‘If Preston wants to contribute, that will be great’

Michael Ignatieff talks to the Vancouver Province.

I’ve had three years of people taking quotations out of context on the torture issue, and conveniently missing pages of A Lesser Evil, which say things like, “Democracies have to fight terror with one hand tied behind their back, and they win because they keep one hand tied behind their back.” They never quote that, right? So all I’m asking is for people to treat me with the respect I hope I treat them. Am I an imperialist? Never, never. I’m a Canadian!

The one thing that people miss is that if you’re a Canadian, we have fought to maintain and enhance our sovereign independence. I could have spent my life in the United States; I didn’t. I came back here because this is my home. I appreciate that some of my positions have created controversy, and I’m willing to defend my views. What is difficult is to defend my views and then have them misrepresented. People have every right to object to my positions, but [they must] understand what those positions are. I hate, detest and loathe torture, always have, always will. I do not want a world run by the American empire, never have, never wanted it, don’t want it now. I’m a fierce defender of the national independence of Canada, and I’ve been a Liberal since before most of the people in this audience were born.

I’m a “Mike” Pearson Liberal preserved in aspic, one of the last remaining specimens of its kind, and damned proud to be. That means I’m a medicare Liberal, I’m a Canada Pension Plan Liberal, I’m a Charter of Rights and Freedoms Liberal.

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