Transcript: Michael Ignatieff: Liberalism in Search of a New Self | Nov 15, 2019

A male guest sits in The Agenda studio. He's in his early seventies, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He's wearing a black suit, white shirt and checkered red tie.

Steve Paikin says ALMOST A DECADE AGO,
MICHAEL IGNATIEFF FOUGHT A TOUGH
ELECTION AS LEADER OF THE
LIBERAL PARTY OF CANADA.
ALTHOUGH HE DIDN'T WIN THE DAY
THEN, IT TURNS OUT IT MAY HAVE
BEEN A MEANINGFUL PRECURSOR TO
THE FIGHT HE'S BEEN FACING OF LATE.

Steve appears on screen. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit, pale blue shirt, and checked blue tie.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Liberalism in search of a new self. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve continues HAVING RETURNED TO ACADEMIC LIFE
AS THE RECTOR AND PRESIDENT OF
THE CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY
IN BUDAPEST, HE'S BEEN MAKING
THE CASE FOR SMALL-L LIBERAL
VALUES IN THE UNIVERSITY'S
ONGOING BATTLE WITH THE
HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT.
SO, JOINING US NOW TO REFLECT ON
THAT AND THE WIDER CONTEXT OF
POPULIST UNREST IN EUROPE,
HERE'S THE FORMER MP FOR
ETOBICOKE LAKESHORE, MICHAEL
IGNATIEFF.
WELCOME BACK.

Michael says NICE TO BE HERE, STEVE.

Steve says WHENEVER I SAY
WELCOME BACK TO YOU, I ALWAYS
HAVE TO REMIND EVERYBODY YOU DID
A SHOW HERE AT TVO IN THIS
STUDIO, I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY
YEARS AGO, BUT IT WAS A LOT.

Michael says ABSOLUTELY.
I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M STILL
STANDING.

Steve says YOU'RE SITTING AT
THE MOMENT, BUT ANYWAY...
THE LAST TIME WE SPOKE, YOUR
UNIVERSITY WAS IN BUDAPEST,
HUNGARY.
WHERE IS IT NOW?

The caption changes to "Michael Ignatieff. Central European University."
Then, it changes again to "From Budapest to Vienna."

Michael says WE'RE NEVER GOING TO LEAVE
BUDAPEST.
WE DEFIED THIS REGIME.
SO WE'LL ALWAYS MAINTAIN A
PRESENCE IN BUDAPEST.
BUT THEY'VE RENDERED IT ILLEGAL
TO OFFER OUR U.S. MASTERS AND
DOCTORATES IN BUDAPEST, SO WE'RE
DOING THEM IN VIENNA.
WE'VE RECREATED THE
AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN ENTIRE, WE HAVE
A CAMPUS IN BUDAPEST AND A NEW
CAMPUS IN VIENNA.
IT'S THE KIND OF SCANDAL, STEVE,
IN THE 21ST CENTURY, A MEMBER OF
THE EUROPEAN UNION, AN ALLY OF
CANADA, MEMBER OF NATO, COULD
GET AWAY WITH THROWING A
UNIVERSITY OUT OF ITS COUNTRIES
BECAUSE IT DOESN'T LIKE THE
POLITICS AND IT DOESN'T LIKE...
WE'RE FRANKLY A LIBERAL
INSTITUTION IN THE SMALL-L SENSE
OF IT, THAT WE BELIEVE IN
ACADEMIC FREEDOM, LIBERAL
DEMOCRACY, AND THOSE VALUES.
AND THAT'S THE BEEF HE HAS WITH
US.
AND SO HE'S PUSHED US TO MOVE
NEXT DOOR.

Steve says THE HE IS VIKTOR
ORBAN, THE PRIME MINISTER.

Michael says HE IS VIKTOR ORBAN.

Steve says HAVE YOU EVER MET HIM?

Michael says NO, I'VE NEVER HAD THE
PLEASURE, AND THAT'S
SIGNIFICANT.
IN A NORMAL COUNTRY, A
UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT MIGHT TALK
TO A PRIME MINISTER FROM TIME TO
TIME.
WE'VE SOUGHT CONTINUOUSLY TO
HAVE SOME CONTACT WITH HIM, BUT
IT'S JUST NOT POSSIBLE.
HE DETERMINED THAT HE COULD WIN
AN ELECTION IN 2018 BY MAKING
GEORGE SOROS, WHO FOUNDED OUR
UNIVERSITY, HIS CHIEF NUMBER ONE
ENEMY.
IF GEORGE WAS THE NUMBER ONE
ENEMY, THEN THE UNIVERSITY HE
FOUNDED, OUR UNIVERSITY, WOULD
BE THE NUMBER ONE ENEMY, AND
THAT'S WHAT IT'S ABOUT.
IT'S A POLITICAL BATTLE IN WHICH
AN ILLIBERAL SINGLE PARTY STATE
HAS LINED UP AGAINST ACADEMIC
FREEDOM AND INSTITUTIONAL
AUTONOMY, AND SO WE'VE HAD TO
FIGHT BACK, AND IT'S BEEN...
IT'S BEEN A KIND OF BRUTAL
BATTLE.
THE OFFICIAL MEDIA NEVER STOPS
COMING AFTER US.
IT'S A VERY UNFAMILIAR POSITION
FOR A UNIVERSITY TO BE IN
BECAUSE MOST OF THE TIME PEOPLE
DON'T EVEN NOTICE UNIVERSITIES
ARE THERE, AND SUDDENLY YOU'RE
CONSTANTLY UNDER ATTACK.
BUT WE FOUGHT BACK AND I FEEL
PROUD OF THE TEAM THAT HAS
FOUGHT WITH ME BECAUSE WE'RE
FIGHTING FOR SOMETHING
IMPORTANT.
THERE'S A CONNECTION BETWEEN
DEMOCRACY AND FREE INSTITUTIONS.
WE FORGET HOW IMPORTANT TO
DEMOCRACY IS THE IDEA OF FREE
SELF-GOVERNING INSTITUTIONS,
LIKE UNIVERSITIES.
AND WHEN YOU ATTACK A
UNIVERSITY, YOU ARE ATTACKING
DEMOCRATIC FREEDOM.

