Tuesday, March 21, 2006

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.

34 Comments:

  • You're a funny guy Bart, but this one made me laugh more than usual.

    the Joe Clark juggernaut

    Minister of Finance, until 2005 when he was replaced by Jack Layton

    split among the “we need a leader embroiled in the Income Trust Scandal” vote

    Say what you will about Belinda (and God knows I’ve said a lot)


    Good stuff, all of those had me laughing. You could do Canadian politics standup. On a good night you could draw 10, maybe 12 people!

    By Blogger Clear Grit, at 1:49 AM  

  • can you elaborate on the "ridiculous media spin that the “big names” are skipping the race"? just wondering why you think that is.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:11 AM  

  • Anon 12:11 - The "big name dropout list" is as follows:

    McKenna, Frank.

    The rest of the bunch would have handed Harper a walkover, and the only people saying otherwise in the media are Tories. "Oh gosh, we'd be much more worried about Tobin than Ignatieff! Tobin's a nationalist!"

    The Bob Fife school of political analysis at its best.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 2:22 AM  

  • Mr. Dithers now Mr. MaGoo.

    Draft Tina Keeper!

    By Anonymous emphasis added, at 7:01 AM  

  • Goodale's the best candidate out there and I think seniority should count for something.

    As a raving, far right-wing Conservative, I think Goodale would be the most effective opposition leader the Liberals could possibly have out of the current set of challengers. Goodale would seriously give them a chance to actually win back 22 Sussex in 6 years time.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:22 AM  

  • Goodale... now there's a winner!

    I think as each day passes I grow more and more fond of Stephane Dion. He's just got spunk to him ya know?

    Any chance he is going to improve his english anytime soon? I really hope so cause I think he's got potential. Unlike buzzhead Ralph.

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 7:33 AM  

  • As much as I've really grown to dislike Goodale.. to be honest he's gotten a bad rap from the Income Trust thing. Likely (this is my gut talking) he had nothing to do with it and got bush-wacked by one of his more talkative friends (*cough* Scotty *cough*).

    Even still, I've grown to admire Goodale, and I don't think he'd be that bad a leader... if it wasn't for the Income Trust and his age.

    Stephane Dion is still the man to beat.

    By Blogger SouthernOntarioan, at 10:25 AM  

  • Mr. Ramson:

    You make a good point about Mr. Goodale's experience, because experience as a Liberal should have some weight in this contest.

    But when you talk about the "combined total" of the rest of the field, you should keep in mind that Maurizio Bevilacqua was first elected in the 1988 general election. With close to 18 years in the House, Maurizio has quite a bit of experience as a Liberal Member of Parliament.

    Joseph K. Mayer

    By Anonymous Joseph K. Mayer, at 10:49 AM  

  • Maurizio Bevilacqua has almost 20 years of service as a backbench MP and a few brief years as a jr. minister! Clearly the stuff great leaders are made of! Plus his name is fun to say.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:01 AM  

  • Anon 5:22 am
    I really doubt that Goodale will help us win back the French Embassy at 22 Sussex Drive, as CG mentioned his french is poor.
    Raving Far Right conservative is right, emphasis on the RAVING.
    what a maroon

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:23 AM  

  • This one made me laugh too Grit! What else'ya got?

    All we need is yet another "Ralph" from out west gumming the country up.

    Haven't the Liberals learned from most recent history that former finance ministers make really bad leaders??

    Ask Mr. Dithers or Mr. Dithers(Blue-Eves)

    Hey, is it just me or has the colour of Liberal Red taken on a slightly purple hue with the addition of Kennedy? Seriously, my MP(a Liberal)has an almost burgundy red colour to his website. What's with that? How many shades of red ARE the Liberals anyway? With the floorcrossers it's hard to tell these days.

    Hey, why isn't anyone crossing the floor to the NDP?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:31 AM  

  • OOh, Belinda and Brison as co-leaders. Belinda is baking a bigger pie and Scotty is tipping off his friends about whats in it.

    By Anonymous Colin, at 11:37 AM  

  • Goodale...nice kid, tries hard

    Unfortunately, he lacks sufficient "it-ness". Now I don't precisely know what "it" is, but whatever "it" is, he doesn't have enough of "it".

