While Bob Rae has accepted the position to become the senior sales executive in charge of the "National Coalition Program", two sobering voice could be heard this morning rising above the din of the raucous and frenzied madness. First John Manley - who only a few days ago distanced himself from the coalition while on an on-line round table by denying to be one of the "4 wise men" - in the Globe and Mail, writes how the first step for the Liberal Party would be to "replace Stéphane Dion as leader with someone whose first job is to rebuild the Liberal Party, rather than leading a coalition with the NDP". Wow. A sober and resounding indictment of the soon to be legendary (for the wrong reasons) Liberal leader and now his infamous "youtube video". We can only imagine how Mr. Rae feels this morning after reading this, having accepted a position as cheerleader for a coalition that would now have him defend a partnership with the NDP, a skin that he has spent the past several years or more publicly shedding.
As for Mr. Ignatieff - who's body language since last weekend exposed his true feelings on the coalition, and who, like Manley tried to distance him self by suggesting that the inner workings around the deal were being orchestrated by those "with a much higher pay rate than his" - it appears that his concern too would focus around an expedient ousting of the current leader so as to end any future harm to the Liberal brand. On the idea of a more expedient process to replace Dion, this morning Mr. Ignaieff is quoted as saying, "I have been informed that discussions are ongoing," We hope that Mr. Ignatieff received a raise in the past 72 hours and that his rate of pay now entitles him, along with Mr. Manley, to become part of a process that would move this party in a new direction with the focus on rebuilding.
We expect that the fall out from all this will include the end of Mr. Dion's political career, regret by Mr. Rae for taking his new salesmen's position, and a bright future from Mr. LeBlanc if he can distance himself from the coalition rallies about to take our country by "storm".
In January, Mr. Harper will likely table the most un-conservative-like budget in the history of this nation and will give the opposition little choice but to accept it. It will be a spending extravaganza. As such, it would be best for the Liberal's to focus away from the coalition and start to look beyond January to a longer rebuilding process, one that we feel will be necessary to restore the confidence in the Liberal party that was eroded in large part by Mr. Dion's performance over the past seven days.
To that end, Mr. Rae might want to rethink his new position. He should perhaps fake an illness and stay in bed for a few weeks while the fragile coalition ballon looses its "hot air" and scurries off into political oblivion.
Some observations on tonight's taped addresses in no specific order...
• What's with the dark and ominous storm clouds graphic behind Peter Mansbridge's head? Did they mistakingly queue up the Hallowe'en set? • Why did Peter and Keith get so pissy over the tape being late? Did Peter have a hockey game to watch?
Harper • That smile to start things off really scared me. He looked too intense and clearly disingenuous. • He mentioned the "Separatists" 4 times in his under 5 minute address, suggesting that they are part of the coalition. I am sure the fact checkers will have a field day with this one; more Orwelian rhetoric from a dishonest Prime Minister. Maybe he thinks if he tells the Canadian public enough mis-truths, that they may then be inclined to accept them as facts. Kudos to Peter and Keith for calling Harper on this point. • He looks like he lost weight. Frankly, he looks defeated. • You know, when Martin took to the air with his address a few years back, he outright apologized for the Adscam even though he had nothing to do with it. Not Harper. No apologies here. Only smugness, and feigned overconfidence in the face of the worst blunder in Canadian political history. • ...and what is with this plea to at least have the budget heard in January? There was no budget in January until the coalition was formed and forced your hand, Sir. So don't give the Canadian people the impression that the opposition at least owes you and your party the tabling of the budget. Too little too late Sir, and again, a misappropriation of the facts. • Surprisingly short and surprisingly NOTHING new to offer that we have not heard in the last 48 hours.
Dion • Why did we miss the beginning of the tape? Why was the CBC unable to present this address in full? • Did anybody else notice that Dion's face was out of focus and that the books behind him were in focus? So much so that I can clearly read the title of one as "Hot Air". Do you think someone might have had the sense to focus the damn camera and remove "Hot Air" from the shelf before the taping of this fairly important address? His image was also off centre, favouring the right side of the screen. Odd. • We liked hearing about his letter to the GG, pressing her to deny any motion for adjourning parliament. • We were happy to hear that Dion was going to work "...day and night(s)" • We can see why many Canadians are put off by his english. "...Feuding..." sounded remarkably like "...Fooding..."
Overall, we didn't breath during either broadcast. Crazy times in Canadian politics and a lot at stake for both sides and for all Canadians.
CRACK IN THE COALITION Finally, a sign of sanity. Better late than never. A first serious sign of leadership from the presumptive leader-in-waiting. Senior Ignatieff insiders are tantalizingly whispering to Bourque that the Toronto MP is having grave doubts about supporting the shocking Dion coalition bid, now labelled by many as the "Separatist Coalition", given the defining support it has from both the BQ's Gilles Duceppe and former PQ Premier Jacques Parizeau. One longtime senior Ignatieff backer, under condition of anonymity, confided that "Michael is in a tenuous situation and he is feeling a lot of heat from caucus colleagues and constituents alike. Frankly, we think we got snookered by Bob Rae on this one". It nets out to this, according to this longtime Liberal and echoed by many other key backroom players: ordinary Liberals across the country, the card-carrying bbq-ing door-knocking envelope-stuffing phone-banking kind who make up the backbone of the party and who would need to be counted on to support his leadership aspirations, are vehemently rejecting the Dion argument that a deal with the separatist Bloc Quebecois is in the best interests of Canada. "Bullshit", said one Liberal power-broker, who was quick to point out Dion is tilting at Liberal history for the sake of a short stint at 24 Sussex. "Dion is nuts", he told Bourque, "I am ashamed he is leading the party of Laurier, Pearson, Trudeau, and Chretien - my God, Chretien, the guy who poured out his federalist heart against Rene Levesque's country-killing forces so long ago - I am ashamed Dion is selling us out." He and the others are right, of course. Add to that a comment from one of Canada's leading media personalities, who told Bourque this evening that "the Liberals can never again say that they are the guardians of National Unity". He has a sobering point, unfortunately. Ignatieff, in turn, would be right to heed the growing chorus of advice from his own braintrust and to distance himself from this embarrassing marriage of expedience fueled by nothing more than the personal egos and ambitions of a relatively few desperate 'inside-the-beltway' political personalities, both elected and otherwise, the 'chip-on-their-shoulders' type who can't see beyond their disdain for Harper. In short, no act of clarity whatsoever ...... UPDATE 1:Meanwhile, former Lib MP & Deputy PM John Manley is also now distancing himself from Dion's unholy alliance, telling a G&M confcall that his inclusion in Dion's wise men sounding board is news to him. "I havent agreed to do anything", he said ...... UPDATE 2: Insiders are telling Bourque late this evening that "at least 15 opposition members are ready to break ranks and, if necessary, sit as independents. This group includes Dryden, Tonks, Bevilacqua (from Grits) and Angus (NDP)". Bourque is also hearing that "at least three Bloc members are considering same course of action and there maybe at least two Tories thinking of going the other way (as independents) - Michael 'Cheech' Chong and backbencher Lee Richardson." Developing ...
