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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Michael Ignatieff, in True Patriot Love, on national vision for Canada

In his latest book True Patriot Love, four generations in search of Canada, Michael Ignatieff writes like a leader, shares his passion for and belief in the country, and provides an insight into the major challenges he sees facing the nation.

He does it all most effectively while telling the stories of his great grandfather, George Monro Grant who travelled with Sandford Fleming to map the railway line across Canada; his grandfather, William Lawson Grant who served in World War I, returning home with belief that Canada earned right to be sovereign nation, and his uncle, George Grant, who believed that Canada had gone from colony to nation and back to colony -- the second time of the United States.

Now that he has stated his case so eloquently, Mr. Ignatieff, who is the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada , has to convince Canadians that he has the right stuff to meet the challenges facing Canada as prime minister.

Mr. Ignatieff suggests that the Trans Canada highway should be four lanes across the nation as we "pretend" we have a national highway today. "In many places -- northern Ontario or the interior of British Columbia -- it dwindles down to two lane blacktop, and the local residents will tell you these narrow sections make the national highway a death trap." Having lived in northern Ontario most of my life and for the past 20 years in the interior of British Columbia, I could not agree more with Mr. Ignatieff.

He cites the high speed railways used to tie Europe together, while after "fifty years of studies" we are still considering a high speed link between Windsor to Quebec City, Vancouver to Calgary and Calgary to Edmonton. "If we want to tie Canadians together, if we want to be nation builders, we would start on them right now." Agreed!!!

He argues that we are one of the few countries that has never created a petroleum reserve to protect citizens from fluctuations in supply from foreign countries. He asks if it makes sense that we ship oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to the United States but import lage quantities to meet demand in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.

Mr. Ignatieff raises other issues too, all in the context of telling the stories of his own family members, suggesting that our ancestors would ask what is the "national vision of our age." It has been a long time since I heard a Canadian politician of any political party speak of a national vision for Canada.

True Patriot Love is a good read, and a starting point for a national conversation on the future of Canada.

11 comments:

Morgan said...

I "believe" in Canada too. It is not a fiment of my imagnination. I have lived here all of my life so I KNOW it exists.
Ignatieff left Canada as a 6 week old newborn and returned at age 12 to attend boarding school.
His formative years were elsewhere so it only stands to reason that his understanding of Canada came from the stories his relatives told him. I heard a lot about Norway from my relatives too - does not make me qualifed to go there and tell them what MY fantasy about their country is. I'd leave that to those who stayed to participate at the grass roots.
Reality versus academic fantasy?
That's the Ignatieff dillema in my opinion.

Michael J said...

Wesley wrote

"I saw this book in Chapters when I was in Victoria. I considered buying it but instead went with Jean Chretien's "My Years as Prime Minister". I've since finished it and may check out Ignatieff's book now after reading this. I like many am not sure wether he would be a good choice for PM given all the time he spent abroad. Then again I dont actually know much about him and will save my final judgment for when I am more informed. All this time abroad could be of use to him, and Canada as well. Also after going through BC twice on the bus I think it would be quite expensive and very difficult to build a four lane highway all the way through the province given the terrain. I did notice there is a fair bit of construction going on, it looks like they are expanding the highway near the border with Alberta."

Michael J said...

Raoul wrote....All the time he spent abroad give him more experience to deal with the other countries. Specially with the us.

Michael J said...

Eugene Bouillon wrote...

Speaking from that left Party, the NDP, I am also impressed with Mr. Ignatieff, he does have some great idea's and would hope that, people realize that and give him a chance. Of course, until we have some type of reform, in how we chose a PM, I will continue to vote, for the person, who makes sence locally, this, means, that I will continue to support the NDP, in my riding.

Michael J said...

Eugene Bouillon wrote
Yes your so very right, regarding the countries future, we must bring people together regardless of their political stripes, to discuss, those things that really matter to the People of this Great Country. I do not speak of the Politicians, I would like to see, normal, working people, get together to discuss these issues and force those, ... Read MorePoliticians, to listen and act. With all the spins that all 5 parties, (includes the greens), it is difficulte to have a clear understanding, of where we are going as a Country.

Michael J said...

Raoul Lemieux wrote

Good one Eugene. You are right on with your comments. But who will these people be???? considering the problems that we have I think this is still the best country to live in.

Michael J said...

Eugene Bouillon wrote...Raoul; Never said it wasnt the best country to live in, I did say the greatest country, but those people, are people like yourself, Michael J., myself, etc. How can they find us, well all they have to do is use, a Polling company, get the names, then a group contact those names, accross the country, those people sit and discuss those concerns. The ... Read Moregovernment per say, should keep away.
Just my thoughts, but I am a right leaning socialist and left leaning liberal, like they say, I go both ways, but never, never, never will I be a right leaning Liberal, would never turn blue.

Michael J said...

Eugene Bouillon wrote...Raoul; Never said it wasnt the best country to live in, I did say the greatest country, but those people, are people like yourself, Michael J., myself, etc. How can they find us, well all they have to do is use, a Polling company, get the names, then a group contact those names, accross the country, those people sit and discuss those concerns. The ... Read Moregovernment per say, should keep away.
Just my thoughts, but I am a right leaning socialist and left leaning liberal, like they say, I go both ways, but never, never, never will I be a right leaning Liberal, would never turn blue.

Michael J said...

Wesley Burton wrote

I have to agree with Eugene about voting with who makes sense locally. Ignatieff does intrigue me but I am happy with my MP who is with the NDP and will continue to support him even though I am not a fan ofJack Layton. Then again perhaps the Liberals will provide a decent candidate in my riding next time but it would ahve to bea good one.

Michael J said...

Wesley Burton wrote

I have to agree with Eugene about voting with who makes sense locally. Ignatieff does intrigue me but I am happy with my MP who is with the NDP and will continue to support him even though I am not a fan ofJack Layton. Then again perhaps the Liberals will provide a decent candidate in my riding next time but it would ahve to bea good one.

Michael J said...

Wesley Burton wrote

I just finished reading "True Patriot Love" and found it to be an interesting read. I can definitely relate to the account he gave of his great grandfather seeing the praries for the first time. That was more or less what I experienced when I woke up on the bus having just passed into Manitoba as the sun was coming up. Very different, but in some ways very much the same.

Michael J Morris

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