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Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff is known for his charm, good looks and big ideas, Michael Valpy wrote in Saturday's Globe.

But he also admits to ruthlessness. He has hurt those who loved him most.

And after decades abroad, he now wants to become the leader of this country.

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Mr. Valply spent months talking to Mr. Ignatieff's friends and family, fans and foes, as well as the candidate himself in order to write Being Michael Ignatieff , the first in The Globe's series of profiles of the Liberal leadership candidates.

Mr. Valpy was our guest earlier today to take your questions about Mr. Ignatieff and the race to success Paul Martin.

The questions and answers can be found at the bottom of this page.

Mr. Valpy is a senior writer for The Globe and Mail.

He began his journalistic career on The Vancouver Sun and became that newspaper's associate editor and national political columnist. For The Globe and Mail, he has been a member of the editorial board, Ottawa political columnist, Africa correspondent, deputy managing editor and columnist on social and political issues.

He has produced public affairs documentaries for CBC Radio, written for Maclean's, Elm Street, Policy Options and Time (Canada) magazines, won three national newspaper awards, co-authored two books on Canada's Constitution -- The National Deal (1982) and To Match A Dream (1998) -- and one on Canada's emerging generation of adults (New Canada (2003). Trent University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1997.

Editor's Note: globeandmail.com editors will read and allow or reject each question/comment. Comments/questions may be edited for length or clarity. HTML is not allowed. We will not publish questions/comments that include personal attacks on participants in these discussions, that make false or unsubstantiated allegations, that purport to quote people or reports where the purported quote or fact cannot be easily verified, or questions/comments that include vulgar language or libellous statements. Preference will be given to readers who submit questions/comments using their full name and home town, rather than a pseudonym.

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Jim Sheppard, Executive Editor, globeandmail.com: Michael, thanks very much for joining us today to take questions from the readers of globeandmail.com about your profile in Saturday's Globe of Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff. You've known Mr. Ignatieff for a long time and followed his career. So I guess I'd like to know first if - during the months you spent researching and writing this exhaustive profile - you learned anything that surprised you or that you did not expect. If so, what was it?

Michael Valpy: The most surprising thing didn't have to do with Michael Ignatieff directly. It is the extent to which the class system still exists in Britain. It came up over and over again in conversations with his friends in London, especially on the subject of his former wife - who was identified immediately by her British acquaintances, but never by her Canadian acquaintances, as working class - and on the subject of the 1984 coal miners' strike in Britain. I had thought class differences in Britain were melting away. It goes to show that, even in the global village, you've got to be actually on the ground some place to understand the culture.

Peter Morley, Vancouver: Hi Mr. Valpy. My question has to do with Ignatieff and Iraq. Nobody questions Ignatieff's intelligence or his knowledge of history and foreign policy theory. I believe he even did "on the ground" journalism during the Yugoslavian civil war - a somewhat analogous example of an ethnically polarized state held together by a strong-arm dictator. I understand also that an intellectually honest human rights advocate could become a bit disillusioned with the political correctness that only seems to justify intervention in retrospect. You mention in your article that Ignatieff supported the Iraq war but opposed Bush's prosecution of the war. What would he have done differently? Did he/does he firmly believe that his choice of methods would have led to a different result for Iraqis and for West/Middle East relations? Why? Would he divide Iraq into ethnic states as happened with Yugoslavia or try to keep it together? Why or why not? Most importantly, if he were prime minister in 2002, would he have sent Canadian troops to Iraq? Why or why not? Thanks very much!

Michael Valpy: Mr. Morley, there's no doubt in my mind that, as prime minister, Mr. Ignatieff would have supported the Iraqi invasion. He has been absolutely consistent over the past 20 years in developing a doctrine of military intervention in "failed states" for the protection of humans whose governments will not or cannot protect them.

His criticism of the Bush prosecution has been on the grounds cited for the invasion - the false information on weapons of mass destruction - and the Bush administration's failure to adequately anticipate the post-invasion problems.