This evening we offer two quotes from George Orwell's 1984 and the proof to support the fact that Mr. Harper is using Orwellian tactics to govern. He has been caught red-handed trying to lead this nation down a dark and ugly road.
1984, Quote #1 "A few agents of the thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous..."
YOU DO NOT SEE A FLAG. THESE PEOPLE ARE DANGEROUS. YOU DO NOT SEE A FLAG. THESE PEOPLE ARE DANGEROUS. YOU DO NOT SEE A FLAG. THESE PEOPLE ARE DANGEROUS. YOU DO NOT SEE A FLAG.
Stephen Harper, House of Commons, December 2, 2008 : "Here we have these three parties signing a document, and they wouldn't even have a the Canadian flag behind them! They had to be photographed without it, because a member of the coalition doesn't even believe in the country."
1984, Quote #2 "The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. ... We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. ... How does one man assert his power over another ... By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is inflicting pain and humiliation."
Tories to pull plug on funding political parties David Akin, Canwest News Service Published: Wednesday, November 26, 2008
OTTAWA -- The federal Conservatives will propose Thursday that all public funding of political parties cease, a move that's sure to spark a war with the three opposition parties.
All political parties receive a public subsidy of $1.75 per year for each vote they receive in a general election. That subsidy costs taxpayers about $28-million in the 12-month period ending Sept. 30.
"This is huge. This is so audacious and outrageous," said Pat Martin, an NDP MP from Winnipeg. "This means war."
"During an economic crisis, (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper is more focused on putting the boots to his political adversaries than helping vulnerable Canadians protect their jobs and savings with a real economic plan," said Liberal MP Scott Brison.
For the NDP and Green Party, the subsidy accounted for about half their revenue in the same period.
"This is not a perk; it is a way of having fair democracy in Canada," said John Bennett, communications director for the Green Party. "This is a way of using the financial crisis to do political damage to other parties."
"They're using the financial crisis as a cover for an attempt to eliminate the political opposition in Canada, despite the fact that the government only got a little over one third of the votes of Canadians. This is a blow to democracy. It will have a significant impact on the ability for the party to maintain our offices and our operation in Ottawa."
The Liberal party, in particular, will find itself in dire straits without the subsidy.
Well he was the only real choice. After MI spent the last three days distancing himself from this process by proclaiming to whomever would listen that "...Mr. Dion IS the leader of this party...", and that "...any discussion on a coalition is above my pay scale..." etc. It was obvious that neither he nor Rae would want to taint their leadership aspirations with this potential time bomb.
Time bomb? To quote a former Vice Presidential candidate, "you betcha".
Here are three reasons why:
1. Has anyone stopped to think how this thing is going to play outside of Ontario and in particular, west of Saskatchewan? 2. Has anyone wondered what the long term implications are on the credibility of a Liberal leader who overthrows an existing government with the "support" of the party who would have us carve Quebec out of this confederation? 3. Has anyone considered how the optics of bedding Jack (Robin Hood) Layton and his merry band of lefties will affect the Liberal brand?
On another note, a good summary of the Governor General's options here, today courtesy of Norma Greenaway, of the Ottawa Citizen. With thanks to JRA for the link.
Next Face Blogosphere Scoop...just released minutes ago from Keith Boag.
The Liberals and the NDP have reached a deal to form a coalition and topple the Conservative government.
According to the CBC, there will be NO deputy prime minister and the coalition will govern for the next 2 1/2 years. The NDP will be invited into the cabinet and be allocated 25% of the seats. The Bloc is not part of the coalition but would have to support it, sources say.
Props to Rev. Rob Oliphant for nailing it in the house on Friday and to Aaron Wherry (Macleans) for this article this morning. Note the first comment by Jerry Jackson in response to the article reproduced below in full as it appears on Macleans.ca
Eulogy for a government?
Rob Oliphant is a slight, unimposing man, one of the rookie Liberals who fill the back row of the opposition side. His is a united church minister with a degree in commerce. He was an advisor to David Peterson’s government in Ontario and Michael Ignatieff’s campaign for the Liberal leadership in 2006. He currently represents the riding vacated by John Godfrey, another slight, unimposing man.
In the moments before Jim Flaherty delivered the government’s economic and fiscal statement, the House was going through the motions of debating the speech from the throne. Oliphant was the last member of parliament to speak in full before the Speaker called on the finance minister. The government benches had been filling as he spoke and were full by the time he finished, but save for a few Liberals in Oliphant’s immediate vicinity, almost no one seemed to notice his remarks. Everything that has transpired since has, of course, reduced him to the stuff of footnote.
But if we are in the final days of Stephen Harper’s government, here was a crushing, if inadvertent, eulogy.
It was not, in the straightforward sense, a complete harangue. “It might surprise the honourable members opposite and perhaps some of the honourable members on this side of the House that I found a number of laudable elements in the speech as it was read. In fact, it was much less brutal than one might have expected following the heated rhetoric of the last campaign,” he said. “Specifically, I was impressed that the government seemed to indicate that, despite all evidence to the contrary, it might actually believe that government can and should be a force for good in people’s lives, and that it is appropriate for government to intervene, act and ensure that our future, particularly our economic future, is protected.”
