Michael Ignatieff’s Prorogation Vacation

In Ottawa, depending on their content requirements, Hill reporters are loving or loathing the prorogation so far. For activists, a second prorogation in little over one year has those on left seething in anger over what they perceive to be an “affront to democracy”.

To be sure, this isn’t to be dismissed lightly; despite your political inclination, there is a tangible perception that Stephen Harper is firmly in control of Parliament and its functions, for better or worse. While our Parliamentary system and it’s advantages and shortcomings may be formally debated at another time, some online activists have taken to Facebook to informally vent their frustrations. The CBC’s Terry Milewski reports on the Facebook group with over 25,000 people:

Too bad Terry wasn’t the The National’s senior national affairs correspondent last year when the anti-coalition Facebook group soared to over 125,000 in a week. To be fair, this week has been slow while last year’s coalition story was the busiest week we’ve had in Ottawa in years and there were many other non-Facebook stories to report!

Anger over prorogation is a parliamentary issue, so one wonders, where is the parliamentary political leadership? A healthy democratic grassroots movement is forming online and the would be leaders are… on vacation!

As Milewski remarked, and as CTV’s Roger Smith confirms below, Michael Ignatieff is on vacation in Europe while Jack Layton is snorkling in Belize. Opponents to prorogation have remarked with some hyperbole that “MPs just gave themselves a three month vacation”. While the Conservative line is that MPs are indeed working in their ridings consulting with constituents on the next phase of the economic recovery, it is Stephen Harper’s opposition that is on vacation. Grassroots Canadians on the left are upset that their Parliamentarians aren’t “working” in Ottawa, while their partisan leadership jets off for a little R&R.

Smith reports that the Prime Minister has been in Ottawa working.

This isn’t the first time that Michael Ignatieff has been criticized for being out of touch with the grassroots of his party and of course, this will just feed into the Conservative narrative that the Liberal leader is aloof and on “academic time”.

This month, The Walrus has an interesting description of Ignatieff’s working style,

“Indeed, there were rumours that he needed a nap in the afternoon or turned into a snarling wolf by nightfall.”

and from the Toronto Star, his adamant defense of “Iggy time”,

Also, Iggy’s staff misled Canadian media about his 2006 vacation – they told the media that his mother-in-law was ill, when in fact he was off on a European holiday. “There is no health crisis. There never was… I’m entitled to a holiday.”

Last year, the Ottawa Citizen reported that Ignatieff’s family has a villa in the south of France where “property of similar size in the area sells for upwards of $1.8 million”. It is unknown if he has made time to visit the estate while on vacation.

Meanwhile in Canada, are we seeing the budding of a significant political movement? If so, where is the political leadership?

UPDATE: Did Michael Ignatieff forget to tell his staff that he went on vacation?



33 thoughts on “Michael Ignatieff’s Prorogation Vacation”

  1. Once again, you nailed him! Has anyone checked with his neighbours in Boston to see if he's been home? Let's face it, Iggy has never had to really work in his entire lifetime, his job at Harvard was part-time at best. He relied on family money to write his books when he felt like it. His first real paying job happened when he was 30 years old. Does anyone really believe that he could possibly put in the hours that a prime minister has to? No, what will happen if this man is ever made PM is he will travel extensively on our dime along with wife #2…or who knows by that time it may be wife #3….

  2. Appears prorogation means vacation for the entire opposition. There can't be much pressing they feel in need of of bringing to the attention of the people. They've lost QP, their hour to rail and wail to provide fodder for the MSM. Ignatieff really could use this time to get up to speed on how to be an effective leader of a political party, hell how to be a leader period.

  3. I think that facebook thing has the wrong leaders on vacation. The PM and his caucus are working in their constituencies, and on business as usual. When they can't even get the dates right, or know that until Jan 25 the House was on its Christmas break, who can believe any of their rants.
    An extra 21 days of no QP is a belated Christmas gift.
    Just think, those leadership losers could be out trying to raise money to pay off their debt.
    And, I wonder how many of those 25,000 have ever voted, in any election.
    The spin these idiots are trying to get out will eventually show them up for the fools they are.
    Is this facebook page done with the approval of Layton, as they admit they are NDP members.

  4. So the perpetualy outraged Liberals whine about prorogation as a vacation for the Tories, yet their leader takes full advantage of it to jet off to Europe to vacation himself while the PM is back in Ottawa working? And this usual level of Liberal hypocrisy is surprising………….how? 😀

  5. Just asking… since, pre-prorogue, the House was to be on recess till Jan 25. is it remotely possible that Ignatieff and Layton didn't just go on vacation… they were maybe already ON vacation?

    I didn't know a prorogue required all party leaders to cancel or cut short their vacations.

    On the other hand, if both Ignatieff and Layton managed to get last-minute bookings to Europe and Belize AFTER the prorogue was announced, then I'd love to meet their travel agents.

    I didn't know a prorogue required party leaders to cancel or cut short their vacations.

    (Stephen dude, are attack points really this scarce? Just askin'…)

  6. So Kenn2 – are you agreeing that Stephen Harper DID NOT shut down parliament for two months, or four months, or three months or whatever the latest outrage has it at?

    The point is that the Liberal Party is accusing Stephen Harper of “being on vacation” when he is in Ottawa working and yet, the other two Buffoons are still on their vacations.

    Of course they were on vacation – but don't put out a contest inviting submissions on Harper being on vacation when your own leader is sloughing around France (which, by the way, the majority of Canadians would never be able to do)

  7. Considering the prorogue was sprung with very little notice, hell yeah Harper better still be at work. He's the PM, and someone has to make sure the HoP thermostats are all turned down, the Senate cat gets fed, picking up the flyers and newspapers etc. Just cos Parliament is out doesn't mean Canada is closed.

