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.



  • mjbednar

    I guess only Canadians who were born in Canada and lived their whole lives in Canada should be eligible to become the prime minister. If you have ever vacationed in Florida or St. Pierre and Miquelon, you should be disqualified.

  • Cat

    excellent post!

    I can't imagine the anyone drawing a parallel between Gandhi and Iggy……but I give them full marks trying.
    Can we spell d-e-s-p-a-r-a-t-e?

  • Bec

    The parallel, is ridiculous and THAT voice, bloody awful.

  • Cat

    I have to wonder what it says about the LPOC that they had absolutely no one in the country, or in their caucus that could have been a good pick for party leader? Is the talent pool so dried up that they saw Ignatieff as their vaulted leader?

  • wilson

    Any Canadian that says …'as sure as I am sitting here, I will be Prime Minister'
    had better be prepared to prove he is fit for the job.

    Perhaps if had spent his last 34 years in politics, in any country, he would be qualified.
    Perhaps if he had not lost the Lib leadership race to Dion,
    Perhaps if he had not taken advantage of a party crisis,
    pushed Rae and Domie out of his way and thrust himself into the winners circle,
    without being elected by the Liberal grassroots,
    Perhaps if he had not reversed nearly ever decision he has made,
    he would qualify.

    Yah see mjbednar,

    It's not that being out of the country disqualifies from becoming Prime Minister,
    it's that there isn't anything he has done or said ,
    that qualifies him.

  • wilson

    The LPC executives/brains were looking for an image.

    Take a little Dipper policy stir in a little Conservative policy,
    and find yourself a great salesman.

  • MaryT

    mjbednar, what an absolutely stupid comment.
    In the USA one must be born in the country to become President.
    In Canada a potential PM should have at least lived here for at least 20 years, and been involved in politics and a party for more than a yr or so. Just who was the so called genius who invited him back and promisd him the PMship. And how dumb is he to believe he could do it. There will be an election, he will not just be parachuted into office. Maybe they told him they planned a coup and he would be it, no quesstions asked.
    Took him over 5 months to come up with reasons why the coup was bad, PMSH did it in 24 hours.

  • paulsstuff

    Stephen, I think there is a typo in the title of your post. Shouldn't that read:

    Is Michael Ignatieff the next Gumby?

  • wilson


  • Omanator

    Yes Cat. All those who would qualify had to much to do with Chretien and the sponsorship scandal. People might just remember that.

  • Omanator

    This is too pathetic for words. To compare Czar Iggy with Gandhi is an insult to the dead.

  • Cool Blue

    Are the Libs trying to say that if Iggy takes over the country will split apart and hundreds of thousands will die in a civil war?

  • Agent Smith

    I reserve judgement. I won’t be able to adequately compare til I see Igbert shave his dome and wear a pair of those fancy schmancy shorts.

  • revanche

    Living abroad doesn’t make you less Canadian; however, 34 years away can leave you a little out of touch.

    Rarely a week passes that Iggy doesn’t say something that reinforces that weakness. One of Iggy’s challenges is that he is a little too patrician for the average Molson Canuck and the ads poke us from that direction.

    Oh, and he is a carpetbagger. Even the Liberals I know hate those.

  • wilson

    I sincerely believe Liberals do not know how to handle the truth ads.

    They knew Iffy's great and wonderful 34 year adventure would be an issue, it was during the leadership race Iffy lost. to Dion.

  • lqz

    Am I missing something, or is not the easy response to all this is to list all the things Ignatieff has done for Canada. Are there no charitable contributions and activities he can point that he did in Canada. Policy papers he wrote about Canada giving advise to the government of the day. Is there nothing he can point to that shows he was engaged in what was going on in his home land.

    There has got to be something, right?

  • Gayle

    Poor wilson – still trying to establish yourself as some sort of political analyst.

    I do hope you run with that whole “Ignatieff is not qualified to be PM” thing. You should make sure you use the term “Iffy” rather than Ignatieff as well.

    You see, there may be reasons not to vote for Michael Ignatieff's party, but the suggestion that he is not eminently qualified for the job is clearly and obviously not one of them.

    So please, get your people to try to make that argument. It will only add to the general perception of their desperation.

  • lqz

    Am I missing something, or is not the easy response to all this is to list all the things Ignatieff has done for Canada. Are there no charitable contributions and activities he can point that he did in Canada. Policy papers he wrote about Canada giving advise to the government of the day. Is there nothing he can point to that shows he was engaged in what was going on in his home land.

    There has got to be something, right?

  • revanche


    I didn’t know Ignatieff had sooooo much in common with Ghandi.

    For millions of us, Ghandi has been an inspiration for generations.