Though it was a bit of a harangue. “What surprises me about this recognition is that it is simply not even close to what the honourable members on the other side of the House were telling voters during the election, week after week in the recent campaign,” he said. “In fact, during the campaign, the Conservatives ran against incurring deficits and un-budgeted spending while continually denying that Canada was heading toward a recession.”
He continued. “There are two possibilities as to why the government has so radically shifted its position with respect to the economy, and neither of them, frankly, is pretty. First, it is possible that it completely misread the international economic indicators visible to most of us. Second, it is possible that it failed to see that the domestic economic policies followed in their first mandate, policies of irresponsible tax cuts and bloated government spending, have left the government completely incapable of responding quickly or well to the situation. I am talking about incompetence of the highest order.”
He recited some of Mr. Harper’s claims about Canada’s escape from both recession and deficit. “If this was done truthfully but naively, it smacks of utter and complete incompetence,” he figured. “If it is not incompetence, ineptitude or mismanagement, I fear it may be a far more serious problem for the government. If it is not incompetence, it is deception or misrepresentation. The campaign run by the Conservatives was disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst.”
And then he got specific. “Voter apathy, civic cynicism and outright disgust with politicians is based on political leaders refusing to say what they mean and, even worse, failing continually to do what they say. Voters are increasingly savvy and are simply tired of politicians telling them what they think they want to hear and then turning 180 degrees and doing something completely different,” he said. “At the core of the Speech from the Throne lies bear the ethical reality that shapes the government. It is a government that will say anything, do anything, promise anything to get elected and simply cannot and will not be trusted by Canadians. The throne speech reveals at its core that the government is morally bankrupt. It has lost its moral compass.”
The denouement was a series of questions. About poverty and affordable housing, arts and education, immigration and diplomacy, soldiers and veterans. Questions, he said, his constituents wanted answered.
“Where is the imagination that is going to help the poor and those who will be displaced by today’s economic reality as it descends upon us,” he asked, “just as the government has emptied the cupboard?”
Moments after, he and everyone else learned just how imaginative this government was willing to get.
Jerry Jackson Nov 30, 2008 4:36 I donated 1000 dollars to the Conservative Party of Canada this year, and 400 to my local campaign.
What has transpired in the last 72 hours has absolutely disgusted and disillusioned me. At the first Conservative Party Convention (in what seems like a lifetime ago), we were told, and told eachother that we would do it better than the other guys. Accountable government, no tricks, no slimy games, just good governance and a United Right.
We, the grassroots of the CPoC have told ourselves that the compromises in policy were simply a temporary condition necessary to achieve power.
We the grassroots of the CPoC told ourselves that the misgivings of this government in its campaign spending, were simply trumped up allegations, created by vengeful officials at elections Canada and members of the left wing media.
We the grassroots of the CPoC turned a blind eye when government grew under Harper, not shrank as promised.
We of the grassroots watched with awe as the facade finally came crashing down this thursday, and the people we placed in power, were exposed as lying, conniving, inept opportunists, just as bad as the people we removed from power 3 years ago.
I will never donate or volunteer on a campaign so long as Stephen Harper is the leader of the Conservative Party. We have given him four elections, and he has been incapable of inspiring Canadians, passing any of the policies we developed within the party, or taken one step to dismantle the corrupt and bloated institutions of our socialist system.
I will be mailing my card back to Conservative Party headquarters tomorrow.
Spending our way out of this mess. This is what the coalition would have us do. While the government instead, would have us believe that denying political parties the $1.95 per vote in subsidies is a prudent way to "conserve" finances.
Although Ignatieff's suggestion that we should all contribute to his campaign to "save democracy" was only slightly self-serving, he was correct in so much as Harper's bid to remove the funding under the guise of fiscal responsibility was nothing more than a sinister attempt to hobble the opposition party at a time when finances are their achilles heel.
But Next Face can offer proof that the coalition will win the support of Canadians and why it is prudent to "spend our way" out of this mess. The numbers don't lie. Of the 10 wealthiest nations in the world, Canada is among the leaders when you compare Debt to income ratio. This chart below illustrating 2007 data confirms it. It also confirms that Americans are living well beyond their means, and this is BEFORE the great bailouts of 2008!
Need more proof? Lets compare the top 10 debtor nations. While this list is made up mostly of our G8 friends and colleagues, Canada does not even make it on the list!
So can we afford to act like reckless Liberals and spend our way out of this mess? Certainly.
Did the Flaherty and Harper get this wrong? Absofreakinlutely.
We are not economists, we are lowly bloggers, and even we can figure out that there is room to do a little infrastructure work here in Ontario or Quebec to generate a little job growth and stimulate us through the next year or two.
"...The opposition is entitled to defeat the government as it sees fit, Harper said Friday, but Dion himself does not have the right to take power without an election. "They want to put in place a government led by one party which received its lowest popular vote since Confederation," he said. "They want to put in place a prime minister who was rejected by the voters of Canada only six weeks ago."
Ahem... Mr. Harper... lets go back and review the results of the popular vote on October 14th, 2008.
A coalition government includes members of different political parties and normally appears during crises such as war or political breakdown. The fluidity of party lines, the predominance of patronage, and the novelty of responsible government led to several experimental coalition arrangements in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Canada in the 1840s and 1850s. The best known were in 1854 and 1864 (the GREAT COALITION) in the Province of Canada. The former, which united moderate Reformers and Conservatives, was the base for the post-Confederation CONSERVATIVE PARTY. The latter joined CLEAR GRIT Liberals, Conservatives and PARTI BLEU to bring about CONFEDERATION, although it had been dissolved by the 1872 election. The strengthening of party affiliation and the development of the apparatus of a party system since Confederation have made coalitions more difficult to negotiate. At the national level, the only coalition has been Sir Robert BORDEN'S 1917 UNION GOVERNMENT. Faced with strong opposition to conscription and with other major difficulties during WWI, Borden sought to broaden his wartime political base by bringing several conscriptionist Liberals and other public figures into his government. In the December 1917 general election, this government won a decisive victory over Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Liberals. The Union coalition did not long survive its triumph: the end of the war brought many Liberals back to their old affiliation, while other Unionists supported the new PROGRESSIVE PARTY.
