Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tuesday Morning Quarterback

Well, that was certainly a fun ride. For this week, I'll be posting thoughts on the election, the transition, and the new Cabinet. I intend to focus a lot on Liberal Leadership over the coming months, but I want to mull the choices over for a bit. For now, let me say that when it comes to selecting a new leader, it's crucial that we learn lessons from the past few years.

The sponsorship scandal crippled us, the people around Martin were terrible, the civil war has been horrific, while indecision and a lack of vision have hurt us. We saw a policy wonk from Alberta with zero charisma, beat "the next one", a man who was hyped to win 200 seats one day. There are a lot of lessons in there and I hope that Liberals take a few minutes to pick a candidate who they feel will be best for the party, rather than blindly following who the kool aid drinkers tell them to.

That said, here are a few day after thoughts:

1. Paul Martin: He could have been a great leader. We saw Martin at his best last night and caught glimpses of the real Paul over the past two years. But they were only glimpses. The man tried to be all things to all people and became nothing, as a result. He tried to crush his opponents, but it was his opponents in the Liberal party. He surrounded himself with terrible political minds out of a sense of loyalty, which is commendable, but it proved costly. He never got control of his own agenda and was constantly playing defense.

In the end, Paul Martin will be remembered as Canada's best Finance Minister ever. And that, in itself, is quite a legacy he should be proud of.

2. Stephen Harper: It's got to be a little disappointing for Harper. He did everything right, and the Liberals did everything wrong. And still only got "the thin blue line". Still...if Harper can go a year without flogging gays in the streets, he'll look a lot less scary. The fiscal imbalance issue could make it or break it for him in Quebec.

3. Jack Layton: Is going to have a tough time getting "results for people".

4. Andre Arthur: Is going to become a star.

5. Peter Miliken: Will be the speaker of the House again. No doubt about it.

6. Reg Alcock: Biggest surprise of the night to me (among those who lost).

7. Anne McLellan: It's a shame to see Alberta all blue. And the Liberals got a mere 15% of the vote - eek! The party has a lot of work to do here.

8. The Liberal Party: Not a bad outcome, all things considered. I'll post some more on rebuilding the big red machine tonight.

9. The Contest: I'll hopefully have the results of the "off beat election pool" up tonight. On the topic of "most vicious attack ad" run, I'm declaring joint winners here. "Soldiers in the streets" was the most vicious, but wasn't ever run. The Bloc attack ad against Alberta was the worst, but it was only a newspaper ad. Harper ran some nasty personal ads against Martin on the topic of CSL and Paul's private doctor. But, in the end, the last gasp abortion ads against Harper were probably the worst. So, anyone who said Liberals or Bloc get full marks in that category.


  • If the Liberals want to come back they will have to learn how to govern, not smear, denigrate or talk down to people. They will have to govern for everyone in this country, not just their side. The anti... whatever from all sides has to be curtailed and the left, right or middle need to tone down the rhetoric. All parties are going to have to learn to play together in the sandbox, without throwing sand. The electorate can't afford any more elections like this one, because some one will put an eye out.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:49 p.m.  

  • I, for one, am glad to see BC blasted a couple of the serious rednecks in BC. Those were Tories to be scared of. I'm also glad that Valeri got kicked... never trusted that guy. My happiest moment is Pettigrew. That fucker is hands down responsible for the still unresolved HRDC scandal, and what's worse is Jane Stewart had to take the bullet for his incompetence. Good riddance to you Pettigrew, and may all your inadequate work come home to haunt you.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 2:08 p.m.  

  • Well said anonymous, and I would replace "if the Liberals want to come back" with "and if the Conservatives want to expand their minority" and offer the same advice to the Conservatives as well.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 2:08 p.m.  

  • It's not surprising that the Conservatives eked out a weak minority. The battled unseen odds, huge odds. See:


    It's something that we don't think about, but it was known to the Liberals and was probably the reason for their fear and smear campaign. Canada won.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:11 p.m.  

  • I forgot to mention my two biggest dissapointments were Cheryl Gallant, a freak of nature in my opinion. Why any woman would want to take abortion away completely mystifies me. I don't agree with it, but I can appreciate circumstances where it makes sense, like child abuse, rape...etc.

    The other is Volpe. He is freak too, and I believe his handling of immigration was a disgrace.

    I'm still undecided about Ianno, I want to see what comes of this waterfront scandal in TO... he might just be a casualty of his own stupidty, but this waterfront thing is working up to a major scandal, in the hundreds millions. So we'll see.

    And before anybody steps up to defend Velari... no one makes 250K profit on a house sale in under 3 months unless they are being paid off or thanked for a favor they have done. I'm not suggesting it is any big deal at the end of the day. In fact, maybe it was just a way of repaying a debt or something, but there is no real estate in this country that would garner that type of profit in such a short time... and he declared it a vacation property to the ethics commissioner, when its right next door to his house... so if your going to defend him, it had better be good.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 2:16 p.m.  

