Peter Stoffer accuses Michael Ignatieff of poor leadership
NDP MP Peter Stoffer has recently taken issue with Liberal Leader -- and Leader of the Opposition -- Michael Ignatieff.
Ignatieff, Stoffer insisted, has been so very, very quiet. Too quiet.
Moreover, Stoffer credits Ignatieff's reluctance to take Prime Minister Stephen Harper on in a more aggressive fashion.
"They’ve been very, very quiet," Stoffer said. "This is one of the reasons why Harper gets to do what he gets to do, because he doesn’t have an Opposition leader breathing down his neck. If you had someone like a Frank McKenna there facing him, I think it would be a different story all together."
Whether or not McKenna -- the former Premier of New Brunswick -- knows how to be a good opposition leader may be a matter many Canadians would question. Between 1987 and 1991, Mckenna faced no opposition in the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, having won every single seat after a spectacular collapse on the part of the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick.
This aside, Stoffer suggested that Harper has been his own best opposition -- the throne in his own side, and that an effective opposition leader would have pressed the advantage.
"I don’t think, to be honest with you, if Iggy knows how to be a politician," Stoffer continued. "I don’t even know if he likes it. I just don’t know. All these things have come to him on a silver platter, when you think about it, as an opposition politician. You’ve got the detainee issue. You’ve got a massive debt and deficit. You’ve got all kinds of things that the Conservatives have completely reversed themselves on ... which is perfect for the opposition to go after them."
"They don’t seem to be taking advantage of Conservative flip-flops and mistakes," Stoffer concluded. "It’s almost like he doesn’t want the job."
Looking back over Canadian politics over the past four years, there's little question that Harper has received soft treatment from Canada's opposition leaders. And while Stoffer can point to the kid gloves that Ignatieff seems to have handled the Prime Minister with -- as well as the kid gloves that Stephane Dion handled him with -- he seems to have forgotten that his own leader has handled Harper in much the same way.
In fact, the only occasion on which the opposition showed any grit in its handling of Harper was when they proposed a coalition government with the Bloc Quebecois in December 2008. And on that occasion, they managed to turn Canadians -- who recognized the governmental coalition with a separatist party as grossly irresponsible -- largely against them.
Liberal MP Scott Brison insists that Canadians will get to know Ignatieff better in the coming months.
"The toughest political leadership is Opposition leadership," Brison insisted. "And as Canadians get to know Michael Ignatieff in the coming months, and as he tours the country in January and meets with Canadians in town halls across the country, he’ll engage in an important debate."
Ignatieff's tour of university campuses may start Ignatieff on the road to winning Canadians over.
But if Michael Ignatieff plans to get tougher on Stephen Harper -- as he pledged to do, but failed to deliver -- he'd better start speaking up.
Other bloggers writing about this topic:
Walker Morrow - "Is It Just Me?"
BC Blue - "Peter 'Faker' Stoffer Wants Iffy to do a Better Job of Holding Conservatives to Account?"
Blue Like You - "Rumblings of Discontent From the Coalition Rank and File"