Monday, May 01, 2006

The Race for Stornoway: Carolyn Bennett


“If you want something said, ask a man; If you want something done, ask a woman.”
-Margaret Thatcher


Age: 55

Background: There may be a few Doctors in the race, but Carolyn Bennett is the only one who got that title from medical school, graduating from U of T in 1976. Bennett has twenty years as a family physician in Toronto, so one presumes she’s well qualified to diagnose what ails the Liberal Party.

Political History: Bennett ran provincially for the Ontario Liberals in 1995 and it is interesting to note that she supported Gerard Kennedy for provincial Liberal leadership in 1996. In 1997, she ran in St. Paul’s and, as virtually every Liberal candidate in Toronto has done for the past decade, won. Bennett criticized Jean Chretien for not appointing enough females to Cabinet and in 2004 she became 11% of the female representation in Paul Martin’s first Cabinet, as Secretary of State of Public Health. She is currently the opposition critic for social development.

Rejected Campaign Slogan: “Finally! A voice for Toronto Liberals!”

Rejected Campaign Slogan II: “I am not Carolyn Parrish”

Rejected Platform Policy: No compensation for Hep C victims.

Pros: Female. Relatively experienced in politics and the Liberal Party.

Cons: Not a lot of name recognition. Not a great speaker.

In Person: I got a chance to meet Carolyn Bennett at the LPCA convention and we chatted briefly. Much like Ken Dryden, you certainly get the sense that she’s very sincere and genuine, even if it doesn’t translate well to the media. She also seemed to have a good idea of where she wanted to take the Liberal Party and the country.

My Take: As I mentioned above, Carolyn Bennett is a very comparable candidate to Ken Dryden…minus the Stanley Cups. And, at this point, lack of name recognition is really the biggest obstacle for her to overcome. She also has difficulty stringing her thoughts together when taking questions so it will be hard for her to “wow” a lot of delegates over to her side.

That said, when it comes to substance, she can certainly compete with the big boys. She’s adamant about reforming the Liberal Party, and she’s certainly the type of leader who would help to rebuild the party and reach out to the grass roots. She’s also championing a very progressive vision of Liberalism and seems to have a good grasp on most policy issues, especially democratic reform.

Chances: Bennett won’t win, but it’s really important that she stay in this race. She’s an accomplished female candidate with crucial issues she wants to raise and this contest will be a lot better by having her in it as a candidate.

21 Comments:

  • I can't help myself - I hope that she wins. Or Martha.

    By Blogger Lois, at 7:09 PM  

  • I am not sure if I want her to win, but I am really glad she is running and I think her message is very important. Good luck to her.

    By Blogger Aristo, at 9:33 PM  

  • By the way CG, nice new title page.

    By Blogger Aristo, at 9:34 PM  

  • Did the Tories under Mulroney win any TO seats? Just curious.

    By Blogger matt, at 10:02 PM  

  • Yep, they did. In '88 they won:

    St. Paul's (yes, Bennett's riding!)
    Scarborough Centre
    Scarborough East
    Rosedale
    Etobicoke Lakeshore
    Etobicoke Centre
    Don Valley East
    Don Valley North
    Don Valley West

    They won more ridings in the future "416" in the 1984 sweep.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 10:45 PM  

  • She's apparently a very good local MP, though a little vengeful towards former volunteers that left to work for someone else after the sponsorship scandal. Listening to her speak to a large group/the public is painful. Exceptionally painful. Very, very bad vocal mannerisms and not confident or attention getting in front of a crowd.

    Not sure what her message is or will be, her credibility isn't exactly great thanks to Hep C et al.

    By Blogger Hey, at 1:27 AM  

  • Dion scores in Quebec
    http://www.lapresse.ca/article/20060502/CPACTUALITES/605020723/5596/CPACTUALITES

    By Blogger Bass, at 11:58 AM  

  • To begin, I have met Carolyn and she has very refined manners.

    MUCH ADO ABOUT MANNERS

    There was an uproar from bloggers about Ignatieff’s manners at the Copps love-in.

    In Monday’s Toronto Star we have another ill-mannered leadership candidate and his much too eager to impress everyone sidekick:

    “Things got a little political when Malhi, a supporter of Kennedy, gave up his speaking time to let Kennedy speak after introducing him as the next prime minister of Canada.

    Meanwhile, Dryden was left standing quietly besides Kennedy as fellow Liberal MP Judy Sgro could be overhead quipping: "What about Ken?"

    While the politicians continued to speak, Kennedy was soon making the rounds of the square being introduced to people in the crowd by Bains, a supporter.”

    ANOTHER FEARLESS SANDRA PREDICTION:

    CalgaryGrit and TDH join Jason Cherniak and support Stephane Dion before the end of May.

    By Blogger KennedyFacts, at 12:44 PM  

  • Her french is weak at best. No french = no Quebec = no hope. Next.

    By Blogger Calicos, at 12:56 PM  

  • Carolyn Bennett was my MP up until two years ago when I moved out of the riding, and I must say she was not a very good one. Although I have no doubt in person she is very mild mannered, she doesn't keep in touch with people in her riding, and I can't think of one major piece of legislation she sponsored.