  • Bah, I don't like it when dips like Rob Anders and Belinda get re-elected, but honest, good leaders like Annie lose.

    Well, you know my promise for this government, I'm starting it with a hangover.

    By Blogger Green Stone, at 2:29 p.m.  

  • Well Joe Calgary doesn't live in BC and therefore doesn't understand that those "serious rednecks" have been replaced by "serious bleeding heart NDP'ers" who have no political experience, lack of understanding how government works and provincially the worst government in BC's history-oh did I mention they killed BC in the 90's forcing us to close hospitals, see people die in the waiting rooms, prohibited investment and fiscal responsibility in BC and basically forced all of us smart, driven people to Alberta and Ontario, leaving our families and beloved province behind for a decade or so???

    I would rather have some rednecks who are fiscally conservative and driven by an Alberta agenda (hey you guys have the fiscal power!) than a group of bad managers, scandal plagued and union owned wanna-be politicians.

    Let's close our eyes and remember a few things:

    Glen Clark
    Glen Clark's deck
    Fast Ferries
    robbing the forestry fund to balance numerous budgets-"Fudge it Budget"
    High taxes
    Ken Georgetti
    Penny Priddy as Health Minister
    Increased waiting lists
    Closed labs, schools and hospitals
    Union power
    Buzz Hargrove
    Moe Sihota
    Dave Haggard-thanks Mark Marrissen for making sure he was a candidate! Big tent, uh?

    I could go on and BTW Jack Layton, just a thought for you, your provincial NDP'ers allowed this province to increase its wait times, stop fiscal growth and be lead by a bunch of union leaders.

    Makes rednecks look good, uh?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:30 p.m.  

  • @JoeCalgary on women & abortion. There's many women who don't believe abortion is a morally right thing to do. A lot of it comes from religion-based ideas, but there is also a lot that secular feminists have to say on the subject. My girlfriend is a firm believer that "pro-choice" can include any number of options that don't incorporate abortion.

    Grit, I'm looking forward to your appraisal of the Liberal scene. In one of life's funny twists, Paul Martin the leadership candidate was the reason I joined the Liberal Party, but Paul Martin the leader was the reason I left it. The past year has been nothing but a string of disappointments, to the extent that I viewed Martin as having zero credibility on just about any issue. I am looking forward to the forthcoming leadership race, but I believe that two or three preconditions are necessary for any candidate to become the next Liberal Prime Minister:
    1. It must be someone "clean," who cannot be identified as being in either the Chretien or Martin camps, otherwise the internecine warfare will continue.
    2. It cannot be someone from Quebec, as the Liberal brand in that province is going to be reeling from Adscam for many months and perhaps years to come. This has an effect on both Quebecers and people outside of Quebec, and to reach out a new leader cannot have the stigma associated with them.
    3. They must not take on the same persona of exemplifying the party or taking the heavy-handed approach of labelling Liberal Party values "Canadian values." That type of approach turns people off; many people I know who are progressives reject the Kyoto Protocol because it is simply unsustainable for Canada and wasn't based on rational decision-making, but rather photo optics.
    4. The leader must have a strongly-defined set of core principles, explain them clearly, and not waffle on them in order to cater to the public opinion polls. I have said it, and so has Grit and many others, that Martin attempted to be all things to all people. In so doing, he ended up alienating many people. If a leader establishes a series of broadly-based principles, they can be many things to many people, and that increases the odds of catching swing voters much more than staking out a divisive position.

    These are my recommendations. If I had to pick a handful of prominent Liberals who are potential candidates, who meet the requirements of my first two premises I would say: Michael Ignatieff, Frank McKenna, Belinda Stronach, and Maurizio Belivacqua. These are the folks that will be seeing their names thrown around a lot in the coming days and weeks, and we will see who emerges.

    By Blogger RGM, at 2:34 p.m.  

  • I am a conservative in Winnipeg. That being said, the loss of Reg Alcock is both a shock, and a disappointment. In the midst of alot of inept and corrupt liberal politicians, Reg was a beacon of Hope. He was an influential member of the liberals, who worked hard and accomplished alot for the city of winnipeg. I cannot believe that a mindless shill like Anita Neville gets re-elected, while Alcock gets the boot.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:37 p.m.  

  • I for one like the fact that we have a minority government. It shows that we don't really believe in any party but are willing to give them a chance to improve. Harper has a chance to prove his critics wrong and show that he can be an effective leader its on him and his party to prove that they deserve to replace the liberals. As long as they don't try to go too morally conservative then they have a good chance. If the conservatives show that they are more than a western separation force they will make in-roads in Ontario. This is also a chance for the liberals to regroup and come back with a stronger party. If they can make some in-roads in the west we can all stop being split regionally. Both parties need to expand their influence to unite the country.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:42 p.m.  


