Friday, March 31, 2006

Nothing More Dangerous Than Statistics

The first of the Liberal Leadership polls I've been dreading has been released. You can read the article for the results and the four "frontrunners" score surprisingly close.

But I won't post the results from this poll, or any other similar ones, because these are dangerous polls that people should completely ignore. They are based on nothing more than name recognition, and most Canadians know very little about the big names, never mind the hidden jewels of the race (no...not you Joe...not either of you...). It's one thing to have someone say, in a gut reaction when a pollster asks them, "sure, I might vote for that guy". It's another thing to have that person vote for them after they see them as a Liberal, talking about Liberal policies, debating, debating en francais, and running in an election campaign. Kind of like how a Red Sox fan might like Roger Clemens, until he puts on Yankee pinstripes.

These fictional polls are, in my opinion, one of the worst ways to decide who to support for leadership. Some may point to "the scream" as the reason Howard Dean lost the Democratic primary in 2004 but, in reality, it was because of polls which showed John Kerry would do the best against George Bush in hypothetical elections. Democrats, desperate to beat Bush, decided to put their faith in hypothetical election polls and jumped to Kerry, not realizing what a dreadful candidate he was. Paul Martin used to get projected out to 200 seats on these polls and he certainly was far from an unknown at the time.

Voting on electability is perfectly legitimate. If you think a candidate has stuff in their past or lacks a skill set which will make them unelectable, that's a perfectly valid thing to base your decision on. But to base it on polls like this would be sheer insanity.

Aberhart Would Be Proud

Tory MP Colin Mayes has made retracted comments that journalists who write distorted articles should be thrown in jail.

Paul Jackson better start looking for a good lawyer...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

En anglais s'il vous plait

I found this e-mail update on the LPCA convention's leadership panel quite interesting:
Belinda Stronach will not participate in the panel because she is not yet a declared candidate.

Yet, despite this, at last count, nearly 10 non-declared leadership candidates will be participating in the panel...

Is Our Children Learning?

A new propaganda book entitled Let's Talk About Sovereignty At School is out and drawing quite the reaction. No surprise. Among the problems the book asks kids to do:

They are asked to make decorations for Quebec's national holiday on June 24, and the book's illustration is a child's drawing of a Quebec flag on a pole with the Canadian flag beneath it, ripped in half.

Grade-school pupils are asked: How many youth novels at $15 apiece could they buy if they abolished the position of the governor-general, which costs Quebeckers $9.4-million a year?

For high-school students, there's a proposed music class on Quebec sovereignty classics, including Canada is not my country by singer Mononc' Serge and Quebec, mon pays by legendary poet Raymond Lévesque.

College-level students are asked to trace the history of the federal sponsorship scandal, while university students are given the task of calculating how much money is wasted by federal "intrusions" into Quebec jurisdictions.

For fine-arts students, there are activities such as designing a Quebec stamp.

This is a funny coincidence since I myself was set to launch my own book called Let's Talk About Sovereignty At School next month. Among the problems I'll suggest for students:

Kindergarten Lessons
Teach children that they shouldn't be sore losers. Have the class vote on a class mascot. After the first election, do it again. Ask them if they feel it's necessary to hold a third vote on the topic.

Field Trip
Tour Bombardier. Casually point out the millions (billions) of dollars they get each year from the federal government.

Grade 4 Math Problem
How many youth novels, at 15$ a piece, could you buy with the $200,000 grant given to The Council for Quebec Sovereignty by the PQ?

Project the starting six on defense for Team Quebec, in international tournaments.

High School Experiment
Gather together a group of volunteers. Randomly assign the volunteers to two groups, with half using cocaine, and half eating poutine. Compare the ability of the two groups at a series of simple tasks such as reading,arithmeticc, and being a high level Cabinet Minister.

University Research Project
Study economics. Study psychology. Diagnose the mental illness suffered by anyone who thinks sovereignty would be good for the Quebec economy.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Race for Stornoway: Joe...Volpe!

There's certainly been some selective reading on my first few leadership posts. After calling the IT scandal the "kiss of death" for Scott Brison, I got comments like "you're right, the Income Trust stuff will blow over". After my Ignatieff post which I concluded with "the reward isn't worth the risk", two or three blogs announced that I had endorsed the guy.

So let me be perfectly clear on this post: I, in no way, shape or form, will not now or ever, endorse Joe Volpe as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. I just want to be very, very clear about this, so to avoid any confusion.

That said, let's jump in:

"If you were running for mayor, he'd vote for you."
-Mayor Quimby Election Slogan

Age: 58

Background: Born September 21st, 1947 in Italy. His pre-political background is mostly in education.

Political History: Volpe ran provincially in 1981, but lost. He's a former President of the Ontario Liberal Party. Was elected as an MP in 1988 and supported Paul for leadership in 1990….and 1999…and 2000…and get the picture. Became Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development under Paul, before replacing Judy Sgro in immigration when the media found out about the skills certain Romanian immigrants were developing.

Rejected Campaign Slogans: The possibilities are endless.
“Yes, I’m a serious candidate. Don’t laugh.”
“Loyal to the leader since 2004”
“Being in Cabinet has nothing to do with my flip-flop on gay marriage”
“Only he can defeat the Klansmen”
“Joe Who?”
“Romanian Strippers at every campaign stop!”
“Not only will I ban the Sopranos in Canada, I’ll ban Joey!”
"Slightly More Credible than Dan McTeague"

Rejected Endorsement: Dominos Pizza.

Rejected Endorsement: Warren Kinsella, as his post from the other day had Volpe's name on it.

Rejected Platform: Increased MP expense accounts.

Pros: Umm…he wasn’t the worst Minister of Human Resources and Skill Development under Martin…and…umm…it’d be really funny if he won. I'm talking golden blog material every day.

Cons: Rumour is, he has never worn a pair of jeans a day in his life.

In Person: I’ve met Volpe once before, briefly, during the Stampede last year. I must say, I wasn’t overly impressed with him…and I had pretty low expectations coming in. I asked him a serious question about Canada increasing immigration rates and he barely answered it, resorting to some vague platitude on a completely different topic.

My Take: Joe Volpe personifies everything that's wrong with politics. He extolled false outrage over the Libranos poster. He resorted to childish name calling and vilification when he compared the Conservatives to Klansmen last year. He has a reputation as a vicious backstabber. Just read Juggernaut, or ask Judy Sgro. He eats 100$ pizzas and takes 1000$ limo rides. He was vehemently against same sex marriage until his Cabinet position was on the line.

