Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Let The Floodgates Open

It's hard to tell if it's an official announcement, but with Gerard Kennedy quitting his job as Ontario Education Minister today, I think we can add a third name to the confirmed candidate list. And Bob Rae took the equally daunting task of buying a Liberal membership today. If that isn't dedication to the Liberal Party, I don't know what is.

From the sound of things, Michael Ignatieff and Stephane Dion will be joining the list of declared candidates on Friday, with most of the others to follow shortly thereafter.

While it's foolish to handicap a race that will go at least four ballots, I think it's a safe bet that anyone from Dion, Dryden, Kennedy, Ignatieff, or Brison could win this thing. Stronach and Rae will do well but I just can't see any growth potential for them after the first ballot.


  • It will be interesting to watch Gerard Kennedy and Bob Rae debate the Rae government's legacy at the LPCA convention. But the last email I saw did not have Rae on the list. Maybe he isn't serious?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:43 p.m.  

  • Kennedy vs Ignatieff vs Dryden will give us some really great discourse. Win or lose, these are three intellectual giants and effective communicators who will help lead the rebirth we Liberals have been chatting about recently.
    Harper vs Stronach vs Clement... that was really hard to find engaging.

    By Blogger Ned Noodle, at 2:58 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:13 p.m.  

  • Buh-Linda is a walking talking dumb blonde joke. If Liberal women are so desparate for a female leader that they'd settle for her, it is kinda pathetic.

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

  • Natalie:

    Can we hold off on the "sexist" rhetoric? Please? At least until all the candidates have formally announced? Criticism is not sexist just because she is a woman.

    I agree that she should be taken seriously (and said so here), and I think she will do well, but I'm already losing any confidence I had in her abilities. She didn't show up to the Sheila Copps event dedicated to women Liberal leaders and party unity (MacIsaac and Hall Findlay managed to get there for Pete's sake) because she was at a hockey game in Montreal. She is going to the LPCA this weekend but apparently not joining in the all candidates debate. During the Conservative leadership campaign she similarly avoided debates and the media: then, I gave her the benefit of the doubt as being a nervous newcomer, but now? She still hasn't mastered French despite having Prime Ministerial ambitions for at least 3 years now.

    I do want to hear what she has to say but she's got to give us the chance to hear it and show she can tells us it in both languages. I'm not supporting anyone this time around because someone else tells me they are great. I want to hear it for myself (as should we all). But she's got to get out there. Being a woman certainly makes it harder, but being a woman also doesn't give her any automatic points.


    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 3:30 p.m.  

  • Belinda's greatest achievement has been expertly choosing her parents. That should not qualify her for party leadership.

    Of course, Paul Martin had much the same distinction....

    I would never bet against money being the deciding factor in a LPC leadership race, though.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:45 p.m.  

  • Congratulations to Gerard, unlike the others who have nothing to lose, Gerard has taking a great risk to leave the cabinet and put his name forward. His candidacy is going to add a lot of excitement to the race. This could just end up being fun.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:05 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:14 p.m.  

  • Stronach will do well, there's no denying that.

    I just get the sense that there are enough people in the party who are uneasy with her leading it, that she can't win 50% of the delegates at the convention. So even if she is top 3 after the first ballot, I don't see that support growing.

    Ditto for Rae.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:15 p.m.  

  • Belinda will win 52% on the 1st ballot.

    She is the next jugernaught of the Liberal Party!

    Aye Aye!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:19 p.m.  

  • i'm crazy for outlandish theories, so here's one: Belinda doesn't want the Liberal leadership this time around. she's guessing she can't win, and i'm not sure she wants the job right now anyway. better let someone else clean up the mess and she'll be poised at the next leadership convention.

    then, hopefully she'll have better french, impeccable policy credentials and an organizational strength that recalls the glory days of paul martin.

    this is assuming she has patience.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:21 p.m.  

