Michael Ignatieff’s Summer Roadtrip off to a bad start

Michael Ignatieff has gassed up the RV, packed the cooler, and is hitting the road this summer to meet “the Canadians”. Most details are still sketchy, but we hear that he is meeting with voters and bringing them a message of hope and inspiration.

Take for instance, Ignatieff’s recent meeting with undecided voters party faithful at a conference in Vancouver. Here’s one Liberal blogger’s take:

At the Policy Matters conference in Vancouver today Michael Ignatieff took to the stage, speaking on the hard work that lies ahead for the Liberal Party. Though for the most part his words roused the audience of party faithfuls, one statement left an uncertain and questioning resonance with the crowd.

In the latter half of his speech, Ignatieff said, “Before you speak, think, if you’re not going to say anything to help us win, shut up!” Preceding the last two words was a slight pause, and with their utterance, a strong loud emphasis.

Following Ignatieff’s statement the awkwardness was palatable, speaking to two members afterwards, both felt unsure of the Liberal Leader’s need to be so harsh. Another Liberal pointing out that it was not as if Ignatieff was speaking to some opposing Party, or that these Liberals did anything that deserved such a rebuke.

Telling Party members to shut up if they have a different position of the party or any criticism of it, is sensational and rude. At a time with Liberal support is at almost record lows, the Leader shouldn’t be so disrespectful to the people he so dearly depends upon.

It’s ok to start your summer tour in your comfort zone, among your friends, even if the experience is, well, um, uncomfortable.

If this is how it goes among party members, some of whom are skeptical of their leader, we can’t wait to see how it goes among the unconverted skeptics.

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