    (but seriously, as attack points go, this IS a really lame issue..)

  8. With the exception of the Ottawa press corps, we misanthropic political junkies, and the leftist MSM (who are having a hissy-fit of epic proportions) does anyone care about prorogation? Not many people that I have spoken to. Some don’t know what the term means and when it is explained their main reaction is: “Thank God we get a break!”

  9. I love how they say it’s a “huge” national movement when polls are showing that in reality the Majority of Canadians are either Apathetic to the whole proroguing of parliament or in favour of it (Less are actually in favour than opposed but when added those who don’t care it sets up a huge majority against those opposed). The reality of the matter is that this isn’t a parliamentry crisis to the majority of Canadians but politics being politics. The fact that our opposition leaders haven’t even bothered to cut their short to respond to an apparent affront on our democracy (term I’m using quite loosely) isn’t something for Canadian to get up in arms over our government.

  10. Anyone catch that deadbeat Volpe on P&P today. Outraged he can't ask questions today re Baird's announcement re scanners etc. Hey doesn't he know the House is on Christmas break. He wouldn't be there to ask questions.

  11. It's good to see that reports are coming in that Ignatieff has ordered Liberals to report to work on Jan 25th, even though Harper has formally shut down parliament. Iggy will be working while Harper and his family will be on vacation at the olympics (an event that 99% of Canadians cannot afford to attend, especially during the economic crisis).

  12. You mean his family owns property that may be worth 1.8 million dollars? And he might be there?

    How can we possibly allow such a person to be Prime Minister!

  13. I particularly like the fact that none of the bogus submissions at the Liberal Party are signed. What a bunch of lame asses!

  14. Could you clarify this statement?

    What's “contempt of the people's business”? Prime Minister Stephen Harper's proroguing Parliament or the Facebook pushback? (Now, apparently, there are 60,000 members, still an embarrassment to the left's cause.)

    As for being in contempt of the people's business, that would neatly describe the Liberal Party since Pierre Trudeau: 'always out for themselves, special interest groups, and their friends and cronies as opposed to being concerned about issues of importance to all Canadians and their families.

    At the time of the Gomery Inquiry, even Liberal supporters admitted that under Jean Chretien's leadership, there had developed a “a culture of corruption” in the LPC.

    Do you think, Karen Davey, that the Liberal$ best serve “the people's business”? If so, how so?

  15. i will wait to hear from Ignatieff before jumping to conclusions like the reformers do. The only thing they are good at is spinning themselves right out of believable remarks. Don't ry and talk for a man who is very cabable of speaking for himself. Mr H might be a bit dense but that doesn't mean the other leaders are too. I would say Mr. Ignatieff is a very smarth man and we will all soon see enough how smart he is.

  16. The political leadership comes from the MP/MLA who we choose to represent us and speak up for our views, opinions and solutions.
    This is called democracy.
    We tell him/her what we want and need, not the either way around.

  17. A long time ago Dylan fan, I still like to quote him: “Don't follow leaders
    Watch those parking meters”

  18. Check through the comments, many Conservative voters have joined this group on Facebook.
    Political Scientists have a statement saying this proroguing shows that someone representing the views of only 35% of Canadians can be PM and what is being shown is that Canada is in MAJOR need of electoral reform.

  19. Andrew Coyne of MacLean' and on” At Issue”/CBC makes the point that yes, a government can prorogue, but if it is done to duck out of some hot issues that are on the table,then it is morally and ethically wrong.

  20. Anyone can say they voted for whatever or whoever. As for political scientists, I put as much faith in their stmts as I do in reports of the so called settled science re climategate.
    Perhaps the cbc and this fb farce will force Iggy to vote for an election. If that happens will all those signing in to fb protest the proroguation since a liberal will have caused it. MPs are not on holiday, they are working in their ridings, at least conservatives are. Iggy and Layton and Goodale did go on a holiday out of the country.
    Be careful what you wish for. Iffy will never lead a majority govt, and Canadians will not vote for a coalition.

  21. Last year many Canadians were riled up thanks to Harper and co. mis informing them about parliamentary legitimate procedure and shouting those dirty words” 'separatists' and socialists'
    This year they are hopefully better informed.

  22. Stephen-

    We at the Canadians Against the Prorogue of Parliament facebook group have now exceeded the numbers seen in the NDP/Liberal coalition page. Further, last night the first rally organization meetings were hosted in Ottawa (~70 in attendance, as well as media and one member of Parliament) and Toronto (~150 in attendance, including a reporter from CBC). Approximately 30 cities are currently planning protests for Saturday the 23rd of January. The Liberals have pledged to return to Ottawa to resume work on January 25th.

    In the four days since this blog post, we have defied expectations and have began to transfer the Facebook activism into real life meatworld action.

    As a Canadian who voted Conservative in 2006 and again in 2008, I would also contest that we have successfully crossed partisan lines and have brought out Canadians from the center and center right. This is not simply a left wing uprising against Harper; Harper is incidental to the abuse of prorogue that he committed. We are Canadians who – recognizing the inherent democratic strength and legitimacy of Canad'as system – are nonetheless committed to challenging actions that fly in the face of conventional legitimate uses of parliamentary process.

  23. by the way, the facebook group is now at 136,000. so there's over 10,000 more people in it than your old anti-coalition group. looks like it represents a genuine– and growing– grassroots movement against Harper's arrogance and laziness.

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