Liberal party snubbed Michael Ignatieff in the dying days of election: report

John Size
Canada Politics

It's no easy task to carry a party banner from coast to coast during a gruelling month-long election campaign.

It's even harder when your own party pulls the financial rug out from under your feet. That's apparently what happened to former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff as polls consistently showed the party trailing in third place behind the New Democrats.

Liberals sitting on the party's cash war chest denied a $2.9-million plea for a television advertising campaign in the final week of the campaign, hanging Ignatieff out to dry, QMI Agency reports.

The money was rejected because party polling showed Canadians had rejected Ignatieff and officials didn't want to spend more money, even though they hadn't reached their limit under Elections Canada rules, sources said.

The television spots were to be centered around Ignatieff, they added.

The party was entitled to spend $21 million under the rules, but apparently only used $18 million by the time the campaign ended.

QMI said the party had closed the bank account in 2008 during the final days of Stephane Dion's campaign as well, underspending by $5.5 million.

The Liberals were reduced to third-party status under Ignatieff, dropping to only 34 seats in the House of Commons. He quit the next day and later accepted a teaching position at the University of Toronto.

(Reuters Photo)