  • If Belinda wants to be taken seriously that she needs to join the candidate panel in Edmonton on April 8. For her to go to the AGM but not take part in the panel with the other candidates raises a big red flag. Why isn't she participating???

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:21 p.m.  

  • One of the Natalies said:

    "Belinda Stronach has every right to taken as seriously as Dryden, Dion, Kennedy, Brison, Rae and the other men that are running for the leadership."

    One word: Why? Beyond the fact that she is a 'fresh face', why is she qualified to run a multicultural, bilingual, complex and highly regionalized country? Why?

    As soon as anyone in the Belinda camp can provide a satisfactory answer to that one, I will happily give you my vote.

    The Last Trudeaumaniac

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:44 p.m.  

  • "Belinda Stronach has every right to taken as seriously as Dryden, Dion, Kennedy, Brison, Rae and the other men that are running for the leadership."

    I don't like any of the above but at least the men mentioned have a brain.
    Belinda just isn't very bright, I'm afraid.

    But--she does have nice legs.

    Horny Toad

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:51 p.m.  

  • Not that the blogosphere is in anyway connected to reality or to how real people actually think, I do find the lack of any web presence by Belinda to be surprising given how significant her organization is supposed to be.

    You can't say anything negative about Kennedy, Brison or Ignatieff without someone quickly piping in a counterpoint. The supporters of many candidates have websites up devoted to them. But there is no web presence for Stronach other than her MPs site. There is none for most but given how strong her organization is supposed to be I'm surprised that there is no "draft Belinda" type site and so little commenting support.

    I think it's good to have her in the race and I know she's way smarter and sharper than people give her credit for, but it is a pretty short campaign and so far her campaign has been underwhelming.


    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 4:51 p.m.  

  • The Last Trudeaumaniac said:

    "Belinda Stronach has every right to taken as seriously as Dryden, Dion, Kennedy, Brison, Rae and the other men that are running for the leadership."

    One word: Why? Beyond the fact that she is a 'fresh face', why is she qualified to run a multicultural, bilingual, complex and highly regionalized country? Why?

    As soon as anyone in the Belinda camp can provide a satisfactory answer to that one, I will happily give you my vote."

    What makes any of the five white guys above any more qualified?

    Just to start a debate, Dryden lived in Montreal and doesn't speak French. Discuss.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:57 p.m.  

  • Cerberus; I'm with you on that one. There's a ton of support for Ignatieff, Kennedy, and Brison on various blogs. Their following among people in the comments section borders on creepy.

    But there's next to no net precense for any of the other candidates out there. A bit of Dryden and Dion, and that's about it.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 5:38 p.m.  

  • My best guesstimate right now? Bob Rae will surprise many with the degree of support he garners over the next month or so.

    Why? Because the polls will show that of all the runners, he will be the best bet to win enough seats to allow the Liberals to have a minority or possibly majority government.

    Why? Because the polls will show that he will outstrip all others in his ability to "pull" NDP voters to his side. In essence, he will – at least for this next election – succeed in a de facto merger of the LPC and NDP parties, uniting the left against Harper's rightwing neocons. Nothing Layton says will change this drift – voters saw what happened when they "lent" Layton votes: the election of a retrogressive, American-style, cultural warfare inclined neocon government.

    Voters will knock on Layton's door to have him return the votes loaned to him, and cast them this time for a man they can trust to defend and promote the interests of all Canadians, not just rich white religious men.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:40 p.m.  

  • If I told you that I know someone who is very well qualified to be prime minister, then I told you that this person is young, but did not attend university, cannot speak french, cannot do public speaking without written notes in hand, and is not know for being a leader in public policy you would think I was crazy.

    But if I then said the person was Belinda Stronach, you would say, ah that's different, her father is a billionaire! She would make a great PM!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:41 p.m.  

  • I knew Bob Rae was always more centre than left. And given the current Liberal Party he can be more right than centre.

    By Blogger Raphael Alexander, at 5:44 p.m.  

