The summer isn’t over, but we wanted to take a moment to highlight Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and his wife Zsuzsanna’s Zsohar’s travels across the country. They’ve been meeting Canadians by the thousands – listening to their stories, their aspirations and concerns – whether in small communities like Clark’s Harbour, Nova Scotia or large cities like Calgary.
Michael and Zsuzsanna’s summer tour started in late-June with St. Jean Baptiste day visits to Quebec City and St Georges-de-Beauce, where Liberal candidate Claude Morin intends to unseat Conservative Maxime Bernier.
A few days later, Michael and Zsuzsanna spent Canada Day in Edmonton and, since they were in the neighbourhood, they joined over 800 early-risers for the Annual Calgary Stampede Liberal Breakfast in Calgary Centre North (and it’s probably safe to say that that morning, Jim Prentice, who holds the riding, was shaking in his cowboy boots!).
Later in July, Michael and Zsuzsanna’s summer travels took them to the United Kingdom where Michael delivered the Isaiah Berlin lecture at the invitation of Liberal International. The Liberal leader returned from the UK just in time for the height of BBQ season, and spent time touring in Ontario battleground ridings like Barrie, where he was able to draw attention to the leadership community health centres are showing on H1N1 preparedness. Despite the heavy tour schedule, Michael was even able to spend some time in his Etobicoke-Lakeshore riding where Mary Kancer and his constituency team had organized a wonderful community event on July 31.
From there it was off to the Quebec Maritime region with stops in Bas-St-Laurent, Gaspé and Bonaventure. Zsuzsanna and Michael enjoyed some of the regions legendary hospitality and came away truly excited by the prospects of candidates like the indefatigable Nancy Charest, who lost her Haute-Gaspésie – La Mitis – Matane – Matapédia riding by a heartbreaking 609 votes and doesn’t intend to let it happen again.
After a few days back in Ottawa, and some quick stops in Peterborough and London, Ontario, Michael and Zsuzsanna headed East again, this time for a energetic swing which took the leader to Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick. The tour was capped off just a few days ago when the leader took part in the boisterous Tintamarre parade in Caraquet as well as the Acadian festival in Miramichi, in the historically Liberal riding of the same name, which fell to the conservatives in 2008. This year an exceptional crop of nominees is competing for the Liberal candidacy and local Liberals want us to let you all know that. The leader also delivered a major speech to the Saint John Board of Trade, an excerpt of which is below.
Throughout his travels thus far, Michael has been listening to Canadians share their stories and their worries about the direction of the country under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. They told him they want regional fairness when it comes to unemployment benefits, they want answers with respect to access to diagnostic testing and H1N1 and, most of all, they are worried about the state of our economy.
Canadians have sent a clear message to Liberals: Canadians deserve better. And in the weeks ahead, as Michael travels to Yellowknife, Vancouver, Sudbury, and Quebec’s Eastern Townships he will continue to let Canadians know that the era of small-minded, divisive and ineffectual government under Stephen Harper is over; Liberals are ready to deliver capable, reliable, and compassionate government; and it starts with Liberals like you.