"can harper, who spent most of life in alberta, really understand canada?"

I am no fan of Michael Ignatieff. Long before I decided to come to Canada, I read his work in The New York Times, and was repulsed. No matter what his apologists say, Ignatieff defended and rationalized U.S. foreign policy, and all the invasion, occupation and torture that goes with it.

As Liberal leader, Ignatieff has been a tough-talking hot air balloon, pounding his fist but doing nothing, propping up a government that should have been brought down long ago.

Despite my feelings about Ignatieff, and the ineffective Liberal Party in general, I find the Conservatives' personal arguments against the Liberal leader ridiculous - and dangerous. Watch out folks, this man is well educated! He's an elite! Are we to believe Stephen Harper grew up in a trailer park?

Such a transparent attempt to appeal to Joe Six Pack with anti-intellectualism should be beyond the pale of Canadian politics. But of course, nothing is beyond the pale for the Conservatives and their US-style campaigning. Whether or not there's even an election campaign going on!

This is on my mind today because of this excellent letter in yesterday's Globe and Mail, written in response to a Rex Murphy piece, in which Murphy pretends to decry the Conservatives' attack ads, then agrees with them. For me this letter lays the whole non-issue to rest.
Rex Murphy asks of Michael Ignatieff: Can He Feel What He Never Experienced? (June 20). Good point, Mr. Murphy. Can Stephen Harper, who spent most of adult life in Alberta, really understand the rest of Canada? Is that why he thought that cutting funding for culture will be popular in Quebec? Would someone able to "see anything of Calgary in Newfoundland" then lecture Atlantic Canadians about having "a culture of defeat"? Does the person who initially dismissed the economic crisis as a good chance to invest really "know" what those people losing their jobs felt?

When Mr. Ignatieff was away, he saw the world, had his ideas shaped by a great diversity of views and, to study and teach at Oxford and Harvard, had to compete against the best. When Mr. Harper was away in Alberta, he got to know, well, Alberta and, being a lifelong Reform/Conservative party apparatchik, knows and trusts only the people who think like him. Anything else deserves only a smirk or an attack ad.

Which one would you want to lead our country in a complicated world?

Piotr Trela, St. John's

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