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Game on

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When Michael Ignatieff took over as leader of the Liberal Party in 2008 he looked straight into the camera and sent Harper a warning that he wasn't going to do to Ignatieff what Harper and the Conservatives did to Stephane Dion with their attack ads.

"It would be a very bad mistake," Ignatieff said. "I hope I make myself clear."

Harper apparently wasn't exactly scared off. The Conservative machine that helped take down Dion (which is not to underplay how much Dion's own decisions and actions contributed to his downfall) went into anti-Ignatieff overdrive. The Conservatives spent millions of dollars on repeated advertising campaigns -- see below --  attacking Ignatieff's patriotism and purpose. Conservative talking heads painted Ignatieff as an elitist from a Russian aristocratic background who doesn't understand the needs of working families.

To what end? Canadians' impression of Ignatieff could almost not be any worse. Even teenagers have been heard to question why Ignatieff came back to Canada after years working as a journalist, author and professor in England and the United States.

For a man who so soundly declared he wouldn't become the next Conservative punching bag, Ignatieff certainly has done little to dispel any of the attacks against him.

Many have wondered when Ignatieff might fight back.

Apparently the answer is now, on the eve of a spring election more and more political watchers feel is inevitable.

Last week Ignatieff released two new television advertisements -- also below -- attacking Harper's policies and the way he runs the country. Then he went on George Stromboulopoulos' show on CBC and issued some stern rebukes at the attack ads that had targeted him. (His appearance actually made me think if anybody believes Ignatieff has an inflated ego it may in fact be because who wouldn't think they were important when another party has spent so much time and money working to discredit you.)

On Friday he posted a blog entry with a video (below) giving Canadians a testimonial to where he actually came from. Hint: it wasn't a palace in Russia. The video seems to target the very voters the Conservatives want very badly -- immigrants who came to Canada with little and worked their way up.

Game on. Set and match still to come.

/p>

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About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.

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