Cornwall ON – Polls indicate that the Conservatives might form another government if an election is held today. But Michael Ignatieff who visited Cornwall is trying to change that.
Ignatieff who is the leader of the official opposition in the House of Commons is on a six week tour this summer trying to drum up Liberal support.
Winning ridings like SDSG and having Bernadette Clement elected are key if the Liberals hope to form a government.
The first day of the tour had a rocky start. After stops in Hawkesbury and St. Albert’s where Ignatieff bought cheese, the Liberal boss had a hard time getting to his next stop.
The Liberal bus broke down delaying his visit to Cornwall by about two hours. Later that night Ignatieff would joke that Steven Harper was seen lurking in the shadows with motor oil on his hands.
About 200 loyal Liberal supporters were ready for a summer BBQ, but instead they had to endure rain and a lightning storm.
Before the storm hit, Jim Brownell and Bernadette Clement were shaking hands and mingling with the crowd outside.
Former SDSG Liberal candidate Denis Sabourin was barbequing, while event coordinator and local school teacher Tracy Champagne was setting up Canadian flags and red and white balloons.
When the storm hit, the crowd went inside. Joel Sauve provided entertainment, playing acoustic guitar in the un-air-conditioned building, as Liberal supporters waited patiently for their leader to arrive.
When Ignatieff arrived, the crowd cheered and clapped. Dressed in a plaid shirt, jeans, and boots, he shook hands and talked to Cornwall residents in attendance.
When Clement was on stage, she talked about how the Conservatives represent “the politics of grudge”. She has a vision of Canada where political parties work together instead of holding grudges.
Ignatieff addressed several issues to the Cornwall crowd. He believes governments should invest in infrastructure and children.
Ignatieff made it clear he does not want tax dollars to be wasted like the current government is doing.
He brought up the Conservatives billion dollar boondoggle at the recent G8 and G20 meetings. “I won’t spend a billion dollars on a photo opportunity that shuts down Toronto”.
He also asked the crowd to help the Liberal Party.
“Dig deep, call people, talk to people, talk to that cranky Conservative who lives down the street. The NDP is fine, but they are not going to form government. We need to extend, extend, this big red tent in the centre”.
Ignatieff told the Cornwall crowd he wants Clement elected. “I need Bernadette Clement in the House of Commons. I need you to help me get her their”.
Ignatieff also addressed the issue of the bridge dispute. He said SDSG deserves better than Guy Lauzon.
“The federal government has to get involved, get mediation, we can’t have the Cornwall economy held hostage by this dispute… everyone is critical of Mr. Lauzon‘s absence on this issue.”
According to Ignatieff, “Bernadette Clement has been working hard on this issue and is heavily engaged, and I respect what she’s trying to do”.