The fate of the previous Liberal leader, in whose caucus that current leader served (via Paul Wells, The Longer I'm Prime Minister at p. 253-254):
Trudeau said he finds Canadians he talks with when he travels are open to the idea of balancing security and rights. But he conceded that he may have underestimated the backlash, partly because he thought that as a Liberal he wasn’t vulnerable to being seen as lax on defending the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (The Charter was, of course, introduced as part of the constitutional reforms ushered in by his late father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, in 1982.)
“I quite frankly—and this is maybe where I made a strategic or a calculation error—I didn’t think that people would be so divisive and so aggressive as to somehow make it seem like the Liberal party doesn’t care about the Charter,” he said.
(T)he truly striking gap was on the response to the question about which leader respondents regarded as "a patriotic Canadian". Harper's advantage there was thirty-four points, nearly double his next-widest margin.
Shortly before EKOS released that poll, I received an e-mail from a Harper advisor:
The simple fact that we are debating the "Canadianness" of the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada is a victory for Conservatives. Iggy is now playing defence on the #1 brand attribute of the Liberal Party of Canada. Even after the sponsorship scandal the Liberals still owned being the "Canada Party." The party with the pan-Canadian vision. The party best able to keep the country together...Attacks on Iggy related to "arrogance and elitism" (e.g. the "arrogance spot") and/or "tax and spend" (e.g. the "economy" spot) are standard operating procedure - the personalization of negative brand attributes associated with the party itself. But the attacks on Ignatieff's long-term commitment to the country are much deeper and much more problematic for a Liberal.