What Mr. Ignatieff would have done differently, presumably, is not make those mistakes. My understanding of his position is that he would support the federal structure now being put in place rather than carve up the country into ethnic states.

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Robert Boschman, Calgary: I had no reservations about Michael Ignatieff until I read Valpy's piece. Ignatieff is probably the most accomplished individual to enter the Canadian political scene since Trudeau in the 1960s. But Trudeau came with his longtime friends, and there was never any question - as far as I can recall - of allowing ambition to come before friendship and family. If Valpy is accurate, and there is no reason to suspect he is not, Michael Ignatieff, gifted as he is, may be unable to form the long-term alliances and bonds necessary to govern over many years. My fear would be that, with Ignatieff as PM, Canadians would be vulnerable - after all, we are a family as well. So my questions are: Does Michael Ignatieff love Canada? Can he really see beyond himself and have a vision for Canada that transcends the ambitions and desires of one individual or one community or one province, as PET arguably did?

Michael Valpy: What interesting questions along with your interesting observations, Mr. Boschman. Human beings are endlessly complex and there is a limit to the psychological understanding any of us can have of someone else. In the interview I did with Mr. Ignatieff, he talked about his strong romantic love for the country and its symbols. In his speeches I've read, this theme of romantic bonding with the country is ever-present. He is a highly intelligent man with a scholar's and writer's love of ideas.

Yes, I think he's capable of having a vision of the country that transcends one individual, one community and one province.

Al Forone, Toronto: First, I think - no, I know - that ruthlessness is a necessary, but not sufficient, precondition for effective political leadership. It's the difference between Jean Chrétien and the failed shmoo Paul Martin, and between Bill Clinton and his failed shmoo predecessor and successor candidates. Assuming the precondition of enough egotism and ruthlessness, and that a voter accepts Ignatieff's general Liberal conception of Canada and its government and despises the Tories, I still can't find anything in your long and admirable biographical piece that suggests he has ever administered a functional organization larger than a few grad students on a research grant. Ideology aside, we have seen the U.S.A. screwed up badly by a coterie of think-tank types who can't run a corner store. Can this guy run a railroad?

Michael Valpy: You've kind of nailed it, Mr. Forone. But then Trudeau had only run a law class - and then been justice minister for less than a year - before he became prime minister. One of the things that's intrigued me about the Liberal leadership campaign is our puzzling about whether politicians are, properly, a professional group of people with specific skill-sets that it takes them time to develop. Or whether they can just come in off the street, so to speak, and lead a country. One would have thought Paul Martin was supremely experienced and skilled at being a politician and could effortlessly have moved into the Langevin Block. But apparently he wasn't.

Curiously Liberal: Hi Michael, I'm a blogger and a Liberal party member. I wanted to ask you about two issues: Ignatieff is a writer first and foremost. Had he never stepped beyond the bounds of the writing life, no journalist would have called his desire to mine his family's and his own life's history "baffling." It is an accepted part, indeed, a cliché, of the profession. Some of the most-moving passages come from Ignatieff's younger brother, Andrew. However, while these quotations are highlighted throughout the article (as pull-quotes), they come from just two sources: an interview Andrew had with The Globe's Sandra Martin in 1992 and an essay Andrew wrote in 1994, which you note is the last public comment Andrew had made about his older brother. You write: "Andrew Ignatieff gave a speech at their wedding, thanking her for creating a space where he and Michael could finally meet as brothers. He has told friends in Toronto that he feels Michael has changed: The ruthlessness has gone." This is the closest we get to Andrew's current perspective. Yet Andrew's earlier quotes (from 12 years earlier) are given the most weight in the article, and are used liberally by you. On the whole, this article is a piece of very fine writing, but I do think you erred in the use of Andrew's quotes. They provide the firmest evidence of your theme of "ruthlessness," but the theme is a device, used to introduce an element of frisson to the question of the kind of man Michael Ignatieff is. True ruthlessness would require that you dish the dirt on the accusations, Machiavellian plots, and character assassinations that Ignatieff has initiated on his opponents (because the truth is, Ignatieff, himself, has consistently been the target of such actions). But such ruthlessness doesn't seem to exist - does it? For me, the most compelling thing about Ignatieff's writing is his compassion, the way in which he seeks to name the obligations we, despite being strangers, owe to another, as human beings.