Steve says HE CALLS IT GEORGE
SOROS UNIVERSITY.
WHY DID HE DO THAT, DO YOU THINK?

The caption changes to "Michael Ignatieff, @M_Ignatieff."
Then, it changes again to "The Soros factor."

Michael says BECAUSE HE WANTS TO BRAND US
WITH AN ASSOCIATION WITH... YOU
KNOW, LET'S REMEMBER WHO GEORGE
SOROS IS, HE'S A HUNGARIAN
HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR, MADE A HUGE
AMOUNT OF MONEY ON THE
INTERNATIONAL MARKETS, HAS NOW
GIVEN AWAY BILLIONS TO PROMOTE
DIFFICULT, UNPOPULAR CAUSES,
LIKE HUMAN RIGHTS, AND FOUNDED
THIS UNIVERSITY.
WHY?
TO HELP THE COUNTRIES OF EASTERN
EUROPE MOVE FROM COMMUNISM TO
DEMOCRACY.

Steve says BUT THERE MUST BE...
THERE MUST BE SOMETHING ABOUT
EVOKING THE SOROS NAME IN
HUNGARY THAT HE FEELS RESONATES
WITH HIS BASE.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL THAT IS?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Michael says WELL, THEN WE GET INTO
COMPLICATED TERRITORY.
GEORGE IS JEWISH.
SOME OF THE RHETORIC... NOT SOME
OF IT, A LOT OF THE RHETORIC HAS
BEEN ANTI-SEMITIC WHILE DENYING
THAT IT'S ANTI-SEMITIC.
THERE'S A LOT ABOUT THE
COSMOPOLITAN RUTHLESS SPECULATOR
WHO RUINS THE LIVES OF ORDINARY
PEOPLE, HAS NO NATIONAL
ATTACHMENTS, NO NATIONAL ROOTS,
NO NATIONAL COMMITMENTS.
WHERE HAVE WE HEARD THAT
LANGUAGE BEFORE?
AND THEY SURFACE THAT LANGUAGE
AND IT CALLS UP THE DEVIL FROM
THE DEEP, AS IT WERE.
AND THEN WHEN YOU SAY, BUT THIS
IS ANTI-SEMITIC LANGUAGE, THEY
SAY, HOW DARE YOU.
RIGHT?
SO IT'S THE ANTI-SEMITISM OF THE
21ST CENTURY AND IT'S VERY
ALARMING TO SEE IT HAPPEN.
YOU THINK... LET'S REMEMBER, IN
1944, 500,000 HUNGARIAN CITIZENS
WERE EXTERMINATED IN THE SPACE
OF ABOUT 8 WEEKS.
SO YOU REALLY DON'T WANT TO GO
BACK TO THIS.
THIS IS JUST POISON ALL THE WAY
DOWN.
AND WHEN THEY PLAY WITH IT, I
FEEL THAT THEY'RE PLAYING WITH FIRE.
AND IT GETS ME STEAMED UP TO SEE
IT HAPPEN WHEN WE THOUGHT, NEVER AGAIN.

Steve says TO THE BEST OF MY
KNOWLEDGE, ORBAN STUDIED LIBERAL
ARTS IN GREAT BRITAIN DURING HIS YOUNGER DAYS.
WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS HAPPENED TO HIM?

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Michael says WELL, HIS STORY IS A PARABLE.
HE HAD A SCHOLARSHIP PAID BY
GEORGE SOROS.
HE WENT TO OXFORD.
HE WAS THE FIRST YOUNG STUDENT
LEADER TO CALL FOR THE RETREAT
OR REMOVABLE OF SOVIET TROOPS IN
HUNGARY.
THEN I THINK HE UNDERSTOOD... I
THINK HE FELT DISSED BY THE
BUDAPEST LIBERALS.
HE'S A VERY SMART, ABLE, COUNTRY
BOY.
HE FELT I'M A RURAL GUY.
THESE URBAN SOPHISTICATES.
THEN HE SAW HOW CONSERVATIVE THE
BASE OF HUNGARIAN SOCIETY IS,
JUST HOW FEARFUL THEY WERE OF
BEING INTEGRATED INTO A GLOBAL
CAPITALIST ECONOMY, JUST HOW
FEARFUL THEY WERE ABOUT THE
FUTURE OF THEIR LANGUAGE, THEIR
NATIONAL IDENTITY, SOME OF THEIR
RELIGIOUS IDENTITY.
AND NONE OF THAT'S BAD, YOU
KNOW, TO WANT TO PRESERVE THAT.
BUT HE WENT RIGHT INTO THAT,
GRABBED THAT NATIONALIST
CONSERVATIVE STRAND IN CENTRAL
AND EASTERN EUROPE, AND IT'S A
STRAND IN EVERY SOCIETY, AND
HE'S BUILT A POLITICAL CAREER ON
IT VERY EFFECTIVELY.
I MEAN, THIS IS A MASTER
POLITICIAN.
HUNGARY IS A SMALL COUNTRY, BUT
THE WHOLE WORLD TALKS ABOUT HIM
BECAUSE HE'S TRIED TO DO
SOMETHING THAT, YOU KNOW, HE'S A
MODEL FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE,
ERDOGAN IN TURKEY,
MR. NETANYAHU, AND EVEN
MR. PUTIN, THEY RESPECT MR.
ORBAN BECAUSE HE'S CREATED A NEW
FORM OF SINGLE PARTY RULE FOR
THE 21ST CENTURY, AND IT'S...
IT'S JUSTIFIED BY DEMOCRACY.
MR. ORBAN WINS ELECTIONS AND
THEN HE USES ELECTIONS AGAINST
DEMOCRACY BY ERODING CIVIL
LIBERTIES, BY ERODING THE
INDEPENDENCE OF THE COURTS, YOU
KNOW, AND THEN COMING AFTER THE
UNIVERSITIES.
SO HE'S SET A NEW PATH, AN
ILLIBERAL PATH, WHICH IS PRETTY
SIGNIFICANT, PRETTY IMPORTANT.
THAT'S WHY I THINK CANADIANS AND
ONTARIANS LISTENING TO THIS
OUGHT TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT'S
HAPPENING IN HUNGARY.
I'M NOT SAYING IT'S COMING TO A
NEIGHBOURHOOD NEAR YOU, BUT I'M
SAYING, IT IS CONCERNING TO SEE
A GREAT DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY GO
TOWARDS A SINGLE PARTY STATE IN
THIS WAY.
IT SHOULD CONCERN US ALL.

