So, no matter how much I think Michael Ignatieff looks like the Grinch who stole Christmas (the resemblance is uncanny...it's his grin!!) and keeping in mind that John Kerry looks like the wicked witch of the west and Paul Martin looks like the gopher from the Winnie the Pooh cartoon series, AND no matter how much I believe (though it kills me to say it) the Conservatives when they accuse him of being in Canadian politics for his own self or his careers promotion, I still like him( more on his probably motives later)
To be honest, I don't care what his motives for running for PM are, as long as they're not malicious. Selfish doesn't bother me all that much. I don't believe it is his only motive, but I'm sure it's there. Let's be honest, MP's are human, and even the most well meaning and genuine MP's know that they've got a damn good job and that they're guaranteed almost any job if they losr their seat....it's kind of a perk of the job. I'm not trying to trash MP's...many of them I know are working very hard and on behalf of their consituents and their own personal and political values/beliefs. But, I digress.....ya, I ramble a lot...what of it????
Regardless of his motives, whether they be ethical or unethical, Mr. Ignatieff has, beyond measure, proved himself in a field I trust...academia (specifically history). His academic record, even if you don't agree with his opinions, proves that he is a capable, intelligent, sobre thinking, hard working,and politically/socially clever man (you don't become a leading professor at Harvard or Oxford by intelligence alone). This may sound a bit naive, but I just can't help but respect a man who has received such internal acclaim and respect from the academic community...
This biograpgical excerpt was taken from...
"Michael Ignatieff was born in Toronto on 12 May 1947. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in History. After earning his Ph.D. from Harvard University, he was elected a Senior Research Fellow at King's College, Cambridge. He has taught at Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, the University of California, the University of London and the London School of Economics.
For several years Dr. Ignatieff lived in England, where he was a regular broadcaster and critic on television and radio, including feature programmes on Channel 4 and the British Broadcasting Corporation...Michael Ignatieff (was) the Carr Professor and Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University..." In addition and including the beforesaid..."In 2005, Ignatieff was appointed a senior fellow at the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for International Studies. Prior to that, he served as Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University for five years. In 2001, while at Harvard, Ignatieff was appointed as a Canadian commissioner on the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, which helped guide a United Nations response to humanitarian crises seen in Kosovo, Rwanda and Darfur."(Taken from: http://www.mapleleafweb.com/voter-almanac/michael-ignatieff).
Also keep in mind, contrary to Conservative ads, it's not like Ignatieff just arrived here a month ago and if he didn't win the PMO he would go back to teaching...
"Ignatieff has had a meteoric rise in his political career. First elected in 2006, he has represented the riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore, which is part of Toronto, Ontario. He first ran for the party leadership in 2006, but lost. He was recognized as the Parliamentarian of the Year in 2007." (Taken from: http://www.mapleleafweb.com/voter-almanac/michael-ignatieff).
He's been deeply involved in Canadian federal politcs since 2006! and failed once to achieve the leadership. I would assume that if he had only his own career in mind he would have continued being one of the top academics in the world and made his money and reputation that way. As well, he's been involved in the Liberal party before he even had a career, "Although he only entered politics recently, Ignatieff has been actively involved in the Liberal Party for more than 40 years. He campaigned for Lester B. Pearson in 1965 and served as a delegate and national youth coordinator for Pierre Trudeau in 1968."
(Taken from: http://www.mapleleafweb.com/voter-almanac/michael-ignatieff).
Check out his honourary doctorates...
"Michael Ignatieff as of June 2009 has received 11 Honorary Doctorates (list below is incomplete).
• Bishop's University in Lennoxville, Quebec in 1995
• University of Stirling in Stirling, Scotland (D.Univ) on June 28, 1996
• Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario (LL.D) on October 25, 2001
• University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario (D.Litt) on October 26, 2001
• University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, New Brunswick (D.Litt) in 2001
• McGill University in Montreal, Quebec (D.Litt) on June 17, 2002
• University of Regina in Regina, Saskatchewan (LL.D) om May 28, 2003
• Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington (LL.D) in 2004
• Niagara University in Lewiston, New York, USA (DHL) May 21, 2006
11!! FRiGGEN HONOURARY DEGREES! I'm impressed.
On top of all of this, he is a prolific writer...
1. A Just Measure of Pain: Penitentiaries in the Industrial Revolution, 1780-1850 Macmillan, 1978
2.The Wealth and Virtue: The Shaping of Political Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment (editor with Istvan Hont) Cambridge University Press, 1983
3.The Needs of Strangers Chatto & Windus, 1984
4.Nineteen Nineteen (with Hugh Brody) Faber and Faber, 1985
5.The Russian Album Chatto & Windus, 1987
6.Asya Chatto & Windus, 1991
7.Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism BBC Books, 1993
8.Scar Tissue Chatto & Windus, 1993
9.Isaiah Berlin: A Life Chatto & Windus, 1998
10.The Warrior's Honour: Ethnic War and the Modern Conscience Chatto & Windus, 1998
11.The Rights Revolution House of Anansi Press (Canada), 2000
12.Virtual War: Kosovo and Beyond Chatto & Windus, 2000
13.Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry Princeton University Press (US), 2001
14.Charlie Johnson in the Flames: A Novel Chatto & Windus, 2003
15.Empire Lite: Nation Building in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan Vintage, 2003
16.The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror Princeton University Press (US), 2004
17.American Exceptionalism and Human Rights Princeton University Press (US), 2005
18.After Paradise Chatto & Windus, 2007
(Taken from: http://www.contemporarywriters.com/authors/?p=auth141)
And has won many literary awards as well...
1988 Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction (Canada) The Russian Album
1988 Heinemann Award The Russian Album
1993 Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) Scar Tissue
1993 MIND Book of the Year/Allen Lane Award Scar Tissue
1993 Whitbread Novel Award (shortlist) Scar Tissue
1999 James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for biography) (shortlist) Isaiah Berlin: A Life
1999 Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize for Non-Fiction (shortlist) Isaiah Berlin: A Life
2001 George Orwell Prize Virtual War: Kosovo and Beyond
(Taken from: http://www.contemporarywriters.com/authors/?p=auth141)
Now, I know very well that other politicians and both Stephan Harper and Jack Layton are university grads, and I beliece Jack Layton hold a Phd in Political Science and taught at Ryerson University, and Stephan Harper has Masters in Economics from the University of Calgary. Clearly, these men all of the capacity and abilities to make it through university and succede in academia and politics. I give them my respect whole heartedly for this. But, Ignatieff trumps them all in academia.
My earlier reasons in a previous blog for voting Liberal this coming election still stand. If Igantieff wasn't the leader they would still stand. However, it is no hard task for me, and with a clear conscience and solid foundation behind me, to vote Liberal with Michael Ignatieff as the hopeful PM.
Thanks for reading! Any corrections are welcome, my apologies if I missed a reference or two. All information can be found via wikipedia or a quick google search.
I found this 2004 lecture by Ignatieff...it's an interesting look at his politics before he was in the Canadian political spotlight...