Ignatieff resigns from politics and returns to the Ivory Tower
On Tuesday morning, Michael Ignatieff publicly announced his resignation as the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. By Thursday afternoon, the former lecturer at Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard was the subject of another (equally unsurprising) announcement: that he would be returning to the academy, this time on home soil at the University of Toronto. Ignatieff worked at the U of T previously, albeit briefly, before he jumped into the political fray back in 2006. In his new post, he’ll be handed multiple roles, including that of senior resident at Massey College.
Quoth the Globe and Mail:
John Fraser, the master of Massey, said in a statement, “It has been a tradition for some time to offer the position [of senior resident] to political leaders making transitions in their professional lives. In the past 15 years, three outstanding Canadians have been senior residents: former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, former premier of Ontario Bob Rae, and former leader of the Reform Party, Preston Manning.”
Mr. Ignatieff’s Massey residency, which officially begins July 1, is for one year, Mr. Fraser said. He will begin teaching in September for the 2011-2012 academic year and will be on his own in negotiating future academic contracts.
We can’t help but notice that the late Jim Travers predicted almost exactly this scenario (admittedly, we chided him for “soothsaying” last summer). While the university has taken pains to say no discussions with Ignatieff took place until after election night, Travers reported that Ignatieff would likely land a cushy spot at the Munk School, possibly replacing school head Janice Gross Stein and featuring regularly on TVO’s The Agenda. But perhaps the latter bit isn’t actually part of the job description.
Unfortunately for Ignatieff, he can’t seem to escape the political attacks that dogged him in Ottawa. Rumour has it that he intends to lead a coalition of York and Concordia faculty against the strong, national, conservative Calgary MBA program.