Steve says I WANT TO SHARE WITH
YOU AND OUR VIEWERS AND
LISTENERS ON PODCAST TWO SETS OF
NUMBERS HERE WHICH COMPARE
POPULAR OPINIONS IN HUNGARY AND
IN POLAND.
AND THEN I'LL GET YOUR TAKE ON
THIS.
SO ACCORDING TO PEW RESEARCH,
THIS IS WHAT HUNGARIANS SAY ARE
THE VERY IMPORTANT LIBERAL
DEMOCRATIC VALUES FOR THEIR
COUNTRY.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Support for Liberal values."

Steve reads data from the slate and says
APPARENTLY 95 percent SUPPORT A FAIR
JUDICIARY.
85 percent SUPPORT GENDER EQUALITY.
87 percent SUPPORT FREE SPEECH.
76 percent SUPPORT A FREE MEDIA.
87 percent SUPPORT REGULAR ELECTIONS.
68 percent SUPPORT FREE OPPOSITION
PARTIES.
THOSE ARE PRETTY HIGH NUMBERS.
HERE IT IS IN POLAND AND THESE
NUMBERS ARE ALL LOWER.
ONLY 72 percent SUPPORTING A FAIR
JUDICIARY.
ONLY 69 percent SUPPORTING GENDER
EQUALITY.
61 percent SUPPORTING FREE SPEECH.
64 percent SUPPORTING A FREE MEDIA.
63 percent SUPPORTING REGULAR
ELECTIONS.
LESS THAN HALF THE PEOPLE
SUPPORTING FREE OPPOSITION PARTIES.

The caption changes to "Us versus them."

Michael says THE AGENDA HAS GOT SOME GREAT
NUMBERS THERE.
THAT GIVES ME A LOT TO THINK
ABOUT.
I DON'T HAVE AN INSTANT ANSWER
FOR THE COMPARISON BETWEEN
HUNGARY AND POLAND.
BUT I THINK IT SHOWS SOMETHING
HOPEFUL, IN MY VIEW, WHICH IS
THAT PEOPLE VOTE FOR ORBAN
BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE ACTUALLY
A BETTER ALTERNATIVE.
IT'S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT
THE OPPOSITION, WHICH, YOU KNOW,
PICKS UP THOSE NUMBERS, HAS
NEVER BEEN ABLE TO CONSOLIDATE
AROUND A SINGLE CANDIDATE THAT
PEOPLE CAN SUPPORT.
SO ORBAN HAS BENEFITTED
MASSIVELY FROM A DIVIDED
OPPOSITION.
BUT THOSE NUMBERS ARE TELLING
YOU THAT HUNGARIANS WANT TO BE
CONSISTENT WITH EUROPEAN VALUES
AND HUMAN RIGHTS STANDARDS.
AND IF THOSE NUMBERS TELL YOU
THAT IF A CANDIDATE GOT TOGETHER
AND SAID, "FOLKS, I WANT TO MAKE
THOSE NUMBERS MEAN SOMETHING, I
WANT FREE COURTS, I WANT FREE
MEDIA, I WANT REAL POLITICAL
PLURALISM," I THINK THOSE
NUMBERS ARE TELLING YOU THAT
OPPOSITION FIGURE COULD WIN AN
ELECTION.
WHEN THAT WILL HAPPEN, I DON'T
KNOW.
BUT IT INDICATES AN IMPORTANT
THING ABOUT ILLIBERALISM, IS
THAT IT IS A MISTAKE TO THINK
THAT ORBAN REFLECTS THE COUNTRY.
ORBAN SHAPES THE COUNTRY FROM
THE TOP DOWN.
BUT THIS IS A COUNTRY THAT WANTS
TO BE A MODERN WESTERN EUROPEAN
DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY.
WHAT IT DOESN'T HAVE IS AN
OPPOSITION THAT CAN EXPRESS
THAT.
BUT HERE'S THE PROOF OF WHAT I'M
SAYING, IS THAT ABOUT A MONTH
AGO, THE CITY OF BUDAPEST
ELECTED AN OPPOSITION MAYOR, A
MODERATE, PRAGMATIC, LIBERAL,
GREEN CANDIDATE WHO SWEPT THE
BOARD, SWEPT OUT THE FIDES, THE
GOVERNMENT MAYOR, AND THAT'S A
SIGN OF WHAT THOSE NUMBERS ARE
SAYING TO YOU.
THEY WANT CHANGE.
SO I DON'T FEEL ORBAN IS THE END
OF THE STORY, AND I DON'T THINK
ILLIBERALISM IS GOING TO TRIUMPH
OVER LIBERAL DEMOCRACY.
I THINK THOSE NUMBERS ARE
TELLING US AN IMPORTANT STORY,
NOT JUST IN HUNGARY BUT ALSO IN
POLAND, THOUGH I CAN'T EXPLAIN
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
NUMBERS.

Steve says LET ME NOW READ AN
EXCERPT FOR YOU.
THIS IS BY... AN EXCERPT FROM A
NEW BOOK, AND HERE WE GO...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Liberalization by imitation." The quote reads "Central European elites saw imitation of the west as a well-travelled pathway to normality. Encouraged by hopes of joining the E.U., the reformers underestimated the local impediments to liberalization and democratization and overestimated the feasibility of importing fully worked-out western models. The wave of anti-liberalism sweeping over central Europe today reflects widespread popular resentment at the perceived slights to national and personal dignity that this palpably sincere reform-by-imitation project entailed."
Quoted from Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes, The Guardian. October 24, 2019.

