Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A new low? Ignatieff again uses his mother's illness for personal gain.

Micheal Ignatieff sent out an email today titled "This is personal."

Here is what it said:

"My mother got sick with Alzheimer’s when she was in her 60s — early, in other words — and my dad took care of her at home. I’ve never admired my father more than when he looked after my mom, but it killed him, basically. It was tough, even with my brother, Andrew, stepping up, and our family and friends helping.
Like my Dad did, millions of Canadians care for family members at home when loved ones fall ill. They are a silent workforce, providing $9-billion in unpaid work each year. Many must use personal savings to survive, miss work or quit their jobs. Over half have household incomes under $45,000. Like the loved ones they are caring for, many of these caregivers are in the fight of their lives.
Yesterday, I announced a new Liberal Party policy to change that."

It goes on in detail describing this re-hashed policy plank but you get the idea. Ignatieff is using his own mother's illness to help his own fortunes and this isn't the first time!

In his book Scar Tissue described as a lyrical first person account of a son caring for a mother grappling with neurological breakdown, mirrored his own mother’s decent into Alzheimers” ....But not all family members shared critics' admiration for the book. Some expressed anger that privacy had been breached, a sentiment voiced about family stories published in Granta. There was distaste that the fiction veiled the fact it was not Ignatieff but his younger brother, Andrew, who cared for his mother in Toronto, sacrificing his work in international development to do so.

Related here:
In the August, 1984 — the summer of Michael Ignatieff's "good year" — there was a family gathering at the house in a village in Provence that George and Alison had bought in 1962 as their only permanent residence.

The older Ignatieffs were there. Andrew had flown in from the shanty barrios of Peru where he worked for the Canadian arm of Save the Children. Michael, Susan and baby Theo had come from London — making it the first time three generations of the family were gathered under one roof.

It was a taxing time. Alison had begun her descent into Alzheimer's. George, the all-powerful force in his sons' lives, was showing signs of frailty. There were raw emotions and difficult conversations as the family struggled with its psychological past, with the unfamiliarity of living together, with the pain of coming to terms with Alison's illness.

The sons' difficult relationship with their father came to the surface.

George, who had had no real childhood of his own, had little idea of what to do with fatherhood when it came to him. He could appear warm and affectionate, but found it difficult to convey his hopes and aspirations to his sons beyond declamations of grand dynastic expectations.

Michael said things that wounded his father. He accused him of crushing his mother's creativity and independence by taking over her life and making her subservient to his needs.

A year later, as Andrew would tell Sandra Martin for Saturday Night, he came home to Toronto from Peru for a visit, walked into a bookstore and saw the entire story of his family's summer laid out in an article Michael had written for the British literary magazine Granta.

Or, almost the entire story: Andrew had been written out of the script. He just didn't appear.

"I just remember standing there and my eyes filling up with tears in the middle of the bookstore," he said.

Not long afterward, Andrew quit his job in Peru to return to Toronto to care for his parents, while Michael's career continued to flower in England — as a television host, newspaper commentator, author and screenplay-writer.

In early 1989, he came briefly to Toronto to spell Andrew off as caregiver — "'once or twice a year, it's my turn" — and shortly afterward, Granta published "Deficits," a deeply moving account of a son looking after his mother, with a forensically detailed description of Alison's deteriorating mental state.

Said Andrew: "I came in one evening and my father was really upset, and I said, 'What's the matter?' and he said, 'Michael's written an article about your mother'"

There were family members — for example, Alison's sister, Charity Grant, and her brother, George Grant, and his wife, Sheila — who could never bring themselves to forgive Michael for having publicly exposed his intensely private mother.

That summer, George Ignatieff died. Andrew was with him. Michael was in France.

Wow! Is there NOTHING that is off limits or that this guy will not do to for personal gain?

You know that "all about me" stuff is ringing truer with every passing day. It appears to me like Ignatieff carries no emotions, has few if any real attachments, and is just working his way through some sort of academic exercise with the goal of being PM only so he can write yet another chapter in a future book. If that exercise takes him to these depths, I don't think he is fit to be the leader of the Liberal Party let alone ever be the Prime Minister of Canada.


maryT said...

