Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff is looking to take a break from his troubles on Parliament Hill in the new year by returning to the ivory tower, sorta.
No, he’s not leaving politics for the sanctuary of an academic posting, he’s going to visit 11 university campuses during the second week of January to speak with students. The Liberal news release is available here.
Last year, both Jack Layton and Elizabeth May conducted speaking tours visiting campuses across the country. May’s visits were extremely successful in generating media coverage for her and, to a lesser extent, her party.
With Iggy needing to rebrand himself and rebuild his party, visiting campuses seems like a smart move. Combined with the “Canada at 150: Rising to the Challenge” conference his party is organizing to occur in Montreal during March, it appears the Liberals may be embracing Ignatieff’s intellectual nature and promoting themselves as the party of thinkers.
One of the downfalls of Stephane Dion was the failure of the Liberals to embrace Dion’s intellectual nature and to make that a positive about him. Instead, they tried to hide this and Dion appeared to be fake to the public. I remember meeting Dion during his first visit to Hamilton as Liberal leader. I remember distinctly how awkward he was and how he tried to make statements that reflected what spin doctors were advising him to say instead of what he thought.
The Liberal Party of Canada has an opportunity to rebrand Ignatieff in the new year. The question is if they create an image for Ignatieff or if they embrace the academic that Ignatieff is.
I’m hoping to interview Ignatieff during his stop at McMaster University in Hamilton. I’ve emailed my contacts in the party to attempt to arrange this. With this in mind, what post-secondary education related questions do you want Ignatieff to answer? (Keep in mind, I’m going to be lucky to get one-on-one. In all likelihood, I’ll be asking these questions in the middle of a media scrum.)