Monday, October 16, 2006

From the Teleprompter of Michael Ignatieff

Ladies and Gentlemen, honored guests, protester standing silently at the back of the room with a bag on his head, thank you for coming here today.

It has been almost one year now since I made the difficult decision to immigrate to Canada and run for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. Since that time I have taken clear positions on difficult issues and I have taken difficult positions on clear issues. Unfortunately, many people do not seem to understand what I am talking about. If anyone is at fault here it is me; please bear with me Canada, I am used to teaching the advanced class.

I asked you to come here today so that I may clarify my statements concerning an earlier clarification about a statement I may or may not have meant to make.

As you may know earlier this year my summer vacation overseas was interrupted by a small war between Israel and Lebanon. The fact that my vacation was interrupted by this war is not in doubt. I have made myself unequivocally clear about this point.

After returning to Canada, during a frank discussion about the war, I stated that I was not losing sleep over civilian deaths in Lebanon. Some people wrongly interpreted this to mean that I was not losing sleep over civilian deaths in Lebanon. What I should have said at the time was this: I am not losing sleep over civilian deaths in Lebanon because I suffer from hysterical narcolepsy, a rare neurological disorder. Because of this condition it is not just civilian deaths that I sleep through, but sometimes entire movies and even midair turbulence. I hope now by admitting this condition I will not only clear up this unfortunate Middle East situation but also help the other half dozen of my fellow Americans who suffer from this disorder. For too long we have suffered in silence. Please visit and learn more about this condition. Hysterical narcolepsy – the confusion is real.

Let us now deal with the elephant in the room. While campaigning in Quebec I stated that Israel was guilty of war crimes. Please know I made these comments in French and never intended them to be heard by English voters. Clearly everything I have read about the two solitudes is a fallacy. I now believe that the bridge between French and English Canada is the fluently bilingual Toronto Jew. I encourage them to now join me. In fact I would like to take a moment and speak directly to the good men and women of the Holy Blossom temple in Toronto. I say to you my Jewish friends – it’s Iggy time! (Pause for applause)

Please, please sit. There is more! (Wave finger)

In an effort to keep this story in the media during the coming weeks I have now decided to visit Israel for myself. I think you will agree that the crucial last days of a leadership race is the perfect time for a candidate to leave Canada.

The purpose of this trip will be twofold. Not only will I be able to analyze and solve the Israel Lebanon issue, but I have also requested that the Canada-Israel Committee who is sponsoring this trip arrange a stopover in Paris on the way back so I can get a good meal. I have been in Canada for months now and my friends I am getting antsy. (Chuckle kindly)

When I return from my pilgrimage to the holy land I think you will see a refreshed and tanned Michael Ignatieff, one who is ready to tackle the job of running Canada for all of you. And when I say you, I mean the fishers, the farmers and the Mennonites that make this country strong.

Speaking of Canada, recently a little boy in Canada’s countryside asked me a very intriguing question. “Sir,” he said, “why do you want to run all of Canada?”

I will tell you now what I told him then.

Canada is in my osseous tissue! (pause for applause)

Like you I care about Canadian values and Canadian pastimes. I know what it’s like to clear one’s mind and enjoy the thrust and parry that is found in an exciting ice hockey game. In fact I don’t mind admitting that I have always been, since the 1968 Trudeau leadership campaign in which I was a delegate, a supporter of the Toronto Maple Leafs. My support for the Leafs is something that is pure and true and can never be taken away from me. If there is political price to pay for such an admission I readily accept it. Mesdames et Messieurs, j’aime Les Canadiens. Les Leafs de Toronto sont gay! Vive les Sens! Vive les Sens libre!

I want to thank your for your time today ladies and gentlemen. And on a personal note I would like to thank the numerous people who have sent me letters and cards encouraging me during these recent dark, gaffe riddled days of the campaign. But let me tell you this. When I embarked on this adventure I knew it would not be easy. And when the going gets tough, when I think I cannot bear another conversation with another Canadian or another question about Bob Rae, I simply close my eyes and think of that great Canadian Terry Fox. And it is that image of Terry Fox courageously circling the globe in his wheel chair that gives me the courage to move forward.

(Pause for really really big round of applause)

Thank you for your support

I embrace you!