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Michael Valpy: That's a thorough and intelligent analysis of my article. But keep in mind, first, that the most powerful words on Michael Ignatieff's ruthlessness come not from Andrew but from Michael himself, and he doesn't say: "Well, that's all over and done now."

He says he has got to learn not to make others pay the price for his ruthlessness. Second, there indeed were comments of bafflement made about Michael Ignatieff's writing about his family while he was still within the bonds of writing life. Sandra Martin herself professed some bafflement about what he was doing in the 1992 Saturday Night article.

Pro Canada, Toronto: Mr. Valpy: Many people have the impression that Mr. Ignatieff is only willing to serve from the very top. Do you think he will stay in politics if he doesn't become the leader of the Liberal party?

Michael Valpy: I don't know. The question has been raised by others. I didn't ask him that and I should have.

Barbara J. Stewart, Vancouver: Great article, Mr. Valpy. Congratulations. Given your own long-term interest in religious issues (and the concomitant dilemmas they give rise to in our secular society) do you have any sense of Michael Ignatieff's engagement in faith beyond academic principles of ethics? If the death of Iraqi civilians does not cause him to lose sleep, what - other than his rather Chekhovian pensées about his own family -: does?

Michael Valpy: He is not a churchy guy, Ms. Stewart. I think he occasionally attends a Russian Orthodox service with his brother, but that's it. But there are spiritual sides to him - the idea of "belonging" to family, to community, in order to understand who you are. And the idea of being your brother's keeper. I think he got a bum rap in the media on the "not going to lose any sleep" quote.

What he was trying to say was that there was nothing new about civilians being killed in war, and he simply reached for an unfortunate phrase to make that point. If you look at the full context of the sleep quote, it's clear what he's saying.

Franklin Jensen, Toronto: Mr. Valpy, why did you not address Ignatieff's declared allegiance to the U.S.A. as shown in the article he wrote for Granta magazine in 2002. Here are two quotes:

"I loved my own country, but I believed in America in a way that Canada never allowed."

"America is the only country whose promises to itself continue to command the faith of people like me, who are not its citizens.?"

Here's a link to the article .

Editor's Note: The first quotation above is a fragment of an article Mr. Ignatieff wrote about why he marched against the war in Vietnam. This is the full quote: "I'm a Canadian, but it was inevitable that the great cause of my growing up was an American war, not a Canadian wrong. I loved my own country, but I believed in America in a way that Canada never allowed. I was against the [Vietnam]war because I thought it betrayed something essential about the country. I marched because I believed in Jefferson and Lincoln."

Michael Valpy: Mr. Jensen, I'm familiar with the quotes. I elected not to use them because my article was weighing in around 15,000 words and some things had to be omitted. I also, when I thought about the quotes, wondered just how important they are to understanding Michael Ignatieff. What he's saying in that Granta article are two things - one, that unlike many Canadians he's not an anti-American; and two, that America has something for him that Canada doesn't - great heroic values stated by some of its greatest leaders.

And don't you think he's kind of right? Brian Mulroney's roll-the-dice statement is not up there with the Gettysburg Address and the comments we remember most from Trudeau don't come from Federalism and the French Canadians or his wonderful constitutional patriation speech in the Commons - it's "Fuddle Duddle" and "Why should I sell your wheat?"

