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And now for something completely similar.

MICHAEL IGNATIEFF HAS ALMOST made it to the top. First parachuted into a tiding that didn't want him, then spurned by a party that couldn't quite warm to him, Iggy's finally got his hands on the Liberal filler, riding a wave of discontent with Stephen Harper that just might land him in the prime minister's chair before Christmas. It almost makes you want to leave the country for 30 years; being a longtime ex-patriot seems to be good for one's career.

This has some people rightfully nervous, but never fear my gun-toting, meat-eating, tree-chopping, neo-con friends, because Iggy is one of you. Sure, his vocabulary's a few volumes larger than yours, and he is more likely to host a salon than a hoedown, but never fear. He's Stephen Harper with a PhD: brighter, but not an inch softer. And rest assured, there will be no decade of darkness under this big C Liberal. He likes using militaries.

His record speaks for itself. As academic and pundit while serving his final phase of self-imposed exile south of the border, he didn't just enthusiastically support the invasion of Iraq, but concurred with the amazing contention that the country was rife with weapons of mass destruction. And what better moment to use military and civilian lives to act out an academic theory about pre-emption and military force to improve human rights? Well, human rights as defined by fine Harvard intellectuals, anyway.

But that's not the point. No sir, the point was he was ready and eager to counsel the early use of military force, instead of it being a measure of last resort. More importantly, he didn't let reason or pesky reality stop him. Sound familiar? Of course it does. Just think what he'll do when he gets an army of his own to play with.

Now you're probably thinking to yourself, this is too good to be true. After all, didn't he get all wussy and recant in the New York Times not that long ago? Uncle Stephen would never recant like that. Well, I think you need to judge a man by his actions and not what he likes to spin in the media. You don't actually think Stephen Harper prefers cardigans, likes babies or thinks Maritimers are anything but lazy welfare burns, do you? Of course not.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Oh sure, Ignatieff has recently been acting like a born-again Lester Pearson calling for Omar Khadr's repatriation, but only after years of him and his party not being overly fussy about a child soldier incarcerated and subject to "coercive interrogation" in Guantanamo Bay. This is the same man who advocated the use of torture as a "lesser evil" and provided the intellectual backing to produce Guantanamo in the first place. Has Stephen Harper become a Keynesian because he's spending money faster than Karl Schreiber with a stack of paper bags? Of course not. These boys know when to pander to an audience, at least until they get a majority to work with. Relax.

Better yet, our budding future PM is as fight as thumbscrews with the new leader of the free world, Jesus Christ ... oops, Barack Obama. And that man has plans. More troops, more air strikes, get in there and get us some Taliban head scarves. Well, Ignatieff has made it clear he's there every step of the way. And don't you believe that silliness he was blathering about development and diplomacy. Iggy thinks NATO is about as useful as a two-legged ox and always has. Where America goes, Iggy goes. Sound familiar? Of course it does!

Isn't this fun?

Of course not everyone has the backbone and reality-warping idealism of an Ignatieff or Harper. Things might go off course. Other people might derail the train. Why, what if a pussy like Bob Rae starts pushing for silly things like diplomacy, compromise, or, god forbid ... talking to people?! Well, once again, there's nothing to worry about. As Harper ignores things like democracy and checks on power, so does Iggy ... why, how do you think he became Liberal leader? A proper election? Pshaw! He seized power by the throat and is about as likely to let it go as a boa might a titmouse. Sound familiar? You bet! Remember, he's Steve to his friends.

So relax. No matter what happens in the next election, there will be a man at the helm who is strong, directed; a man of principles and ideals. More importantly, he'll not be afraid to send his soldiers out to back those ideals, no matter the cost. Because when it comes to paying the price for their ideals, these two aren't afraid to let others pay it ... leadership material if ever there was.

Michael Nickerson is a freelance writer and satirist based in Toronto. His Web site is www.NickersonOnline.com
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Title Annotation:COMMENTARY
Author:Nickerson, Michael
Publication:Esprit de Corps
Date:Jun 1, 2009
Words:804
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