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A Canadian abroad writes an open letter to Canadians.

This is very powerful stuff – an excerpt:

I’m a Rhodes Scholar completing my doctorate in Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. I write with sadness to confess I have been unfaithful to you, my home and native land. It seems I lack national sentiment, or so I have been told by your governing party’s most recent advertising campaigns. Why am I anti-nationalist and unfaithful?….We Canadians abroad who wave our flags from afar on July 1st, who carry our Tim Horton’s mugs, who search out specialty stores that sell maple syrup and Molson beer, clearly must be less patriotic than our peers who stay at home…I am worried, Canada. I am partly worried for myself: when I come back to serve you with the knowledge and experience I have gained from afar, will you call me opportunistic and turn on me too? But I worry more for you: once you start rejecting the skills and knowledge of your own citizens where will that leave you, dear Canada?

Read the whole letter.. it does a far better job of expressing that I could ever do the complete idiocy that the Conservatives are engaging in by trying to say Canadians who go abroad to study and work and who then come back to serve their country are somehow less Canadian then the rest of us.


36 comments to A Canadian abroad writes an open letter to Canadians.

  • Darrell

    Ignatieff dismissed our national flag as “a passing imitation of a beer label.” I hope you would have more respect for your flag.

  • When would the amount of time a politician lived outside the country make a difference?

    1. When both candidates have the same qualifications, skills and values, when you have a tough time deciding, …, in the case of a tie, then I might want to support a person who lived in the country longer. That is not the case with Ignatieff and Harper.

    2. Harper appears to have lived in Canada 50 years. Ignatieff 42 years. (according to Wikipedia) Hmmmm Now do we look at quantity or quality time.

    3. Is the perfect candidate the one who NEVER lived outside Canada for any period of time? Is that the problem Harper has with GG Jean or previously with GG Clarkson, or does Harper not favour strong women?

  • kwittet

    nice pissing match..i say throw the anchor to both the bums and get some new blood in ottawa as for the letter that scott published…waaaahhhh

  • kwittet

    nice pissing match..i say throw the anchor to both the bums and get some new blood in ottawa

  • … too smart, too successful, too well respected to be Prime Minister. Yeah if that’s the worst the cons can throw at him then they got nothing.

    This business that Ignatieff has been out of the country so long that he doesn’t understand the nations issues is total nonsense, it’s not like he’s been sitting in a trailer park drinking beer the whole time.

    In fact, he has the advantage of understanding Canada on the world stage because he’s actually been there. For all of Harper’s desires to be a big player in the world like his US idols, that’s not a claim he can make after so much time spent in Alberta plotting to overthrow the Liberal aristocracy.

    • George Taylor

      I shall get right to the heart of the matter.Stephen Harper has lived in Canada all his life , and he still doesn’t know the country. He was ready to build a fence around Alberta. He went to New York, before he became prime minister, and said that Canada was a second class socialist country.He alienated the maritime provinces with his pejorative comments about them.He’s alienated Quebec now as well.On top of all this, he lies like a sidewalk.Truth is a stranger to him. Senator Gladstone comment is very appropos to Mr. Harper. Gladstone said that some men have as much regard for the truth as a tomcat has for a marriage liscence.
      On the other hand, there is Michael Ignatieff. A worldly man, has a broad understanding of cultures around the world.He is certainly more inclusive, and he is not a bully.That’s the extent of Harper’s diplomacy-bullying.

  • The tories are just scared. Their support is eroding and the party is imploding.

    They did not learn from the disastrous fall statement when they had to shut down parliament to save their government. There has been nearly zero infrastructure spending while the economy continues to decline.

    They just don’t get it. They don’t understand that the government can be a force for good. They don’t understand that the Prime Minister’s job is not that of an attack dog; he has to govern the country.

    The best argument against Michael is that he is too smart, too successful, too well respected to be Prime Minister. Well if that’s the best they’ve got they are really going the way of 1993 tories in the next election.

  • KC

    The proprietor of this blog knows full well my true identity so I’m not “hiding” behind anything. Personally I think only a fool shows all his or her cards on the ‘interweb’.

    But congrats on learning the art of the ad hominem attack. I guess my cowardice settles the matter. No point in tackling the issues. Nevermind the real issue here: that this isnt about travel abroad, immigration, or what makes one a Canadian but rather whether or not those who lead should have a substantial connection with the community they seek to lead.

    From the sounds of it you’ve spent a substantial amount of time in Canada over the past 34 years–interrupted or not. Ignatieff hasnt.