    Liberals probably cheated in other ridings too and not just in Edmonton Centre where the margin was so great that Anne McLellan had to concede anyway, and you fair-minded folk are too damn (sorry to say this and take it in the sense that it is meant) dumb as a post to see it.

    And then of course, there's still...


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:50 p.m.  

  • Richard; I agree with you 100% on those four principles. I just have some doubts that anyone out there meets all four of them.

    Belinda certainly wouldn't meet number 3. McKenna will be backed by most of the Board and the Martin people, and I have some doubts about him on point 4...I'm reading his biography now, so hopefully that will give me a better sense of the man.

    Bevilaqua is an intriguing pick - he was on both sides of the Chretien/Martin fight which could either work in his favour or to his disadvantage. I do like the guy, but don't know a ton about him and the question is - could he actually win?

    That leaves Ignatieff, who probably meets your criteria (among the four names you put forward). But I have major reservations about supporting someone with zero political experience, who has been out of the country for thirty years, and who showed himself to be a little politically naive in his opening campaign.

    Truth be told, there's no dream candidate, or saviour out there. Which may be a good thing. We had a superstar candidate in 2003 and 1984 and it imploded.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:01 p.m.  

  • Anon,

    I didn't say all the Tories, but you've gotta admit there's a couple of real winners in the pack out there that we can all do without. In relation to abortion, I'm a guy, so I don't pretend to understand all the options. I just know that if a women gets raped and pregnant, I think it is the height of cruelty to expect her to carry a child to term. Thats a rape that lasts nine months and I don't think it's anybody's right to ask a woman to do that... it's up to her to make that decision.

    Anyway, doesn't matter, cause it ain't coming up in the commons for at least the next 3 years.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 3:01 p.m.  

  • Might not see another election any time too soon: American Spectator lays it out for us.

    (Here is the raw link if the code above won't work: http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=9311 )

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:08 p.m.  

  • CG,

    You seem surprised that the Libs only got 15 percent of the vote in Alberta. Don't you remember Buzz and the fact that Paul made no effort to distance himself from comments that dissed Alberta?

    When the leader of a major party lets his key supporters trash another province without being called for it, that party should consider itself lucky to get 15 percent of the vote in that province.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:52 p.m.  

  • Bevilacqua is a bit of a strange animal; I can remember when I was still living in Kelowna, BC, and receiving his mail-outs. I thought it very strange that an Ontario MP would be sending out flyers to constituents in BC, but in hindsight, it is something that could end up paying off for him. He's got name recognition for a lot of Liberals across the country; even if it is for being "the Ontario MP who for some reason sends me his mail-outs," he's got some good name recognition. The Post today had a brief mention of him in one of their articles that says he's not too fond of the Martinites, who basically had to give him a cold shoulder when forming the last Cabinet, and thus he's got a bit of separation there.

    I do agree with you about your hesitance regarding Ignatieff. I'm glad that he got elected, both the Liberals and, more importantly, the country are better off with him there, but his indoctrination into Canadian politics wasn't exactly smooth. I realize that looking back on my four criteria, it's almost as if I arranged them to lead people to the conclusion that Ignatieff is the man. That wasn't the case, though I guess it works out well for him (assuming my endorsement means anything) if that's what people will naturally assume.

    My own view is that either McKenna or Ignatieff would do good-to-great things for the pearty. Being a western boy originally, I do have some parochial limitations to my knowledge of McKenna, but I feel he's done a very good job in Washington (a major, major theme for me) and that's given him some pretty good credibility north of the border.

    It will be an interesting few months to see who emerges from the dust of this election. Who knows, we could all be surprised by someone totally new to the scene, or an old face that's presently out of Parliament may arise from the ashes. As long as it's not Allan Rock.

    By Blogger RGM, at 4:01 p.m.  

  • Anonymous from BC has apparently forgotten that Gordon Campbell's BC Liberal government has a few problems of its own - not the least of which are:

    - RCMP raids on the legislature
    - Ministry aides busted for involvement with drugs and organized crime
    - Ministers' homes raided by RCMP
    - Lying about the existence of a provincial NDP surplus
    - Broken people, broken promises

    If I were Rafe Mair, I coul no doubt write you a longer list.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:18 p.m.  

  • Deanna-yes understood there are some Campbell short comings and serious concerns that voters should be worried about. You should have lived here during those NDP years...anyone on this site that can remember those times will tell you BC'ers walked around with very little to be hopeful for. Albertans were working and enjoying surpluses and good times, much like the rest of the country and we were slipping into financial and emotional deficits. Ottawa turned a blind eye and it was our mayors who became leaders, people we were forced to set the agenda.