Steve Walker, Toronto: Mr. Valpy, Michael Ignatieff has a powerful passion for human rights and is not opposed to using justifiable force in order to protect the victims of unbridled aggression. With this in mind, Ignatieff would have used justifiable force to thwart the Rwandan genocide as well as the holocaust of World War II. If I am right in reading Ignatieff, do you think his justification for force is alienating some Canadians - those who believe that the extent of our humanity ends when force is required?

Michael Valpy: Mr. Walker, yes unquestionably some Canadians will be alienated by Mr. Ignatieff's advocacy of force qua force. But I think more to the point, what alienates many Canadians is the way in which Mr. Ignatieff would exercise that force. Canadians almost instinctively understand that acting multilaterally is major protection of the country's sovereignty against American domination. If the United Nations General Assembly had authorized the Iraq invasion, the objection in Canada would have been miniscule in comparison to what it is.

Barry Mack, St. Lambert, Que: His PhD thesis suggests that Dr. Ignatieff views the world through utilitarian lenses ('A Just Measure of Pain' i.e., he thinks in terms of some sort of pain/pleasure calculus). It this a fair assessment?

Michael Valpy: Mr. Mack, I'm not an expert on Dr. Ignatieff's thesis. But my understanding of it is that it was an examination of how far the state could go to maintain social order and safety - an intellectual inquiry totally in keeping with his belief that social order is not maintained by some kind of liberal consensual agreement but rather it's maintained by violence, and the question is: What are the limits to that violence.

R. Carriere, Maritimes: What does Ignatieff need to do to change his image of being a right-of-center academic only, who spent the most part of his life outside Canada and appears to back the Harper foreign policy?

Michael Valpy: Likely more than declare himself to be on the centre-left of the Liberal Party. But, in fact, he's saying things - on the environment, for example - that distinctly move him away from the right and from the Harper government.

Zippy Pinhead, Vineland, Ont.: Michael, everyone is talking about [similarities with]Trudeau. But to me, Ignatieff seems more like John Kerry - equivocal Great Society rhetoric on the home front and speaking power to truth on international affairs, especially re: American adventurism, which Ignatieff seems to accept and rationalize. Do you think an Ignatieff victory will move Canadian political culture still further to the militarized right?

Michael Valpy: It would certainly accelerate our departure from the peacekeeping nice-guy image which Mr. Ignatieff declares is useless in the contemporary world. He wouldn't call it a move toward the militarized right. And, you know, something that tends to get overlooked is that he has said Canada's government should be more outspokenly critical of the United States when it thinks that U.S. is wrong.

Margaret Ethier, Edmonton: And Michael Ignatieff's vision for Canada is? How is Michael Ignatieff going to make Canada a better place to live? And which methods does Michael Ignatieff propose so that Canada can make the world a better place to live? Does he want to be Prime Minister in order to fulfil some goal for Canada, or some goal for himself?

Michael Valpy: Political scientist Denis Smith, in his forthcoming book on Mr. Ignatieff - Ignatieff's World: A Liberal Leader for the Twenty-First Century? - has a wonderful line. It says: "Mr. Ignatieff's domestic record is impeccable because it is empty."

Mary Davis, Montreal: If Michael Ignatieff will not lose any sleep over the killing of Lebanese children, what will he lose sleep over? How does he define a war crime? A crime against humanity? Are some peoples' lives more valuable than others?

Michael Valpy: Ms. Davis, as I wrote earlier in this discussion, from the full context of the "not losing any sleep" quote, it's clear that Mr. Ignatieff was trying to say that there was nothing new about children and civilians being killed in war. But what he did was pick an unfortunate phrase to get his point across. He's since apologized for his choice of words.