Steve says WHAT'S YOUR VIEW ON
THE SUGGESTION THAT... I THINK
THE SUGGESTION IS THAT EASTERN
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ARE REALLY
NOT QUITE READY TO RECREATE
WESTERN CULTURES IN THEIR MIDST?

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Michael says WELL, THAT'S A VERY GOOD BOOK
BY IVAN KRASTEV AND STEPHEN HOLMES.
THESE ARE PEOPLE I RESPECT AND
THEY REALLY KNOW THE GROUND.
THEY'RE MAKING A KEY POINT, I
THINK, WHICH I THINK CANADIANS
WOULD RESONATE WITH, THEY DON'T
LIKE TO BE TOLD.
THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN GO IS TO
COPY SOMEONE ELSE.
CANADIANS DON'T LIKE TO COPY
AMERICANS.
WE LIKE LIVING BESIDE THEM, BUT
THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS WE DO
NOT WANT TO COPY.
EASTERN EUROPEANS DO NOT WANT TO
COPY GERMANY AND FRANCE.
THEY DON'T WANT TO BE GERMANS,
THEY WANT TO BE HUNGARIANS,
CZECHs, AND POLES.
EMULATING, COPYING, BEING TOLD
THAT'S THE ONLY OBJECTIVE YOU
CAN HAVE CREATES RESENTMENT
BECAUSE PEOPLE WANT TO DEFEND
WHAT THEY HAVE.
THEY WANT TO DEFEND BEING
HUNGARIAN.
ORBAN HAS BEEN A GENIUS AT
CAPTURING THAT RESENTMENT
FEELING THAT THEY DON'T WANT TO
JUST BECOME GERMANS OR FRENCH
PEOPLE, THEY WANT TO STAY
HUNGARIAN.
AND SO NATIONALISM, PATRIOTIC
PRIDE IS JUST THE BUILDING BLOCK
OF ALL POLITICS EVERYWHERE, AND
LIBERALS FORGET THAT AT THEIR
PERIL.
AND IF YOU HAVE A POLITICAL
STORY THAT SAYS, WE WANT TO BE
TRANSNATIONAL, WE WANT TO BE
COSMOPOLITAN, WE WANT TO HAVE,
YOU KNOW, A BORDERLESS WORLD, AT
A CERTAIN POINT, THERE'S GOING
TO BE A PUSHBACK.
AND WE SEE THE PUSHBACK IN
EUROPE.
BUT WE WOULD ALSO SEE IT IN
CANADA.
CANADIANS WANT TO BE CANADIANS.
WE'VE HAD 150-PLUS YEAR
EXPERIMENT IN BEING DIFFERENT,
DOING OUR OWN THING.
AND I JUST THINK THAT'S BEDROCK
TO ALL POLITICS EVERYWHERE,
WHETHER YOU'RE A CONSERVATIVE,
WHETHER YOU'RE A LIBERAL,
WHETHER YOU'RE A NEW DEMOCRAT,
WHOEVER YOU ARE.
IF YOU DON'T HAVE A STORY ABOUT
WHY YOU LOVE YOUR COUNTRY AND
WANT TO DEFEND IT AND KEEP IT
DISTINCTIVE AND ITSELF, YOU'RE
NOT GOING TO WIN AN ELECTION.

Steve says HAVE WE BEEN TOO
ARROGANT IN THE WEST SUGGESTING
YOU'VE GOT TO BE MORE LIKE US IF
YOU WANT TO BE READY FOR PRIME TIME?

Michael says I THINK THE STRAIGHT ANSWER
IS YES.
SOMETIMES ARROGANT.
IT'S BEEN APPROPRIATE FOR US,
BECAUSE I TEACH HUMAN RIGHTS,
FOR US TO SAY, LOOK, EVERY
DEMOCRACY IS GOING TO BE
DIFFERENT, BUT WE THINK
DEMOCRACY IS A BETTER SYSTEM
THAN A TOTALITARIAN OR
AUTHORITARIAN ONE.
WE SHOULD HAVE SAID A LITTLE
MORE... YOU KNOW, THERE ARE
DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT
FOLKS.
DEMOCRACY DOESN'T COME IN ONE
COLOUR, ONE SIZE FITS ALL.
CANADIAN DEMOCRACY IS COMPLETELY
DIFFERENT FROM AMERICAN
DEMOCRACY TO THE SOUTH.
HUNGARIAN DEMOCRACY WILL HAVE
ITS OWN NATIONAL
CHARACTERISTICS.
WHERE WE WERE RIGHT TO SAY IS,
LOOK, THERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU
SHOULD NEVER DO TO ANYBODY, AND
THAT'S WHAT WE'RE SAYING WITH
HUMAN RIGHTS.
DON'T TORTURE, DON'T IMPRISON
WITHOUT TRIAL, DON'T, YOU KNOW,
TREAT PEOPLE WITH THE BASIC
ELEMENTS OF JUSTICE.
THERE ARE SOME UNIVERSALS THAT I
THINK IT WAS RIGHT FOR US TO SAY
WE STOOD FOR.
BUT I THINK WE PAID MUCH TOO
LITTLE RESPECT TO THE NATIONAL
HISTORIES, THE SPECIFICITIES OF
COUNTRIES, THEIR PRIDE, THEIR
DESIRE NOT TO EMULATE OTHER
PEOPLE BUT TO BE THEMSELVES.
I THINK... I THINK THAT'S THE
STORY WE DID GET WRONG IN THE
'90s.

Steve says BELONGING STILL
MATTERS, IF I CAN STEAL A TITLE
FROM A BOOK.

Michael says ABSOLUTELY.
I MEAN, THAT WAS... I THINK
THAT'S A THING I LEARNED
ACTUALLY FROM QUEBEC
NATIONALISM, WEIRDLY.
WE HAD THIS DING DONG BATTLE
ABOUT THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY
IN THE '80s AND '90s WHEN I
WAS A STUDENT GROWING UP, AND IT
TAUGHT ME TO RESPECT
NATIONALISM, IT TAUGHT ME TO
RESPECT THE STUBBORNNESS OF IT.
AND I THINK THE TRICK CANADA HAS
TRIED TO MANAGE IS, WE CAN SHARE
THE SAME HOUSE, YOU KNOW?
IT AIN'T EASY.

