I take back what I said before. Michael Ignatieff may be a formidable opponent for Stephen Harper.

Judy Rebick said the battle between Michael Ignatieff and Stephen Harper is between a patriarch and a bully — and in that fight, the patriarch always wins. I prefer to think in animal metaphors. If Stephen Harper is an intelligent and powerful bear, sometimes too smart for his own good, Michael Ignatieff is a more elusive creature: an eel, or a water snake perhaps. Harper is bold; Ignatieff is cunning.

There is no doubt about Ignatieff’s singular drive for power. His has been a life of honing and refining and mutating his persona to suit the powerful he longed to be near. There has been no principle too hallowed to jettison in complex intellectual acrobatics if it served Michael Ignatieff’s political need. And he is bringing the same single mindedness to remaking himself in the image of a Liberal leader who is concerned about social justice and the left liberal values of the Liberal Party. Harper is the most dangerous opponent of progressive ideals in Canada, but Ignatieff, with his ability to subordinate the language of human rights to justify the reactionary causes of the day, is not far behind (Jack Layton is in third, as a neoliberal in social democrat’s clothing). 

Harper likes an enemy he can grab hold of and pound on. Michael Ignatieff is not going to be that kind of opponent. 

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Corvin Russell

Corvin Russell is an activist, writer and translator living in Toronto.