Jack Ryan, Toronto/Calgary: Mr. Valpy, thank you for an incredible article that is almost unparalleled in depth and research in print media these days. My question for you is regarding the stereotypes surrounding Michael Ignatieff. Two of the most prevalent are that he doesn't know enough about Canada because he has lived elsewhere for nearly three decades and that he is a "neo-con" or "right-winger" because he has broken the left-wing mould on Iraq and Afghanistan. I have seen dozens of Michael's speeches in person, and the impression I get is that he knows Canada better than virtually any Canadian I have met. I also think that his past views on issues such as Iraq - right or wrong - were truly born out of his commitment to human rights and the hope of one day extending these rights to all humans. My question is: Can Michael Ignatieff overcome these stereotypes in the public sphere as he has, so far, been able to do in Liberal spheres? For the most part, the public does not have the time or the motive to research and understand Michael as Liberals have. Who do you think will prevail when, and if, it comes to Michael fighting an election as leader of the Liberal Party: Michael or the stereotypes?

Michael Valpy: Thanks for your comment about the article, Mr. Ryan. I agree with you that Mr. Ignatieff demonstrates no shortage of knowledge about Canada. I think the more substantive case against him is that he's not been part of the debates that have shaped Canadian public policy over the past three decades - a point he acknowledged and accepted in 2000 when he delivered the CBC Massey lectures on human rights in Canada and called himself "a visitor from a distant planet."

My sense of his campaign is that the absent-from-Canada issue is fading a bit and that, while most Canadians disagree with his views on Iraq and Afghanistan, they find credible the arguments he has made in defence of his positions.

Nevertheless, here is where his absence from the country does hurt him: If he had been in Canada when he made his comments on Iraq, I think he would have been more at pains to shape those comments in the context of Canadian sensitivities. But that's me looking at him as a journalist. I don't know clearly how Liberals are looking at him.

Alpha Omega: As Ignatieff has written, he is supportive of indefinite detention of suspects, coercive interrogations (a.k.a. "torture"), targeted assassinations, even pre-emptive war, and has lived in the U.S. for over 30 years. How is Ignatieff going to convince Canadians that he is a peace loving "Canadian" who protects human rights - not someone who will intellectualize the permissiveness of violating human rights?

Michael Valpy: What Mr. Ignatieff is trying to say - and what he has said consistently for years (most recently in his book, Lesser Evils) - is that protection of human rights and the quest for peace can require violence and the other actions you have listed. What the media, the academics, his political opponents and thoughtful Canadians everywhere have got to do is examine his arguments for flaws, examine them for deviation from Canadian values, and decide if they're acceptable or not. We paralyzed ourselves as a country for four years debating whether Trudeau was right on the Constitution and never arrived at a consensus. But at least there was a thorough inquiry, and Canadians understood the trade-offs involved. Myself, I'm looking forward to reading Denis Smith's book.

David Gehring, Ottawa: Hi, Michael, interesting article. Most of us who casually follow politics are aware of Ignatieff's credentials and foreign policy stance. However, as he has little experience in the political arena, I am still wondering where he stands on economic and social issues such as taxation levels, debt management, health care, education and so on.

Michael Valpy: I'm not ducking your question, but he's got a pretty good website that sets out his policy positions.

Bob Adamson, Victoria, B.C.: Michael, your weekend article portrays a man who is driven to assume difficult and demanding roles but who often abandons a role so attained callously and abruptly after a certain interval after attainment. Talented, engaged and charismatic though he is during the attainment phase, he appears not only ruthless but also remote and irresponsible once an attained role has lost its allure and the point of rupture arrives (nice though he may thereafter want to be or appear). Am I too harsh or have I misunderstood your portrayal?

Would this not be especially problematic if he became leader of the federal Liberal Party, given that he has no direct electoral or parliamentary experience, is not intimately familiar with the inner workings of that party or federal-provincial relations and has little recent direct personal experience of how the various elements of Canadian society respond to situations?

Michael Valpy: You're taking my thesis a little farther and deeper than I'm comfortable with. But in general, I think your inferences are valid, and certainly your final question is. Peter C. Newman has argued in The Globe that the Liberal Party has had a history of reaching out to outsiders to revive the party. But that was when governing Canada both domestically and internationally was a lot simpler than it is now.

