Open mic with Ignatieff

The Law, Society and Justice program invited guest speaker Michael Ignatieff for an “Open Mike” session

By: Jonathan Feist

Michael Ignatieff, leader of Canada’s Official Opposition, gave a well attended “Open Mike” session alongside Liberal MP Marlene Jennings and Liberal Candidate Phillipe Allard on Monday, presented by the Law, Society and Justice Profile.

As Multicultural Week at Dawson comes to an end, the Liberal leader once again reminded students of the unique nature of our country, and of the abundance of different races and cultures present in the room.

Ignatieff immediately recognized Dawson’s courage and solidarity upon taking the stage, addressing the 2006 shooting, and expressed his support of gun control in Canada.

Students, staff, and outside visitors alike lined up the length of the multi-purpose room to ask the Liberal Leader a wide array of questions, ranging from Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, to anti-retroviral drug accessibility in Africa, and the recent 16-billion dollar contract for fighter jets in the Canadian military.

Ignatieff made it very clear from the beginning that one of his key priorities is post-secondary education across the board, stating he would “make an extremely substantial proposal directed at making post-secondary education more effective and accessible.” He noted that “this range of culture and race is not possible in any other country. Everyone is equal, and I want to make sure no one is excluded from education.”

“I don’t have 20 priorities. I have about three, and one of them is post-secondary education,” he said.

“Mr. Ignatieff promoted funding for post-secondary education on concrete grounds rather than on an ambiguous notion of ‘the right to education’,” Corey Lesk, a third semester Pure and Applied Science student, said. “He spoke about several issues reasonably and with foresight.”

At Iganatieff’s side was Liberal MP Marlene Jennings, who elaborated on Ignatieff’s responses on occasion.

“Mrs. Jennings’ insistence that several of the population’s concerns, such as the treatment of animals in industrial farms, were being addressed by committees and inquiries inspired little confidence,” Lesk said.

“Mr. Ignatieff is to be commended for traveling the country holding these ‘Open Mike’ forums, while our Prime Minister refuses to take questions from the media,” Benjamin Berman, University of Montreal student, said. “Many politicians attempt to run from giving tough answers with double talk and vagueness, but in general, I do have the impression that Mr. Ignatieff gave thoughtful and honest answers to questions,” he said.

In closing, Ignatieff stated the importance for Canadians to have a political system that we believe in.

“Our place here is brief, our time is short, our goal is to make sure that someone in this room thinks ‘he’s up there now, but I’m going to be up there next time’,” he said.

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