Steve says LET ME SORT OF LAY
OUT THIS WELL-WORN POLITICAL
PATH AND HAVE YOU TELL US WHAT
WE'RE SUPPOSED TO MAKE OF IT.
PROGRESSIVES WANT PROGRESS.
FOR A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF
PEOPLE, PROGRESS REPRESENTS A
THREAT TO THEIR SENSE OF WHAT IS NORMAL.
CLASHES ENSUE.
POPULISTS GAIN ATTENTION.
THEY WIN ELECTIONS.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THAT KIND OF
CONUNDRUM?

The caption changes to "What's a progressive to do?"

Michael says OH, BOY.
YEAH, I'VE LIVED THIS.
YOU KNOW, YOU GO TO TOWNS IN
SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO WHERE THE
STEEL MILL HAS JUST CLOSED OR,
YOU KNOW, WHERE THEY'VE
RELOCATED SOMETHING ACROSS THE
BORDER OR THEY SHIPPED THE JOBS
OUT ALTOGETHER, AND THAT'S
PROGRESS IN THE SENSE THAT IT'S
CAPITALIST PROGRESS, IT HELPS
THE STOCK PRICE, AND IT'S A
KILLER FOR THE WORKING PEOPLE.
AND A LOT OF THOSE FOLKS DIDN'T
FINISH HIGH SCHOOL AND THEY'RE
IN THEIR 50s AND YOU THINK,
I'VE NEVER FELT SO BAD BEING IN
PUBLIC OFFICE AS I WAS FACING
THOSE FOLKS BECAUSE YOU DID THE
BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BUT YOU KNOW
IT WAS KIND OF EMPTY AND THEY
WERE TOO SMART NOT TO KNOW IT
WAS A BIT EMPTY, YOU KNOW, JOB
RETRAINING AND YOU'VE GOT TO
HAVE HOPE, YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE
FAITH, AND THEY JUST LOOKED
CRUMPLED BY AUTOMATION, JOB
RELOCATION, PROGRESS.
AND I THINK LIBERALISM, LIBERAL
GRADUALISM OF THE KIND I
PASSIONATELY BELIEVE IN, OFTEN
MEETS ITS LIMIT AT THAT MOMENT,
WHEN PROGRESS AND CHANGE REALLY
HURTS A LIVELIHOOD.
ANOTHER PLACE WHERE I THINK
PROGRESS IS RUNNING UP AGAINST A
REAL LIMIT IS THE GREEN AGENDA,
BECAUSE I THINK, YOU KNOW,
PROGRESS ABSOLUTELY REQUIRES US
GETTING OUR CO2 DOWN AND IT'S A
NATIONAL PROJECT THAT WE'VE GOT
TO GET RIGHT.
BUT IT'S DIVIDING THE COUNTRY
WEST-EAST, IT'S DIVIDING SMOKE
STACK... PEOPLE WORKING IN SMOKE
STACK INDUSTRIES AND FUEL
INTENSIVE INDUSTRIES FROM THOSE
IN THE TOMORROW INDUSTRIES.
AND WE JUST HAVEN'T... WE'VE GOT
THE WRONG IDEA ABOUT GREEN
POLITICS, WHICH IS WE'RE ALL
SUPPOSED TO AGREE, THIS IS THE
GREAT CIVILIZATIONAL CHALLENGE,
AND IT'S KIND OF ABOVE POLITICS.
UH-UH.
GREEN POLITICS IS POLITICS ALL
THE WAY DOWN BECAUSE IT'S SO
DIVISIVE, AND I THINK LIBERALISM
HAS BEEN SLOW TO ADOPT A GREEN
AGENDA AND IT'S BEEN SLOW TO
UNDERSTAND THEN, HOW DO WE GET
THESE SHARE CONFLICTS
ADJUDICATED?
THE WEST WANTS THAT PIPELINE
BUILT TO TIDEWATER.
EASTERN CANADA SAYS, HELL, NO.
THAT'S THE ONLY WAY WE CAN MEET
OUR TARGETS, IF WE KEEP THE
STUFF IN THE GROUND.
ALBERTA IS ABSOLUTELY
INCANDESCENT WITH ANGER AT THE
THREAT.
AND THE FATAL MISTAKE WOULD BE
TO TURN THIS INTO A KIND OF
TRIBAL RELIGIOUS CONFLICT TO
SAY, YOU KNOW, OH, THE ALBERTANS
DON'T CARE ABOUT A GREEN AGENDA,
TO DIVIDE US THAT WAY.
A LIBERAL POLITICS THAT SAYS,
LOOK, WE'VE GOT A COMMON
OBJECTIVE, WHICH IS TO SAVE THE
PLANET, HOW DO WE MAKE THESE
TOUGH CHOICES TOGETHER?
YOU TALK, YOU TALK, YOU TALK.
EVERYBODY PUTS WATER IN THEIR
WINE AND WE... YOU KNOW, THIS IS
A REAL TEST FOR WHAT I LOVE,
WHICH IS LIBERAL GRADUALISM,
STEP-BY-STEP, PATIENT
ADJUDICATION OF INTERESTS, WHICH
IS HOW THIS COUNTRY HOLDS
TOGETHER.
BUT, BOY, THE GREEN STUFF IS
REALLY THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE
WE'VE GOT IN CANADA IN THE 21ST
CENTURY.
I REALLY MEAN IT.
THE GREEN AGENDA IS THE MOST
DIVISIVE ISSUE IN CANADIAN
POLITICS, AND IT WILL BE FOR A
LONG TIME, ALSO BECAUSE THE
ABORIGINAL FACTOR.

Steve says IF YOUR SIDE DOESN'T
FIGURE OUT ITS SIDE OF THE
ARGUMENT AND THERE ARE MORE
PEOPLE LIKE XI AND TRUMP AND
BORIS JOHNSON AND ERDOGAN AND
MODI AND YOU MENTION THOSE
EASTERN EUROPEANS, CASHINSKI
AND ORBAN, AND THEN THEY COME
ALONG, THEY'RE GOING TO WIN.
SO YOUR SIDE OF THE ARGUMENT HAS
GOT TO GET ITS ACT TOGETHER
PRETTY SOON, DON'T YOU THINK?