    • Christina Dawn Monroe


      Well that is an interesting theory. For the record I have spent one third of my life in the Untied States, one third of my life in Urban Canada, and one third of my life in Northern Canada.

      So what is it you feel that is lost by Mr. Ignatieff having worked, and learned abroad? This some how makes him out of touch with what “real” Canadian’s need?

      Does that fact that he is better educated and knows more about the world scare you? Have you ever taken the time to read anything about him other than what is propagated in the conservative media?

      • KC

        @Christina Dawn Monroe, First of all, I dont accept that Ignatieff is the academic he is cracked up to be. He did after all, with all his wisdom and access to information, support the disastrous Iraq War and act as an apologist for the worst excesses of the Bush Administration. In other respects as well I think his academic bona fides are often overstated. But that is really beside the point.

        Let me state that I DO NOT think that Ignatieff has “lost” something by living and working abroad. Him being abroad isnt the issue. Its his not being here, and more particularly his not been here AT ALL in 34 years that is the problem for me. I DO think he has lost something because he has NOT been in Canada for 34 years. He has missed a huge part of our history. Canada is not the same country it was in the 1970s. I want a leader who has lived and worked amongst us.

        I would have NO problem with a person (like you) who’d lived in Canada on and off being Prime Minister. Travel abroad–even significant travel–IS a good thing. Ignatieff is a different story. He had almost completely severed his ties with this country before he came back. Being smart and having been born here are in themselves NOT sufficient to be Prime Minister of Canada(in fact being born here should have nothing to do with it). A demonstrated commitment and connection with the community are also important.

        • Colette Showers

          @KC, I agree with you KC – I don’t think that it’s a matter of Ignatieff “living abroad” – its the fact that he didn’t live here for 34 years. That’s a big chunk of our history that he wasn’t present for. I think it’s great that he wants to come back and get into politics; having lived in other countries he has likely learned a lot about what could/may help Canada be better for everybody. But to come back and immediately run for the highest office is another story.

          Christina, it doesn’t make us “scared” – but I’m going to go ahead and say that the thought of this guy as my Prime Minister does make me uneasy. But not scared, and it upsets me that you think just because I’m a Conservative that I’m somehow afraid of Liberals gaining power. I’m not. Liberals have been in power a bunch of times and Canada is still awesome and the only place I ever want to live.

          It’s not about Stephen Harper. It’s not about Conservatives vs Liberals. It’s about this guy not thinking Canada was the best place to live for over 30 years!

        • Gene Rayburn

          @Colette Showers,”It’s about this guy not thinking Canada was the best place to live for over 30 years!”

          Where on earth did you get that bullshit statement from Colette. Have you got any proof to this ludicrous allegation? Have you any proof of him saying that “canada was not the best place to live for over 30 years”? No you don’t. All you have is a hodgepodge of snippets taken out of context and woven together by the morons of spin that are Ryan Sparrow and Kory Teneycke. If the message has to be re-explained twice then the message failed. Try finding a more valid criticism of Ignatieff.

    • Frank Frink

      @KC, Nice attempt at deflection. Don’t buy it though. The ‘real’ issue here IS ‘what makes one a Canadian’.

      You believe, as do many of your fellow supporters, that there are degrees, levels and/or classes of ‘Canadianess’ and Canadian citizenship.

      As for your deflected issue of “whether or not those who lead should have a substantial connection with the community they seek to lead”: I submit Dear Leader who has never seemed to have made a substantial connection with more than 37% of the voting Canadian public. Which ‘community’ does he actually ‘lead’?

      • KC

        @Frank Frink, No Frank. I simply believe that simply being a Canadian is NOT enough in itself to be Prime Minister. I’m not Prime Minister, you’re not Prime Minister, and 30,000,000 other Canadians aren’t Prime Minister for one reason or another. It is a privilege bestowed by the voters not a birthright.

        I want more than just a birth certificate or citizenship card, and I want more than just letters beside your name. I want to know that our leaders understand our issues, and are committed to our national interests. The length of Ignatieff’s absence gives me every reason to doubt that and he has given me no reason to think otherwise.

        BTW, who are my supporters? I’ve voted Liberal in every election since I ‘ve been old enough to vote. This time around I can’t decide which way to go, so if you know who my “supporters” are that would be really helpful because I can’t figure it out myself. I’m leaning towards the Greens but they haven’t put out any ads so you can’t mean them.

        • Gene Rayburn

          @KC, “It is a privilege bestowed by the voters not a birthright.”

