Iggy caught double-talking
Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff speaks at a campaign rally in Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto, on April 9, 2011. (MARK BLINCH/Reuters)
OTTAWA - Michael Ignatieff has some 'splainin' to do.
As the Liberal leader scoots across the country asking for your vote, it seems he has forgotten where he has voted in the past.
Ignatieff now claims he has never voted in a foreign country, but quotations from his past suggest he voted Labour in Britain and would vote Democrat in the U.S.
"I am an American Democrat. I will vote for Kerry in November," Ignatieff told The Glasgow Herald in 2004.
Ignatieff, a professor at Harvard at the time, was defending his record as a human rights advocate against charges that he had become a neo-conservative who backed then-president George W. Bush in the Iraq war. Ignatieff and some other left-leaning intellectuals supported Bush in the early days of the war.
Despite the statement that he would vote for Kerry, Ignatieff now says he has never voted outside of Canada.
"Mr. Ignatieff is and always has been a Canadian citizen, period. He has never held any other citizenship and as such, has never voted in a foreign election," Ignatieff spokesman Michel Liboiron told QMI Agency.
Asked to clarify why Ignatieff once said he would vote for Kerry and why he says now that he has never voted outside of Canada, Ignatieff's spokesman dodged the questions.
"Mr. Ignatieff has simply confirmed what we already know — that he is a progressive, compassionate liberal. Always has been, always will be," Liboiron said in an e-mail.
American law states that only citizens can vote. Ignatieff was living in Cambridge, Mass., at the time. Voting without being a citizen is considered a crime punishable by up to five years in prison and/or fines of up to $10,000. Illegally registering to vote carries the same penalty.
While the public record only shows Ignatieff said he would vote for the Democrats, his record in Britain shows he did vote.
In a 1998 book, Ignatieff says he voted Labour in 1997 to oust the ruling Conservatives. The Conservatives had been in power since 1979, first under Margaret Thatcher and then under John Major.
"Why did I vote Labour? I wanted the rascals out," Ignatieff said in Identity and Politics: A Discussion with Michael Ignatieff and Sean Neeson.
Identity and Politics is a record of an Ignatieff speech and a question and answer session at the Liberal-Democrat conference in Brighton, England, in 1998. A copy of the short book is kept at the Library of Parliament.
The Liberal-Democrats are a left-of-centre party that used to place third in British politics but recently became part of a coalition government with the Conservative Party under Prime Minister David Cameron.
In Britain, it would have been completely legal for Ignatieff to vote. British law allows citizens of Commonwealth nations living in Britain to cast ballots. Residents aren't automatically registered to vote and are required to sign up to get their name on the voters list. According to online records, Ignatieff was registered to vote in Britain as recently as 2002.