Michael Ignatieff’s early honeymoon with Canadians augured great promise for his prospects. But that honeymoon now appears to be over, at least according to Strategic Counsel principal Peter Donolo. And Donolo is rarely wrong.
The jury is still out on whether Canadians will say yes to Ignatieff. But one thing is clear: Ignatieff remains very much in the hunt and could well be the next camper to pitch his tent at 24 Sussex. He’s got a lot of work to do before that day ever comes, though.
Were I advising Ignatieff, I would encourage him to begin to roll out names of prominent women and men from outside Parliament whom he would invite to join his Cabinet in leading portfolios like finance, justice, foreign affairs and defence. He has already begun doing that, as this report from Jane Taber suggests. But he should do more of it — starting at the end of August, as cottage season ends, yet still long (?) before an election is called — and he should do it in a systematic and very public way. In individual campaign-style announcements followed by press conferences, he should stand next to each new prominent candidate as each expounds on his/her views, plans, and goals for their respective ministries.
This strategy could prove useful in two ways. First, it would demonstrate that Ignatieff is unafraid to surround himself with competent, qualified and outspoken people. This would draw attention once again to the perception/reality that Stephen Harper muzzles his caucus colleagues and trusts neither them nor their ability. Second, it would sharpen the contrast between what some regard as the strong liberal bench and the relatively weaker team that the governing party is currently fielding.
Just some friendly advice for the Ignatieff team.
What advice would you give Ignatieff? (Apart from ignoring my own advice, that is!)