With Borden's resignation in 1920, even the pretense of coalition disappeared. The Union government illustrated the dangers of coalition: after 1917, French Canadians associated coalitions with conscription. Indeed, during WWII, proposals for coalitions or a "National Government" came from those who also called for a stronger war effort and conscription. Since WWII there have been few proposals for federal coalition governments.
At the provincial level coalitions have occurred in western Canada. Manitoba Liberals and Progressives combined in 1931, and in 1940 all the province's parties joined a nonpartisan administration formed to meet wartime demands. In BC a wartime coalition between the Liberals and Conservatives held off the challenge of the CO-OPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH FEDERATION. The coalition probably benefited the CCF; it certainly damaged the Liberals and Conservatives, soon supplanted by SOCIAL CREDIT. No coalition has been as successful as the "Great Coalition." Politicians have become so wary of the long-term results of coalitions that they are now most reluctant to introduce them.
Chretien and Broadbent working together behind the scenes to broker a coalition? Harper's plant to cut public subsidies for political parties - a plan to kick the Liberals where it counts while they were down - seems to awoken the giants!
Of course, we would have preferred that the coalition be created AFTER the Next Face of the Party was firmly in place, but we will take Canadian political drama in any form and on any day.
We suspect Mr. Flaherty, is feeling a little stress right about now.
World statistical data on TED like you have never seen it presented before by Dr. Hans Rosling. Take 20 minutes to watch this video. Very impressive data presented in an innovative and thought provoking way. (Watch for the drama around the 4:00 mark)
The site and data studies that Dr. Rosling refers to can be found at : http://gapminder.org/ The X and Y criteria can be changed making for hours of interesting and dynamic graphing.
Click the 'play' button on this one for example to chart the relationship between 'Life Expectancy' and 'Income Per Person' and watch Canada's growth over the past 100 years. A word of warning. This site can become quite addictive.
Today in the Toronto Star a microcosm of the two issues - the two solitudes - that face the Liberal party over the next few months.
Deborah Coyne writes about opportunity, in Wanted: A Party WIth A Vision Coyne is right in suggesting that there is a Federal vision vacuum, and that the 2008 federal election "...failed miserably to excite Canadians..."
If ever there was an opportunity to captivate and inspire Canadians, it would be now and it could be achieved with a stronger more motivated and visible (where are you Mr. Harper, and can you buy a vision?) national government.
Next, Linda Diebel, writes of the all but concluded Liberal leadership race (Igantieff on the 1st ballot?) and the empty Liberal coffers in Buckets of Blood and Empty Coffers; a headline too severe for our tastes, yes? Here Rae is portrayed as the clear underdog, needing to "...change the channel (on the leadership race)..." to have any chance at catching MI.
Need we remind all that MI led in the first three ballots in December of 2006? Clearly the front runner, there was no appetite then to put him over the top.
What has changed? Was Harper's second minority enough to bring the delegates together and put MI over the top? Is Rae's correct when he suggests that this thing is far from over?
Image is a sketch by Barbara Swan - Two Solitudes. 1966
We don't want to sound too nostalgic, but watching this made us feel both sentimental and sad as it evokes memories of an era that we have strayed far from. We wish Mr. Trudeau well and we are quite certain that his time will come.
Three left. But with these three, two choices become apparent. A choice between a new, youthful direction or a choice for older, experienced leadership. We remain steadfast in our belief, however, that neither senior candidate, Rae or Ignatieff, can win this thing without one throwing their support behind the other at some point between now and the last ballot. Who will blink first in that scenrio remains to be seen. Will either blink at all? Will Kennedy, Trudeau and Findlay and the like throw their support behind the younger LeBlanc? Will that support make a difference?
The party and the process is stronger this morning through attrition; maybe forced into this narrower field for financial reasons, or maybe the hype is true and one or two of these last three standing has amassed a much broader spectrum of support.
Either way the party's future is more in focus and with fewer to choose from, the direction becomes more defined.
We have taken the liberty of posting Mr. Kennedy's press statement below. However, should you not have the time or patience to read it all and if you would rather read a synopsis, Next Face is pleased to summarize the text with the following two sentences:
"...I did not have the money nor the support to run an effective campaign against Michael Ignatieff or Bob Rae and my debt from the previous leadership run became rather prohibitive. Further, I felt that I could not allow myself to be put in a position to - once again - play kingmaker as I would have likely picked the wrong man for the job again and spiraled the party further into disarray..."
We implore Mr. Kennedy to do the right thing and move his support behind either Mr. Rae or Mr. Ignatieff. Show some solidarity, back a strong candidate and do what is right for the party.
Statement by Gerard Kennedy, MP Parkdale High Park on Liberal leadership Source: Canada NewsWire Nov 12, 2008 13:58 News release via Canada NewsWire, Toronto 416-863-9350 Attention News Editors TORONTO, Nov. 12 /CNW/ - "Over the past few weeks I have received encouragement and support from hundreds of grassroots Liberals from across the country to run again for leader of the Liberal Party.
I have come out of these discussions, and the election itself, very energized to help take on the challenges that Liberals face.
The choice for me, however, is whether to embark on yet another significant campaign, or to work on behalf of Canadians more directly.
In the past two and a half years, I have contested an eight month national leadership campaign, subsequently travelled extensively to many other ridings and won a previously unheld riding following what proved to be a very lengthy run-up period.
On a personal level, my young family has already felt the impact of successive challenging campaigns. And, on a practical level, this contest has arisen quite suddenly after the election. Before and during the election, I had put all of my energies into supporting the party and Leader, not maintaining a leadership team.
While I greatly appreciate all of the confidence expressed in me and believe I could have mounted a stronger campaign than last time, I will not be a candidate in this leadership race.
Instead, I will focus on acting for Canadians and the people of Parkdale-High Park at a time of particular need, and on working hard in my riding and elsewhere in the country to ensure the Liberal party is renewed the way it must be for these times.
