Michael Ignatieff spent last summer touring the country. He was hoping to get voters to know him and pick up buckets of dollars for the Liberal Party.
The tour itself was great. In fact, it was super. He visited more than 100 cities, towns and villages and got a warm welcome everywhere.
Some were convinced Liberals; others were just curious folk who had never seem him before.
The media followed him everywhere –- it was a media success. Never having done a national campaign before, it was essential that Ignatieff get on-the-ground experience in a dry run before Stephen Harper called an election.
The result? Ignatieff went up in the polls. Harper, with his long-form census fiasco, and his stay-on decision for Afghanistan, went down in the polls.
It was 30 to 29 percent in one poll, and 29 to 28 a week later. That’s well within the margin of error. Compare that to the beginning of last summer when Harper was a good 10 points ahead.
Ignatieff made gains among business people, municipal planners, Francophones and new Canadians, all who depend greatly on accurate census figures to make evidentiary cases for government funding.
The problem came in the second part of the Ignatieff plan.
Donations to the Liberal Party mysteriously went down, not up.
The people he met apparently shook his hand but they kept their wallets in their pockets.
For the quarter ending in September, the Liberals picked up on $1.4 million, down from the $1.7 million they received the previous quarter.
By comparison, Conservatives picked up their usual $4 million per quarter.
The New Democrats were the big surprise. They picked up $1.3 million (almost as much as the Ignatieff Liberals) compared to the $747,136 they received the previous quarter. That’s almost double the take.
Maybe that’s where Ignatieff’s money went.
On the whole, when it comes to money it might have been better for Igantieff to stay home and write a book.