          Actually KC, becoming Prime Minister first requires being nominated to become your party leader, then when your party has had the larger number of seats elected you are asked to form government and your party leader is appointed Prime Minister by the ruling party. We elect MPs in Canada not Prime Minister. Your continued ignorance on the Westminster system is embarrassing to all Canadians. Why don’t you consider a course on civics before you get too old.

    • Gene Rayburn

      @KC, “The proprietor of this blog knows full well my true identity so I’m not “hiding” behind anything. Personally I think only a fool shows all his or her cards on the ‘interweb’.” as being an anonymous coward is a perfect compensation for penile inadequacy.

  • slg

    First of all – it’s a “she” – obviously you Con trolls don’t take the time to read.

    Second – how arrogant to think you people decide who’s Canadian and who’s not.

    • KC

      @slg, Citizenship has nothing to do with it. As voters we get to decide who is and isnt Prime Minister. We’re entitled to consider their connections with us in making that decision.

  • KC

    Once again… Somewhere between 5 months a year in the US, a degree at the Sorbonne and an uninterrupted absence that spanned the entire lifetimes of half all Canadians, significant nuance is lost.

  • EM

    Amen, Christina.

    Emily Madsen
    past student at the Sorbonne
    38 year teaching career in public education

  • KC

    Here here Rat. My sentiments exactly.

    Somewhere between completing your doctorate at Oxford and being everywhere but Canada for 34 years before abruptly deciding to come back and lead a heck of a lot of nuance is lost.

    • Gene Rayburn

      @KC, Yes because staying in Canada, being a failed economist and never having a real job. That’s what makes a Canadian in your eyes? Staying home and doing nothing? How sad that is.

  • The Rat

    Mr. Rhodes Scholar, how about you call us back in 35 years and let us know how attached you are to Canada. And should you return after all that time, after labeling yourself a citizen of whatever country, may we please ask politely why you would return should you immediately seek the highest of public office? May we question your motives or is the fact that we question your almighty brain and presence pure impertinence on the part of us less cosmopolitan natives who have actually lived in the country you might wish to rule?

    • Christina Dawn Monroe

      @The Rat, Response to “the rat”

      Seriously? You know there is nothing more disgusting than people who will not stand behind their criticisms and comments and use fake names to hide behind their words.

      Stand up and show who you are when you make such remarks about other peoples comments about nationalism.

      I am a proud Canadian. One who has spent a large part of my childhood not living in Canada but living in the Untied States. My parents were all about the hands on learning and we traveled extensively to further my education. Does the 5 months of each year I spent traveling and learning in the United States make me less of a Canadian? No, it made me into a better more well rounded person who understands why I love my country so much. I stand up for the rights of all Canadians including the narrow minded scared people like yourself who hide behind fake names to get thier message out.

      I am sorry your parents did not love you enough to teach you about tolerance of others, but then again you look to leadership from a man who believes just because someone chooses to learn, and educate themselves and others in a country other than our own, this some how makes them a “lesser Canadian”.

      Stephen Harper is not a “leader”, he is a scared little man who is backed into a corner and is lashing out like a hurt animal. Just like you “the rat” who is a scared little man who hides behind a fake name and lashes out at others.

      If you want to stand up to your beliefs and defend them, you need to first quit hiding behind fake persona’s on the net. You coward.

      Christina Dawn Monroe

      • The Rat

        @Christina Dawn Monroe,

        Your well rounded education hasn’t taught you how to comprehend writing, I think. How typically Liberal to try to frame an argument as race, or class or some other smarmy way to characterize those who aren’t Liberal as bigots, or rednecks, or intolerant. I’m sure all “decent” Canadians rushed to donate for Iggy’s defence. But this isn’t about any of your little obfuscations, it’s about a man who left Canada behind, pretended to be an Brit and an American, spent 35 years where Canada wasn’t on his radar, until he suddenly decided to be the saviour of Canada. He wants to be our dear leader, I want to know why.

        By the way, if you wonder why I prefer a pseudonym all you need do is look at the record of Liberal retaliation against dissenters. Just Google Tom Wappel+Blind veteran. Better yet, I’ll let you read about it on a Liberal friendly site, the siteowned by reason 2 I prefer pseudonymity.

        • Gene Rayburn

          @The Rat, “Mr. Rhodes Scholar, how about you call us back in 35 years and let us know how attached you are to Canada. And should you return after all that time, after labeling yourself a citizen of whatever country, may we please ask politely why you would return should you immediately seek the highest of public office? May we question your motives or is the fact that we question your almighty brain and presence pure impertinence on the part of us less cosmopolitan natives who have actually lived in the country you might wish to rule?”

