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Thursday, October 26, 2006

We will not be bullied

This is my third post on this subject in two days. Needless to say, I feel very strongly about it. I am angry that Michael Ignatieff and his campaign have decided to use this divisive issue to hijack the debate within our party and force Liberal delegates to accept his position. This quote from Liza Frulla, an Ignatieff supporter, says it all:

"It's unthinkable for us to reject that because it's a given politically in Quebec. If other candidates are responsible. . . . I think they will not play this as an advantage for them or whatever because I think that would be disastrous not only for the Liberal Party, that would be disastrous for the whole unity of Canada."

So now standing up for decades of Liberal national unity policy is "irresponsible"? More "irresponsible" than dividing the party over an issue that Michael Ignatieff hasn't even fully thought out?

The message from the Ignatieff camp is clear: Support my motion, or risk a national unity disaster.

Absolutely sick.

I, for one, do not support this motion. For me, this issue transcends leadership politics. I will encourage my fellow delegates at the convention to reject the motion, because I believe the premise upon which it is based is flawed.

Liberals have always recognized the bilingual and multicultural nature of Canada. We have always celebrated and supported the "cultural and social aspirations" of all Canadians, regardless of where they happen to live. Let there be no doubt: We have always respected Quebec and Quebecois.

As Liberals -- indeed as Canadians -- we must not let the strong-arm tactics of some Harvard academic and his pushy supporters dictate otherwise. We must not let anyone bully us into changing our philosophy or our focus. We must not give in to this political blackmail.

As a side note, take a look at the priority resolutions put forward by the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party. The top two resolutions are on Kyoto and the Quebec Nation. These will be debated on the convention floor. The rest will be discussed in workshops.

Now, it is no secret that LPC(Q) is dominated by supporters of the Harvard academic. The Ignatieff campaign routinely brags about "how much muscle" it has in Quebec. As such, it seems Campaign Iggy thinks the notion of Quebec nationhood is more important than gun control, Canadian foreign policy, improving health care, the "fiscal imbalance", supporting seniors, fighting regional disparities, regulating toxic substances and fighting cancer. Priorities, indeed!