That said, with Dan McTeague being rumoured to run, Joe Volpe is no longer the worst candidate out there. And, if nothing else, he's been a Liberal a lot longer than the rest of the field. That should count for something.

Chances: Volpe has been building an organization longer than anyone still in the race and, because of that, he can’t be ignored. He won’t win, but if he gets enough delegates to the convention, he could play a key role in deciding who comes out on top.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Woe Is Me!

John Ibbitson has a column today which shows just how disconnected from reality Garth Turner truly is. Consider the following:

For Mr. Turner, however, the little guy is the bleeding upper middle class.

Halton, on the edge of Greater Toronto, is full of them: Mr. Turner chronicled their plight in his speech.

He recalled talking to a man whose house "was worth maybe half a million - modest for his neighbourhood. He told me it felt like his life was being squeezed now from all sides. Property taxes, income taxes, GST...'All I've got is this' He kicked the bricks at his front door."

Then there was the woman who decided to stay at home and raise her kids. Her husband makes six figures, but "our friends who have two incomes make a lot less, and always have more money to throw around. The system is killing my family."

Glad to see someone is fighting for this severely disadvantaged demographic.

Kennedy Heads West

Gerard Kennedy was out west this weekend and, having never met him before, I decided to see what the hype was all about.

The Calgary reception he did was very well organized, with glossy little contact cards, and I certainly got the sense that he was running. His speaking style was very natural and he played up the food bank angle, telling some stories about his time there. In my Bob Rae profile, I called Rae "Jack Layton's worst nightmare", but I think Kennedy deserves that title; idealistic NDP voters, looking for "results for people" would eat this stuff up.

The speech itself touched on repairing the United Nations, immigration, and reducing wait list times, among other topics. The speech was good but, by far, Kennedy's strength was during the Q & A session. He was quick on his feet, drawing genuine laughs with his responses to most questions. When asked about how provincial politicians had never become Prime Minister, Kennedy said something along the lines of "well, I’d hate to surf against the tide of history".

Kennedy is a bit late to the game and may not have the name recognition outside of Ontario that some of the other candidates have. But I suspect he will do very well in a multi-ballot convention since he strikes me as the kind of candidate who will really impress a lot of the delegates once they get a chance to meet him.

A Torturous Read

Warren Kinsella leads the charge against Michael Ignatieff's latest article on torture. Even though it probably would have been a more enjoyable use of my time to be strapped in the Iron Maiden, I decided to read the full article.

And, after doing so, I fail to see what the fuss is about. It's obviously an anti-torture article, here's the crux of it:
So I end up supporting an absolute and unconditional ban on both torture and those forms of coercive interrogation that involve stress and duress, and I believe that enforcement of such a ban should be up to the military justice system plus the federal courts. I also believe that the training of interrogators can be improved by executive order and that the training must rigorously exclude stress and duress methods.

It's pretty obvious that Ignatieff doesn't support torture. However, what is also obvious is that, much like Harper, there are a lot of old Ignatieff quotes which would be used against him during an election campaign. And, in writing a lengthy piece full of juicy quotes which could be misconstrued, Ignatieff displayed the kind of poor political judgment you'd expect from someone with zero political experience.

Really Big Tent

And so the list of Liberal leadership candidates who did not hold a Liberal membership three years ago grows...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Self-Inflicted Wounds

It's somewhat fascinating to watch Stephen Harper kiss away all the good will he built up during the election campaign.

First, he pissed all over the "doing politics differently" line which he'd promoted. This was probably inevitable since any politician who has ever promised to "do politics differently" has eventually realized how difficult it is to actually do that.

Now, after building up an immense amount of media goodwill during the election, Harper has decided to use the old John Diefenbaker approach of going to war with the media. I'm not sure why he's doing this, but it strikes me as an extremely foolish strategy on his part. People can complain about a "media bias" all they want, but it's hard to complain when the individual brings it on themselves.

UPDATE: Paul Wells dives into the debate with a lengthy, but very clear post on why this is a problem.

Photo Op

Although I'm a Liberal, I still feel the need to offer Stephen Harper advice on occasion. Since Harper has, quite rightfully, defended the Canadian seal hunt, I would suggest he take a page from his Afghanistan photo op and go one step further.

I encourage Harper to fly down to Newfoundland and invite the media out to watch him club a baby seal to death. I think the photo op would be great and, if nothing else, it would make everyone forget the cowboy costume.

That's my completely 100% non-partisan advice for Mr. Harper.

UPDATE: Paul McCartney's wife now wants a ban on milk. Milk. You heard that right: milk. Just let it be already.

Rebuilding the Big Red Machine - 3

The word on the street is that the Liberal Party is pushing hard for one national membership with uniform rules from coast to coast. If the LPC is serious about moving forward with a constitutional amendment on this at the upcoming convention, then this is the best decision they've made in a long, long time.

For those unfamiliar with the current Liberal Party membership policy, the membership rules are currently a mish-mash of seemingly contradictory, arbitrary, and random procedures, including:

-Forms cost 25$
-Forms cost 1$
-You become a member for life
-You don't need to have membership in the riding you live in
-You become a member of the provincial party

I won't even begin to get into the variations on the policy for distributing membership forms. The worst thing about the individual provinces setting their own membership policies is that it opens the door for the kind of flagrant abuses and restriction of forms we saw during the last leadership campaign. I'll never understand why Team Martin felt the best way to grow the LPC in Alberta was to prevent people from becoming Liberals but, because every province could set their own rules for form distribution, it was possible to do this.

The first step to correcting this has already been announced, with the availability of online forms (Welcome to the 90s!). This will go a long way to making the party more open and accessible and has been a long time coming.

But beyond this, it's important to go to a national form, for three big reasons. I've already touched on the benefits of having uniform (and preferably non-retarded) rules to prevent abuses. The second main benefit will be the huge savings in administrative costs by processing the forms nationally (and on-line). For a party in debt, that's probably a good thing.

The third benefit comes from fundraising. The LPC has never adapted to the new campaign finance dynamic of fundraising. In the post-C-24 world, you need to target your grass roots members for donations. In order to do this, you need an up to date national membership list. Take a look at the number of donors from the major parties over the past few years:

While the graph may not be overly clear, those tall blue lines are the number of Tory donations and those embarrassingly small green lines are NDP donors. If you squint hard enough, you might be able to find the number of Liberal donors there.