Michael says I THINK WE NEED TO BE... I
THINK WE NEED TO GO ON THE
OFFENSIVE.
WE NEED TO SAY, AND IT'S AN
UNPOPULAR THOUGHT BECAUSE IT
SOUNDS KIND OF COMPLACENT, BUT I
DON'T THINK IT IS, THAT LIBERAL
GRADUALISM IS THE ONLY THING
THAT'S GOING TO GET THE GREEN
AGENDA DONE.
IF YOU THINK ABOUT HOW FAR WE'VE
COME SINCE 1970, WHEN I WAS A
STUDENT, THERE WAS BARELY ANY
ECOLOGICAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL
CONSCIOUSNESS AT ALL.
THERE WAS VERY LITTLE
UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THE
CLIMATE SCIENCE WAS MEANING.
IN 50 YEARS, THERE'S BEEN AN
ABSOLUTE CHANGE TO EVERY SINGLE
THINKING PERSON IN THE WORLD.
NOW WE'VE GOT TO MAKE THE
CHOICES.
BUT THE INCREASE IN OUR
CONSCIOUSNESS HAS BEEN ENORMOUS.
THE PUBLIC POLICY IS GETTING
SHARPER AND SHARPER.
HERE'S A SIGNIFICANT FACT: IF
YOU LOOK AT THE PLACES IN THE
WORLD WHERE EMISSIONS, CO2
EMISSIONS, HAVE PLATFORMED OUT,
THAT IS, WE'RE STILL PUTTING TOO
MUCH OUT THERE BUT THERE'S NO
GROWTH IN CO2 EMISSIONS, THEY
ARE ALL IN LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC
SOCIETIES, WHICH TELLS YOU THAT
A LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY IS
ACTUALLY VERY... IT'S BUILT FOR
ADJUDICATING SHARE CONFLICT.
IT'S BUILT FOR GETTING PEOPLE TO
RECYCLE.
IT'S BUILT FOR GETTING A PRICE
ON CARBON.
IT'S BUILT FOR GETTING THE COST
OF RENEWABLES DOWN.
AND THOSE SOCIETIES, DEMOCRATIC
SOCIETIES, ARE DOING ACTUALLY A
BETTER JOB OF THAT THAN
AUTHORITARIAN CHINA, THAN
AUTHORITARIAN RUSSIA.
AND WE NEED TO HOLD ONTO
CONFIDENCE THAT IT'S ACTUALLY
THROUGH DEMOCRACY THAT WE GET AN
ADJUDICATION OF THESE POLITICAL
CONFLICTS OVER GREEN ISSUES.
IT'S RENEWED MY FAITH IN
DEMOCRACY, NOT MADE ME MORE
PESSIMISTIC ABOUT DEMOCRACY.
WE EITHER DO THE GREEN AGENDA
DEMOCRATICALLY... WE'RE NOT
GOING TO DO... OR WE'RE NOT
GOING TO DO IT AT ALL.

Steve says I CAN'T HAVE THE
FORMER LEADER OF THE FEDERAL
LIBERAL PARTY IN THAT CHAIR AND
NOT ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT CANADIAN
POLITICS.
YOU KNEW THIS WAS COMING.
HOW CAREFULLY DID YOU FOLLOW THE
LAST COMPLETED FEDERAL ELECTION
IN THIS COUNTRY?

Michael says WELL, I GET IT ON MY NEWSFEED
EVERY MORNING AND MY WIFE AND I
SIT IN BED AND FEEL BASIC RELIEF
THAT WE'RE NOT IN THE BEAR PIT STILL.

The caption changes to "Our home and native land."

Steve says DID YOU TAKE ANY
PARTICULAR LESSONS AWAY FROM THE
RESULTS OF THAT ELECTION?

Michael says WELL, I THINK A MINORITY
GOVERNMENT WAS A KIND OF... A
BIT OF A SLAP IN THE FACE TO MY
PARTY, IN A WAY.
I MEAN, I THINK THERE'S A KIND
OF SENSE OF RELIEF THAT IT
WASN'T WORSE, THAT THE MINORITY
IS QUITE STRONG.
THE PRIME MINISTER CAMPAIGNED
HARD.
HE'S AN UNBELIEVABLE CAMPAIGNER,
AND I THINK THEY KIND OF PULLED
IT OUT.
BUT I THINK IT'S BEEN SOBERING,
AND I THINK THAT'S PROBABLY GOOD
FOR A LIBERAL PARTY.
I THINK IT WILL FORCE MUCH MORE
CROSS-PARTY COLLABORATION.
I THINK THAT'S GOOD.
I THINK YOU CAN SEE A MINORITY
GOVERNMENT LASTING FOR A WHILE.

Steve says HOW LONG IS "A WHILE."
THEY USUALLY LAST 18 TO 24 MONTHS.

Michael says I CAN SEE THIS GOING THREE,
POSSIBLY FOUR.

Steve says YEARS?

Michael says POSSIBLY, POSSIBLY.
JUST BECAUSE I THINK THE STARS
ARE ALIGNING IN A CERTAIN WAY TO
FAVOUR STABILITY, AND I THINK,
AS I SAID BEFORE, THE GREEN
ISSUES ARE THE REALLY TOUGH
ONES.
THEY'RE NATIONAL UNITY ISSUES IN
OUR COUNTRY, AND HANDLING THEM
WISELY WILL BE THE TEST OF THE
NEXT MANDATE.
BUT I THINK THE STARS ARE
ALIGNING TO MAKE THIS... MAKE
THIS BETTER.
WE'VE HAD A VERY STRONG
RESURGENCE OF QUEBEC
NATIONALISM.
WE'VE HAD A VERY STRONG
RESURGENCE OF WESTERN
ALIENATION.
I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO
REMEMBER, WE HAVE BEEN HERE
BEFORE.
THIS IS THE GROUND CONDITION OF
CANADIAN POLITICS SINCE FOREVER.
I DON'T SEE IT AS BEING
FUNDAMENTALLY NEW.
THE THING I DO SEE AS NEW IS
THAT THE SHARE CONFLICTS ARE NOW
FUNDAMENTALLY ABOUT THE GREEN
AGENDA, IN A WAY THAT THEY
WEREN'T IN THE '70s OR '80s
OR THEY WEREN'T IN THE
NATIONALIST PERIOD BEFORE.
NOW THE GREEN AGENDA IS THE
THING WHERE WE'VE GOT TO GET OUR
PUBLIC POLICY RIGHT.
BUT, YOU KNOW, I... I THINK... I
HOPE THE ELECTION WAS A LESSON
IN HUMILITY, SOBRIETY...

