Canada

Ignatieff champions puffin as symbol of Liberal party

The beaver is one of Canada's national symbols and now a senior Liberal wants to make the puffin the symbol of the country's self-proclaimed natural governing party.

The beaver is one of Canada's national symbols and now a senior Liberal wants to make the puffin the symbol of the country's self-proclaimed natural governing party.

Liberal deputy leader Michael Ignatieff says the industrious little seabird— with its black and white plumage, distinctive striped beak and orange feet— is a "noble" creature that exemplifies Liberal values.
Two North Atlantic puffins rest on the grassy slopes of gull island near Bay Bulls, Newfoundland and Labrador. ((Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press))

"It's a noble bird because it has good family values. They stay together for 30 years," Ignatieff said Thursday outside a Liberal caucus retreat in the Newfoundland and Labrador capital.

"They lay one egg (each year). They put their excrement in one place. They hide their excrement.… They flap their wings very hard and they work like hell.

"This seems to me a symbol for what our party should be."

Ignatieff was charmed by the birds during what was supposed to be a whale-watching tour for Liberal caucus members Tuesday. The MPs and senators saw no whales but did get a close up view of a colony of puffins nesting on a rocky offshore island.

The Atlantic puffin is the official bird of Newfoundland and Labrador. About 95 per cent of the puffins in North America breedaround the province's coastlines.

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