Posted by: Nathan M. | July 17, 2009

Why This Blogger Likes Ignatieff

I have realized what the draw is for me towards Ignatieff, and I may have discovered one of his key beliefs in this political game. Ever since Ignatieff has entered the Canadian political world, people have been wondering-what exactly is his motivation? Just about every politician has something that is driving him/her, but Ignatieff has not been very forthcoming about his motivation. Perhaps the reason for this is because most Canadians have forgotten to care about what Ignatieff cares about-International Affairs. Almost all of Ignatieff’s books have been on international affairs, and the various outlets which that entails. Unfortunately, most Canadians have rejected the international realm as an important area of politics. The focus has become more and more on domestic affairs, as demonstrated by Harper in his continually turning towards domestic affairs even when he is at international conferences about issues greater than just Canada.

In the recent G8 summit, Harper quickly reverted back to domestic politics by responding to a comment that had been made by an Academic (Gordon Smith). Harper hadstephenharper_yelling-in-house been led to believe that Ignatieff had made the comment, which suggested that a new international forum should be created that excluded Canada. Harper used the final media time that he was given at the Italy G8 summit to respond to the comment, saying that;

“Mr. Ignatieff is supposed to be a Canadian,” Mr. Harper told the media on Friday. “I don’t think you go out and throw out ideas like this that are so obviously contrary to a country’s interest and nobody else is advocating them.

“I think it’s an irresponsible suggestion…. I would suggest he look carefully at these comments and withdraw those. Frankly, they’d be irresponsible coming from anybody, but they’re particularly irresponsible coming from a senior Canadian parliamentarian.”

I do not suggest that Harper did not have a right to respond to the comment, but using an international forum was most definitely not the place to do it. His response said to every other representative at the meeting that he did not really place much importance in the international world, and would rather be back home battling the opposition.

090716t_bogusHere I must comment on Ignatieff’s actions concerning foreign affairs. Obviously, as broadcasted by the Conservative party, Ignatieff has spend a great deal of time outside of Canada, and so has an interest in foreign affairs as a result of that. However, Ignatieff’s interests are rooted in something much deeper than that. His most passionate statements have been made about foreign affairs, because Ignatieff believes in a Canada that is involved, and actually has a real ability to provide peace-keepers, not just token flag-holders. As Ignatieff said,

“It’s disgusting in my own country, and I love my country, Canada, but they would rather bitch about their rich neighbour to the south than actually pay the note,” he said, in response to a question about peacekeeping. “To pay the bill to be an international citizen is not something that they want to do.”

Ignatieff is one of the few politicians who is actually able to face the facts about what Canadian foreign policy has become. Canada has become self-interested, and is simply trying to ride a reputation that was made decades ago in the international world, in order to keep a fingernail hold on international decisions. This nation is a nation that is obsessed with trying to take as little risks as possible, while still maintaining a facade of goodness. The long and the short of it is that Canada does not deserve to hold a place at the international decision-making table if we do not take action. Ignatieff believes in a Canada that is involved in the world, and not simply wrapped up in it’s own selfish interests. As Ignatieff said,

“Riskless warfare in pursuit of human rights is a moral contradiction. The concept of human rights assumes that all human life is of equal value. Risk-free warfare presumes that our lives matter more than those we are intervening to save.”

Further Readings

‘Bogus’ peacekeeping?

G8 Attack Reflects Poorly on Canada: Experts

UPDATE: Harper apologizes for unloading on Ignatieff

Liberal-Era Diplomatic Language Killed Off


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