To get the party's financial house in order, it's absolutely essential to have a national membership form which is easy to obtain. Hopefully the party will forge ahead with this.

Update: Mark your calendars - April 3rd is now the target date for Liberal memberships to be available online.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Dissension in the Ranks

Trouble in paradise?

More Thoughts: A long serving "folksy" politician. A former Finance Minister impatiently waiting his turn. A lengthy goodbye. A Senior Cabinet Minister fired for disloyalty.

I've heard this story somewhere before...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

In Accord

A BCer in Toronto live blogs the Sheila Copps event tonight. Sounds like quite a few bloggers were there form his recap.

UPDATE: It sounds like the event was a success. You can read recaps at Kinsella, Cerberus, The What Do I Know Grit, Trickle Down Truth, shoshana, and Jason Cherniak, among others.

This is a huge step in the right direction. The Sheila Copps saga was one of the most public displays of infighting in party history, and one of the reasons a lot of the Chretien Liberals have stayed on the sidelines over the past few years. If the Liberal Party wants to come back strong in 2007 or 2008, it needs to be unified. I'll give full props to Martinites like John Duffy and Jason Cherniak for attending.

Now we just need to figure out a way to get Jean and Paul shaking hands in public together. Or dare I dream: a Herle/Kinsella embrace? (well, that might be pushing it...)

Hello Ruby Tuesday

I had this e-mail regarding to the upcoming LPCA convention in Edmonton forwarded to me from a friend.

To date, the following potential leadership candidates have confirmed their attendance at the LPCA Convention (all will be given an opportunity to speak to the delegates):

1. Ms. Martha Hall Findlay
2. Hon. Belinda Stronach, MP
3. Hon. Stephane Dion, MP
4. Hon. Joe Volpe, MP
5. Hon. Scott Brison, MP
6. Dr. Ruby Dhalla, MP
7. Mr. Michael Ignatieff, MP
8. Minister Gerard Kennedy
9. Hon. Ken Dryden may also

In addition, The Hon. Bill Graham has been invited to be the keynote speaker at the Saturday banquet.

Not a ton of surprises in the list, with the exception of Ruby Dhalla, who most people had assumed wouldn't run.

The Race for Stornoway: Michael Ignatieff

"Trudeau went from Philosopher King to Mackenzie King in less than 24 hours."
-Larry Zolf

Age: 58

Background: Ignatieff was born May 12th, 1947, in Toronto. With more degrees to his name than I have room to list here, Ignatieff is certainly well educated and was named one of the “100 smartest people alive” last year (tragically, Belinda came in at 102, just missing the cut-off). After a brief teaching stint at UBC, he went off to Cambridge 25 years ago, before settling down at Harvard. He’s a world renowned author, specializing on nationalism.

Political History: Ignatieff’s name has been tossed around for leadership, and politics for that matter, for less than a year. After Peter C. Newman hyped him up last January, Ignatieff spoke at the Liberal Biennial convention last March. He ran, and won, in Etobicoke Lakeshore, in a controversy filled campaign which has no doubt dulled his star power somewhat.

Rejected Campaign Slogan: “So this is what Canada looks like. I’ve heard so many good things about the place!”

Rejected Endorsement: Guantanamo Bay

Pros: Is seen by many as the reincarnation of Pierre Trudeau. He’s smart, bilingual, and a strong fighter for national unity and a strong central government. For a lot of Liberals, he’s the perfect person to fight Andre Boisclair in the event of a referendum.

Cons: Has been outside of the country for a quarter century. No political experience. Has drawn controversy over many of his past writings. Supported the Iraq War. Almost 60.

In Person: I’ve heard Ignatieff speak twice – at the Biennial convention and at a fundraiser this fall. You can follow the links to see my thoughts on both occasions. I'd say his speaking style and ability is very similar to Dalton McGuinty's.

My Take: I like Michael Ignatieff and it wouldn't at all surprise me to be voting for him on a final ballot, depending how things go at the convention. We need more people like him in politics and I think it’s shameful the way he was vilified this campaign, and had every academic paper he’s ever written twisted around and taken out of context. The fact that a world renowned scholar wants to give something back to his country and serve in office is something which should be applauded by Canadians of all political stripes.

But it amazes me how people assume that politics is the only profession in the world where you don't need any experience. My other choice for quote at the top of this page was the Seinfeld bit where George is talking about possible jobs he could get. It goes something like this:

George: What about being a sports commentator? You know how I always make those witty comments during a game?
Jerry: You do make good comments.
Georg: So?
Jerry: Well, they generally give those jobs to ex-ballplayers and people, you know, in broadcasting.
George: [pause] Well that's really not fair.
Jerry: I know.

In any other field, you'd be laughed at if you thought you could reach the top of your profession with zero experience. Iggy had a rough ride running for a safe Liberal seat, so just imagine the kind of scrutiny he’d be under in an actual election as party leader. Michael has a lot to learn about politics and, as much as I really would like to see someone like him as party leader, he won’t learn it in a year. And as much as I respect his knowledge of international affairs and nationalism, he’s been out of Canada for 25 years so I’m not sure how up to date he is on the other issues that matter to average Canadians.

Ignatieff will bring a ton to this race. He’s got a lot of ideas to share and some of those ideas could play a huge role in policy renewal for the party. He could be a fantastic Cabinet Minister and if he were five or ten years younger, I’d call him a future party leader.

But people are chasing after Trudeau’s ghost in this party, without realizing that we’re never going to have another Trudeau. Although he’s nothing like her, Ignatieff is to this leadership race what Belinda Stronach was to the Conservative leadership race: He’s high risk, high reward, but with zero experience, the risks just outweigh the benefits.

Chances: If there is a frontrunner in this race, it’s probably Ignatieff. He’s got a strong organization, led by David Smith, and has enough appeal to draw genuine grass roots support.

What's In A Headline?

A propos of nothing, I got a kick out of two of Bourque's headlines today:

Valeri To Skip Copps Love In

Fontana's Curiously Delusional Leadership Daydream

I think we've just found Joe's leadership slogan!

The Politics of Achievement

As mentioned on Daveberta, Ralph Klein's latest budget is highlighted by a 45 million dollar subsidy for horse racing.

Hmm...premier who likes to gamble...subsidy for horse Ralph hoping for more comfortable seats at the track?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Fiddle Me This

A few people have asked why I haven't commented on the Ashley MacIsaac for Liberal leadership story.