    Ignatieff? I never knew he existed until a few months ago.


  • terry1

    Gayle, maybe thye need to run ads on these public figures as well:



    Thursday, May 21, 2009, 03:39 AM
    • ABLONCZY, The Hon. Diane, P.C., B.Ed., LL.B. Date of Birth: 1949.05.06. Place of Birth: Peoria, Illinois, United States.
    • MARK, Inky, B.A., B.Ed. Date of Birth: 1947.11.17. Place of Birth: Toysun, China.
    • OBHRAI, Deepak. Date of Birth: 1950.07.05. Place of Birth: Oldeani, Tanzania.
    • SHORY, Devinder. Date of Birth: 1958.08.03. Place of Birth: Punjab, India.
    • TOEWS, The Hon. Vic, P.C., B.A., LL.B. Date of Birth: 1952.09.10. Place of Birth: Fildelfia, Paraguay.
    • WONG, Alice, Ph.D. Date of Birth: 1948.06.30. Place of Birth: Hong Kong.

    thanks to Warren Kinsella for that list which will grow.

  • terry1

    here's the real professional in person answering to the attacks. I don't see Hsrper making his attacks in person.

  • terry1

    No but we can spell S P O O F I N G the idiot conservatives paying stupid politics.

  • terry1

    Your talent pool was so dried up you picked Harper.

  • terry1

    Mary T…your commentis even more stupid. To say someone should live here for 20 years before being allowed to run for public office disgraces the citizenship we award talented people who come to this country as well as those who go abroad to learn and do business for extended periods. Iggy did live in Canada for 20 years of his early life. Angry tories are getting really desperate now AND GRASPING AT ANY STRAW.

    Of course there will be an election and Harper is trying desperately trying to avoid facing voters again after his unethical election call and porogation last year. He is cancelling opposition days in the hope he can have the summer to pork barrel his way back to popularity. He is dead man walking and will only screw up the country even more.
    the buzz from Montreal is that there were not really 2000 paid attendees in the crowd as many were party faithful recruited to fill the room and that piad attendence was around 750 people. More shame on this party.

  • terry1

    Another question? Is Harper the next Mulroney?

  • terry1

    Revanche, more amazing is that Iggy is now more popular than your soon to be disgraced leader.

  • terry1

    Stephen , you should have highlighted this U Tube blog as well;

  • east of eden

    Pointless comment. Let's try to be rational and reasonable, shall we?

  • terry1

    Deja VU?:



    Wednesday, May 20, 2009, 10:24 AM
    This Conservative MP having the guts to say what a lot of Conservatives think reminded me of the story below.

    Good on ya, Cathy McLeod. Any other Conservatives feel likewise? Names withheld on request.

    Canadian Press Newswire
    Friday, October 15, 1993

    By Jim Sheppard

    OTTAWA (CP) – Conservative cabinet ministers, MPs and candidates across the country joined en masse Friday in the widespread criticism of their own party over controversial television ads attacking Liberal Leader Jean Chretien.

    The ads were later pulled by Prime Minister Kim Campbell, who also offered an apology to Chretien. The ads featured close-ups of Chretien's facial paralysis and suggested Canadians would be embarrassed to have him as prime minister.

    Tory strategists first tried to defend the ads, despite the wave of revulsion that swept over their own supporters, as well as opponents.

    “I dissociate myself, my supporters and my campaign in Simcoe North from this type of advertising,'' said Public Security Minister Doug Lewis, the most senior minister to comment publicly.

    Again thanks to Warren Kinsella for his insights.

  • Beer and Popcorn

    Is this where the trumpets sound and Mr Trudeau stands up and says 'We are ALL Canadians'?!

    Or Joe Volpe stands up and asks – 'Am I Canadian Enough?'

    Or Mr Dryden stands up and wails “I want my Canada back?!'

    Fade to CBC logo in the background..

  • terry1

    When do you start?

  • terry1

    You must have just received your beer and popcorn allowance from the populists…… sounds like you forgot to buy the popcorn this month. Hope you bought Canadian beer though.

  • terry1

    Well he certainly didn't sit on a perch writing for some useless right wing “think” tank about letting Quebec partition after separation or barring abortion and ideological rants about walls around Alberta among others. Sounds like Iggy might be more pan Canadian that Harpercrite in terms of their past writings.

    Its also funny that Harpercrite has become as left as the NDP with his budget deficits. He might soon start wanting to support the poor in the land.

  • Michael

    As the classic line goes: The Liberals have written more books than that Tories have read.

    Better qualified. Fack.

  • Anne in sw ON

    Who's desperate? You're shouting. By the way, if you are so determined to be taken seriously do learn to spell. Your feeble attempts i.e. porogation are just that as evidenced in several posts.