Steve says YOU SAY YOU HOPE.
THAT IS CERTAINLY ONE OF THE
QUESTIONS THAT'S PERCOLATING
CANADIAN POLITICS RIGHT NOW
IS... YOU KNOW, DID THE PRIME
MINISTER AND DID HIS PARTY
UNDERSTAND THAT THEY WERE...
THAT THEY OUGHT TO BE SOMEWHAT
CHASTENED RIGHT NOW AND THE JURY
IS OUT ON WHETHER THEY ARE.

Michael says I THINK THEY SHOULD BE.
I AM NOT IN A POSITION TO GIVE
ANYBODY ANY POLITICAL ADVICE
SINCE YOU WILL RECALL JUST HOW
WELL I DID IN THAT LAST
ELECTION, SO I'M NOT... I DON'T
ACTUALLY HAVE THE CREDIBILITY TO
GIVE ANYBODY, LEAST OF ALL MY
SUCCESSOR, ADVICE.
BUT I WOULD HOPE THAT IT'S
CHASTENING AND SOBERING.
THE PUBLIC SENT THIS GOVERNMENT
A MESSAGE, AND I THINK THEY
WILL... BECAUSE THEY'RE ALL VERY
POLITICALLY SMART.
THE PRIME MINISTER, WHATEVER HE
IS, IS A VERY SHREWD POLITICAL
MASTER OF HIS GAME.
HE WILL READ THE TEALEAVES.
I HAVE NO DOUBT ABOUT IT.

Steve says IS ONE OF THE TAKE
AWAYS FROM THIS ELECTION THAT
SOME POLITICIANS, AMAZINGLY HAVE
INCREDIBLE LAYERS OF TEFLON, AND
OTHERS DON'T?

Michael says YES, I THINK THAT'S TRUE.
I THINK THERE'S NO QUESTION.
AND THAT'S A HUGE POLITICAL
ASSET.
BUT, AGAIN, DON'T ABUSE IT.
DON'T MISUSE IT.
BE CAREFUL.
THAT'S... THAT'S PURE TREASURE.
IT'S PURE LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE.
DON'T OVERDO IT BECAUSE YOU CAN
LOSE IT.

Steve says SURE.
AS A GUY WHO HAS BEEN THROUGH
ALL THAT, DO YOU FIND A SORT OF
FUNDAMENTAL INJUSTICE IN WHO
GETS THE TEFLON AND WHO DOESN'T?

Michael says NO, NO, NO.
NO, THIS IS ABOUT... THIS IS
ABOUT DEEP STUFF IN OUR COUNTRY.
YOU HAVE A PRIME MINISTER WHO
SPEAKS BOTH OFFICIAL LANGUAGES
PERFECTLY, WHO IS CREDIBLE IN
BOTH OF OUR FUNDAMENTAL NATIONAL
COMMUNITIES.
YOU HAVE A MAN WHO HAS A NAME
THAT IS DEEPLY RESONANT IN
CANADIAN POLITICS AND, YOU KNOW,
HE'S A GOOD-LOOKING GUY.
YOU PUT IT ALL TOGETHER, YOU
KNOW... YOU KNOW.
I FEEL, YOU KNOW, THE KEY
QUESTION IS WHETHER HE WILL USE
THESE GIFTS WISELY IN THE NEXT
MANDATE, AND THAT WILL BE A TEST
OF HIS LEADERSHIP.
IT WILL BE A TEST OF HIS
TOUGHNESS.
IT WILL BE A TEST OF HIS
DECISIVENESS, IT WILL BE A TEST
OF WHETHER HE'S WILLING TO GET
DOWN AND REALLY MASTER THE
DIFFICULT QUESTIONS OF NATIONAL
UNITY.
THE JOB OF A PRIME MINISTER IS:
KEEP THE COUNTRY TOGETHER.
THAT'S WHAT YOU DO.
AND HE WILL HAVE TO KEEP THE
COUNTRY TOGETHER.
AND THAT MEANS ABORIGINAL
CANADA, IT MEANS WESTERN CANADA,
IT MEANS QUEBEC, IT MEANS ALL
OUR REGIONS.
IT'S ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT
POLITICAL JOBS IN THE WORLD, AND
AS A BYSTANDER, I CAN ONLY WISH
HIM THE VERY BEST OF LUCK.
BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, THE COUNTRY'S
FUTURE DEPENDS ON HIS WISDOM,
HIS SOBRIETY, HIS HUMILITY, AND
HIS DISCIPLINE.

Steve says I WANT TO JUST
FINISH UP BY... I ALWAYS LIKE TO
HAVE A LITTLE FUN WITH YOU WHEN
YOU COME IN HERE BECAUSE YOU DO
HAVE HISTORY WITH THIS PLACE.

Michael says YEAH.

Steve says AND I WANT TO REMIND
EVERYBODY THAT IT WAS ALMOST
EXACTLY 25 YEARS AGO THAT YOU
AND I SAT IN THIS VERY STUDIO
AND TALKED ABOUT A BOOK THAT YOU
HAD JUST WRITTEN CALLED "BLOOD
AND BELONGING" ABOUT THE SPASMS
OF NATIONALISM IN THE WORLD.

Michael says YEAH.

