Memories of Outremont-induced Liberal meltdowns past …

Suddenly-self-identifying Cassandras are claiming this particular leader is, to put it plainly, a dud

Dear Liberals,

Okay, the parallels may not be exact, but ITQ’s unsolicited advice from the last outbreak of Quebec-related stark, staring bonkers-going still stands, as far as she can see.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, the one thing we Hill journalists love more than an imminent parliamentary crisis, or free sandwiches at committee meetings,  is, and will always be, a Liberal family feud. No matter how eerily familiar the plot twists and surprise cameo appearances may be, we can’t help but be mesmerized to watch it unfold.

That said, we’re a sporting bunch, and we do enjoy a challenge, which is why we spend so much time trying to beguile Conservative MPs into saying something even remotely critical of the government or the prime minister, not that it ever works. Well, not nearly often enough, at least.

Given all that, it’s just no fun when you make it too easy to declare your leader and his advisors — who are unfailingly written off as too clandestine/wildly indiscreet/authoritarian/incapable of imposing discipline/inexperienced/past their prime/unproven/serial losers —  as a dead campaign team walking.

Abandon hope, forget 24 Sussex and start saving the furniture: most of us could write your obituary in our sleep at this point. And the more you freak out, the more material — unsourced and otherwise — you give us, which means more full-page special sections on the imminent caucus apocalypse, which subsequently sends even more anonymous senior strategists scurrying to Hy’s to pour out their hearts to the first columnist they see.

If, on the other hand, you don’t — freak out, that is — but attempt to assess the damage in something approaching a calm and clinical fashion, and actually try to, you know, repair it, instead of burying your head in the sand or a knife in the back of the first available scapegoat, we’re going to have to work a lot harder to find a new angle on the story. Eventually, some of us will get so bored with the sound of our own speculation that we’ll move on to something else — maybe even something that doesn’t involve drawing up lists of your potential successors.

None of the above, incidentally, should be interpreted as a ringing endorsement of your leader’s performance, or, for that matter, that of your party since his election appointment as such: long stretches of ineffectualness punctuated by brief moments of baffling incoherence. Apparently, though, it only counts when it happens in Quebec, so if there’s a silver lining to what went down yesterday,  it would be that this may finally force you to admit to, and then, ideally, try to solve, what you can euphemistically describe as “staffing challenges” within OLO.

It may be too late, of course. There is also a growing chorus of suddenly-self-identifying Cassandras who claim that they’ve been saying all along that this particular leader is, to put it plainly, a dud. As a friend of the non-Liberal persuasion pointed out to ITQ last night, if you charted the last few months of Liberal poll numbers alongside Ignatieff’s disappearance from the political landscape, you could rightly conclude that his best strategy for the next election will be to spend it holed up in an underground silo somewhere in Narnia. Still, you’re stuck with him for the moment, so you may as well make the best of it — and leave the preemptive post-mortem performing to us professionals.

Not quite crepe-hanging, but ready to get out her measuring tape-ly yours,


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