  • You know, even though McGuinty's the Premier now, I think the Ontario Grits erred big time ten years ago when they bypassed Kennedy for a (then) stiff.

    I don't know who I'd vote for in this race, but he, Rae and Ignatieff both have charisma. Of them, only Kennedy's background would appeal to LPC members. I think.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:47 p.m.  

  • So who have we got running for the Liberal leadership so far?

    Brison - Tory
    Stronach - Tory
    Rae - DNP
    Ignatieff - American
    Dryden - Hockey player

    Hello . . . is anybody running from the Canadian Liberal party?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:54 p.m.  

  • Peterson warns arch-rival Rae he's not welcome in Liberal leadership race

    OTTAWA (CP) - Former Ontario premier David Peterson warned Wednesday that erstwhile NDP rival Bob Rae won't be welcome in the federal Liberal leadership race.

    Rae would be a divisive force in a Liberal leadership race, said Peterson, who was driven from politics by his stunning 1990 election loss to Rae. "It's a dilemma for a tremendous number of people in the party," Peterson told The Canadian Press.

    "Here's a guy, a lot of people went to war with him and now he wants to lead the army without even enlisting."

    Rae is expected to formally join the race to succeed Paul Martin within a couple of weeks. He declined to respond to Peterson's comments Wednesday.

    But Peterson, who's expected to back rookie MP Michael Ignatieff's candidacy, warned that Rae has "got some terrible burdens to overcome."

    "One is his record and one is his loyalty."

    Rae served one tumultuous term as Ontario's premier, infuriating both business and labour as he struggled with soaring deficits and a recession-ravaged economy. He was eventually defeated by Mike Harris's Conservatives in 1995.

    Since then, the fluently bilingual Rae has rehabilitated his reputation and moderated his politics. He has been sought after at home and abroad to advise on complex issues, from Sri Lanka's peace process to the need for a public inquiry into the Air India tragedy.

    Both Martin and former prime minister Jean Chretien tried unsuccessfully to woo Rae to run for the Liberals. He refused entreaties to run against federal NDP Leader Jack Layton in last winter's election and turned down the chance to run in another Toronto riding as well.

    Rae finally took out a Liberal party membership this week. His brother, Power Corp. executive John Rae, headed up all of Chretien's successful campaigns and is well respected in the party but Peterson doubted the family connection is enough to overcome doubts about the onetime New Democrat's suitability for the top Liberal job.

    Peterson insisted he doesn't hold any personal grudge against Rae but is simply being realistic about the reception he'll get from Liberal militants who've given blood for the party through good and bad times.

    "It's so obvious. Everybody's talking about it . . . It's a helluva high hill to climb."

    Party politics "is tribal and it's primordial and it's based on trust and affection and shared experiences," Peterson observed.

    "Some people would say you just can't pick the cherries off the top."

    On that score, he acknowledged that lack of history in the party will hurt two other prospective leadership candidates - Belinda Stronach and Scott Brison, both relatively recent defectors from the Tories.

    "It does absolutely (hurt) but it doesn't hurt them as much because the sense is they've been sanitized at least by (running for the Liberals in) one election."

    Peterson was the go-between who arranged Stronach's surprise defection to the Liberals last May, just in time to save Martin's minority government from defeat in a confidence vote.

    "Let me be fair. Everybody in this race has some baggage," Peterson admitted. "One of the issues is who can shed that."

    Still, Peterson suggested Rae's baggage will be harder to unload than most.

    "It's not a bit of a problem. It's a huge problem."

    Peterson had hoped to support former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna. Since McKenna bowed out of the race, Peterson hasn't formally declared support for any other candidate but he acknowledged he's very impressed by Ignatieff, an acclaimed academic.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:25 p.m.  

  • I think Rae has a little more upside than you do, CG. As for Stronach though, there's no doubt that she can't overcome the hump that she's unelectable. Image is everything, and her image is more of a flake than a leader. Kennedy maybe can undo the 5am curse this time and win.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:11 p.m.  

