If the Conservatives form a minority government, what of Michael Ignatieff if he wins his seat? Is he prepared to be a member of her Majesty's Opposition?
When Michael Ignatieff was plunked down in an Ontario riding, it was almost assumed that he would be assured a spot in cabinet - even perhaps Foreign Minister. Now, with the rising possibility of a Liberal opposition, Igantieff may have to settle to be an opposition critic.
Anecdotal evidence suggests the answer is no. For example, he has expressed his desire to return to Harvard if he loses. One can only speculate what he will do, since such a possibility may not be factored into his decision to run for the Liberals. Here is what may happen:
- He could cut and run back to Harvard, saying "politics was a great experiment, but I belong in the (American) classroom.
- He could cut and run back to Toronto, because he wishes to guide Canadian education to higher standards.
- He could stay in opposition and teach at Harvard. It would be a lot of juggling. But I think this option would really show where his loyalties lie.
- He could stay in opposition and wait for an opportunity to take the Liberal leadership mantle. This is a likely option, assuming that the knives will be out to get Martin if he loses the 2006 election. He would, almost instantaneously, become the frontrunner. The question is, does he have the leadership support network that can rival the secret ones already being formed in the Liberal party by longtime backbencher MPs.