Funny that he wasn't so concerned about family when he started an affair with his present wife.
I am very upset that he is trying to make the fact that most, if not all families and spouses and siblings who care for loved ones are not doing it out of love. Some one said that this will create jobs-for who. There are many available tax deductions and other benefits for those caring for loved ones, who hire someone to come in and help. Telling the world that his family could not afford to care for their mother, and did it because they had to, not want to, is despicable. I got the impression from some of his writings etc is he was embarrassed by his mother's illness. I also think he is deathly afraid he will get that disease and wants to make sure his wife will get paid to care for him.
I have no sympathy for him, or the couple he dragged out yesterday, or any of the mothers of said victims drug out re the LGR.
If I got said e-mail I would send it back with the words, NO.

Anonymous said...

How low can a person go, geeesh, I wonder how many medals he stole from wounded soldiers?

wilson said...

Good gawd,
using the personal tragedy of Alzheimers to urge people to donate to a research facility, ok, but as prop for the sales pitch for a LPC policy...

what an absolute turn off

Ardvark said...

Uh, that would be none Anon or was the needless smear intended for some other purpose?

A new low?

I put a question mark after 'a new low?' in the hope that Thomas Mulcair leaves me alone, but the pattern of using his mothers illness seems pretty damn low to me.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm callous ... but I'd like to see if "Mike and Hélène," the couple that Ignatieff has been talking about as involved in fighting cancer actually exist, that Ignatieff actually met them, as he's been saying in QP.

That is a tactic often used by "progressives" -- they personalize, putting a name on some faceless and possibly fictitious individuals, to pretend that their policies are compassionate ones intended to help individuals in distress.
-- Gabby in QC

Bec said...

Ignatieff using his Mother's illness demonstrates very clearly that he was completely disconnected from it in the first place.
A connected person would have said "This is off limits" and "I will not use a personal family tragedy for personal gain".

However he's a narcissist and I suspect a few other things so clearly, as he wrote so easily about his Mother and exploited his family, this too he will use this again for more professional mileage.

He really is an offensive opportunist, isn't he?

Anonymous said...

I think writing about his mom without family consent is terribly wrong and sad. When I think of his dad, he must have been hurting.

johndoe124 said...

This is typical Liberal sleaze: blatant emotional manipulation in pursuit of votes. Remember what's-his-face using his father's suicide to garner support for the LGR?

Makes one wonder if there is actually any merit in what he proposes if he can't be persuasive without cheap emotionalism.

maryT said...

How many people with cancer of any type are needing 24/7 care for 5 yrs. What does iggy want this wife to do, take her vacations without her husband. Maybe this is an effort to get layton to resign so his wife can get paid to care for him.
Does this man need his depends changed several times a day, his food chopped up, help with personal hygiene. If so, why was he sitting at a table with iggy. Shame on him and iggy.
I don't think iggy has a clue about caring for a severly disabled person or someone in the last stages of a terminal disease.
As most of these diseases hit when one is quite old, that means the spouse is also old. Haven't been working for yrs and would not be eligible for EI. He expects the working person to contribute to EI to pay for those that might need homecare.
This plan better be one the liberals will cast aside, like they did with removing the gst, daycare and others.
Wonder where he got the figure of how many are caring for people. maybe from some long ago census.
Another reason not to answer some of those questions, as the info is twisted out of shape.
Again, I suggest liberals read and study the tax return to see all the help available for those caring for others.

Brian Busby said...

Hmm... amongst the family members "who could never bring themselves to forgive Michael for having publicly exposed his intensely private mother" we find George Grant, who died the year before the supposedly offending article was published.

Seems odd that The Globe and Mail, so often slammed in this blog, is taken being relied upon for factual information.

Ardvark said...

Interesting and correct about George Grant: He died in 1988 the Granta article appeared in mid 1989.

Using the Globe is not the wisest thing to do but it changes nothing about Ignatieff's writings about his mothers illness.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Michael Ignatieff will obviously use anyone and do anything to get into power in Canada.

paulsstuff said...

Seems Brian Busby has it wrong.

George Pavlovich Ignatieff, CC (Russian: Георгий Па́влович Игнатьев; December 16, 1913 - August 10, 1989) was a noted Russian-Canadian diplomat. His career spanned nearly five decades in World War II and the postwar period.

August 1989, making the article timeline correct. Care to comment again?

Anonymous said...

In the Liberal TV ad with his mother doesn't he say "we" took care of her, not his father.

I'll have to listen to it again but seems you're right in more ways than one about Ignatieff doing and using anything and anyone to get into power.

Brian Busby said...

"Seems Brian Busby has it wrong." Not at all, paulsstuff. It is quite clear that I was speaking about the death of George Grant, not George Ignatieff.

Michael Ignatieff's "Deficits" was published in Granta's summer 1989 issue (#27). George Grant died over a year earlier.