My policy is simple: We already have enough people making farcical runs for Liberal leadership, there's no need for Mr. MacIsaac to further make a joke of the thing.

A New Kennedy

Maybe it's because the rules came out, maybe it's because the Ontario budget has been drafted, maybe it's because Martin Cauchon bowed out - but, whatever the reason, there is a ton of buzz around Gerard Kennedy today.

A profile article here. A new blog here. A trip to BC this weekend. And rumours of a stop over in Calgary on Sunday.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Cauchon Cuit

No surprise here - Martin Cauchon takes a pass at the LPC leadership.

One Big Happy Family

I'm still a little confused about why half the funds raised at this event will go to the Belinda Stronach leadership campaign (since it's for female candidates), but it's nice to see some efforts being made to repair bridges, bury the hatchet, and various other age old metaphors:

The Organizers of the King Edward Accord would like to offer All Political Bloggers "Press Credentials" for the toast to Sheila Copps and Liberal Women on March 23, 2006 at the King Edward Hotel 6-8:30PM.

We have set aside a press room at the hotel that has internet access.

We need to recognize the important role that Bloggers are now playing on the Canadian political landscape.

Please advise if you will be attending to the e-mail address below.


Chris MacLeod

It's also great to see blogs getting a bit of respect at the same time. E-mail me if you want the contact information for this.

The Race for Stornoway: Ralph Goodale

“In 1979, he became the embodiment of an endangered political species: a federal Liberal capable of winning a riding in Western Canada.”
-The Canadian Encyclopedia, on Lloyd Axworthy

Age: 56

Background: Ralph has been a Saskatchewan boy his whole life: he was born in Wilcox, did his undergrad in Regina, and went to law school in Saskatoon. Goodale was first elected as an MP in 1974 (fun quiz – add up the total years the rest of the field has as elected Liberals and compare it to Goodale’s total), and after losing his seat to the Joe Clark juggernaut in 1979, became leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party (presumably because no one else wanted the job).

Recent Political History: Goodale was elected in 1993 and served in several Cabinet positions under Jean Chretien, including Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Public Works. A long time Martin loyalist, Goodale became Martin’s first Minister of Finance, until 2005 when he was replaced by Jack Layton. 2005 was certainly a rough year for Goodale, as the IT scandal hit midway through the election campaign. He is currently the opposition House Leader.

Rejected Campaign Slogan: “Three budgets in a year as Finance Minister – just imagine how much he’ll get done as PM!”

Rejected Endorsement: Ralph’s former Executive Assistant, Jason Kenney.

Strategic Voting: Ralph’s candidacy will certainly lead to a split among the “we need a leader embroiled in the Income Trust Scandal” vote.

Pros: Oodles and oodles of experience. Very well respected. (The) Western Canadian candidate.

Cons: Connected to Income Trust scandal and previous government. Can’t speak French. Not exactly thrilling by any means.

In Person: I’ve heard Ralph speak a few times and I’ve always found that…sorry, I dozed off for a second there. What was the question?

My Take: Goodale should run, if only to give the race a strong Western Canadian candidate. Ralph is experienced and respected, so he’d also help dispel the ridiculous media spin that the “big names” are skipping the race.

But he shouldn’t be the LPC’s next leader. Goodale has been in Ottawa for over 30 years. He’s been a Senior Cabinet Minister for a decade. And he hasn’t even made the slightest effort to learn French. Say what you will about Belinda (and God knows I’ve said a lot), but at least she’s making an effort.

Beyond that, Goodale couldn’t win an election. He’s far from charismatic and his name has been (fairly or unfairly) rolled up in the Income Trust Scandal Thingy. So I hope Goodale runs, but I’d have a tough time supporting his bid.

Chances: Goodale will bring a block of Saskatchewan delegates to the convention if he runs and will get a lot of media attention since he’s a big name, but I would be very surprised if he lasts past the first ballot.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The (Other) Race Is On

From my E-Dinning newsletter:

Fellow Albertans,Last week, Premier Ralph Klein made known his retirement plans. I have always said that he has earned the right to set his own time to retire. For my part, I will be casting my vote at the upcoming convention in support of the Premier.

That said, I have also been consistent in saying that when the Premier did decide his time of retirement, I would be in the race to serve as his successor. And I am.I'm passionate about Alberta. I have the skills, energy and passion to lead our province in the years ahead. I have experience in making tough decisions in government and I come with a fresh perspective having spent nine years in the business world and away from government.

There are those who want to make this a race that pits rural against urban and city against city. That's not going to be our race - it's time for the politics of inclusion.Over the next few weeks, our team will be gearing up to win. We'll be taking nothing for granted, including your support and

In the meantime, there is something you can go to work on. Start making a list of people who would buy a $5 membership card from you in order to support me, and our shared vision of Alberta. We'll need those lists in the weeks to come.

Thank you for your help and support. I'm excited about the race. We're going to win and we're going to have some fun too!

And Then There Were 2

John Godfrey, who has declared his candidacy numerous times to varying degrees over the past month, makes it all but official today.

It's good to finally see a GTA Liberal interested in the party's leadership...

Jump in the Pool

Now that the rules have been announced, here are my picks for people who I believe will enter the race. Anyone who wants to enter what will no doubt be the most informal pool ever can post their picks in the comments section or e-mail them to me.

1 point for correctly predicting someone who will run, -1 point for saying someone will run who doesn't. Get your picks in by Wednesday and I'll announce the winner in a few months. A bonus point for anyone correctly predicting someone not on this list who runs.

My Entry
Martha Hall Findlay (free point for everyone!)
John Godfrey
Belinda Stronach
Scott Brison
Michael Ignatieff
Joe Volpe
Maurizio Bevilacqua
Stephane Dion
Gerard Kennedy
Ken Dryden
Dennis Corderre
Carolyn Bennett
David McGuinty
Ralph Goodale

I wanted at least one high profile ommision on my list so I decided to go out on a limb and say that Bob Rae skips it. So enter your picks - I suspect I'm gonna have quite a few leadership profiles to write up...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Meet Me In Montreal

The LPC has just announced the rules for the leadership convention:

1. The convention will be the December 2nd weekend. I'm really disappointed in what I consider to be a short sighted decision. Stephen Harper's government is not going to fall within the next year. A long race would give the party a chance to debate policy and select the best possible leader to lead us for the next decade. It would also bring many new members and ideas into the party. Instead, we're going to have a mad dash three month leadership based on name recognition and first impressions, rather than substance and policy.

