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Stephen Wicary writes: Lawrence, what do you think about Ignatieff's style of leadership compared to that of his predecessor and that of the Prime Minister?
Lawrence Martin: Hi Andrea, I think you will see the Harper government trying to be more non-partisan. As evidenced with the budget, Harper may have learned a lesson form his near-death experience after his idiotic economic update a couple of months ago. Of course there have been other times when he has appeared to be changing his attitude, only to revert back to the old autocratic style. So we'll have to see.
Ignatieff won't be as brutally partisan as some. But he will be tough and because he is so articulate and strong compared to the previous Liberal nleader, Harper will have a much more difficult time in getting away with running roughshod over the system.
Godfried Wasser writes: Mr. Ignatieff did the only common sense he could do. Mr. Martin, you try to give it the spin of brilliance but sorry, that is not the case. Comparing Mr. Ignatieff with the 'Great Communicator' Pierre Trudeau shows an ignorance regarding Canada's East-West divide -- a lingering product of the Trudeau Liberals.
I sorely hope that Mr. Ignatieff can bring a more middle-of-the-road view to Canada, although Stephen Harper has already been dragged in that direction by political opinion and the short term panicked views of Canadians. This panicked view stoked by the Canadian media and the insistence by the Dion Liberals on 'doing something' is not very constructive.
I hope that Mr. Ignatieff brings a more mature influence to Canadian politics where long-term vision and pragmatic government are in balance. Thirteen years in power is too long and results in the corruption displayed by the Chretien Liberals and by the Alberta Tories in the final years of Klein. In four years it is time for Prime Minister Ignatieff and for a fresh political vision that is hopefully uniting rather than divisive for Canada.
Stephen Wicary: Lawrence, Godfried hits a note our colleague Gary Mason struck in his column this morning -- that of Western alienation and the tough slog the Liberals face in British Columbia and Alberta. Do you think Ignatieff can make any gains in either of those provinces?
Lawrence Martin: Hi Godfried, no one was saying it was brilliant. Reasonable woudl be a better term.
You're correct on the point that he has to put in place a new national vision for the party.
The Liberals don't deserve to return to power solely ont he basis of the significant deficiencies of the Conservatives. They need to give the country a coherent sense of direction - something it hasn't had in a long time.
Stephen Wicary: We're about of time. Thanks to you, Lawrence, and to all our readers who wrote in.