Canadians need the Liberal Party to be a strong Opposition, inside and outside of Parliament. I believe I can draw on my years fighting rightwing Conservative governments in Ontario to help compel the Harper Conservatives to confront the economic problems the country faces.
I am convinced that I can also help ensure the Liberal party will not be vulnerable to a snap election, by joining with Liberals to rebuild beyond the leadership race. I believe strongly that the parliamentary and membership wings of the party must do their part to ensure we have an open, effective and accountable modern political party ready to fully regain Canadians' trust. A change in a leader alone is not sufficient.
There is a growing recognition of the need for real change following the election. Each of the likely current leadership candidates have already spoken at some length of "renewal" of the party, the main focus of my 2006 leadership campaign.
I look forward to enthusiastically playing my part in moving the Liberal Party and Canada forward."
If Next Face fan Jane Taber has it right, then we might have some bleeding from the Kennedy camp over to the Ignatieff side. See her Sunday Globe and Mail story here.
"...Mr. Ignatieff is already picking up caucus support from Gerard Kennedy, the insider says. Mr. Kennedy ran for the leadership in 2006 but has not announced plans to run this time."
mississaugapeter, can you confirm or deny? Is there panic in GK's camp?
Is Kennedy in fact going to run, or is he looking to team up with and support (or be supported by) the young Trudeau as Lawrence Martin would have us believe in his story today?
Here's an idea. What if Kennedy and Trudeau warm up to either Rae of Ignatieff and form an alliance - an inner core as it were - intended to build a long term leadership base that would see either senior candidate lead and mentor the two younger, future leaders? What a concept? Where have we seen this before?
There must be a more diplomatic way of reaching out to some of the fringe (and not so fringe) candidates than legislating them out of contention for having debt from the last campaign. Good to see the Liberals are moving away from the old era of infighting. Way to go boys. Lets find something more contentious to launch the weekend talks with and turn this into a real love-in.
We are all about building a stronger party, fewer candidates, a shorter campaign, but we did not see this coming. There has to be a better way.
"...JOAN BRYDEN The Canadian Press November 7, 2008 at 9:22 PM EST OTTAWA — The Quebec wing of the federal Liberal party is proposing leadership rules that would prohibit prominent MPs from joining the race to succeed Stéphane Dion.
Quebec officials are recommending that anyone with outstanding debt from the 2006 leadership race be disqualified — a rule that would hit Gerard Kennedy and Martha Hall Findlay, who each owe just under $200,000 from their unsuccessful bids.
“No candidate is allowed to run in this leadership race if the said candidate shows any outstanding debt from the 2006 leadership race,” says the Quebec wing in a submission to the Liberal party national executive.
The submission, obtained Friday by The Canadian Press, will be considered by the national executive as it meets this weekend to set the place, time and rules for the leadership convention."
Will the cash strapped Liberal party be forced into a low-budget leadership process?
While we agree that the 2006 version was long and drawn out with too many candidates and too many debates, we do believe in a fair and balance and transparent process. We don't believe in compromising the integrity of this debate. We are looking for the best among us. We need to get it right this time.
A less expensive venue? Yes. A shorter process? Certainly. Limit the number of candidates to serious contenders only? Frankly, if the Findlay's and Volpe's of the world think that they are improving this process and strengthening the party by running this time, then perhaps they didn't get the memo.
According to this Gazette article, "...At least half a dozen MPs made clear they want a focused campaign with a small roster. "I think the fewer the better," said Toronto MP Judy Sgro. "Frankly, I'd like to see the main contenders go in a room, flip a coin and come out and say this is who our leader is." Toronto MP John McCallum said a short campaign with few candidates would keep costs down. "From a financial point of view for the Liberal party, and one thing we're lacking is money, the more candidates there are, the more they raise money that might otherwise go to the Liberal party," he said. Nova Scotia MP Scott Brison said "the more colleagues that are running for the leadership, the less effective we will be on the floor of the House of Commons."
The much anticipated rules of the race and fees for the candidates are to be announced this Saturday. Stay tuned.
First, it looks like Palin's lacked even basic social, geographical and political knowledge. Believe it or not, it was WORSE that we thought. According to this Fox report, she didn't know who is in NAFTA and did not know that Africa is a continent.
Second, the fact that Fox admits that they knew this and kept it from the public as "off the record" information and chooses the day after the election to report it as a news story exposes their hypocrisy and confirms their bias.
The Palin smear continues here in today's Newsweek online with an excerpt below :
"...NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family—clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.
A Palin aide said: "Governor Palin was not directing staffers to put anything on their personal credit cards, and anything that staffers put on their credit cards has been reimbursed, like an expense. Nasty and false accusations following a defeat say more about the person who made them than they do about Governor Palin."
McCain himself rarely spoke to Palin during the campaign, and aides kept him in the dark about the details of her spending on clothes because they were sure he would be offended. Palin asked to speak along with McCain at his Arizona concession speech Tuesday night, but campaign strategist Steve Schmidt vetoed the request."
We are inspired, full of hope, and genuinely moved.
For eight years we have been driving our children down to Florida for the summer and for eight years our children have only known Bush's America. They watched our government vote down participation in Bush's war. They saw Bush invade a country under false pretense. They watched as America split itself down the middle into two divisive entities. Through this past decade, I tried to make my children understand that the America I knew growing up had presidents like Kennedy, Carter and Clinton. That that there was a kindler gentler version of their politic that once resonated throughout the world as a positive force for peace; that they can actually inspire with the power of their progress and the strength of their freedom.
Last night, America hit the reset button in a big way. The world is a better place for it and my children will now bear witness to just how positive a force and how great an influence this great nation can be.
Anyone who ever said that they couldn't "because...", can never say that again. Anyone who ever dared to dream to big, can now dare to dream even bigger.
An Obama landslide, would be a clear message for change. It would be what the American's need to turn their abysmal foreign image around. It may even keep Michael Moore out of the documentary business for a while. And heck, if he re-opens NAFTA, we may even be able to renegotiate the ridiculous 60% oil trade deal with the US which still baffles us to this day.
But most importantly, just think what an Obama presidency would do to Stephen Harper. It would instantly alter his image to "yesterday's man"; an outdated throw back to the days of conservativism. A man out of step with the trend. A man who pales in comparison to Obama's passion and genuine style.
