Copps has more on the Ignatieff 'nomination':
Several Liberal members, including the chair of the interim committee on national security, Derek Lee, confirmed Augustine will be offered a job by the provincial Liberal government in the near future. Sources say she will be working on a badly needed strategy for race relations for the education ministry. No one would contest her credentials, but the idea that a federal Grit seat should open at the 11th hour through a future provincial appointment just fuels cynicism. The deal was apparently sealed by Karl Littler, national Liberal campaign director and Laura Miller, who works in the Ontario premier's appointments office.
Prime Minister Paul Martin says -- with a straight face -- that the Etobicoke-Lakeshore nomination was completely open. At the same time, the party offices in Toronto literally closed their doors to two candidates from the Ukrainian community who were trying to file their nomination papers. Riding President Ron Chyczij could not even get the party to return his phone calls. Just before the government fell, the party issued a statement that Ignatieff had been "acclaimed" as the nominee -- i.e., no one else contested the nomination.
The reality is while the Prime Minister publicly talks about democracy, the party tries to disqualify those who do not plan to vote "the right way" on a given nomination. An appeal of a 2004 nomination in Davenport that saw 1,700 memberships disappear has yet to be delivered. My own brother saw his membership torn up at a delegate selection meeting in Montreal when he was not voting the right way.
Supporters of the two local candidates in Etobicoke-Lakeshore plan to contest the nomination at a hastily convened coronation scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight.
As well, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress passed a resolution calling on Martin to withdraw support for Ignatieff based on a passage in one of his books in which he suggests "Ukrainian independence conjures up images of peasant embroidered shirts, the nasal whine of ethnic instruments, phony Cossacks in cloaks and boots, nasty anti-Semites." (On Monday, Ignatieff said the quote was taken out of context and is in fact an example of a stereotype which he debunks in the book.)
At best, Ignatieff's arrival as a "star" candidate, in a riding with upwards of 8,000 Ukrainian Canadian voters was ill-conceived. At worst, the political gerrymandering makes mincemeat out of Martin's promise to stomp out the "democratic deficit." This mincemeat may stick around long after the last Christmas pudding has been devoured.