No coalition with NDP, Michael Ignatieff insists

photo by Jenny Uechi

"No coalition with anybody. We want to elect a Liberal government -- nothing else," Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff told The Vancouver Observer yesterday during a talk at Langara College last night, referring to the upcoming federal election

Gathering a group of supporters around him, he said, "I like listening to other people. But I don't form coalitions with other people."

Ignatieff was in Vancouver with Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh to meet with several representatives from local immigrant community organizations. He announced plans to help restore immigration spots for people seeking to bring family members to Canada, saying that the Conservative government has cut the number of spots for family reunification by 15 percent since 2006.

“It’s pretty funny for a Conservative Party that talks about family values to have been so terrible about family reunification,” he said, promising to restore visas for family reunification if he comes to power. 

Speaking with Thomas Tam of SUCCESS, an immigrant services group, Ignatieff said he was impressed with new immigrants taking classes to learn about Canadian government, and used the opportunity to take a jab at his opponent. "Stephen Harper might improve by going to classes at SUCCESS," he said. "He might learn some respect for democracy."

Ignatieff also spoke of plans for the $1-billion Learning Passport which would provide $4,000 ($1,000 per year) to all high school students who attend college or university. Under this plan, students from low-income families would receive $6,000, or $1,500 per year.

Recalling his visit to Asia last year, Ignatieff said, "We have to be a country that learns from China and from India," noting that "the single most impressive thing about these countries is their investment in education." 

The conversation later moved into French, and this reporter asked him, "Vous portez une grande attention aux communautés culturelles. Pensez-vous que ces communautés-la peuvent faire une différence lors de l'élection?" (You place a lot of attention on cultural communities, but do you think these communities can make a difference during the election?)

Ignatieff said, "Je n'aime pas l'idée qu'il faut séparer les communautés culturelles. Je veux parler aux gens comme les citoyens de Canada." (I don't like the idea of separating cultural communities. I want to speak to people as citizens of Canada).

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