2. The delegate meetings will be held the weekend of September 29th. That means the membership cut-off will be July 1st.

3. Dominic LeBlanc and Tanya Capple will be the convention co-chairs. I guess he's off the list.

4. The entry fee will be $50,000. That seems fair enough and very reasonable.

5. The convention will be in Montreal. Good choice.

6. The spending limit will be 3.4 million dollars and will supposedly include pre-race spending. Eizenga said the loopholes have been closed (somewhere Belinda shouts "merde!"). If true, that's definitely a good sign but I still strongly suspect there will be a couple extra interns at Magna this summer.

7. 20% of money raised after the first $500,000 will be given to the party.

8. On-line memberships will be available "in due course".

9. 53 campus clubs have been sanctioned to send delegates.

All in all, the rules seem a lot more fair than last time and should ensure a wide open race with lots of candidates. I would have prefered a longer race, but the financial rules are right where they should be.

The Sith Lord

Here's another one for "Ralph's Greatest Hits":

Klein couldn't leave the gathering without taking his usual jab at the media.

He told the crowd that at times he envied Courtney Knight, a visually impaired woman who spoke before Klein, "because you don't have to read newspapers."

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Race for Stornoway: Scott Brison

Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

Age: 38

Background: May born May 10th, 1967, which would make him the youngest leader in Liberal Party history if he won. Apparently he rented fridges before entering politics. Yes, I’m not making that up. I’m not allowed to make this up.

Political History: In 1997, Brison was elected as a Progressive Conservative in Kings Hants. He resigned his seat to let Joe Clark into the House, but returned in 2000. Brison ran for PC leadership in 2003, making a name for himself, and tossing his support behind Jim Prentice. Despite voting for the merger, Brison crossed the floor to join Team Martin and soon found himself as the Minister of Public Works. There, he made sure that Judge Gomery could do his work.

Rejected Campaign Slogan: “Vote Brison and U will be happy very soon!”

Rejected Endorsement: CIBC

Rejected Platform: His 2003 PC leadership platform

Pros: Charismatic. Good speaker. Young. Sadly, has been an elected Liberal longer than many of the candidates.

Cons: Former Conservative. Now tied in with the Income Trust Scandal Thingy.

In Person: Brison’s a very slick politician. He’ll work a room better than anyone and talk to the people he needs to talk to. I’ve probably talked to him more than most of the potential candidates out there and have always been impressed with the guy.

My Take: Brison’s a very charismatic politician and I thought the PCs would have been wise to pick him as their leader in 2003. He’d make a very good leader of the opposition since he’d get media clips and attack forcefully.

But I have major doubts as to how good a Prime Minister he’d be. Brison has a tendency to resort to over simplifications and ridiculous attacks (“Stephen Harper is against bilingualism, multiculturalism, and the Charter”). If you want style over substance and a guy who might do well in an election campaign, then Brison is your guy. But we’re not just electing an opposition leader and Brison ran for PC leadership two and a half years ago promising two tier health care, massive tax cuts, and troops in Iraq.

Brison has a bit of potential and in a few years, I’d consider backing him. However, at this time, he’s still far too Tory for my liking. The Income Trust connection and his horrible handling of it is just the kiss of death for him in my opinion. After losing an election on ethics and accountability, we need an impeccably clean leader and Brison no longer fits that description.

Chances: With a lot of the old "Team Martin" behind him, I suspect Brison will do very well in this leadership race. Despite his Blackberry faux pas, I fully expect him to be a serious contender.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Night

C'est fini.

Thanks for all the great blogging material Paul,

The Best Argument...

...for denying Quebec a voice at UNESCO, comes from Gilles Duceppe, of all people:

Speaking to reporters on Parliament Hill, where he was taking part in a meeting of the Bloc caucus, Mr. Duceppe said the more independence Quebec receives at world bodies such as UNESCO, the Paris-based cultural wing of the United Nations, the easier it will be to argue for full independence.

"If he delivers and Quebec has a voice, let's say at UNESCO, that [would be] good for a sovereign Quebec in the future. All the sovereigntists are supporting the fact Quebec is having an international presence in the francophone summit. This is a plus not only for the sovereigntists, but for Quebec. It's preparing us for the day [when] we'll be a sovereign country and be present everywhere. So the more we're present, the better it is, so we'll support that."

Harper's playing a dangerous game in Quebec. Never mind what will happen when he fails to "solve" the fiscal imbalance...

Really Wild Speculation

I suppose it was inevitable...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Leadership Profiles: Bob Rae

Today I start the first in what may soon become a 37 part series, profiling potential Liberal Leadership candidates. And, since he's been in the news a bit lately, I'll kick things off with a look at Bob Rae.

"If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down."
-Mary Pickford

Age: 57

Background: After attending U of T, he was elected as an NDP MP in a 1978 by-election, so he certainly has experience getting results for people. He was easily elected provincial NDP leader in 1982 since, well, it's not very hard to win the Ontario NDP leadership. After winning 25 seats in 1985, he signed an agreement with the Liberals to prop up David Peterson as Premier. The 1987 election was a disaster for NDP and Rae barely held his seat in the Liberal sweep.

Recently History: Bob Rae and the NDP won the 1990 Ontario election, surprising everyone. Like most Premiers who are elected at the start of a recession, Rae's popularity soon fell and, try as he might, he couldn't turn things around. Enter Mike Harris. Rae has developed a reputation as a statesman in recent years, writing the aptly titled Rae Report, and advising on a potential Air India Inquiry.

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Bob Rae: Rae attended U of T where he was Michael Ignatieff's roommate. His brother John was one of Jean Chretien's closest advisors and his sister dated Pierre Trudeau (but, then again, who didn't). He was also the NDP finance critic who helped bring down Joe Clark's government in 1979. And Gerard Kennedy won the by-election held when Rae resigned his MPP seat.

Rejected Campaign Slogan: "Make Today a Rae Day!"

Rejected Endorsements: Mike Harcourt & Glen Clark

Rejected Platform: "Vote me in as your leader and I'll buy a Liberal Party membership"

Pros: He's got more experience in politics than the rest of the field combined and, despite what some will say, experience matters. While a lot of Tories may not like the guy, Bob Rae may very well be Jack Layton's worst nightmare. Bringing the 5% of soft NDP voters out there back to the Liberals might be the party's best chance to form government. He's also fluently bilingual.

