In today's Globe and Mail, Micheal Ignatieff offers a response to those despicable attack ads that Conservatives ran from the day he became Liberal leader until the day he resigned that post -- the ones that ended with the tagline, "he didn't come back for you."
Even though the ads sought to paint Ignatieff as some kind of untrustworthy oddity, Ignatieff reminds his readers that "nearly three million Canadians -- 9 percent of the population," live and work outside Canada:
Most of these expatriates are in the United States, but you can find Canadians everywhere: on oil rigs offshore in Ghana, in NGOs in African villages, hunkered down at United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, and in brokerage houses in Frankfurt, London and Beijing. Increasing numbers of our expatriates were born outside Canada, came to this country and now have moved on, taking their citizenship with them.
The Conservatives would have you believe that they are deadbeats -- freeloaders. They argue that once you leave, you can't come home again. There is, writes Ignatieff, "a weird insinuation: Why would anyone come home, unless you were just in it for yourself?" The Harperites have turned the old Canadian inferiority complex on its head and used it as a weapon. Returning home is a sign of failure, both internationally and domestically.
It is yet another sign that the Conservatives are a party of the old -- led by a fifty-two year old prime Minister who is so much older than his years.. He and they simply do not understand the young. Ignatieff writes:
So many of the young Canadians I meet want to be global citizens. They want to be expatriates. They want a life that includes a couple of years in Mumbai or Shanghai, a summer teaching English in Tanzania, a year or longer working for some company in South Korea.
Young Canadians know which way the world is going, and they want to be out there, at the heart of the action. They are thinking about what a good life looks like and they know a good life might take them beyond our borders. Some won’t come home again, but others will, because they realize being away made them more Canadian, not less.
Ignatieff has his eye on the future. Harper dreams of resurrecting the past.