          Bigotry – Exhibit A. And stupidity too.

    • @The Rat,
      Rat, first, I think you should use your own name too. For me it has to do with your personal integrity and accountability. You may think otherwise, but just thought I would let you know.

      Second, Canada is a country of immigrants, all but 4% . Canadian citizens share equal rights and most believe all should have equal opportunity. The content of the current Conservative party attack ads, and yours seems to suggest immigrants or Canadians who choose to study or work abroad are less fit for political office or people we should not trust. Your own comments follow up with this theme. I don’t share your attitude toward those that work, study or spend part of their life outside Canada. I strongly believe that our country is enriched by those who were not raised here and by those that study elsewhere and by persons who have worked abroad. I listen, learn and seek out persons who have experience and insight based on a different life experience. I think politics can benefit from a diverse background among our elected representatives. Many people who spent their entire lives in Canada thought that Michael Ignatieff has the right stuff to be their leader. The electorate will decide for themselves.

      Finally, when an elected leader of a political party seeks the support of the electorate during a period of catastrophic economic turmoil, when the environment is in peril and violence is threatening families and countries alike, maybe,,, just maybe,,, he wants to focus on understanding and solving these challenging problems. It is his job as a leader to focus on Canadians and their problems,,, not to respond to questions of his intentions and his life choices,,, even though he could take the opportunity to wave an extensive resume, vitae, list of publications in the face of the country. Ignatieff’s ability to breed confidence, inspire colleagues and convert the skeptical has NOT been done by talking about himself. Harper should focus. He is the PM. Our country needs a PM like Ignatieff not like Harper.

      • The Rat

        @Jennifer Pollock,
        What a nice, polite way of calling me a bigot. Kinder, gentler Liberals unite!

        Once again, reading skills not present. I didn’t mention immigrants yet your rant goes there immediately because that’s all you have. You won’t address motives, you don’t think motives matter, apparently. How terribly naive. If Iggy’s motives are pure and altruistic I’d be happy to see him try to win my vote, I’m not terribly enamoured with Harper these days anyway. You’ll excuse me (actually you won’t, you’ll try to label me a bigot!) if I suspect the great man is more interested in waving his resume, his “vitae” as you so nicely reduce it, and adding the final chapter to one of his self-fellating books: Prime Minister of Canada. Canada deserves better than that.

        • @The Rat,
          – Please allow me to speak for myself. I am sharing my thinking with you in an effort to challenge your conclusions and sometimes your process to arrive at them. I am known to be open and honest. If you could help us to understand your thinking, and refrain from telling us what we think, you could be a more effective and ethical communicator.

          Motive is a concern for you. Well I understand why Harper doesn’t pass your “pure and altruistic” motives test.

          I can’t speak to Ignatieff’s motives but one of my friends has known the family from childhood when his Dad was a diplomat from the Netherlands and Ignatieff Canada. My friend remembers the high esteem his father had for Iggy’s dad, in fact his Dad put Iggy’s dad in the same class as Lester B Pearson. Service to your country is a family value taught in the Ignatieff household. Iggy learned that lesson. Maybe Iggy is trying to please his Dad although he is no longer living.

          So far, if you had to figure out Ignatieff’s motives you could look at Iggy’s decision to run a second time even though he did not win the leadership, and the prospects of a Liberal majority were not good going into the 2008 election. Iggy does not seem to have power issues, he has worked to earn respect with sincere and difficult work. Compare that to Harper who early on quit when Reform didn’t get the majority they hoped for and who does have a well-documented love or need for power and control.

          Ignatieff was a world recognize writer long before he sought the votes of his constituents in Etobicoke Lakeshore. Ignatieff has had PLENTY of opportunity to wave his resume, he never does that. Ignatieff’s motives have been consistent with a democrat in service of his country, the country his father loved and served. Harper waves his promise to deliver a book on the history of ice hockey. Read Harper’s political resume, Canada deserves a better person than Harper for its leader. Ignatieff is a better person than Harper.

        • Gene Rayburn

          @The Rat, If the shoe fits Rat. I’d say bigot is a perfect way to describe you. Canada sure deserves better than a failed economist who’s never had a real job and believes that bashing Canada prior to becoming PM makes him the perfect candidate for wrapping himself in the flag. The unabashed lust for power combined with the arrogant hypocrisy and mind numbing incompetence of Big Daddy is what Canada doesn’t deserve. We need to be free of a bigoted worldview like the one the desperate Conservatives are using to stay afloat.

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