Steve says AS MUCH AS I FEAR
DOING THIS, YOU WANT TO SEE WHAT
WE LOOKED LIKE 25 YEARS AGO WHEN
WE HAD THAT CONVERSATION?

Michael says I REALLY... STEVE, I REALLY
DREAD THIS.
BOY, YOU'RE GOING TO SEE A LOT
OF MILES ON THE CLOCK HERE.

[LAUGHTER]

Steve says OKAY, SHELDON.
LET'S...

Michael says OH, BROTHER.

Steve says LET'S INTRODUCE THE
HORROR SHOW TO COME.
ROLL IT, PLEASE.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "October 13, 1994."
In the clip, a young Michael sits in a TV studio and talks. He has fluffy wavy brown hair. A young Steve sits with him listening. Steve has abundant curly brown hair.

Michael says WHAT WE HAVE TO FIND IS A
FORM OF STATE GOVERNMENT OR
STATE ORDER THAT ALLOWS ETHNIC
GROUPS TO HAVE SELF
DETERMINATION IN THE STATES THAT
MATTER.
THIS IS WHY THE CANADIAN STORY
IS SO IMPORTANT, SO CRUCIAL.
IF WE CAN SHOW THAT YOU CAN HAVE
TWO NATIONS... AND I REGARD THE
QUEBECOIS A NATION... IF WE CAN
HAVE TWO NATIONS SHARING A
SINGLE STATE, WE CAN PROVE THAT
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FRAGMENT
STATE STRUCTURES IN ORDER TO
GIVE NATIONS SELF DETERMINATION.
IN OTHER WORDS, WE CAN HAVE A
SITUATION IN WHICH WE CAN
COLLABORATE IN THE BUSINESS OF
MAINTAINING A STATE STRUCTURE.
IF WE FAIL, THE WHOLE WORLD IS
GOING TO DRAW ONE OVERWHELMING
LESSON, WHICH IS THAT EVERY
NATION IN THE WORLD HAS TO HAVE
ITS STATE.
IF EVERY NATION IN THE WORLD HAS
TO HAVE ITS STATE, WE WILL HAVE
5,000 STATES INSTEAD OF 300.
AND THAT IS A RECIPE FOR CHAOS.

The clip ends.

Steve says PRETTY GOOD HAIR
BACK THEN, I'VE GOT TO SAY.

Michael says IT FEELS DEEPLY EMBARRASSING.
WHERE DID THAT HAIR GO?
I HAVEN'T GOT MUCH OF IT LEFT.

Steve says WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?
CAN I SAY, THOUGH, 25 YEARS
LATER, THOSE WORDS STILL SEEM
PRETTY WISE, AND HOW DO YOU
THINK WE'RE DOING AT
ACCOMMODATING TWO NATIONS INSIDE
ONE COUNTRY?

Michael says WELL, I THINK CANADA... YOU
KNOW, WHEN I WAS IN... I WAS IN
SPAIN ABOUT TWO WEEKS AGO.
EVERY TIME A CANADIAN ARRIVES IN
SPAIN, THEY ASK YOU ONE
QUESTION: HOW DO YOU GUYS DO IT?

Steve says THEY PUT SEPARATIST
LEADERS IN JAIL THERE.

Michael says THEY PUT SEPARATIST LEADERS
IN JAIL.
THAT IS A MISTAKE.
I'M STRONGLY IN FAVOUR OF THE
NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY OF SPAIN,
BUT I THINK JUDICIALIZING AND
CRIMINALIZING THAT IS A
POLITICAL ERROR.
THESE THINGS ARE SOLVED, AS WE
SOLVE THEM, BY TALKING AND
TALKING AND TALKING.
WE HAVE 30 YEARS OF THIS OR
SOMETHING IN CANADA AND WE ARE
ALL SICK OF IT.
BUT THE TALKING SAVED US.
AND I THINK NOW... AND IT
DOESN'T MEAN WE LOVE EACH OTHER.
IT DOESN'T MEAN QUEBEC
NATIONALISM IS OVER.
IT DOESN'T MEAN THREATS TO EVEN
WESTERN SEPARATISM WILL NOT
ENTIRELY DISAPPEAR.
BUT WE'VE MANAGED TO CREATE A
POLITICAL FRAME IN WHICH WE
TALK, WE DISCUSS.
WE DON'T NECESSARILY LOVE EACH
OTHER.
WE DON'T NECESSARILY UNDERSTAND
EACH OTHER ALL THAT WELL
SOMETIMES.
BUT I THINK THERE IS A KIND OF
BASIC EXISTENTIAL COMMITMENT TO
THE DIALOGUE THAT MAKES US
CANADIANS, AND THAT REALLY IS
IMPORTANT TO THE WORLD.
YOU KNOW, IT'S IMPORTANT WHEN
YOU GO TO SPAIN.
IT'S IMPORTANT EVERYWHERE.
EVERY COUNTRY THAT I EVER GO TO
LOOKS TO CANADA, NOT FOR A LOT
OF THINGS, BUT THEY LOOK TO US
INTENSELY ON THIS ISSUE: HOW DID
YOU KEEP YOUR SHOW ON THE ROAD?
AND WHAT I ANSWER IS, IT WAS
POLITICS ALL THE WAY DOWN AND
TALKING AND KEEPING IT CIVIL AND
KEEPING IT PEACEFUL.
AND THAT'S THE GREAT STORY THAT
CANADA HAS TO OFFER THE WORLD.

The caption changes to "Producer: Wodek Szemberg, @wodekszemberg; Producer: Harrison Lowman, @harrisonlowman; Producer: Steve Paikin, @spaikin."

Steve says IT'S ALWAYS GOOD OF
YOU WHEN YOU MAKE THE TRIP BACK
OVER TO THIS SIDE OF THE POND
THAT YOU SPEND SO MUCH TIME WITH
US AT TVO.
WE'RE GRATEFUL.
LET'S KEEP DOING IT, OKAY?

Michael says I WILL.
THANKS, STEVE.

Steve says THAT'S MICHAEL
IGNATIEFF, RECTOR AND PRESIDENT
OF CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY.

Watch: Michael Ignatieff: Liberalism in Search of a New Self