Michael Ignatieff

Don’t let my failure put you off, Ignatieff tells academics

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Photo by Brian Owens.

Michael Ignatieff’s failed bid for Canada’s highest office must not put off other intellectuals from trying, he tells Research Canada editor Brian Owens.

The first thing Michael Ignatieff wants people to know, when discussing his thwarted political career, is that he is not bitter about the way it turned out. “I’m glad I did it, I have no regrets, it’s the way it is,” he says. “It would be stupid to get on the ice in a professional hockey game and complain when you get checked into the boards.”

There is no denying, though, that the Harvard academic, author and public intellectual had a particularly rough ride in his brief time leading Canada’s Liberal party, facing off against one of the most intensely partisan and tactically minded prime ministers in recent memory—Stephen Harper. And for portions of Fire and Ashes, a memoir reflecting on his political experiment, it is clear that the relentlessly personal attacks on his character and his motives in running for office left almost physical scars, a sense reinforced by the very physical metaphors, such as the hockey talk, he uses when describing his experiences. Read more in Research Canada.