Maybe it was because his 2006 leadership bid was so mired in blunders the point was lost.
Maybe it’s because short circuiting the most recent leadership race avoided any further scrutiny.
Or maybe it’s because following the 2008 disaster, federal Liberals are just happy to have someone else lead them – and it hardly matters who.
But hidden beneath his rhetoric, Michael Ignatieff has already moved his party as close to the Conservaitve Party as any leader has in two decades.
That’s the point Bob Hepburn makes in his column in today’s Toronto Star.
"Since January, when he was anointed interim leader by the party's backroom boys and its sitting MPs and senators, Ignatieff has moved quickly to erase much of the left-leaning social agenda pursued by his predecessors, Stéphane Dion and Paul Martin.
He killed any idea of a coalition with the New Democrats, which Dion backed. He isolated Liberal MPs clearly identified with the left wing of the party, notably Justin Trudeau and Gerard Kennedy. He ditched Dion's "Green Shift" carbon tax plan.
To win support in western Canada, he has championed the development of Alberta's oil sands, which worries environmentalists concerned with massive pollution associated with the projects.
And he is aligned almost perfectly with Harper in agreeing to end Canada's military role in Afghanistan in 2011, in their visions of Quebec and free trade, and in their unqualified support of Israel.
… In fact, since Ignatieff became leader, the Liberals have yet to vote against the Conservatives on any issue of significance other than a tepid effort by some Tory MPs to kill off the long-gun registry."
Hepburn’s is a good point. If either Harper or Ignatieff had been in the Prime Minister’s office in March 2003, Canadian troops would have been fighting in Iraq. How unsettling is that to Chretien Liberals?
As they gather in Vancouver, do Liberals really know what they are doing? Do they actually think Canadians will want to replace one right wing prime minister with another?