THUNDER BAY – For the federal Liberals who thought that they had finally found a leader with the moxie to get the party back into power, Michael Ignatieff must be a constant source of frustration.
For those Liberals who remember their glory days of power under former Prime Minister Chretien, the years since have seen the party fall from power, fall in fundraising, and since assuming power, under Ignatieff seen a repeat of Dion numbers in the polls.
From the lectern at Harvard, where he was a leading light, Ignatieff is, at best, a remedial student of politics.
Angus Reid has repeatedly polled the Liberal leader low in approval ratings. The latest figures put Ignatieff at 15 per cent. The party is now virtually at the same level it was when Dion was at the helm.
The degree of support for Ignatieff can be seen in real figures as the fundraising numbers for the first quarter of 2010 have been released. The Liberals raised $1,467,997.86 from 15,255 Canadians.
Contrast those figures to the Conservatives who raked in $4,023,923.14 from 32,466 Canadians.
Ignatieff is proving to be a “C” player at best in the fundraising wars.
In choosing his fights, Ignatieff seems to be stuck in a rut continually choosing issues to plant his flag that really don’t matter to most Canadians. The results of his misfires are showing in his plummeting poll numbers.
What is proving to be Ignatieff’s hallmark is poor timing of his political radar. An example is the Liberal leader’s leap into the issue of the federal gun registry. Another is reminding Canadians of the Sponsorship Scandal and the mess
Ignatieff has waded into an issue that likely has eliminated the chances for Liberal candidates across the west, with a zeal that makes him seem like a throwback to Alan Rock, the former Justice Minister who, in the opinion of many western Canadians shoved the program down their throats.
Ignatieff’s lack of understanding of the issue and the impact it had in western Canada could only come from a politician whose only exposure to Alberta and Saskatchewan comes from flying over the region more than visiting with farmers and ranchers on the ground.
The Liberal leader, after meeting with the Chief’s of Police, has re-opened a long standing wound that most politicians seeking to expand past the city limits of Toronto would never have opened. The message Ignatieff has sent to rural farmers is that he really doesn’t understand the angst and frustration that Rock’s original plan to reduce crime in Toronto meant to rural Canadians.
It is likely that many senior Liberals realize that a mistake was made when Ignatieff was ceded the party leadership. It is also likely that few within the party are willing to take their concerns public, just yet.
However if the second quarter fundraising results, and the poll numbers remain dismal it is likely that by September Ignatieff might be more comfortable back behind the lectern at Harvard.
That of course is just my opinion, as always, your mileage may vary.