  • NovaDog

    re: Beer and Popcorn- Or Mr Dryden stands up and wails “I want my Canada back?!'

    Mr Dryden is funny, (Dryden is a bit older than me)

    Because back in my Canada

    Coke used to be a soft drink, a joint was a hard place to hang out, we were The Dominion of Canada, The Union Jack proudly flew in our yard, gay marriage referred to a happy Bride and Groom and a women's write to choose meant she could stay home and take care of her family or pursue a career, that was her choice.

    Liberal leadership has changed all this Mr Dryden

  • terry1

    firstly, five words in caps in a long rsponse is not shouting, its highlighting a point.

    secondly, I think you got the message and I never realized this was a spelling bee. I'm far from desperate and very hopeful we are getting closer to seeing the last of Harpercrite and his nasty ways salted with incredibly large deficits and stupid announcements of nothing. Flatulent's PC yesterday about CC safeguards was a joke as an example.

  • terry1

    Ah yes nova dog Canada is an island of liberal sloth. No other country in the world has allowed any of the things you try and hang on Liberals. How about waking up and realizing you are in a 21st century democracy. The harpercites with its legion of angry tories would take us back to the 19th century and your last post is a case in point.

    The US just came through 8 years of the dark ages and turfed its perpetrators big time. We don't want that in Canada.

  • Chase

    Wow Forbes, good work boys. EVERYONE in Canada reads that.

  • Just_the_facts_please

    The Ad comparing Ghandi to Iggy illustrates the dimensia suffered by many liberal apologists. Iggy is/was born with a life of entitlement. He never suffered for his views or acted with ANY courage since he has returned from abroad.

    What position has the accidental tourist taken on matters of importance to Canada?

    Raise Taxes, recognize Quebec, Promise to not attack Albertans over their provincial assets, Allow export of Asbestos, Sign the accord of the 3 stooges, hide for a few months while his goons finish off Dion and any threat to his leadership?

    Iggy has been installed in a safe Liberal seat, failed to win support of the grassroots, is sponsored by the CBC and most left leaning pundits much like OBAMA.

    Reality Check look as OBAMA twists and backpeddles on his promises now he is in charge. Keep apologizing and changing the channel the CPC have never attacked Americans, new immigrants that is the Liberal way.

    The outreach by Kenny to counter the attacks and smear from the left is working.

    The left scream (heartless, do you love Canada, mean spirited, hidden conspiracy…in every breath to the CPC)

    The big difference the CPC don’t need to use TAX dollars, CBC, left leaning biased media to illustrate the incompetence of the Liberal Party. Canadians voted and only sent 77 back.

  • NovaDog

    I guess it ain't all bad, I do like our flag and Dominion of Canada can still be legally used as an official term.

  • Michael

    Harper's policy point:

    “Build firewalls around Alberta”

    Nice one.

  • Beer and Popcorn

    The response to these ads has been interesting. Is it possible that the Rosedale gang has advised Iggy to take the road of saying nothing?

    Why wouldn't he though as he has the air cover from the MSM through relelntless articles and polls and storlines about Mulroney, article after article about how the stimulus money has been held up (ie – Harper is doing nothing for the economy and the turn around has nothing to do with what he did) and how the Liberal support is surging.

    Is it possible that the strategy of the Rosedale gang is hoping to get Ignatieff through the finish line and back to the fast track to Trudeau's Canada, answering as few questions along the way as possible?

    PS – Terry – light, dark, imported, domestic, draft, in cans or bottles – any beer will do..

  • David

    It is amusing to see outrage from individuals that support a party that shamelessly attacked our military in their own ads.We are all able to imagine the Lib. ads if Harper had ever in his past had talked about “We Americans”.
    Terry 1 then procedes to list members of the Conservative party who were born out of this country. Thank you terry1 for exemplifying the true multicultural nature of the Consrvative party.This contradicts the message that the Libs have been trying to portray that the Cons. are a bunch of rednecks. The Libs should leave the attack ads for those in their partry that truly hate free choice in a great democracy. You know the types;Liberal values are Canadian values.

  • heather

    No, we apparently cannot spell… DESPERATE.


  • terry1

    Isn that perfect David…people born outside or people who spend time outside the country are all Canadian and therefore should not be attacked for those attributes. I'm glad you now understand.

  • terry1

    The imported beer is a no no with my tax money.

  • terry1

    yep the same Forbes whose Chairman failed three times to be the right wing choice of Americans

  • David

    But Ignatieff IS American,;he said so……Your argument is not with me it is with him….

  • David

    Is Michael Ignatieff the next Gandhi? Not quite.
    Michael Ignatieff is the next Gumby.