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Michael Ignatieff

Michael Ignatieff & People Like You

Michael Ignatieff 51%

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The last year and a half has included numerous opportunities to watch Michael Ignatieff in public. The most interesting moment remains a scene last fall outside a strip mall in Etobicoke, Ignatieff, then deputy leader of the Liberals, standing at the entrance of a Shopper’s Drug Mart, trying to engage voters as they attempted to go about the business of buying toilet paper, shampoo and such.

I find that’s the day I come back to most, in conversation with other people, when trying to sort out who Michael Ignatieff is. I usually bring it up with all sorts of caveats about a politician’s inherent need to perform and the possibility it was all put on for my benefit, though I doubt they’d bother and I tend to believe I wasn’t being entirely snookered (but I would say that, wouldn’t I?). In general, I suppose I initially approach politicians with the best of hopes, bothered only slightly by fears of the worst. So judge my eyewitness account accordingly.


Anyway. For whatever it’s worth in figuring out Mr. Ignatieff, a reprint of the sketch that appeared here afterwards. Make of it what you will.


At an outdoor job fair on a street corner in west Toronto, beside tables bearing free chocolate chip cookies, Michael Ignatieff climbs on a makeshift stage and publicly states his support for the local butcher, among other local amenities. He keeps his remarks short and then gets to shaking hands. There’s a guy wearing a t-shirt that helpfully instructs, “Don’t feed the bears” and a gentleman dressed all in black, owner of a local pub, whose hat identifies him as “100% Newfie” and who will walk away muttering to himself after Ignatieff’s assistant interrupts. Ignatieff moves on, letting a stranger put sunscreen on his arms, talking to a woman recruiting volunteers for the Santa Claus parade and buying a book from a disabled man.

A moment later—Ignatieff walks fast, long arms dangling from his shoulders—he’s across the street. He runs into the Newfie again. Then a young boy playing the violin. Then his rival—a toothy young man in a suit—from the NDP. Then a woman from the Humane Society. Then some firefighters.

He likes this. Say it’s the “realest” part of his job. He appears genuine in his interest, squaring up to each person, looking them in the eye, laughing and gesturing as they talk. Many seem to have met him befo. e. None of which would perhaps be all that interesting if it weren’t so at odds with what is generally believed about Michael Ignatieff.


Resource: MACLEAN.CA

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