  • "the election of a retrogressive, American-style, cultural warfare inclined neocon government."

    This as opposed to the Liberals-a French style socialist islamist-loving country. I guess if riots by millions of unemployed islamists is what you want the liberals are sure to deliver.

    Horny toad

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:00 p.m.  

  • "Why? Because the polls will show that he will outstrip all others in his ability to "pull" NDP voters to his side."

    I doubt Rae could do this, honestly. He's really, really hated by New Democrats. I say this with experience because I used to be a Dipper who has just joined the Grits. Why did I join the Grits? Not because of Rae, but because of Gerard Kennedy. If anybody will bring NDPers on board, it's Kennedy.

    (Or Hedy Fry or perhaps John Godfrey, but they are no-chancers...for better or worse.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:48 p.m.  

  • "...I do find the lack of any web presence by Belinda to be surprising given how significant her organization is supposed to be."

    Web presence. Good idea.

    By Blogger Havril, at 10:04 p.m.  

  • Friday's starting gun should be like the re-enactment of the Blue Nose, or Seabiscuit, or... Kennedy's entry is big, as far as I can tell on the left coast here. There is a buzz, perhaps overcharged from the internet, but a real buzz that can translate into real interest. I've met him and was thoroughly impressed, and not in a 'John Napier Turner way' (don't get me wrong, JNT was my guy in '84 and the reason I originally joined, but...).
    Here's one issue, no matter the end outcome. Harpo is EXPECTING us to pick someone and to draft policy that is leftish. I'm comfortable on that side of the road, but he fully aims to take advantage of that shift. That's why he's pretending to be a Blue Liberal, pledging candies and honeyed ham to all and sundry. Our party's challenge is to build a platform, complete with policy and leader, that can stake out our turf confidently. Spar with each other to get the right decisions, but put on the body armour and prepare to battle Harpo's gang with the same fire they are building for us.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:29 p.m.  

  • Amazing how ignoramouses still refer to Ignatieff as "American". He spent 30 years outside of the country. He was recently a prof. at Harvard. For some geniuses that seems to suggest he was in the US the entire time.

    Maybe if they bothered learning something for themselves they would learn he actually spent the majority of that time in England.

    But hey, it's easier repeating lines like a parrot.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:45 p.m.  

  • Anonymous, I was JUST going to say - wouldn't Ignatieff be British, not American?

    Some people are stupid enough to believe anything.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:56 p.m.  

  • Ignatieff - American

    Actually, he only lived in the USA for about ten years, from the mid-90s until last year. He spent most of his time abroad residing in the UK, although he was a correspondent for the BBC, which took him pretty far afield.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 11:04 p.m.  

  • Kennedy is way to left wing for me to support. We don't need to shoot ourselves in the foot by going left.

    We need a Brison, Belinda, Dryden, Iggy type moderate.

    Not Jack Layton 2.0

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:08 p.m.  

  • I see no proof that Kennedy is anything but a moderate.

    I find Brison policy idea's when he ran for the PC's to be far from the moderate side.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:13 p.m.  

  • Want to know why people think Iggy is an American? Read this... I didn't know Canadian troops tortured and abused Iraqis but apparently "we" did:

    Michael Ignatieff: I want to move on and talk a little bit about the torture and interrogation issue, because of all the ethical choices we've faced since 9/11, that's the one that we've obviously in plain sight of the world, got most deeply wrong. We've got it wrong partly because of doctrines of false necessity. One of the reasons that we began to engage in abusive interrogation in Iraq is that we felt we were losing a war against the insurgency. Because we were losing a war against the insurgency, our troops were vulnerable. We had to increase the output of actionable intelligence to improve the security of our troops. We then hoovered up very large numbers of Iraqis who turned out to have absolutely zero intelligence value.