    I guess the question really is whether you are a Liberal who sees there is a path to an effective balance between social and economic health for a province or someone who is willing to risk economic growth, diversity and prosperity at levels to ensure unions and specialist interest groups are maintained?

    Maybe this makes me a blue grit, so be it. I love my province and see it as a crime to allow these guys back at any level. The Lib H.Q. should be ashamed of themselves for allowing high profile NDP'ers Haggard and his group of union buddies back in even after he was accused of wasting taxpayers money again after his special appointment at HRDC to commission a report.

    The Liberals biggest mistake was going to left, the centre is where we win and with that decision lots of liberals just wanted out for a while. We are supposed to fiscally prudent, we are the party of the best fianance minister, and here we are inviting in these guys who couldn't manage a chequing account.

    Just an after thought...Campbell is the only premier in BC who has managed the aboriginal and first nations' file with class and intergrity. Those leaders are pleasantly surprise by the good relations...what legacy did the NDP leave for us besides national humilation and fiscal fatigue???

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:42 p.m.  

  • Don't forget how the NDP caused the Japanese recession and the collapse of Asian commodities demand, Anonymous. Campbell was a genius to make China go on a resources buying spree. What did ol' Clark have against Japan anyway?

    As for Campbell's getting tough on hospital janitors and eastern British Columbians shopping in Alberta--that's some serious polictial saavy, there. I smell Federal leadership all over this guy, mark my words.

    By Blogger Wrye, at 4:56 p.m.  

  • Gerard Kennedy would be nice addition to the race. Although he maybe too nice of a person for the job.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:31 p.m.  

  • Ohhh I forget Campbell has been picking on Alberta. +2 to points in Liberal leadership campaign for him!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:34 p.m.  

  • Reg Alcock - holy smokes, indeed...

    By Blogger daveberta, at 5:50 p.m.  

  • "In the end, Paul Martin will be remembered as Canada's best Finance Minister ever."

    Unable to concur with your opinion on this CG. Check out this:

    Also, don't forget what Martin and Chretien did to provincial transfers.

    Do you have anything to back up your claim?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:58 p.m.  

  • It would be nice if we could have a debate on abortion that didn't begin and end with "bigot". Poor Harper, cornered and asked what he thinks on abortion. He is probably in the majority in Canada who thinks that there should be some restrictions on abortion. Not restrictions that would prevent rape victims from access, or even general access, but perhaps something that says aborting viable fetuses is wrong. With no law in Canada, it is perfectly legal to put a drill through the head of a baby as long as it is still in the birth canal. If a woman can't make up her mind to abort in, say 4 months, then there is more of a problem there than a pregnancy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:14 p.m.  

  • If there was a serious strategy within the CPC to try and limit abortions in this country, I would suspect they would try to adopt the american strategy. Initiating a free vote in the house would almost certainly fail. What they may be able to try is to restrict access through various means such as passing laws under the guise of "women's health" that require clinics to meet so many requirements that they would have to close.

    So watch out for bills seeking to increase "health standards" in all outpatient clinics.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:31 p.m.  

  • A couple of short points. Wrye - why is it that the NDP always seems to govern during a recession?

    Calgary Grit - Liberals have lots of work to do in Alberta? If the Liberals are fortunate they will be forgiven in about 30 years - the same amount of time they have used Alberta as a piggy bank and whipping boy. Toronto will be blue before Alberta is Red.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:42 a.m.  

  • I'm not sad at all that Anne is gone. And thank goodness Bulte is. The biggest disapointment of the election was that the Greens were only able to pick up about another 100,000 votes, because the Conservative voters and Liberal voters were scared into voting for each other over alternative parties to the main stream which is killing Canada.

    By Blogger Saskboy, at 3:23 p.m.  

  • Deanna says:

    Anonymous from BC has apparently forgotten that Gordon Campbell's BC Liberal government has a few problems of its own - not the least of which are:

    - RCMP raids on the legislature
    - Ministry aides busted for involvement with drugs and organized crime
    - Ministers' homes raided by RCMP
    - Lying about the existence of a provincial NDP surplus
    - Broken people, broken promises

    If I were Rafe Mair, I coul no doubt write you a longer list.

    By Deanna, at 2:18 PM

    One thing that is definitely not true on her list is that "Ministers' homes [were] raided by RCMP"

    That's not true. The RCMP came to talk to the husband of one of the ministers, but did not raid her house. It has been clear almost from the very beginning that neither the minister nor her husband were implicated in the investigation. Partisan New Democrats always forget to make the distinction.

    You would have thought New Democrats would have learned from the RCMP's scandalous way they dealt with Glen Clark.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:55 p.m.  

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