Cons: Ontarians over 30 might not have a fond memory of Rae. And Ontario is a pretty big province to write off.

My Take: From everything I hear, Bob Rae is a very decent person and he'd bring a lot to the race. But should be he leader of the Liberal Party? Well, not if we want to form government anytime soon. There comes a point when baggage simply outweighs experience and Bob Rae is simply unelectable in my humble opinion.

Chances: Rae has a lot of the Chretien heavy hitters on his team so he will certainly run a credible campaign and show well. I doubt he has the mass appeal to win a multi-ballot vote, but I expect Rae to be in the top 5 after the first ballot.

Ding Dong

19 months to go! Let the countdown begin.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Then Again...

...maybe Dan McTeague doesn't sound like such a bad idea:

This being said, we have consulted our militants as well as dozens of others in Mauricie, Lanaudière, the Laurentians and Eastern Montreal, and 90%of those consulted wish the return of Paul Martin and offer him the respect he deserves while admiring the courage he demonstrated
when faced with adversity in his leadership of a minority government in the last election.

Despite the January 23 loss, and following in the footsteps of some o fthe best Liberal leaders from Quebec and Canada, Paul Martin must now reclaim his position as leader.

Berthierville, Quebec, Canada,
March 14th, 2006.

Strange Bedfellow

This MacKay cartoon is a gem:

Hat Tip - BBG

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid...

And suddenly, Joe Volpe doesn't sound so bad:
A senior adviser to five-term Liberal MP Dan McTeague (Pickering-Scarborough East, Ont.) confirmed last week that he is also exploring his leadership options.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Hard To Argue

Tom Axworthy is a pretty bright guy who's been around the Liberal Party for a long time.

I agree 100% with his recommendations for the leadership race.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

This Week in Leadership - Wild Rose Roundup

We may not elect Liberals here, but when it comes to leadership, Alberta sure matters. So it's not surprising that the potential leadership candidates have been making pit stops in Alberta as they criss-cross the country.

Stephane Dion was in town on Tuesday, after doing a gig up in Edmonton the night before. While his Alberta organization is fairly non-existent right now, he spoke very well and impressed at all of the events he did in the province. His youth event in Calgary drew over three times what Brison's got (and that was pre "UWillBHappyG8") and he got several big ovations. Like pretty much every single candidate out there, Dion (and Brison for that matter) have been talking up the innovation agenda and environmental sustainability, which is nice to see. Dion has also played up his loyalty to the leader throughout the civil war and he certainly spent a lot more time talking about Quebec than Scott Brison did. And while I really like Dion's hard line on issues like the fiscal imbalance, a common theme on his trip out here was about the federal government getting out of provincial jurisdiction. That likely means the end of any sort of federal post-secondary education strategy and a lot of decentralization, two things I'm not overly keen about.

Dion and Brison are the first two candidates I've had a chance to see on their trips out West and I think if the LPC should seriously look into finding a way to transplant Stephane Dion's brain into Brison's body. Between Brison's speaking skills and charisma, and Dion's intellect and penchant for not leaking sensitive government information, "Brion" would be nearly unstoppable.

In Other Leadership News
The Gerard Kennedy team is quietly assembling itself together in Alberta. Obviously Kennedy won't be able to do much until the Ontario budget, but it looks like he will do well in Alberta if he declares.

The Stronach team is also building a credible organization in Alberta. Not only are they promising to "bake a bigger economic pie", but it sounds like it will include a side of "innovation ice cream".

Friday, March 10, 2006

(Insert Name Here) for Canada

Dean for American showed us that Internet buzz can be extremely beneficial for leadership candidates. While the influence of blogs on the outcome of general elections is questionable, I suspect that members of political parties read blogs and visit political websites more than the general public. Because of this, it would be extremely wise for leadership candidates to have a strong internet presence.

Although the race hasn't started yet, so far, the only two candidates with "professional" websites encouraging them to run are Michael Ignatieff and Gerard Kennedy. I'll be very curious to see the look of the official websites, once the candidates start declaring.

UPDATE: Draft Brison has been up for a while too.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Best News In A Long Time


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Decision Day Approaches

The Liberal Party's National Executive has a big decision before them. On the weekend of March 18th, they will be meeting in Ottawa to decide on the rules for the upcoming leadership race. Here's what I'd recommend they decide on, if I was in the room:

For logistical reasons, the convention has to be held in a big city. With the glut of Ontario candidates, I think it would be best to hold it on neutral ground, and in a region where the party needs to grow. To me, that makes Montreal or Vancouver the logical choices, with Montreal winning out on travel costs.

I still think the later, the better. A November convention would be absolutely insane, if you look at the timeline. Because membership form sales are cut off five months before the convention, that means the candidates would have from April to mid-June to:
-assemble organizations
-hold debates
-sign up members

I think a February or March 2007 date makes the most sense right now.

Entry Fee
You obviously need an entry fee to keep the crazies out (but, then again, Fontana will probably run regardless...). But the race shouldn't be about money. I know the party is broke but 10 candidates at $50,000 a head makes a lot more financial sense than five at $100,000 a head. Keep in mind that more candidates means more Liberals get signed up, funneling more money back to the party via membership sales and donations.

Spending Limits
Under the new fundraising rules, I don't think this will be a major issue since no one will be able to spend the 10-12 million Martin is rumoured to have put into his 2003 campaign. What the national executive needs to worry about, however, is accountability in spending. The last thing we need are 50 people with summer "jobs" at Magna being paid outside of the declared expenses. It's difficult to keep tabs on a lot of the soft money floating around, but there needs to be some accountability in the way money is spent.

Membership Forms
This will most likely be left to the provincial associations to decide (why we don't have uniform membership rules is beyond me). But whoever is making the decision should lift restrictions on access to membership forms in this party. Nothing created more disgruntled Liberals during the last race than the membership rules. If you want to raise the cost of membership then fine, do that. But you need to make the forms accessible to everyone and you need to have Internet sign-up as a legitimate option.

There also needs to be a crack-down on paper campus clubs (and women's clubs) getting their four delegates. I know this stuff is hard to regulate, but you had one Ontario club submit a membership list consisting of the 1999 Cincinnati Reds during the last leadership. To the best of my knowledge, Barry Larkin was not a Paul Martin supporter, and those sort of dirty tactics need to be snuffed out quickly.

UPDATE: Here's what one riding executive feels the rules should be:

We must make ideas, not money the principal criterion for selecting the next leader. With this in mind, the executive of the Ottawa West-Nepean Liberal Association passed the following resolution last night.