    So if I was to boil this whole thing down to one quick point, it would have to be...Ralph Goodale does not have "it" in a sufficient quantity.

    By Blogger Small Town Shyster, at 11:52 AM  

  • I can't help but think...

    Goodale's finest moment passed him by when he failed to resign on principle when subjugated by the Martin/Layton/Hargrove troika. This was the beginning of the "wheels coming off" for the Martin liberals. Goodale's back-peddling on his previous vigorous defence of the original budget was frankly embarassing. He had a choice and he chose wrong. He could be looking like a hero now. Instead he's left himself vulnerable to being labeled just abother politician whose perk-filled status trumped principle.

    I liked Ralph up until that point. He had a good budget that could stand on its own merit. He knew it. If there's something redeeming in this for him it is perhaps that his lack of participation on the budget re-write could be interpreted as a sign he was not willing to stand toe-to-toe with the socialists unlikelike his desparate and unprincipled boss. And perhaps his subsequent defence of the rewrite was one of those distastful occasions when an MP is forced to play soldier and follow orders. Afterall, there's no way he could stand up in parliament as MOF without defending a document issued by his department.

    Nevertheless, all that would have been unnecessary had he removed himself entirely from the MOF position.

    By Anonymous Dr. Strangelove, at 11:58 AM  

  • 12:11 anon: McKenna and Manley were big names who skipped the race - that's fair enough. However, I don't think it was because the party's in shambles, but rather for personal reasons.

    Where it becomes a bit excessive is when Allan Rock and Brian Tobin are lumped in as other big names who skipped the race. Rock and Tobin were never going to run in the first place so they're decisions to skip it were irrelevant. It would be like is people made a big deal over Sheila Copps skipping the race.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:05 PM  

  • The only western candidate i like at all is unfortunately not a candidate, and that is Ann McLellan.

    Ralph is a good liberal, has lots of experience and should run, but the party really needs a great communicator right now. Ralph is not it.

    By Blogger CoteGauche, at 12:29 PM  

  • the list of who's skipping the race is long and attractive -- the trudeau boys, the lead actor on Da Vinci's Inquest, Mitsou, the now-unemployed commercial actor for Canadian Tire... When you consider that the Conservatives had but a few meagre beans stay away from their leadership race, and the campaign was essentially a boring cage match between Mr. dull and petulant, a rich cutie and the High School geek with the glasses, I think the Liberal race should be one for the ages.
    I see Ralph as being a less-comedic John Crosbie. The west needs a voice but unfortunately we're not ready to give up some real serious talent just yet. David Foster has his eye on the premier's job first...

    By Anonymous sophoclesimnot, at 12:33 PM  

  • Ralph's a good guy, but he's not his own man.

    So Brison is a dummy, Ralph is a patsy... who's next.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 1:19 PM  

  • Pros: Goodale is the first candidate you've profiled who isn't a johnny-come-lately to the Liberal party. He has a solid background in finance which seems to be the key attribute of a PM these days.

    Cons: If it wasn't for the non-existant income trust scandal I think most of us would be saying "Ralph who?". Goodale has no strong positions on anything that spring to mind.

    Really con: When even your own supporters have bought into the income trust scandal rubbish, you're toast. Seriously, you grits need to go to the Bank Of Canada site and look at how they telegraph every change in the interest rates to the stock market. Investors know a month in advance what the decision is going to be. And the reason this is done is because the stock market does not react well to surprises. People and pension funds are bankrupted as a result of surprises.

    Overall: Liberals would do more damage to him in an election than the Tories would. Bad choice until they wise up.

    By Blogger Robert McClelland, at 2:32 PM  

  • Can't see Ralph running. Election rules forbid the Merchants from writing a cheque that big.


    http://centreofcanada.blogspot.com/

    By Blogger Don, at 2:48 PM  

  • I found all of these comments really interesting. Coming from Regina and living in his riding I never thought of there being any negatives to Ralph Goodale.

    Ralph actually recieved more votes this election than the last one, and the people in his constituency have the utmost respect for him. Ralph lost few or no votes due to the income trust, in fact there was just no talk in the riding about that. Everyone simply understood that Ralph wouldn't have done something like that, and it was just a mistake or misunderstanding. It is only in the rest of the country that this became a good deal.

