Tuesday, November 29, 2005

24: A Race Against Time and Democracy

What can one do but laugh out loud at Team Martin’s latest contribution to the Democratic Deficit, i.e. the 24-hour nomination period in the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

On Friday night the local riding executive was informed that sitting MP Jean Augustine would not be running again, and that the party would be receiving applications from prospective candidates until 5:00 p.m. Saturday – the next day.

Two prospective candidates who had the misfortune of not being born Michael Ignatieff gamely attempted to put in their applications, but found the building housing Liberal party headquarters locked, and the headquarters office itself locked. They managed to deposit their forms but, sadly, one was disqualified for lack of membership, and the other because he had not resigned his position on the riding executive. Ergo, Ignatieff will be acclaimed as the Liberal candidate Wednesday night.

Over the weekend, local riding members protested the denial of their democratic rights. Some of Ignatieff’s prior writings were criticized as being derogatory to Ukrainians and potentially unhelpful among the riding’s expat Ukrainian and European voters. In an appearance on CTV Newsnet on Monday, Ignatieff seemed calm and well-scripted, unfazed by the fact that his nomination “race” resembles a Soviet election, in which there was but one candidate on the ballot and any comrade failing to show up for the “vote” was guaranteed a visit from the KGB encouraging him to do so. No wonder the Ukrainians are choking on their perogies.

What with the links to the Soviet Union, Ukrainian nationalism, the Iraq war and the use of torture in the war on terror, Ignatieff’s entry into politics might make a great plotline for the next season of 24 – or at least an Air Farce sketch.

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