Last week, Michael Ignatieff made misleading accusations about the Conservative Party’s latest advertising campaign. The advertisements highlight the fact that Michael Ignatieff left Canada for 34 years; made demeaning statements toward Canada while living abroad; and has threatened to leave again if not named Prime Minister.
“Michael Ignatieff’s attempt to compare his time outside Canada with that of new Canadians is merely a ploy to divert the attention of Canadians away from the facts of his situation – that his actions do not parallel the experiences of new Canadians in any way,” said Senator Martin. “New Canadians made a choice to come to Canada to make it their home; Ignatieff, on the other hand, made a choice to leave Canada and will do so again if he does not get his way. Furthermore, moving from Canada to other countries (namely the United States and England) where Canadian credentials are largely recognized is no comparison to many newcomers, like my own father, whose foreign credentials prevented him from entering the work force with ease. Mr. Ignatieff can only imagine what obstacles and challenges my father and other new Canadians have overcome and continue to face.”
“Like so many proud Canadians, my father and mother made the ultimate sacrifice to leave our native Korea and come to Canada to seek new opportunities and most importantly to become citizens of this great nation. Michael Ignatieff chose to leave Canada for 34 years. Despite facing many hardships, becoming a Canadian citizen is a privilege that is never taken for granted; new Canadians are proud to call Canada home. For Michael Ignatieff, Canada is a convenient stop in his journey that’s conditional on whether or not he gets what he wants – the office of the Prime Minister of Canada. If he doesn’t get it, he’s just visiting.”
New Canadians come to Canada for a new beginning, to create a better life for themselves and for their families. However they never forget where they came from. By contrast Michael Ignatieff was born in Canada, left Canada and while he was away made discouraging comments about this country.
· “In the case of the Canadian flag I cannot entirely forget that it is both my flag and a passing imitation of a beer label.” (The Observer. July 8, 1990)
· “Look this is America and you have to decide. You have to decide what kind of country you want. This is your country just as much as it is mine.”
(C-SPAN, June 17, 2004)
· “If I am not elected, I imagine that I will ask Harvard to let me back,” Ignatieff said. “I love teaching here, and I hope I’ll be back in some shape or form.” (Harvard Crimson. November 30, 2005)
· Ignatieff said he would only return to academia if and when his political career finally ends. “I will probably resume my life as an academic teacher, and in that eventuality, if I could do some teaching at Harvard that would be wonderful,” said Ignatieff. (Harvard Crimson. December 7, 2005)
It is disappointing that Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals are trying to mislead new Canadians, by drawing a false parallel between his own past and the experience of new Canadians.