This week Janine Krieber, wife of Dion made a blistering attack against the Ignatieff leadership in a blog entry on her Facebook page (it has since been removed.)
"Like all the liberal parties in Europe, it will become a poor little thing at the mercy of ephemeral coalitions. For having refused the historic coalition that could have placed it at the head of the left, it will be punished by history." -Jane KrieberDion has been in a funk ever since being unceremoniously dumped as leader of the Liberal Party. I last spotted him a couple of weeks ago as I peered out of my car window while driving towards downtown, on Cote de Neiges Road in Montreal. He was walking up the hill, a sad figure, alone and bundled up against the wind, carrying home a bottle of milk. It was a sad analogy of man who's fortunes had fallen so low.
Since his humiliating exit as leader of the party, Dion has been silent, seemingly resigned to working on his pension from the insignificant reaches of the backbench of Parliament.
Perhaps Ms. Krieber's assault on Ignatieff can restart Mr. Dion's sagging career, it isn't that far-fetched. It's clear that with a little help from his friends, Ignatieff can be purged. A clever alliance led by Bob Rae can take back the leadership and return the party to some semblance of respectability. The Liberal experiment with two 'brainy' intellectuals has been an abject failure. The membership has largely come to the realization that a less cerebral but more savvy and professional politician à la Jean Chretien is in order.
Leading a putsch against Igantieff will never get Dion the top job back, but he can become a respected cabinet minister once again. Under Ignatieff Mr. Dion is toast. His wife's action might have forced his hand and may just have kick started the campaign to dump Ignatieff.
Turning to poor Irwin Cotler, it's too late to save his career, the ex-minister of justice in the Paul Martin government should have listened and followed the wise counsel of his wife Ariella, back in 2006. In reaction to Ignatieff's injudicious statement that Israel committed war crimes in an appearance on a French language talk show, she promptly resigned as a card carrying member of the Liberal party. In a blistering denunciation in the National Post she questioned Ignatieff's moral integrity and accused him of “sacrificing the truth for personal political gains in the upcoming leadership election for the party.”
For Cotler and his family, as well as the constituents of the overwhelmingly Jewish riding of Mount Royal in Montreal which he represents, defence of Israel is not something to be trifled with.
Ariela Cotler is an Israeli citizen and Gila, their daughter has served in the Israel Defence Force. Although Irwin has sat in Parliament these past years, he is really a nerdy academic, it is his wife who possesses the political acumen in the family. She has worked for many years as an Israeli parliamentary assistant for various members of the ultra-right wing Likud party and has received citations from Menachim Begin and Itzhak Shamir. She remains politically active today and frequently returns to Israel to advocate on behalf of the Likud Party.
It is unfortunate that her husband didn't heed her lead to abandon ship, especially when Ignatieff won the leadership.
At that time, friends and confidants of Cotler (as well as his wife, presumably) urged him to leave the confines of the Liberal party and sit as an independent. Others counselled him to cross the floor to the Conservatives.
It should be noted that had he changed allegiances, he would have had no trouble retaining his seat as an independent or Conservative, as he carries one of the highest majorities in the country.
But Cotler hung on in the faint hopes of returning to the cabinet, instead of following his conscience. He still harbours these dreams of glory and this week humiliated himself and his wife by having her write another letter renouncing her abandonment of the Liberal party.
All this was in response to the Conservatives pamphlet campaign targeting Jewish voters in which assertions were made that the Liberal party is anti-Israel. When Cotler went on television to deny the allegations, Conservatives made mincemeat out of him by bringing up his own wife's prior statements, prompting him to undertake some damage control.
The letter was a sad reminder of what politicians will put their spouses through for political gain.
It won't help, he is a spent force and should consider a return to academia.
Come to think of it, so should Ignatieff.