"Considering the critical need of the Liberal Party of Canada to democratize the race for leader of the Party, and the need to be seen as a democratic party;
"Recognizing that the financial rules of the leadership campaign must encourage legitimate candidates to enter the leadership race and must not discourage any legitimate candidates;
"Believing that the leadership campaign spending limits must ensure a balanced, fair and democratic campaign for all candidates,
"Hereby suggest the following limits:
"Candidate entry fee of $25K;
"Campaign fundraising levy of 10%; and
"Campaign spending limit of $2 million"
We're calling on other Liberal associations to join us in calling for these reasonable limits.

We Suck At Hockey BUT...

It's not exactly "do you believe in miracles", but Canada beats the USA in the World Baseball Challenge.

Things Not To Say To Kick Off Leadership Campaigns

"Sometimes when you're sending a quick e-mail, you don't really think about the content of it,"

Sure, Belinda Will Outbid Everyone...

Rick Mercer strikes again.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Tough Start

Scott Brison's name is now being mentioned in the Income Trust investigation - not a great way to launch a leadership bid.

If only the e-mail in question had been in French...then we'd know Brison had nothing to do with it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Sober Second Thought

While he may soon be overshadowed by his brother, Dalton McGuinty made a bit of news last week calling for the abolishment of the Senate. Personally, I've had about a dozen different opinions on what to do with the Senate over the years but since it will probably never be reformed in a serious way, I've come to accept it as one of life's minor annoyances, much like United Furniture Warehouse Commercials. Also, since I'm a Liberal, I'm hoping to one day be appointed, so I'm fine keeping the Upper Chamber alive.

When it comes to the Senate, everyone has a solution and everyone's solution is usually based on how they see the role of the Senate. Most people fall into one of three categories:

1. The All Powerful Senate: "The Senate should be instrumental in providing a check on Parliament."

2. The Spell Check Senate: "The Senate does a lot of valuable work in committees and refines a lot of bills"

3. The Appendix Senate: "The Senate is useless. It's where old white Liberals go to die."

If you fall into category three, you probably think it should be abolished. And I can sympathize with this group. The Senate is an antiquated and, to be honest, somewhat embarrassing institution so I wouldn't shed any tears over it's demise. And besides, there are still enough other patronage gigs I'm sure I could snare down the line (I hear Denmark is lovely in the spring...).

That said, I don't think the Senate is completely useless. While the House of Commons doesn't need a check, but the Senate does serve a role in revising bills and they do contribute a lot to government through committees. Senators have published a lot of really good policy reports over the years (most of which have been ignored). If there was a way to change the composition of the Senate, I'd have no problem with it's existence. One "As Prime Minister" essay I read a while back suggested selecting Senators from the leaders in their fields. So, you'd have Senators from education, law, the arts, sport, trades, etc. While the idea screams "class warfare" a little too much for my liking, it's intriguing. My all-time favourite idea is of a "lottery Senate" where you'd pick average Canadians to be your Senators, similar to how jurors are selected. That way you'd ensure a fair representation of all demographics and backgrounds. We saw the Citizen's Assembly work well in BC and I don't see any reason this idea couldn't.

Finally, this brings us to Harper's plan of elected Senators and, I must say, I don't like it. Electing Senators gives the Senate more legitimacy, while at the same time keeping the regional inequities in place. An elected Senate would also see fewer females, minorities, and people from diverse backgrounds, instead giving us a carbon copy of the House of Commons.

Unless a Prime Minister is willing to open up the constitution and make wholesale changes, a few tweaks to the Senate will only create more problems than they solve.

(Thus concludes an entire post on Senate reform, without a single Michael Fortier joke. I think I deserve some sort of prize for that.)

Blind Advice


Really Wild Speculation

OK, OK. He may not not have the name recognition of Paul Hellyer or Richard Diamond, but there's a new grass roots movement afoot. The latest target is both Albertan and has been a party member for over three years, two rarities among the real candidates.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Two More

David McGuinty and Robert Pritchard, CEO of Torstar Corp., are named as potential leadership candidates in an online Globe article. McGuinty's name has been mentioned before, but this is the first instance I've heard Pritchard's name floated - from David Peterson no less, so there's probably a bit of substance behind it.

I don't know much about Pritchard but it always amazes me how politics is considered the one job where job experience gets thrown out the window. You think the Liberals would want someone who, you know, knew what the hell they were doing...

Unanswered Questions

First of all, let me say that I agree with Paul Wells that Bernard Shapiro should resign. There's no point in having an ethics commissioner if no one is willing to accept his legitimacy. And so long as there is no rule against floor crossing, I really don't think these matters should be investigated.

That said, this entire affair is just bizarre and raises a ton of questions. I won't even begin to try and answer them.

1. Why did Harper strengthen the ethics commissioner's power, in one of his first acts in office, so that his findings could not be overturned? If he thought Shapiro was illegitimate then, he certainly wouldn't have done that. So if he thought Shapiro was legitimate a few weeks ago, has he only changed his mind now that he disagrees with Shapiro's decision?

2. Why did Harper make reference to Shapiro not investigating Brison crossing the floor when Shapiro wasn't even the ethics commissioner then? Should he also investigate Jack Horner?

3. Why did Shapiro choose to investigate this incident, but not Belinda's crossing?

4. Given that the Tories wanted Shapiro to investigate Belinda's crossing, shouldn't they want him to investigate this one?

5. Why did the Tories applaud when Shapiro decided to investigate Ujjal during the "comfy fur" fiasco, but not this incident?

6. If Shapiro stays on, will Harper put any stock into future Shapiro investigations? Or will he only boycott investigations he disagrees with?

7. Isn't it kind of disingenuous of Harper to use a technicality to get out of this by saying "the House wasn't sitting" when this occurred? Wasn't he supposed to be above this sort of stuff? Or was that just campaign talk?

8. If a new Ethics commissioner is put in place, would it be OK for a future PM to refuse to work with him after taking office? Doesn't that sort of politicize the position?

9. If a party disagrees with the choice of the new ethics commissioner, could they refuse to co-operate with him in the future? How would Harper react in that situation?

10. David Emerson said he'd resign if the Ethics commissioner found him guilty of any wrong-doings. This sort of implies to me that Emerson doesn't mind being investigated. Right?

11. (via the comments section) Why has Shapiro chosen to investigate a matter involving a Tory when the house wasn't yet in session when he said during the election that he couldn't investigate Tony Valeri's landflip?

