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Tacking left? Or, just sharply defining more differences? Good, either way.

A story in the Globe and Mail this AM from Martin Lawrence says that on the advice of Peter Donolo, Michael Ignatieff has decided to politically “tack left”. Warren Kinsella on the other hand, says Ignatieff isn’t “tacking left”, but “occupying the centre”, where all the votes are.

Personally, I think both guys are right. I think Ignatieff has tacked to the political centre – thus moving left of where he once was on certain issues (confused yet?). This makes sense, as there is no point in trying to be Conservative lite. The voters who are naturally inclined to vote Conservative, when given a choice between Conservative and Conservative-lite, will vote for the real Conservative candidate all the time. Furthermore, the progressive left will be disillusioned and probably not vote for you, when you go with that Conservative-lite strategy.

More importantly, he’s now starting to sharply define his positions – from the Martin Lawrence article:

Michael Ignatieff announces he will require all Liberal MPs to vote against a bill to scrap the long-gun registry. Michael Ignatieff says a Liberal government would not allow provinces to impose health-care user fees. The Liberal Leader promises to kill $6-billion a year in corporate tax cuts. He needs that money to help pay for a more compassionate society. The Liberal Leader presses Conservatives to support safe-abortion programs abroad as part of the government’s maternal-health initiative.

Impugned for not offering a clear alternative to the Harper Conservatives, Mr. Ignatieff is finally starting to define his politics. He once wavered on most of the aforementioned policies. Now, he stakes out terrain…..It isn’t complicated. The choice between Harper Conservatism and progressive Liberalism is amply clear. Thus far, Mr. Harper has done a better job of articulating his brand than the Liberals have done of theirs.

Harper and his Conservatives, whatever their faults, lay it out there what they stand for bluntly. The Liberals and Ignatieff it appears have started to move to presenting an alternate vision of their policies in equally plain unequivocal actions, and that is a good thing, in my view.

UPDATE @ 12:30 pm: These more sharply defined differences, over time and during an election campaign, should help “unstick” some of the traction we’ve seen in the polls.


12 comments to Tacking left? Or, just sharply defining more differences? Good, either way.

  • Greg

    Hi Scott, just one correction. It is actually Lawrence Martin, not Martin Lawrence. That is someone else entirely. 😉

  • Big Winnie

    Since Ignatieff became leader, people have been wanting him to come out with policy so that they could judge him…Now he is. By differentiating himself from the other parties parties this will make him a more credible alternative to the current ruling regime.

  • pale

    Yup. I was a Liberal in my earlier years. They went right hard, I went left. I now vote strategically.
    If you mean that my opinion does not matter cause I carry no cards?

    Not a good argument. Not at all.

  • MoS

    Ti-Guy I know it sounds cynical and I suppose maybe I am. I’m just leery of pols who re-invent their beliefs when and as it’s convenient. These things are probably good for the party rank and file but how do they play with the electorate?

  • ck

    Iggy is finally going in the right direction. Too little too late? Not sure…a lot will also hinge on that decision by speaker Milliken coming up within the next few days.

    If Milliken rules in favor of the Harpercons, be prepared for more useless opposition parties (no matter who they may be) as they will just simply be there to take up space.

    It will also be interesting to see which of the 8 Liberal MPs will succomb to Harper’s attack ads.

  • pale

    It would be good if he could also whip votes when it comes to womens rights and issues such as the Cons anti family planning nonsense.
    I understand that *you* thought it made no difference, but after talking to many women working in the trenches, it was a massive fail. Whether it was just optics to some or not.

    And the going left thing is something that a few of us have been saying for ages now.
    Sadly, they will still be much too corporate friendly.

  • Tracy Gartner

    I dearly hope you are right Scott. I think Ignatieff is showing a stronger side these days. If he continues in this vein, he may be able to undo some of the damage caused by the CPC smear campaigns against him and some of his own fumbles. Now if only he weren`t so afraid of an election…but all in good time. I trust he understands the timing far, far better than I do.

  • MoS

    Unfortunately it appears that Mr. Ignatieff is being driven left of where he wants to be which is centre-right, conservative-lite if you like, north of 49 Democrat. From what you suggest he’s not going there because of the merits of that part of the political spectrum but rather because he’s gotten nowhere in the centre-right realm where he wishes to be. There’s something disingenuous in that, pandering only this time he seems to be pandering to moderate and progressive Liberals. What is he going to do with his disastrous policies on Gaza or the Tar Sands? He’s already flipped on many issues once, can he really flip back and retain any credibility? I suppose we’ll know – eventually – if he can stage a resurrection in the polls. I wouldn’t bet my rent money on it.

    • Ti-Guy


      If you’re going to be cynical immediately in the face of positive developments, then what you prefer is cynicism, plain and simple.

  • EFL

    “I think Ignatieff has tacked to the political centre – thus moving left of where he once was on certain issues (confused yet?).” Correct. Good post.

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