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Meeting Michael Ignatieff…

I like to make up my own mind on things.

I also like in Politics, as much as possible, to go direct to the source, and gather my own information, and thereby form my own opinions.

In past federal elections, I have gone to speak with each of the candidates, to find their views on various topics.

I do this, because I believe the person in the local Riding represents me, and my interests in Ottawa.

My method is to vote for the candidate who I would like to represent me, first… and consider the Leader of the Party, or the Party that person runs for, second.

Using this method of assessment, in my voting life, I have voted for members of the Conservative Party, Liberal Party, NDP and Reform Party.

I have always enjoyed having the opportunity to assess the Candidates personally, and their Party Leaders by watching televised debates.

 

I hadn’t ever heard Michael Ignatieff speak in person.  The snippets I’ve caught on the news were edited sound bytes, and insufficient to judge from.

When I heard he was on a cross Canada bus tour, and would be stopping in nearby Abbotsford, I thought I would take the opportunity to “check him out”.

So it was, that I found myself on a cool and windy Sunday afternoon at the Bakerview Eco-Dairy.

At first, I wasn’t sure I was in the right place.

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Party meet & greet in Abbotsford - BobBlahBlah.comAs I pulled up, there were live goats standing on the roof.  (Of course, when I got out of my car, and went to take a picture, they were all laying down…)

I found out it is a learning centre, where city folks like me can go to learn about the innovations in farming, and at the same time shop for fresh produce, let the kids visit the petting zoo, all while enjoying Chester’s Honkin’ Goose Ice Cream or if you don’t want farm flavour… a Starbucks.

Nutrifoods Store

Far in the back was a small sign, announcing that Michael Ignatieff would be making his Fraser Valley visit there.

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Party meet & greet in Abbotsford - BobBlahBlah.comAs you can tell from the colour of the sky… the weather was looking ominous.

A few minutes after 3:00, the sunshine burst through the clouds, and the growing gathering started to fill up the place.

The diverse crowd had a smattering of red shirts or jackets, quite a few Canadian flags, and one keener mom, with a baby in tow, was sporting a Michael Ignatieff emblazoned T-Shirt.

Crowd

Just before 3:30, a crew swept in with a portable P.A. system, Liberal banners and several photographers in tow.

A few minutes later, to a burst of applause, Michael Ignatieff walked to where we were gathered, and walked through the crowd, thanking folks for coming out to see him.

Then, as the gathered folks grew quiet, a local dignitary welcomed him, made several welcoming remarks, and, apparently nervous, concluded with a comment about being delighted to have such an “extinguished” guest.

To laughter, Mr. Ignatieff took the microphone, thanked the speaker and crowd for their welcome, and said he hoped he wasn’t extinguished, quite yet.

One of the things I’ve heard said, was that Michael Ignatieff was the Canadian version of Al Gore… an intellectual who could talk circles around the average man, but without the “common touch” of being able to have a “real” conversation with folks.

For me, that was laid to rest.

Mr. Ignatieff had a talk, and bantered with the crowd, on topics ranging from the goats on the roof, the census kerfuffle, how important a national policy on food is, to the petting zoo out front.  He talked about things that were obviously talking points of the Liberal platform.  He also talked about his adventures of the last few days, his visit to the PNE, and the worthiness of mini-donuts.  The he let us in on how his great-grandfather was one of the first folks to travel from Atlantic to Pacific, back in 1872, and how he was looking forward to his visit to the town of Yale, to see where his ancestor had made a camp.

He wasn’t lecturing or speaking from “on high”… he was just talking to a bunch of folk.  He was funny, engaging, curious and interested when talking to the people.  He was “present” and remarked on several different local situations.

He wound up by joking that although his bus tour had been a wonderful journey, his “Team” was now enticing him with promises at each stop.  At this particular event, he was looking forward to his visit to the petting zoo !

Borrowing a taste of an ice cream coneThere were a lot of things that he said, that made sense to me.

A lot of the things that had been said about him by others, were disproven.

But I think the thing that convinced me completely that he is just the same as you or I, wasn’t anything he said… but the singular action common to most husbands… he won me over when he stole a taste of his wife’s ice cream cone.

 

 

2 Responses to Meeting Michael Ignatieff…

  1. Thanks for your thoughts on this, we all couldn’t be there. I’m curious about one thing though … I have heard many reports about his negative comments on Canada when he has been living abroad (Some video clips of interviews he has given in the past, and some audio). Did he address his years spent not living in Canada and why he has returned, to try to lead the country he didn’t want to live in?

    • Hey Sandi – Thanks for taking the time to read the Blog.

      Yeah, I think we’ve all been peppered with the attack ads, and the carefully edited soundbytes. That is why I wanted to listen to the man himself, and what he has to say, and not a sound byte chosen by someone else.

      To answer your question directly… I did not ask that question, but I think this video will answer it for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKKFCyvrEBI (Not sure if the link will work… you may have to cut and paste it, sorry)

      Like many world leaders, he has traveled and experienced a lot. He’s taught at UBC, Harvard, Oxford and the U of Tel Aviv. He had a show on the BBC. he’s published 17 books, and has a boatload of honorary degrees. Through that, he’s given a bunch of speeches, which have sometimes have contained portions that are critical of Canada. He’s also praised Canada, but those sound bytes get left out.

      For me, the telling point was the OBVIOUS pride with which he spoke about his Great-Grandfather, who was part of the party that were the first “white people” to travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and how he was looking forward to taking his ancestors diary to the Yale Museum. The pride in his voice was tangible.

      In my opinion, the sound bytes are being circulated to discredit him. Listening to the man, himself, give a speech, I believe he is as proud a Canadian, as you or I.

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