William T., Chilliwack, B.C.: I believe Western Canada is rising in prominence in this resource-hungry world, and the central and eastern parts of this country, with their manufacturing-based economies, are beginning to fade. Ignatieff seems to have ties with the eastern elites, but it sounds to me that he would have no idea whatsoever about what matters west of Lake Superior. Is this a correct assumption?

Michael Valpy: Interestingly enough, he found teaching history at UBC in the 1970s "impossible" because the texts he had didn't deal with the country west of Lake Superior. Look, I don't think it is possible for anyone to aspire to leadership of a national party in Canada and be identified with only one group, one community, one set of values. That is just not realistic. The nature of the country is, in great part, its regions. Ignore those, and you've got a really short political future.

Brian Lowry, Fredericton, N.B.: Thank you for the extraordinary article on Michael Ignatieff. At times, you seemed to imply that Mr. Ignatieff bristles when it is suggested he is part of the Canadian patrician class. And yet, as a graduate of Upper Canada College, he surely is. Is this just a convenient pretence?

Michael Valpy: A good question. He certainly dismissed one suggestion that he was "a scion of the aristocracy." Granted, we're a reasonably - and thankfully - classless society in Canada but not entirely, and if anyone belongs to the country's so-called patrician class, it's him.

John Sarsfield, Japan: A probing examination of Ignatieff's past. How is it that such an unknown entity could be a serious contender for the leadership of the Liberal Party? Furthermore, which powerful people are supporting and financing him? Does some of his support come from outside the country?

Michael Valpy: There's the mythology around that at times political parties can be saved only by the "fresh face" from "outside." Which explains in part why Mr. Ignatieff is the titular frontrunner in the Liberal leadership campaign - but only in part; the guy is also really bright and has accomplished a lot with his life. Many of the people supporting him belong to the party establishment. If you're suggesting, with your last question, that outside cash and organizational help are also coming his way, I don't think so. I mean, it would be the kiss of death if it ever came to light.

A. Thur, Toronto: Hello Michael. Thank you for the fascinating article on Ignatieff. My question are: 1) Do you think a person like him can connect with the electorate? His personality seems very similar to that of Harper. 2) Why did he acknowledge his ruthlessness to you? It seems like a very unpolitical interview - none of the "happy family life, great father" type of political spin.

Michael Valpy: I don't find him charismatic. I do find him exceptionally intelligent, articulate and interesting. Why did he acknowledge the ruthlessness to me? I think there are two explanations, three maybe: (1) He wanted to demonstrate that he is a tough guy and ruthless enough to be a politician; (2) He wasn't thinking about what he was saying; (3) He had a sense of who I would have been talking to about him and what they'd told me and he decided to meet that head-on. There's a possible fourth explanation, too - that he wanted me to write an accurate profile and was helping me out. I don't know. The quote did accurately capture what I'd been told about him.

Jim Sheppard, Executive Editor, globeandmail.com: Michael, this is an edited version of a question from Michael Behiels: Dear Michael Valpy, an excellent article on "Iggy!" This debate over whether the Quebec sub-state and not the Francophone community of Quebec is a nation, is not, as Mr Harper deceptively argues, purely semantic. Before throwing my support behind [any]candidacy, I await further clarifications of this most crucial of issues. [Could you please tell me if Mr. Ignatieff has a defined position on this question] Thanks a million.

Michael Valpy: Prof. Behiels, I hope Mr. Ignatieff is reading this and can weigh in with his own response. I don't know the answer.

Maya Saidit, Toronto: Mr. Valpy, did you seek to speak with Michael Ignatieff's children directly? If so what did they say? If not, how did you get any information on them?

Michael Valpy: I attempted to speak to Mr. Ignatieff's children directly and was unsuccessful. I talked to other people about them and used only information that I trusted. This is not a question I expected. Why are you asking?

