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Michael Ignatieff announces his resignation as Liberal Leader at a post-election news conference in Toronto on May 3, 2011. (Kevin Van Paassen/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)
Michael Ignatieff announces his resignation as Liberal Leader at a post-election news conference in Toronto on May 3, 2011. (Kevin Van Paassen/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)

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Exit, Michael Ignatieff Add to ...

But my concern is that the centre will move to the right. The centre is defined by political action. The centre moves. And it depends on who controls that centre. And Mr. Harper and Mr. Layton, their battle, will define that centre point. And I think it will be very important for the Liberal Party to be in the middle saying, "We know where the centre is. We don't have to pretend to be in the centre. We've always been in the centre and we know where it is." So we'll see how that plays out.

Your feeling is that it's the political party that more defines the centre rather than the voters?

Well, that may appear to be an arrogant assumption, and I don't want to be arrogant. But I think two things are true. I think this country is moderate, pragmatic and deeply egalitarian. So please don't have me saying that without the Liberal Party, all is lost. Please don't do that. That's not what I think. I think that out there the public that I got to know and respect is moderate, pragmatic and egalitarian. And centrist in its basic instincts, non-ideological.

But that character is influenced by the party that help define discourse. And the Liberal Party has played a useful role in reinforcing or contributing to the moderation, pragmatism, egalitarianism and anti-ideological character of the country, and that's why the Liberal Party matters. In other words, it's a double relationship between the party and the people.



My Canada has always revolved around that idea of equality of opportunity and when I look at some of the deepest-rooted causes of stagnation in the United States, it is a radically less equal society, and we've got to watch out that we don't follow the same way.

Well, we are.

And if you followed the message of the front page of the platform, I said let's put equality back at the centre of Canadian life ...

I don't have the sense that that was the conversation you had with Canadians during the election campaign.

Well the message may not have got through, but it was in every speech for 36 days.

What was the filter?

The filter was the horse-race question.

How can we do politics if you can't get those messages through?

Get a better messenger. I mean, really. I may not have been the right messenger because everybody looks at me and says Harvard ...

Is that the real issue here? You were just not the right messenger?

Well, you would have thought that someone associated with highly expensive and pretentious higher education would actually be the right messenger for a passionately egalitarian message about education, for a passionately egalitarian vision of the country. Whatever else is wrong about me, I'm not a snob about this stuff.

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