The Ottawa Citizen

Ignatieff’s new book a loud call for old-time patriotism
The Ottawa Citizen

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff thinks we should be like his mother’s famous, unabashedly patriotic Anglo-Canadian ancestors and strengthen domestic east-west connections instead of just focusing on ties to the United States.

« If we want a country to hand on to the next generation, we will have to strengthen those east-west linkages — of citizenship and common life together — to offset the north-south drift that fragments us, » Ignatieff writes in a newly published, very political, family memoir, True Patriot Love.

True Patriot Love is the loudest call for old-fashioned patriotism from a serious prime ministerial contender since John Turner’s quixotic anti-free-trade crusade in the 1988 federal election. Sir John A. Macdonald was, of course, the first prime minister to sing that pro-Canadian, keep-the-Americans-at-a-distance song with his National Policy slogan late in the 19th century: The Old Flag, The Old Policy, The Old Leader.

Ignatieff tries to position himself as the new Sir John A. But instead of building a nation-binding railway, Ignatieff says both oil and hydro-electricity should be shared along an east-west axis before exporting surpluses to the U.S. as the Albertans do with their oil and Quebecers do with their hydro. Energy, he adds, is also our big bargaining chip with the U.S.