Inside Politics

'Rise up!' Ignatieff goes for broke

What exactly can Michael Ignatieff do to drive voters off their couches and into the streets with pitchforks, determined to turf Stephen Harper out of power?

So far, not much. He must be wondering what it takes. He damns the Tories in his professorial way and tempts voters with a "Family Pack" of goodies. He debates, he barbecues, he fields every question and calls them all "excellent!" But the polls barely move.

Now, here he is with the vote looming. He's in Sudbury, fielding still more questions from an adoring crowd. He apologizes for answering one with a "partisan shot at the other guy." A woman calls out, "that's what we want, Michael!" Another shouts, "two weeks of that, Michael!"

Then Ignatieff wraps up the night with a different face on. He pauses and recalls a Bruce Springsteen song, "The Rising," and launches into a riff on how voters seem to shrug off Harper's crimes against democracy. Contempt of Parliament? "People say, well, so what?" Cutting off questions? "So what?" Smearing Helena Guergis? "So what?" Crooks in the PMO? "So what?" Trying to scrap students' votes in Guelph? "People say, well, so what?"

Ignatieff then scans the crowd and shouts.

"Rise up! Rise up, Canada! Rise up!"

The crowd got what they were looking for, and more. They rose and applauded and kept clapping as Ignatieff roared on.

"Rise up! Rise up!"

For the Sudbury crowd, it worked.

Will it play elsewhere? Are enough Canadians as outraged as Ignatieff wants them to be? We'll see. But we just saw a not-so-professorial Ignatieff, one capable of rage. Hey, it's worth a shot.
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