Is Michael Ignatieff the next Gandhi?

Watch this video produced by a Liberal Party supporter (we presume) that I found discussed in detail on David Akin’s blog.

Akin writes,

“The Visitor” ad, above, seems to be a creation of a Liberal supporter and is being distributed on YouTube. It spoofs the “Just Visiting” spot, below, which is a creation of The Conservative Party of Canada and is being shown as a paid ad on Canadian network television.

It seems clear that Liberals (I assume they are Liberals) are having a certain amount of fun riffing off of the Conservative “Just Visiting” attack ads. Here’s one from the Libs that accuses Mahatma Gandhi of being a mere arriviste for Indian independence. I’ve put up the YouTube links to both ads here on the assumption that you need to see the original (on the bottom) in order to get the joke (on the top.)

Now, here’s a great article by a columnist for Forbes magazine in the United States. In her piece titled “Cosmopolitan Patriot – Michael Ignatieff’s love letter to Canada”, Elisabeth Eaves makes the point beautifully that I would make to the attempted equivalence made above.

If your country is plagued by chaos and autocracy, no one thinks there’s anything wrong with your spending many years abroad before returning to take charge. Witness the post-Soviet leaders who returned to Eastern Europe, or one-time exiles like Jose Ramos Horta or Benazir Bhutto. There is an acceptance that whatever ideas about governance one may have picked up abroad, they can’t be any worse than the modus operandi back home, and that in any case, if the returning politician had stayed home, he or she would be dead.

When you come from a thriving democracy with a high standard of living, though, and try to pull off the prodigal son routine, you have a little more explaining to do. Such is the conundrum in which Michael Ignatieff finds himself. British radio and television host; American public intellectual; author of 15 books of history, biography, memoir, politics and fiction, “Iggy” returned to Canada in 2005 after 27 years elsewhere, ran for office, and in 2006 became a member of parliament for the opposition Liberal Party

Click here for the rest of the article.

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