(Adapted from Rick Mercer's From the Teleprompter of Michael Ignatieff).
Ladies and Gentlemen, honored guests, bums and bag ladies, thank you for coming here today.
It has been almost a year now since I made the difficult decision to abandon Ontario and save Canada by running for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. Since that time I have repeated many times the importance of an international Canada in the context of new liberalism. I call it the third way. Unfortunately, many people do not seem to understand what I am talking about. If anyone is at fault here it is me; please bear with me Canada, as I am used to people pretending to understand me in order to eat. It is obvious to me that since so many of you do not understand me, we need my national education standards.
I asked you to come here today so that I may explain my policies. I can't explain my policies. My fellow Canadians, you need to explain my policies. Together, we will explain my policies. (pause for standing ovation)
As you may know earlier this year my summer vacation to Rochester was prolonged because of the Fast Ferry breaking down. Sure I could have returned by bus via a Buffalo. But out of solidarity with my fellow ferry passengers, I stayed in Buffalo an extra week while the ferry was fixed. (pause for cheers).
After returning to Canada, during a frank discussion about the war in Lebanon, I stated that I was not aware of any war in Lebanon. Some people wrongly interpreted this to mean that I was not aware of there ever being a war in Lebanon. My fellow Canadians, let me assure you that I am aware that there was once a war in Lebanon. Some of the customers at the food bank that I ran in Toronto are AWOL American soldiers. Amazingly, these brave men and women are not eligible for social assistance. We need new liberalism in the context of an international Canada. The first international country.
Let us now deal with the rat in the room. While campaigning in Quebec I was asked about the Qana bombing and I answered that I was in favour of national education standards. I clearly did not understand the question. The word bombe is what threw me. Who knew they were going to ask me a question about a foreign country? But that is what you get when you go on a show run by and for separatists. They trapped me with a trick question. Let me assure you, that never would have happened in English in Toronto.
I have decided to travel to Paris, France, not to be confused with the lovely Paris, Ontario. I think you will agree that the crucial last days of a leadership is the perfect time for a candidate to leave Canada.
The purpose of this trip will be twofold. Not only will I be able to analyze and solve the food situation in France, but I will be learning correct French. What my wife has been teaching me for the last 25 years is du sea pot.
On the way back I will stop in Ethiopia in order to stop the upcoming famine. (Chuckle kindly)
When I return from my first trip to Europe, you will see an invigorated bilingual Gerard Kennedy who is ready to take over Canada on your behalf. You, the bankers, the telecommunication workers and the employees of the city of Toronto, the people that make this country strong. From Scarborough to Etobicoke, from Lake Ontario all the way up Yonge Street to Eglington, we will show Canada the third way, OUR way.
Speaking of Canada, recently a little boy in Canada's countryside sent me a question via blackberry. "Father", he wrote, "why do you want to run all of Canada?".
I will tell you now what I told him then.
Canada is like the red stuff that comes out when you get cut! (pause for applause)
Like you I care about Canadian values and Canadian pastimes. I know what it's like to clear one's mind and enjoy the thrust and parry that is found in an exciting shopping mall. In fact, I don't mind admitting that I have always been, since I got elected and started earning serious money, an avid shopper. My support of shopping is something that is pure and true and can never be taken away from me. If there is political price to pay for such an admission I readily accept it. Dames et Misterisieurs, j'aime la shopping. Una cerveza por favor!
I want to thank you for your time today ladies and gentlemen. And on a personal note I would like to thank the numerous people who have sent me SMS text messages during my difficult weekend in Quebec. But let me tell you this. When I embarked on this adventure I knew it would not be easy. And when the going gets though, when I think I cannot bear another conversation with another Albertan or another question about policy, I simply close my eyes and think of that great Canadian Lucien Bouchard. And it is that image of Lucien Bouchard courageously walking all the way to Ottawa that gives me the courage to move forward.
(Pause for really really big round of applause)
Thank you for your support