As an astute colleague said this weekend at a party we hosted, an Obama victory will make Harper look like Diefenbaker did against JFK. Out of step. Out of touch. Put a fork in him.
We all have people we know south of the border. Brothers, sisters, uncles aunts, friends. People we haven't talked to in a while. Lets give them a call. Lets help get the vote out.
Michael Ignatieff 4:1 Bob Rae 5:1 Dominic LeBlanc 7:1 (Manley, the long shot at 8:1 was edited out Nov. 5, 2008)
And before you get all hostile with your comments, we suggest you look back to 2006 and realize that we called Dion with our last "odds" post in October of that year...our crack research staff has their finger on the pulse baby!
Neither Bob Rae nor Michael Ignatieff will win this leadership race without one throwing their support behind the other at some point between now and the final ballot.
We all saw this story play out in December of 2006. The two candidates ended up dividing the delegates and forced the "anyone but" movements that played out on the convention floor. When Ray was forced off after the 3rd ballot, and released his delegates instead of walking over to MI, he left it wide open for Dion to be crowned.
MI received 1412 delegate votes after the 1st ballot. over the next 3 ballots, he only managed to increase his tally by 662 of the possible 3403 delegates that split their vote between Hall Findlay, Volpe, Brison, Dryden, Kennedy, Dion and Rae. ONLY 662 of a possible 3403. Similarly, Rae only managed to increase his count by only 398 from ballot 1 to ballot 3. What makes anyone think it will be any different this time? Assuming that MI goes into the convention with a lead after the 1st ballot, there would likely be those who would want to support Rae on a 2nd ballot to thwart MI and we would be right back where we started.
What we need here is a clear front runner. A front runner who can engage a broader spectrum of delegates so as to ward off a polarized delegation. We need a candidate other than Rae and Ignatieff, who would otherwise be a first choice if the two were not in this race to begin with.
Rae and Ignatieff offer a tremendous amount to this debate. They would both elevate the Liberal party and offer a tangible opportunity to beat Harper in four years. That they elevate the party for different reasons is good for the debate. That they do so in relatively equal measure is divisive.
From Douglas Bell yesterday. The comments below his post are of particular interest as they seem to disagree with : 1. The Ignatieff comparison to Obama, and 2. His ability to be re-breanded into an "I-feel-your-pain" style candidate. IMHO, Don Guy best re-watch the now famous Harper "Sweater Ads" and be reminded that a Merino wool vest and a smarmy smile does not a connection to the "average Canadian" make. These ads failed. The make-over failed. The attempt to re-brand here was transparent and frankly, painful to watch. Here, Harper's image was imbued with the sincerity of an undertaker and Canadians saw right through it.
So it does beg the question: Can you re-brand and wash away a lack of sincerity? Can someone step in and help weave together a candidates connection to the average man? Or is it in fact the real and genuine essence of Obama that our friends to the south have connected with and is it that essence that distinguishes his candidacy from the branded "Maverick" that John McCain tried to become?
Finally, is that what the Liberals are looking for in a new leader? Are they looking for someone who needs to be re-branded from the start? Someone who needs to part his hair on the other side, guard his tone when speaking to single moms, and offer a half smile when asked about foreign affairs as if to suggest a quiet confidence?
If we are going to strive for a Northern Obama, then is it not best that we seek the genuine article among us?
We are pleased to announce that Bob Rae has officially thrown his hat into the ring. Fitting because of the three interviews we conducted during the run up to the last race, we enjoyed our time with Mr. Rae the most. We will be re-posting the transcripts to that interview over the coming days.
In the meantime this was another memorable Bob Rae moment. One for the ages and a golden moment in Canadian political history.
How can you not like a candidate who lists Fargo and The Big Lebowski as among his favorite movies on his Facebook page?
"The rumors of (our) death have been greatly exaggerated".
We are back! Can you believe it?
What happened? We left you the task of re-inventing the party. We challenged you with our Manifesto. We interviewed the candidates. We brought our own unique brand of journalism to the process, and where did it get us?
We are profoundly disappointed with you. You Liberal types. You delegates who were unable to elect a leader in the first three ballots. You pundits who were unable to discern a real opportunity for Liberal victory from a long shot.
But fear not. We promise to guide you though this process again. To set you straight on the path towards a true visionary, a true leader, and a more likely Next Face of the Liberal party of Canada.
Our crack research and editorial staff will be bringing you more Next Face interviews, inside stories, and varied contributions throughout this leadership run. Come along with us for the ride. It will be at least as much fun as the last one.
BTW, the photograph above was selected for metaphorical reasons. The ship in the background, moving away from the viewer in Coal Harbour, Vancouver is Dion's leadership tenure; fading off into history. The ship is framed by several and varied buildings: some classic, some modern, some glazed and some clad in limestone.
The buildings are your candidates. Choose one. Choose wisely. That is all.
Bob Ray has released his delegates and is NOT walking over to Ignatieff. Over the course of the day, Ray has drawn 6 of the 8 candidates to his side but it was not enough to stop the Kennedy/Dion partnership.
Smitherman goes to Ignatieff. Brison and Sgro go to Ignatieff. Bevilacqua goes to Dion. Dryden goes to Dion.
From : Chretien's bluntly assess Martin reign By ALEXANDER PANETTA
"...Chretien, who won three straight majorities in 1993, 1997, and 2000, says he misses the people in the party but has been happy to move on after more than 40 years in politics.
On Martin : "(when) asked if he had anything to say about Paul Martin's performance as prime minister. "He didn't win," Chretien told a crowd of reporters. "I would have preferred it if he had." "
On 'Nation' : Chretien treaded carefully when asked about the Conservative government's motion recognizing the Quebecois as a nation within a united Canada. Chretien noted that Tories themselves don't seem to agree what the motion means.
They were a bit confused," Chretien said. "Maybe one day Mr. Harper will tell us what it means and I'll comment then. . . I'm for clarity. You know me, I love clarity." "
On The Convention : Chretien was asked who he was pulling for. "A good leader," he replied. He was asked: What characterizes a good leader? "One who wins elections."