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Least Democratic Organization In Democracy

Example one of "what's wrong with the Liberal Party" and why there are still a lot of bitter Liberals out there from 2003:
You people are selling Reg Alcock short. He has the team and the talent to
deliver Manitoba and the country for Belinda. It sounds like some sour grapes
from people that don't like how good Reg and his staff are.

Reg and his team kicked everyone's ass in 2002/2003 and he still owns the
party. Membership rules are still the same as they were last time, meaning
Alcock controls every form that leaves the Broadway Office. You Kennedy people
are screwed. Belinda and Reg are going to win.

I could probably support a candidate whose opinion I didn't agree with on health care, or education, or foreign aid. However, there is no way I would ever back a candidate unless they supported an open and clean leadership race. I think if we have a fair fight, most Liberals will accept the result and agree to be loyal to the winner, whoever he or (heaven forbid) she turns out to be.

If we see a repeat of the 2003 lock down on membership forms, campus clubs with the Cincinnati Reds as members, and AGMs where the rulebook was thrown out the window, we'll just have a new generation of bitter Liberals, trying to undermine the next leader at every opportunity.

UPDATE: TDH and A BCer in Toronto have some good stuff on the UBC campus club elections.

UPDATE: On a more positive note, I hear that the national executive is working on having an on-line membership form available for purchase shortly. With different rules in different provinces, it'll be tricky to set up, but I think this would be a big step in the right direction.

Kennedy Heads East

I don't want people to think I'm obsessed with the guy or anything, but I do find it interesting that Ontario's Education Minister will be attending the Liberal Party of Canada's Nova Scotia convention this weekend...

If any readers happen to be at the convention, I'd be very curious to get a run-down of who was there, who said what, where the buzz was, and anything else you'd like to e-mail my way (either for posting on, or to satisfy my curiosity).

Update: Err...apparently Mike Duffy's report wasn't completely accurate and Gerard took a pass on Nova Scotia...

All About Ben

There's a big brouhaha going on about Ontario Liberal candidate Ben Chin, running in the Toronto Danforth by-election.

I personally don't know what Ben Chin's background is, but in the interest of fairness, I thought I'd post this, sent in from a reader:

Ben's father was a diplomat (posted in Ottawa in the early 70's). on a visit to korea to see his dying mother, he was incarcerated by the Korean CIA and accused of being a communist because he advised the president to free some democracy activists who were being held as political prisoners. after being freed, he was essentially placed under house arrest. the KCIA visited Ben's school and he was told they weren't going to let him continue there. he was given a student visa to canada, and when his father was allowed to travel again, his parents joined him here.

Jason Cherniak and Derek Raymaker have well written posts on the race.

Choose Change

"Re-elect the Liberals and you'll get a government constantly under investigation."


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Dion Comes West

Stephane Dion will be making his mandatory pre-leadership West Coast swing this week. Saturday, he's hosting a reception in BC.

And I have it on very good authority that he'll be in Calgary on Tuesday. Among the items on his itinerary is an intimate lunch with several prominent Liberals in the city.

Update: Dion will be at the Calgary Centre AGM on Tuesday evening for any Liberals who want to get a look at him.

Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You...

The Ward-Heeler, Best/Worst of Times, Daveberta, Warren Kinsella, The Dan Report, and several other blogs have already posted encouraging Gerard Kennedy to run for Liberal Leadership. Everything I hear says that Gerard is still on the fence so I think it's time for a little grass roots movement, courtesy of the world wide web.

Whether or not you would support him, it's hard to deny that a young, charismatic, bilingual, socially progressive Liberal with roots in Western Canada would bring a lot to the race. If nothing else, he could spare us all the prospect of a Bob Rae/Belinda Stronach final ballot.

So I encourage Liberals everywhere to let Gerard know they'd like him to run. Tell him what he could bring to the race. Tell him the Liberal Party needs him. Tell him that only a handful of individuals get a chance to become Prime Minister and make this country a better place.

You can e-mail him at:

Or, if you prefer, fill out an online e-mail here.

Mmm...Economic Pie

A lot of people were surprised to see Reg Alcock (and Rod Zimmer apparently) step up and support Belinda Stronach, no doubt making her one of the candidates to beat in Manitoba.

Well, it shouldn't be surprising. Consider the last candidate Reg Alcock was reportedly urging to run for Liberal leadership:

Don't go holding your breath. True to form, the Liberals don't appear to have anyone from that half of the country who is seriously interested in the job. What's more, the Liberals who fancy themselves as the one true national party don't appear concerned about the spectre of yet another leadership contest without a westerner on the ballot.

Oh sure, Reg Alcock was trying to persuade David Emerson to run for the job when he was still a Liberal.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Oh Ralph...

...what will that crazy guy do next?

I'll throw up some stuff on his health care proposals once I've had a chance to look them over a bit more closely but, for now, I'm just shake my head and wonder how this guy gets away with absolutely everything...

This Week in Leadership

As February comes to a close and the National Executive meetings approach, we've been bombarded with leadership news and speculation. Among the highlights:

-Martin Cauchon is in the news and has suddenly opened up to alternative health care solutions and flexible federalism. I've always liked Cauchon, but I'd have a tough time supporting anyone who makes the fiscal imbalance and asymmetrical federalism one of his top priorities.

-Joe Fontana is seriously considering a run at Liberal leadership. He has no doubt been inspired by Tom Wappell's 1990 bid.

-On the other end of the quality candidate spectrum, the darling of the blogosphere seems to be marching towards a leadership bid.
Update: There's more Kennedy stuff here, here, here, and here.

-As observed by several other blogs, Belinda Stronach has no Liberal logo anywhere on her website.

-Speaking of Belinda, Reg Alcock is quite intrigued by this economic pie she keeps promising to bake, and it looks like he's jumping on board her campaign.

-The kids at Fuddle Duddle are up in arms over the Quebec Young Liberals President, Brigitte Legault's decision to back Belinda Stronach for leadership.

-There's a new blog up and running from a "LPC insider". I'm obligated to link to it, due to my policy of hyping any blogs which refer to me as a "clever guy".

-Out good friend Joe Volpe is in the news yet again.

UPDATE: Apparently Anne McLellan is going to be supporting Bob Rae. I kid you not. I'm not sure if this is a "if I'm going down, I'm taking you all with me" strategy or what, but it's certainly unexpected.