As a liberal, I have a hard time embracing Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party of Canada. And it is all boiling down to one point, he's not a leader, he's a follower.
Michael Ignatieff is still an enigma. I have no idea what principles will guide him if he ever becomes Prime Minister. The LPC is starting to release policy planks, but that is not the same thing. I don't have the time to figure out what he stands for based on the nuances of the policies they are proposing. (And no, this doesn't cut it: http://www.liberal.ca/issues/#) From what I see, these policies are crafted to garner votes, they do not reflect a core set of values that guide the creation of these policies, it is a bottom-up reactive approach. Thus he is following, nut leading.
There are two automatic responses to these comments. First, "Catelli, where you been, this has been the Liberal party all along!" Fine, I'm a little slow OK? But I still find Ignatieff more of an enigma than Chretien and Martin (and Turner) were. And everyone knew what Dion stood for.
Second, is what is wrong with reacting to voters wishes, that's what a democracy is for, right?
That one is a little more complex, but I think that has it backwards. I still believe that leaders should lead. We as voters, choose to follow. If all MPs actually just did what us voters wanted, we wouldn't need political parties. Just regular mass polling and let the majority decide what to do.
We have parties with leaders for a reason. They are to lay out a vision of Canada (or a province, or municipality) that allows us to choose which vision we agree with that we want to follow. They can then lay out the policies as examples of implementing that vision, to put meat on the bones so to speak.
What I have seen from Ignatieff is a flailing approach of creating policies to appeal to voters without a grand unifying vision of the future. Which means that his only principle is to win elections by garnering popularity.
Well we already have a PM that does that, his name is Stephen Harper, and look how well that is working for him. And, as others will be quick to point out, that is how the LPC got itself into the current mess it is in.