8:43pm Michael Ignatieff. It is his to loose. I don't think anyone hit the grand slam and the door is open for MI to nail this. His intro video is the best yet. His brother speaks to this arrogance myth. They even address the anyone-but-Ignatieff-campaign. Even Ruby makes an appearance on the video!
Who chooses this man's ties. Consistently bad choices. He looks composed and relaxed and speaks slowly. Tonight is the night the Liberal party begins again. He thanks the campaign workers. Building a better Liberal party.
His intonation - at times - sounds remarkably like Mike Myers doing Dr. Evil.
We must be the party of hope. He is a dramatic contrast to Rae. A lot more French. Much composed and paced. Speaks to the environment and climate change and future generations.
Lets win some seats in Alberta!
An equality of people rooted in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Really MI? Really? Except - you mean - for the Quebec nation, who apparently deserve their own special status among other Canadians. I thought this was double speak. It was hypocritical. You cannot tout the Trudeau vision of Canada and undermine it in the same breath.
CTV's Lloyd Robertson just cut off their broadcast in the middle of MI's speech and went to regular programing - unbefreakingleavable. Back to cpac - at least they are still running it.
If we become the party of hope, no one will defeat us. Give me the chance to inspire and to make you proud I will give you victory. MI joins Dion as a candidate unable to manage his time and is cut off by the fascists running the music and the microphones.
MI delivers the best speech of the night. Is it enough to overcome the "anyone but campaign?" Time will tell.
8:12pm. Bob Rae. Rae goes with a mike and without a net. On the cuff. No teleprompter. From the heart. Talking directly. Starts with 2 Rabbi jokes. Wow. This is dramatic. Very gutsy for Rae. This delivery could make or break him tonight. Gutsy move.
Very proud to work on Federalism for Mr. Chretien. Very pleased when McGuinty asked him to help on education. Very proud to have worked on the Red Cross and mistakes made. Had great opportunities. Faced victories and moments of great loss and came out as a stronger and better person. Happy to take on the Air India challenge from Mr. Martin.
This is about the country. About our love for Canada. So far this speech is great on name dropping but weak on policy and passion. We get the message. We know that the Liberal party is not as important as much as Canada is important. But the party needs to be united and together and strong or we will not succeed.
Vision into politics. Raes vision. Canada's vision is "of the world"? Resolution of conflict is just as important as anything. He struggles here - could have used a teleprompter.
He honours Chretien for the decision to NOT follow Bush in to Iraq to a rousing ovation.
He sees a Canada where every child is hungry for knowledge and not for food. A Canada of fiscal responsibility. I have learned that lesson. A Canada that is polluting less now not in 20 years. Not just green in general but green in particular. Recognize a Quebec that is strong that is open to the world, open to the future, and not due to the Bloq, but due to the people of Quebec.
OUCH - a Stephen Harper vegetable joke. YIKKES! that was so politically incorrect. We love it!
The Rabbi joke again. Gives props to Mr. Turner as a great leader of the opposition. Canada first, Canada last, Canada always. Thank you and goodnight.
OMG - this was the most original leadership speech ever. Not sure it worked. But it was gutsy, gutsy, gutsy. Bob Rae unplugged.
7:38pm Gerrard Kennedy. Justin Trudeau introduces GK. Nice touch. He looks strong. Give this man 3 years in the House and he could own this country. Big ovation for GK. (Geez, no offence GK, but My father used to give haircuts like that in 1959 for $2.75 at the King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto.
One Canada. United. A Conservative government is pitting Canadians against Canadians for their own gain. Stephen Harper is salivating at the chance of a Conservative government. We will not let that happen.
I learned how to deal with Mike Harris and we threw out the Tories in Ontario in 2003. I know how to beat Stephen Harper.
Kennedy wades into foreign policy but frankly without much credibility although I will say that GK can deliver a speech. He is clear and effective and has good passion. But only in english.
Just like the Dion's performance before him, I am starting to think that the best thing about this speech is the intro...
The concerns of Quebec are the concerns of Canadians. A new Liberal agenda will win back the support in Canada. "...I will be proud to be the first Liberal leader born and raised in Western Canada..." See I have trouble with this...but I digress.
Integrity, hard work. We will win back the faith off Canadians by earning it. Canadians fair and generous but they are keeping an eye on us.
Listen to the "quiet noises." Lets profoundly unify this Country. Merci beaucoup.
GK delivers the best speech so far. He will not win tonight, but he will always have our respect for his position earlier this week in the 'nation' debate.
6:35pm Ken Dryden. Ken opens to a huge ovation and tries to make up to Montreal for the "Nation" vote by starting in French and reminding them that they said 'no' to the influences of America and the English language. Ken speaks to several coast to coast experiences along the way from Signal Hill to Inverness to Kelowna. The theme is "unbelievable". Quebec fought the fight against influences for "...all of us." Us together. Ken speaks French for about 20% of the speech and does a great job with it. We are a good country. We are about inclusion, about a real chance. Is Mr. Harper worthy of this Canada? Not even close, Ken says. An echo of the US is how the Conservatives see Canada. Pinched, ungenerous and divisive. This is a country, not an ideology. 10 Provinces, 10 Childcare agreements.
Another place another time and Ken Dryden would have made for a terrific Prime Minister. Too bad really.
7:10pm Stephane Dion. Dion is introduced with the Foo Fighters, Times Like These. "It's times like these you learn to love again, its times like these you live and live again..." Awesome song selection. Looks like Dion is trying really hard for a Next Face endorsement! Glen Pearson introduces Dion and speaks strong to the environment and the 2nd place finish of the Green Party in London, Ontario. Excellent introduction. By far the best yet.
11 years ago, Jean Chretien invited me to deliver and I delivered to my prime minister. 2 years ago Paul Martin invited me to deliver and again, I delivered to my prime minister and to my country. The direction Stephen Harper is taking Canada in is wrong. It is not helping the Canadian people.
"...There is more culture in a bowl of yogurt than in this Conservative government." This my friends, is the line of the night so far.
