Ignatieff, torture, NDP

From the Inkless emailbox. This news release from the NDP is pretty incendiary, but readers who don’t welcome the message will want to know (a) that the NDP is putting this stuff about and (b) that this is probably what a general election campaign will feel like. Readers who welcome the message, on the other hand, will welcome the message. Buckle up:



NOVEMBER 24, 2009


REALITY CHECK: Join Ignatieff’s Book Club on Torture

Yesterday in scrums, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff attempted to dismiss charges of hypocrisy against him, by challenging reporters to examine his well known statements about the appropriate use of torture:

“I did twenty minutes [sic] of journalism on protecting human rights, I have no explanations to make here, I have always been against torture.  If you would take the trouble to read what I have said, you will see that it’s a terrible accusation.” – Michael Ignatieff, CTV News Channel, 23 November 2009

Okay.  Let’s take him up on that:

“…in a situation of extreme necessity, the possibility, even a slight possibility, that it [torture] may reveal some life saving result would almost certainly overwhelm any consideration that it is evil.” – Michael Ignatieff, The Gifford Lectures, University of Edinburgh, January 2003

“The use of coercive force in a liberal democracy…is regarded as a lesser evil. This particular view of democracy does not prohibit emergency suspensions of rights in times of terror. But it imposes an obligation on government to justify such measures publicly, to submit them to judicial review, and to circumscribe them with sunset clauses so that they do not become permanent.” – Michael Ignatieff, The Lesser Evil: Political ethics in an age of terror, Princeton University Press, 2004

But don’t just take our word for it, Ignatieff’s writings on the appropriate use of torture are of concern to Liberals as well:

“To justify violence, he must have really given it serious thought. Otherwise, that’s very dangerous. What guarantee would there be that he wouldn’t change his mind again?” – Terrorism and counter-terrorism scholar Dr. Janine Krieber, Facebook message as reprinted in Toronto Star, 21 November 2009