    Ralph Goodale is the kind of guy who prefers to read a financial report than schmooze at a party with business and political leaders. I guess that does make him a little boring, I don't really see that as a bad thing however.

    If Ralph Goodale runs I suspect that the people who know him i.e. from Saskatchewan will rally behind him, I being one of them.

    I believe that if Canadians got to know him as well as the people of Saskatchewan, he would definately be a top contender for Liberal Leadership.

    By Blogger Kegger, at 2:57 PM  

  • RM; I don't think Ralph had anything to do with the IT scandal thingy, but politics is all about optics...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:10 PM  

  • I think Strangelove hit the nail on the head. Ralph is a good man whose time was up the instant he let Jack Layton assume the role of Paul's Finance Minister without so much as a peep of protest from Ralph.

    Sorry, Ralph, but that was a demonstration of gutlessness. Most leaders require moxy and yours went down the toilet in that moment of truth.

    By Anonymous Two Cents, at 3:48 PM  

  • Ralph is a straight shooter and was very good for Saskatchewan as a whole. But the reality is that he was not good for the Liberal Party at all during his time as Saskatchewan's voice in Ottawa. Ralph is not political; he looked after his own riding to the detriment of the other 13 ridings and the provincial organization. He kept his organization as a tight clique, with many members from the provincial NDP as his inner circle. The few liberals in his inner circle were all about Ralph, not the provincial liberal scene as a whole. Long story short Ralph can lend some serious gravitas someone's campaign, but if he runs himself he will be embarrassed by not even carrying Saskatchewan.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:44 PM  

  • Random comments and responses

    Minister of Finance, until 2005 when he was replaced by Jack Layton

    You owe me a new keyboard. :-)

    Election rules forbid the Merchants from writing a cheque that big.

    Oh look! A pig just flew by my window. Tony and Ralph are working together.

    You owe me a new keyboard. And a replacement for the beer I just spit into it.

    But the reality is that he was not good for the Liberal Party at all during his time as Saskatchewan's voice in Ottawa. Ralph is not political; he looked after his own riding to the detriment of the other 13 ridings and the provincial organization. He kept his organization as a tight clique, with many members from the provincial NDP as his inner circle. The few liberals in his inner circle were all about Ralph, not the provincial liberal scene as a whole.

    Bingo! I don't need a keyboard from you.

    By Blogger CfSR, at 11:00 PM  

  • Ralph? don't think so.
    Anne? .don't think so.
    Scottie? ..don't think so.

    Therefore it had better be Dion otherwise it truly is going to be the Liberal Party of Toronto. If that happens, whoever wins, wins 20 seats, plus Emerson's seat and is begging the electorate from there.

    But, Let's not be too hard on the Lib's. Harper, Manning, Clement, and Stronach doesn't seem like the future of Canada either.

    Somebody will win. Canadians may embrace them.

    By Anonymous Tom, at 12:02 AM  

  • I doubt the Liberals will win Emerson's seat, it will likely go to the NDP, who can be counted upon to not cross the floor (although provincially they've been known to accept a few & reward them with cabinet posts, but that's different).

    By Blogger Candace, at 12:29 AM  

  • Interesting point about Ralph looking out for himself in Wascana to the detriment of the Liberals in the rest of the province. Otto Lang got his hands on the provincial wing's money and Saskatchewan Liberals haven't been close to power since. Oh, what Linda Haverstock could tell you.

    The university and government crowd in Wascana will vote for Ralph, but he's unelectable in the rest of the province. Gun control and the Wheat Board.

    His biggest weakness is his ability to speak for half an hour without answering the question. That's fine for stonewalling the opposition, but it's useless for rallying the troops.

    RJM

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:53 AM  

  • a column from the Edm Journal

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:31 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Paula, at 9:42 PM  

  • Please, spare me the Liberal Fan Club. You people must have ridden you mopeds to work this morning.

    Your most earnest criticizm is that he does not speak French?

    How about that he was a part of a criminal government?

    How about as a long serving Lib in Provincial and Federal Ridings, he has not even provided for a road in that third world province next door.

    What dead weight...

    Liberal what? Effective What? are all of you out of your minds?

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