    So false necessity drove us to widen the net and I don't think. It's bad enough that we tortured and abused them, what's even worse is we got so little actionable usable intelligence. We didn't even improve the security of US troops. And we classically, I'm talking in very real politique way, misunderstood a crucial feature of a war on terror, which is that it's a battle, it's a psychological battle for opinion, so we confuse tactical necessity and strategic imperative. The strategic imperative was to maintain some degree of reluctant compliance and consent from the Iraqi populat6ion. That strategic imperative was lost sight of and we allowed a tactical necessity, which is we've got to improve protection for our troops to drive everything, with the result we lost the strategic objective entirely. So it was a strategic blunder as well, obviously, as a moral blunder.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:22 p.m.  

  • Umm...I like the guy and all that, but does it really matter that Iggy lived in Britain, rather than the US?

    I mean, he's still been out of Canada for 30 years. He came back to become PM which some might find a tad arrogant.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:35 a.m.  

  • Anon 2:57 raised the issue of Dryden's lack of French. Definitely a valid point. Ditto for Brison & Belinda. [sigh]

    It's simply not acceptable that a third of the country should have to wait for CBC to translate a speech or press conference by a party leader. And last time I checked, the Liberals were supposed to be the 'bilingual Canada' party.

    Saw a speech by Ignatieff the other day. His French is accented but correct, and definitely better than Harper's.

    Haven't heard Rae or Kennedy en français, but I am assured theirs is fluent. Can any of you Ontario people verify this?

    The Last Trudeaumaniac

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:52 a.m.  

  • People rightfully think IGGY is American or at least Americanized because he refers to himself constantly in this manner in his own speaches. He uses the words WE and OUR when talking about the United States government, citizens and its constitution. Even his speech at U of O talked about "a coalition of free peoples" OR the UN justifying a military incursion into a soveriegn nation. HMM what does that sound like?

    Kennedy will be able to pull way more voters than Rae, especially in Ontario. He's a Manitoba francophone, with experience acrosss Canada, ten years in parliament and a wife from the Maritimes. And here's the kicker, teachers in Ontario will support him en masse.

    We vote, we are politically active, we donate money on a grassroots level, which is the only way to do so now under new election rules, we are organized as we have meetings all the time, and we have the summer off. Just watch us!

    This man took eight years of a brutalizing and demoralizing educational climate under the Harris Torries (three of whom are in HArpers govn't) and made education work again in Ontario. He brought labour harmony, improved standards, increased funding for targeted programs like literacy and reduced class sizes and made teachers happy. We have not forgetton the Harris Tories and we will support Kennedy.

    Oh yeah, we also have the largest pension fund in the country to defend, when the government finally decides to address that issue. If anyone can negotiate with the largest pension fund in Canada, The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, Kennedy can.

    By Blogger S.K., at 10:12 a.m.  

  • Any bets on when he'll officially announce, my guess is on Wednesday, a few days after the leadership panel in Edmonton...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:29 a.m.  

  • Seems that the Belinda suporters will be looking somewhere else to park their votes.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:35 a.m.  

  • Their cries of anguish can be heard across the country. It would have been nice to see her in the race, but this is probably the best choice for her. Saves her from a "worse than expected" showing and gives her time to improve her french and work on the next go round.

    By Blogger Leny Vilekoskytch, at 11:19 a.m.  

  • Belinda supporters:
    Come back, we didn't mean to hurt you, you just make us so angry sometimes!


    People who are seriously
    in love with Kennedy
    and who post a lot
    on message boards

    P.S.-I doubt the Joan Bryden school of be nice to your enemies applies to the blogosphere.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:23 a.m.  

  • Fuck the Belinda supporters. We don't need opurtunistic conservatives in our party.

    I hope Marth Hall Findly beats her in a nomination battle before the next election and we can be rid of her for good.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:57 p.m.  

  • I didn't support Belinda for leader but I supported Belinda being in the race for leader. She had a vital role to play in the race and it's a disappointing that she dropped out. Fortunately, she will remain a Liberal and I'm sure she will make a difference in the party.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:29 p.m.  

  • By Blogger raybanoutlet001, at 1:21 a.m.  

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