Yancy Williams (left), is a thirty-something Republican from Jefferson City, Missouri who worked on Rudy Giuliani's presidential run in 2008, collects a paycheque for a Republican senator from Missouri, and has recently volunteered to be his state's chairman for Republicans For Ignatieff. As in Michael Ignatieff. Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
” I want that guy guarding American’s northern flank,” Williams told me in a telephone interview last week. “I think he’s spent enough time in the U.S. that he’s got a firm understanding of Americans, American policy and I’m comfortable with that.”
Williams is perfectly aware that the guy who is prime minister right now, Stephen Harper, leads a party called the Conservative Party of Canada.
“I have no particular criticism of your current prime minister. I just don’t feel that he has the tie to the United States that Ignatieff has. Ignatieff lived here. From what I’ve seen — I don’t know that he considers it his home but he certainly considered himself one of us while he was here. He spoke very fondly of us, defended our actions when we were defending ourselves,” Williams said.
Of course, that last quote from Williams dovetails nicely with one of the attack lines of Canada's Conservatives: That Iggy is “Just Visiting” and that he really wishes he lived somewhere other than Canada.
That meme or talking point repeated by Williams is one reason why many in Ottawa — reporters, Conservatives, Liberals, and others — thought that RepublicansForIgnatieff.com was, in fact, just a spoof site set up by one Iggy's Canadian political opponents. It may yet be. Williams has no idea who “The Colonel” is behind the site but, when he first ran across the site in early August, it felt legit to him and so, after reading up a bit on Ignatieff's positions, he signed on with the goal of helping a Canadian liberal, Michael Ignatieff, become the next Prime Minister of Canada. So if it is a spoof then the joke's on me and, it appears, on Williams.
“I have to admit, I was not fully educated on your [electoral] race,” Williams said. “But I signed up. And I got an e-mail back. They asked a little bit about me. I said, I work in politics. I’m a Republican. What do you need? And they said, “We’re not 100 per cent sure, right now but go try to talk to others and see what sort of support you can find and that’s what I did.”
For Williams, Iggy is the right man to lead Canada because of his views on North American security and on energy security:
“I mean this with no offence to any Canadian because I understand we are wonderful partners,” Williams said. “[But] when we were attacked on Sept. 11, it changed us in an unbelieveable way. We now look at the world differently and every person has to meet the standard: Are you going to be able to protect us? And I think [Ignatieff] does.
“Secondly, I come from a family who’s in the gas and oil business and the tar sands are a huge issue with me. There is a pipeline that is going to run from Hardisty, Alberta to Wood River, Illinois, and that will run straight through the state of Missouri. It will come within a few miles of my home. It’s not yet complete but it will be soon. That is jobs for folks in Missouri. It has Missouri businesses involved. The tar sands are the second largest oil reserve in the world and they happen to be on our continent. When you combine them and ANWAR, we have the ability to seek true energy independence from the Middle East.
“When Sarah Palin came out and said, drill, baby, drill, it hit a nerve with folks here. It really caught on. If we can get the Canadian version which is “Drill, Iggy, Drill”, or whatever you want to say, we need to utilize that source not only for our energy needs but for our national security needs. I think [Ignatieff] is well-suited to run the Canadian government.