Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

[BRIEF NOTE] Ignatieff, a parachute candidate and unlucky at the polls?

Rob Ferguson reports in the Toronto Star that the Liberal Party candidacy of writer Michael Ignatieff in the federal riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore might fail. Why? Among other reasons, he has rather fewer links with this riding than his Conservative counterpart, John Capobianco.

"If the Conservatives win one seat in the city, this is going to be the one," conceded the insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

That would make Capobianco a good bet for a cabinet post.

The same logic applies to Ignatieff — as long as he wins, the insider adds.

"Voters would end up with a high-profile MP, a possible cabinet minister if the Liberals come back. If not, they have a Liberal leadership candidate."

The thinking is, of course, that Prime Minister Paul Martin would step down as leader if the Liberals lose. Ignatieff dismisses talk of a leadership run as flattering but "presumptuous."

He counters Capobianco's local roots with his own background — Toronto-born and educated at U of T before earning international acclaim as a human rights scholar and author. At 58, he moved back from Cambridge, Mass., in December to teach at his alma mater and begin a career in politics after almost 30 years abroad.

But Capobianco joins the NDP's Liam McHugh-Russell in dubbing Ignatieff a "parachute" candidate with no roots in the riding. Ignatieff's Toronto apartment is in the Annex and he's hinted he might ignore an earlier pledge to move to the riding if elected.

"I'm not sure somebody who has lived abroad for almost 30 years has a good grasp of local issues," says Capobianco, a graduate of Lakeshore Collegiate and York University who lives in the Islington-Bloor area with his wife and 3-year-old daughter.

"He may have a grasp of international issues, but all politics is local."

Might I register, here, my support for Capobianco? Much as I don't want a Tory ascendancy nation-wide, there's worse ridings they could get. Media celebrities may be good people, but they certainly don't automatically have a right to be representatives of an area they've had little contact with.
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