Today Michael Ignatieff made his bid to be the next Liberal Leader official, and in the most recent Globe and Mail suggested one of his first priorities would be to usher in change within the Liberal Party. Though such a promise is admirable, and all Liberals would agree necessary, one must ask Is it real change if it's just coming from the top of the party down? Is it real change if it's being proposed just by people who see that it's popular to do so? Is it real change if its coming from the most organized and entrenched Liberal Leadership candidate?
Gerard Kennedy announced yesterday that he would not be seeking the position of Liberal Leader, Gerard a candidate in the 2006 race who ran on change where Michael Ignatieff did not. Michael's decision to make his announcement the day after Kennedy's, and on top of that to stress the necessity of change appears at the very least to be suspect of opportunistic motivations, possibly hoping to capture those ardent Kennedy supporters. Adding to that is weeks ago Kennedy voiced strong interest into "Liberal 308," an election strategy modeled after the Democrats successful plan under Howard Dean; and coincidentally the Globe reported that today:
Mr. Ignatieff promised a "308-riding strategy" to defeat the Harper Conservatives and pledged to reengage the party's grassroots.Though it is open to interpretation, one cannot ignore the timing of Michael Ignatieff's announcement, especially considering his organization had been waiting weeks for it, and the similarity of what Michael proposed to that of Gerard's message.
Adding to the questionable motives behind Michael Ignatieff's promise of change is his dependency on his large network of organizers, which include Don Guy, Steven MacKinnon, and Mark Marissen. This feature does not preclude a grassroots revolution, but it significantly hampers it. How natural of a movement can it be if it's organized by a few older men in Ottawa?
But perhaps the strongest question to the viability of change from the Ignatieff campaign, is if there is no real challenge, no underdog status, then what is he really fighting to change? If he already had the largest organizers within the party, the most notorious on some accounts, and he possibly already had the largest support among caucus or even the membership, even before he had promised change, then how can anyone suggest his idea of change is coming from us, Liberals?
It would stand to reason, the change Michael Ignatieff has begun campaigning on, is not change from the grassroots, but a top-down oriented strategy, and I'm left wondering is it real change.