets, Brian Mulroney's brown envelopes, etc.

  • terry1

    People simply wanted to meet the next Prime Minister which is perfectly normal. Harper and his minions do the same fund raising by the way and I contribute to the Liberals via the Laurier club and that's out of conviction also

  • Ker

    This also shows that the Guardian and the author don't understand or don't care about full disclosure.

  • Michael

    You have no evidence, let alone proof, of that ridiculous assertion.

  • Aging Hipster

    I really hope Bob Rae has not given up on the leadership – he'd be 100 times better a leader, and PM, than Ignatieff ever would. The Conservatives will have NO trouble making Ignatieff look bad in an election – just for starters – elitist, out of the country for about 30 years, probably not even eligible for a Canada pension is he? quotes galore from previous, like supporting the invasion of Iraq. Probably about a 1000 more easy ones.

  • batb

    Aging Hipster, how are you going to clean Bob Rae up? He

    * ran up a huge deficit as Premier of Ontario

    * cheesed off financially responsible Ontarians

    * cheesed off unions with his Ray-Days

    * has a brother who is a VP at Power Corp, the multi-billion-dollar Quebec corporation that seems to have deep connections to most of Canada's federal governments since Pierre Trudeau, including Brian Mulroney's government, Chretien's and Martin's

    How he would be 100 times better a leader or PM than Ignatieff is not self-evident.

    Please explain.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t tell me you now deny that the Libereal stole 40 Million dollars from the Canadian People.
    Judge Gomery made it very clear. What’s more he also said that Warren Kinsella’s part in the affair was questionable. The same Wareen Kinsella was kicked out of the Liberal Party for life
    by Martin and is now reinstated and adviser for Ignatieff. To watch his vitriolic speaches on Power Play made me wonder if Ignatieff thought he was just the right man for his advertising. I wonder if it will back fire?

  • Anonymous

    Ar you now saying 40 Million did not disappear in the sponsorship scandal? Of course the Liberals are now whitewashing on a grand scale. Warren Kinsella was involved and according to Judge Gomery showed questions behavior. He was banned for life from the Liberal Party by Mr Martin. Now he is re-instated by Iggi and is even his chief Advisor. When I watched his assidic performance on Power Play I had to ask myself, was Mr. Ignatieff wise to choose Kinsella. It could back fire.