Monday, July 17, 2006

Catching Up

A few tid-bits from here and there..

-Stephen Taylor has an interview up with Paul Wells on his site. I must say, I'm on tenterhooks in anticipation of Paul's book which will also chronicle Martin and Harper taking over their own parties. Wells also talks about what he perceives to be a very strong Ignatieff-Rae feud.

-There's a fun recap up on the OC from Gerard Kennedy's Saskatchewan Youth co-chair of the annual Western Young Liberal camp. Scroll down to the end for a delicious picture of Scott Brison lifting up Hedy Fry.

-Buried in the "Tories sense coming of Harper led majority" in the Liberal-biased Globe & Mail, is the news that the CPC will be opening up nominations in all 308 ridings. Opening up backbench MPs to a challenge makes sense and might help flush out a few guys like Rob Anders who are certain to be challenged. It will be very interesting to see if any Cabinet Minister are challenged, since it could force them to spend more time on their nomination meetings than they'd like to.

-Bob Rae is talking about the Liberals forcing a fall election on the Softwood Lumber Deal. To me, this is a bad idea - mainly because the Liberals would lose. The Softwood Lumber deal may be a bad deal, but it's certainly not bad enough for a party-less leader to win an election over nine months after the last election.

-I'm sure everyone has taken a look at Belinda's suggestions for Democratic Reform. I guess we now know why the Liberal Caucus Paul Martin felt the need to make her his fifth Minister of Democratic Reform when she crossed the floor. Regardless of what she said, it's nice to see people suggesting ways to reform the Liberal Party at a time when the party certainly needs to be reformed.

There are some good ideas in there like uniform membership rules and the end of out of riding memberships. There are some bad ideas in there like 1$ memberships and a one-member-one-vote convention. And then, there are some head scratching ideas in there like shares in the Liberal Party and having caucus elect Cabinet Ministers. And I don't really feel the need to go into why having Caucus elect Cabinet Ministers is a bad idea, since it should be fairly self-evident.


  • There's more than just that news in nominations. The former Emerson riding has had its nomination meeting called, and it makes the national Liberal party web site as news.

    So evidently, we don't need to wait for a new leader to appoint new election readiness chairs and write new rules in order to be able to actually hold nomination meetings in the ridings that want to, right? Even in un-held Alberta ridings, right? Right?

    Here's hoping. If we can't pick our own Liberal candidates, maybe we should consider switching parties and picking a better conservative. ;)

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 12:46 AM  

  • Good on Rae. Of course, he can advocate an election because it won't happen, but if the Liberals are going to oppose then oppose!

    By Blogger matt, at 12:52 AM  

  • man you are on FIRE lately with these posts!!

    It's like you know what is being said inside our brains! haha

    keep up the great work here lately these posts just keep getting better and better.

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 8:36 AM  

  • CG:

    Just a quick comment on the softwood lumber deal. First, let me say that I agree with you 100% -- the deal is bad but this is not the issue to bring the government down over.

    What bothers me is the way Prime Minister Harper, knowing that the Liberal Party is in no position to have an election, seems to be using the threat of a non-confidence vote to push through his initiatives. He calls the vote on the softwood lumber deal a confidence matter when it is not. He did the same thing with respect to Kyoto and climate change. At what point do you call his bluff?

    By Blogger Devin, at 2:14 PM  

  • Devin,

    you call it when you're good and ready. You let things fly now, then when he is far too confident and momentum is on your side, that's when you call his bluff.

    Also, by showing party unity you undermine him. He wants to divide the party, so the leadership of the liberal caucus needs to get together and devise a unity strategy.

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 2:32 PM  

  • What he wants is to get Liberals to vote with him so he can turn to them and say: "What are you complaining about? You voted with us on Afghanistan, the budget, softwood lumber. Obviously we are doing a good job."

    By Blogger Greg, at 2:41 PM  

  • On the softwood as confidence issue, anyone remember a little promise made by Harper that only financial matters were going to be considered matters of confidence?

    Yet another flip flop on a principle.


    By Blogger Cerberus, at 3:30 PM  

  • I think Harper said that softwood would be a confidence motion because it involves taxation.

    By Blogger Justin Tetreault, at 5:08 PM  

  • It's hardly a clear cut confidence issue. If it is voted down he could always vote for an immediate clear confidence vote, there's precedent there. He's playing political chicken.

    By Blogger A BCer in Toronto, at 5:13 PM  

  • *That's always CALL for an imediate confidence vote.

    By Blogger A BCer in Toronto, at 5:25 PM  

  • If it is voted down he could always CALL (edit) for an immediate clear confidence vote

    Like Martin did? I always thought immediate meant something less than a week. Still, I guess Harper could use that time to buy, sorry, I mean get lucky, (oops, bad analogy), anyway, you know what I mean.

    By Blogger The Rat, at 5:50 PM  

  • The Libs can just abstain on the softwood vote, like Harper did on the 2005 budget.

    They can say "we don't like this deal, but Canadians don't want a Haloween election so we're abstaining".

    That would ensure Harper's government survives.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 5:58 PM  

  • CG:

    Never thought of it. I like it.

    By Blogger Devin, at 6:43 PM  

  • wow would the grits look bad on that. muff the budget, divided on afghanistan, divided on israel, divided on softwood, and too chicken to vote on softwood.

    By Blogger matt, at 7:43 PM  

  • wow would the grits look bad on that. muff the budget, divided on afghanistan, divided on israel, divided on softwood, and too chicken to vote on softwood.

    What a bunch of partisan claptrap! The Conservatives abstained from Martin's first budget (to prevent the government from falling) only to change their mind when their partisan interests aligned with voting against it.

    As for being divided... I think "division" in these cases shows that the LPC is a political party that is a genuine vehicle for debate rather than a group of ideological "yes" men (and a few women) who parrot the party line right or wrong.

    Some of you really want it both ways.

    By Blogger Kyle Carruthers, at 8:02 PM  

  • Kyle:

    Amen... Partisan claptrap seems to be the name of the game these days.

    By Blogger Devin, at 9:15 PM  

  • Kyle: I'm not that partisan. I have my preference, obviously, but take a deep breath and have another look at what I wrote. I focused on the optics of those five things taken together, and I stand by that. Maybe the public *should* perceive things differently; I just don't think they will, and think the Liberal Party ought to be cognizant of that.

    In passing, I agree with what you just said: the Liberal Party's current process is a great vehicle for debate, which is good for civil society and by extension the country. But that's not what the general public is looking for during the 10 minutes of politics Kevin/Lloyd bring them every other night, and abstaining from a vote which the Tories, in that case, would trumpet as a confidence measure, would look very bad. The party can't just take the year off from being the opposition to conduct its leadership race and expect to be taken seriously. And, for that matter, there is still a certain measure of public trust that resposes with Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. Graham really ought to have firm positions, and non-leadership MPs ought to be forthright in their support for it, notwithstanding the vicissitudes of the various campaigns.

    As a final aside, I didn't like the Tory abstention either. I don't know what I would have had them, or the Liberals do, other than stage-manage absences, which amounts to the same thing. I also think it's a little soon to trumpet the Liberal party as a paragon of debate, devoid of yes-men, given the what we say during the Chretien/Martin years.

    By Blogger matt, at 1:37 AM  

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