10 December 2008

Crises in Canada and Illinois, continued

Canada — This story is changing by the hour, but here is what the CBC reports as I write: Ignatieff prepared to form coalition. Michael Ignatieff has his wish: he is now leader of the federal Liberal Party and only three years after returning to this country after his decades of residence in the United Kingdom and the United States. Or to put it another way: he is returning to the cave after seeing what eludes the rest of us unenlightened ones: the bright ray (definitely not Rae!) of the sun.

I will be reposting something I wrote a few years ago about Ignatieff's liberal individualism, but a colleague has pointed out to me that he may not be that different from his immediate predecessor, as indicated here: Stéphane Dion, inconspicuous achiever. This quotation is telling:

Dion's academic work has mostly been as a cold-eyed analyst of bureaucracies and public administration and he is not a particular fan of institutions, religious or otherwise. As his wife, Janine, told an interviewer, for her husband "all that exists is the individual. Everything else is a social construction, hence does not exist."

Illinois — Meanwhile, at the other end of the Great Lakes, Illinois is still reeling from yesterday's dramatic arrest of Governor Blagojevich. Writing for the BBC, Matt Frei asks: "When will the Illinois prison authorities finally grasp the nettle and open a governors' wing in Chicago's premier jail?" He recites a litany of gubernatorial names familiar to me from my early years:

If convicted, Governor Rod Blagojevich will follow in a long and established line of former governors who have served time in both office and jail.

Governor Otto Kerner was governor from 1961 to 1968 and served slightly less than a year in 1973 for bribery and fraud.

Governor Dan Walker served in office from 1973 to 1977 and in jail for 18 months on charges of bank fraud and perjury.

Governor William Stratton ran Illinois from 1953 to 1961 and was later indicted but acquitted for tax evasion.

Governor George Ryan, who was Governor Blagojevich's immediate predecessor is still IN jail, completing a six-and-a-half-year sentence on, yes you've guessed it, wire fraud and bribery.

The closest Canada has to Illinois's brand of politics is British Columbia, the major difference being that BC has far more interesting scenery.

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