Jonathan Ross, Vancouver: Is Michael's past experiences in international affairs, academia, and people in general, serve as an asset or a barrier to connecting with average Canadians?

Michael Valpy: An intriguing question. I'd say on balance an asset. (Also add in his past experience as a writer and TV personality.) He apparently was a dazzling lecturer at Harvard. Canadians want their politicians to be intelligent. He is. I watched him at an all-candidates meeting during the last election campaign do a superb job of talking to people about one issue in particular - youth violence - that his opponents for the most part had blown off with banalities. I've also seen him - once - be pretty banal himself. I think when he works at, he has the ability to connect with people very well.

Jason Townshend, Halifax: Mr. Valpy, Given the ideological tenor of works like "The Needs of Strangers" and "The Rights Revolution," do you find it strange that Ignatieff is being aggressively painted as being on "the right" of the Liberal Party?

Michael Valpy: You know this is a really good point you raise. I am increasingly having trouble with these left-right labels. The cant that Needs of Strangers and Rights Revolution make him a squishy-soft liberal but Iraq makes him a right-wing hawk just doesn't work all that well. For one thing, Needs of Strangers is more Blair New Labour than my understanding of what "left" means.

Andrea Dillon, Montreal: Mr. Valpy, given that you've spent a great deal of time researching Mr. Ignatieff's varied career, what best qualifies him for the leadership of the Liberal Party in your estimation? What would you say to those who characterize him as little more than an ivory tower academic? It's clear after reading your piece that Mr. Ignatieff could never be pigeonholed as such, yet that narrow perception still persists. Thanks very much for your response. Michael Valpy: Ms. Dillon, in a way I feel awkward answering your question because my role in life (and certainly at The Globe) is not to go around publicly placing my imprimatur on candidates for political office. What I like about Michael Ignatieff is his intelligence and knowledge and his intentionality. He's accomplished an awful lot with the instrument of himself. Most people, myself among them, drift through life. He hasn't. Do those attributes "best qualify" him for leadership of his party? I don't know. I do feel comfortable saying that Canada is fortunate having people of his accomplishments wanting to enter public life. That probably doesn't help you. I do agree with you on your next point. I don't think he's simply an ivory tower academic (about whom there's nothing inherently wrong). He's a genuine public intellectual who wants to engage the world in its public squares.

Kelly Regan, Halifax: Mr. Valpy, thank you for your in-depth piece on Saturday. I confess to being puzzled by some people's vehemence that Michael Ignatieff has spent 'his whole adult life' in the U.S. - which isn't true. I don't understand why anyone would think a lack of ambition would be a good thing, or why following one's career to interesting places would be anything but a plus. I'd prefer to have a leader who has travelled a bit and perhaps even lived outside the country. In your opinion, why all the fuss? Does it say something about us?

Michael Valpy: All good questions, Ms. Regan. I think the substantive issue is whether he has the political smarts, the political experience, to govern Canada at home and in international circles. He may know everything there is to know about the Alberta and Quebec fiscal situations and health-care programs, but does he have the strategic craftiness to deal with a Ralph Klein or a Jean Charest, and at the G8 summits is he going to get sandbagged by George W?

Jim Sheppard, Executive Editor, globeandmail.com: Michael, thank you again for joining us today and for offering even more of your insights into Michael Ignatieff. Any last comments?

Michael Valpy: Jim, thanks for having me on globeandmail.com. I think it's wonderfully healthy for democracy when Canadians seriously engage themselves in discussing the qualifications of candidates for political office. I've been fascinated by the questions asked this afternoon.

Jim Sheppard, Executive Editor, globeandmail.com: To our readers, we're sorry that we could not answer all of the more than 100 questions you submitted today. If you have further comments to make on this discussion, on Mr. Valpy's article on Mr. Ignatieff, or on Mr. Ignatieff himself, please submit them in the usual way for consideration by our editors.

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