Repeats his Three Pillar Approach strategy. Canada with 33 million people consumes as much energy as the continent of Africa with 800 million people. We need to be part of the solution. The world needs Canada. Canada will not fail the world.
The door to door rebate thing was weak. Really. is that vision? Is that not beneath him for this venue? Is this what we are looking for in a leader of a nation? Door to door rebates for energy efficient appliances? You lost me there Stephane and your speech writer should be demoted for that one.
Stephane did not do well with his timing as the music came up to signal his time is up and it made for a rather awkward finish. Ignatieff approached him as he left the stage and offered his hand.
5:10pm Martha Hall Findlay. "Leadership is meant to inspire not to control" She declared that she would stay on for the 1st ballot...
Brison. Pretty disjointed actually. Not a lot of passion.. Attacked Harper. Heavy on the Environment. As he left the stage. he was greeted by Rae who likely made a pitch for 2nd and 3rd ballot support.
6:10pm Volpe. Arrived to Tom Cochrane's "Life Is a Highway" Apparently Joe wants to ride it all night long. He gave the best speech of the three so far stressing his immigrant roots and finding a place for visible minorities in Canada as equals. Joe has been spreading the word at the convention that HE will be the king maker this weekend. Not likely but it is just like Joe to go down fighting.
As Joe left the stage - camera pans to Bob Rae working the crowd again - this time glad handing with Dalton (i must be lost) McGuinty.
In the past 5 minutes Harper has lost an Intergovernmental Affairs Minister and Ken Dryden is helping to nail the rudder back on to the S.S. Liberal with this statement. Thanks to Mark Watton at nottawa for the text.
Special thanks go out to Gerrard Kennedy for inspiring his party. Hang on to your hats boys and girls this is going to be one crazy week.
This deserved its own post. Our friend and regular contributor to Next Face, AP posted this comment today and responded to Chantal Hebert's November 27th column in the Toronto Star. (CH's text is italicized, AP's in bold)
From the Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language. Canadian Edition.
na-tionn. a body of people recognized as an entity by virtue of their historical, linguistic or ethnic links; a body of people united under a particular political organization, and usually occupying a defined territory. (F. fr. L. natio, nationis)
Liberal Canadians dumbfounded by the events of the past few days have been asking themselves : Why won't Rae or Dion or Kennedy or Dryden stand up and counter the Harper motion? Why won't they stand up for the majority of Canadians who would oppose this new definition of Canada and Quebec?
Where is the leader for the rest of the country? Where is the leader with a sense of history and identity? Where is the leader who would rather advocate on behalf of a just society for all Canadians than offer up 'nation' to a Bloq party who represent a minority of Quebecois, who in turn represent a geographic and sociological minority within Canada?
Well the reasons are becoming increasingly clear to me and I can summarize it this way: Mulroney strategized, Stephen Harper pounced, Bill Graham flinched and the rest as they say is Canadian history.
The minority Conservative government effectively trumped the Liberals and in the context of Canadian politics have done so in dramatic fashion.
What we are left with, just days before the Liberal convention, is a party in shambles. A party forced now - after the vacuous and giddy showing by interim Leader Bill Graham - to abandon 40 years of 'just society' in favour of a hasty and reactionary drive-through brand of nationhood arrangement for Quebec.
One has to ask oneself, what would have happened had the Graham led Liberals not have stood in applause in the house as Harper read his motion? What would have happened if the majority of Liberals took their lead from a most unlikely savant - Jimmy Karygiannis - who today stands as the only member of the Liberal party who can look in the mirror and not see a reflection of a broken, beaten member of the opposition.
Today Mr. Karygiannis is the only member of the Liberal party worthy of centre stage at the convention this coming weekend...and yes I can't believe that I just wrote that.
But more to the point and in response to the original question, what would have happened if Mr. Graham had not led his sheep to slaughter?
First one could argue that had the Liberals not sold out on the Trudeau vision of Canada then either Mr. Rae, Mr. Dion or Mr. Kennedy would have become the new Liberal leader and in opposing the motion would likely have received the support of Canadians in the next Federal election. Instead what we now have is a group of leadership candidates who are left standing in wonder as they line up to endorse the motion for fear of reprisal from their own party who stood in unison save for one Mr. Karygiannis.
Second, one could argue that Harper's motion would have resulted in the end of his government if it was met with bewilderment by the Liberals in the House with puzzled expressions and asses firmly planted in seats. Such a gesture could have secured for the history books yet another brief Conservative Prime Ministerial tenure rivaling those of Charles Joseph Clark and Avril Phaedra Douglas Campbell.
Had the Liberal MP's been reminded by their interim leader that this same Mr. Harper may not be qualified to steer this ship and that this same Mr. Harper voted against Jean Chretien's Distinct Society motion on November 29, 1995 and that this same Mr. Harper described Pierre Trudeau as a "...promoter of unabashed socialism", then maybe with some effort they could have solicited a resounding Liberal and bipartisan outcry from Victoria to Calgary to Halifax and St. John's which could have secured an end to Mr. Harper's government.
Instead we are left with a hollowed out carcass of candidates made up of a rudderless group of yesterdays men (and woman). A group so shallow in their conviction and so clueless of the implications of their actions that in their confusion, they have actually managed to right the listing ship Igantieff and somehow turn his leadership loosing blunder on nationhood into a visionary treaty perversely in line with this new and instant just-add-water Conservative vision of two nations in one.
And so the nation turns. And it does so at the hands of a man who only 16 years ago became an executive assistant to the Reform Party's star - and only - member of parliament, Ms. Deborah Grey, after loosing his bid to win a riding in the Federal election in 1988 by a wide margin.
And all this, my fellow Canadians can all be attributed to two things. First we can thank Paul Martin for appointing Bill Graham to a position that he foolishly thought would be free of any significant leadership requirement and in doing so left the door wide open for Mr. Mulroney and Mr. Harper to exploit the party and in turn the redefine the nation.
And lastly we can point to the hubris of the Conservative Party, aka the Reform Party, aka the Canadian Alliance. Mr. Harper's braggadocio combined with the self-importance of Mr. Mulroney have made for a stew of superciliousness the potency of which this country has never seen and may never see again.