    I would say she is in the "second tier" of candidates and may be running more for a future cabinet post than for leader.

    By Blogger Andrew Smith, at 1:07 PM  

  • Well, if you can get around her "two-pack-a-day" voice, and sputtering, stammering manner of speaking, you may have time to listen to her "issue"

    Namely: The Liberals did nothing for child-care during their entire mandate....until forced to by the loss of confidence in their government. Like many Liberals......Bennett didn't realize she had any principles or direction until faced with the possibility of being in opposition.

    In other words....she's just like the other bunch of hopefuls. Oh yeah....and it looks like Hedy Fry is joining the race.

    Larry...meet Curly...meet Moe......etc...etc...etc......

    By Blogger James Halifax, at 1:20 PM  

  • Sandra,

    MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
    It is not up to Mr. Kennedy to decide who speaks at someone else's event. He didn't even know Mr. Dryden would be there.

    Do you even know Mr. Kennedy? He is not "ill-mannered" and one of the nicest people I know.

    Perhaps, you might like to share with everyone how Mr. Dryden inappropriately asked to speak at the Womens' Commission Meeting at the MB Provincial Liberal AGM to the exclusion of all the other candidates at the meeting.

    As for your predictions, too laughable to even comment on. Your postings are turning into a comedy blog.

    By Blogger The Real Kennedy Facts, at 2:52 PM  

  • Essentially, she makes PM sound like a master of oratory and rhetoric, a confident and take charge speaker, with never nding supplies of charisma.

    Plus, with the doctor shortage in Ontario, should we really be encouraging someone so highly skilled to be wasting her time in politics when her constitutents need her medical help? Improve medicine in Toronto, and get her out of Parliament!

    By Blogger Hey, at 2:55 PM  

  • I lived in her riding for 4 years, and have since moved out of the country. Further, I'm not a Liberal.

    However, my experience with her is that she is much a do about nothing. She is very impractical: she once invited all of her constituents to go skating on the rideau(sp?) canal and have hot-chocolate afterwards. I mean how many people in TO have the time to drive 3 hours down to Ottawa to go skating with their MP.

    Next, I strongly suggest everyone read her book on public health-care before they decide to support her. If, by some miracle, she were to win, I think there is more than a little ammunition in it for her detractors.

    I'm not sure what makes her a very good local MP. The only thing she did in the riding, that I saw, was her yearly Canada day picnics. Not exactly what I would call huge community involvement. I think she had more involvement when she was a practicing MD.

    By Blogger Steve, at 4:57 PM  

  • Steve - I wonder what is in her book on public health care. If she is advocating a parallel private system or more private health care than all the better.

    Matt - The Tories up until 1988 were never shut out of Toronto or very rarely while the Tories provincially even under Mike Harris won seats in Toronto in 1999

    Etobicoke-Lakeshore
    Etobicoke Centre
    Etobicoke North
    Don Valley West
    Willowdale
    Scarborough Southwest
    Scarborough Centre
    Scarborough East

    The reason the Tories cannot win seats in Toronto today is they moved too far to the right. Mike Harris may have been as right wing, but up until that point most Tories were more centrists so I think the 2003 election where the Ontario PCs were shut out of Toronto is a more reflection of their attitude towards Harris' policies. Also never mind Harris was a fiscal conservative, not a socon like Harper.

    By Blogger Miles Lunn, at 6:25 PM  

  • I think Carolyn Bennett has disqualified herself now.

    Apparently I'm a criminal because I wasn't transferred directly from the womb to a state-run Liberal-indoctrination institution.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 11:40 AM  

  • Yeah, I was raised by a stay at home Mom too. I'm writing this from a Womens' prision while I munch on popcorn and beer.

    By Blogger Joanne (True Blue), at 1:51 PM  

  • It's all over when they're laughing at you. Bye Carolyn.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 3:31 PM  

  • I don't think she ever had a chance at winning, but her stupid statement makes her chances not only at winning the Liberal leadership but becoming prime-minister more difficult. I don't think she was intending to insult parents, but politics is about perception and if you are perceived in a negative way it will hurt you. Even though reasonable people can disagree on the daycare issue, insulting and name calling on it needs to stop from both sides. Lets debate the merits of both programs instead of name-calling.

    By Blogger Miles Lunn, at 9:43 PM  

  • *yawn*

    By Blogger A. Shah, at 9:50 PM  

  • I live in Carolyn’s riding and I’ve never been represented by a politician who was more accessible. One day in the late 90’s I got a notice that my MP was having a neighbourhood coffee meeting to talk about issues. I was a bit surprised and curious, so I dropped in on it. I discovered I had an MP who was interested in her constituent’s opinions. It wound up being a small group that evening, that had an informal chat, with everyone participating in opinions and questions. Carolyn asked questions and listened. How many politicians do this throughout their riding on a regular basis? I sure hadn’t encountered it before. Every politician I had met until then only talked and talked and talked, and was never interested in listening. She continues to do this, and continues to get my vote at election time. I feel I’ve been represented.

    By Blogger Lucy, at 9:37 PM  

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