Thursday, August 17, 2006


I think I've made it pretty clear in the past that I really dislike David Orchard. He's socially conservative. He's against gun control. He advocates that we more than triple our military spending. He's got some very odd foreign policy positions. Most of all, the virulent anti-free trade and anti-Americanism that he and his supporters display grates on me a lot (mainly because I find the Liberal Party far too prone to anti-Americanism in the first place).

I've always felt that one of the strengths of the Liberal Party was that it's a big tent party. I think it's great that over the past few years, people like Keith Martin, Scott Brison, and Bob Rae have decided to join that party. I think it's great that people like Marc Garneau and Michael Ignatieff chose to run for the Liberals. However, I think there is such a thing as subtraction by addition. Quite frankly, Buzz Hargrove's endorsement didn't do the Liberals any favours last election. And I think the party is better off without Pat O'Brien or David Kilgour, than it was with them.

This is my roundabout way of saying that I've never been very happy about David Orchard being a Liberal. And I wasn't happy to see him signing up his kool aid drinkers to Liberal memberships before July 4th.

So this brings us to Orchard's endorsement. As others have pointed out, a candidate's supporters do not necessarily reflect the views of the candidate. And every Liberal (and non-Liberal for that matter) is free to endorse whomever they want. If Carolyn Parrish decided to endorse Michael Ignatieff tomorrow, you can't really hold that against Michael.

But, at the same time, I don't think Michael Ignatieff would "welcome" her endorsement. And I don't think we'd see a quote from Michael like:

"Carolyn will play a very important role in the campaign. We didn't discuss yet which role it will take, but I'm very pleased she's coming to the team,"

Orchard's supporters are loyal and will certainly follow him to Dion. So that will mean a few extra hundred votes in Western rural ridings. But the real question is what the cost will be to Dion? Orchard demanded no less than a signed written agreement the last time he supported another candidate. There were specific policy demands. While there may be no written deal this time, I think it's naive to expect that David Orchard doesn't expect something in return. And I think this will likely leave a lot of people uneasy. As an example, here's an e-mail about Orchard I received from a well respected individual:

"Fuck, Orchard is an appalling pickup for Dion. Has Dion stopped supporting trade, or has Orchard stopped opposing it? Either way, somebody isn't looking like a man of conviction. My mild preference in this race is Dion; after this week I'd be likelier to drop him for Rae."

Obviously, Dion has done a cost-benefit analysis and feels that Orchard's support will do more good than harm. Every campaign which hopes to win is going to have to cut a deal they don't want to between now and the final ballot in Montreal. And, to be perfectly honest, as much as I dislike Orchard, I can't say I really blame Dion for this. Despite the glowing media reviews, he's desperate for first ballot support and Orchard will deliver a few delegates in Saskatchewan. But I think there is a downside to this for Dion and if I were supporting him, I certainly wouldn't sell this as anything other than what it is - a necessary evil.


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    By Blogger Peter, at 2:07 p.m.  

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    By Blogger Peter, at 2:15 p.m.  

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    By Blogger Peter, at 2:17 p.m.  

  • I have to say that if I am fortunate enough to be a delegate at the December convention, and if unfortunately my choice is not on the final ballot, I now know who will NOT be my second choice.

    The Kinsella spin will be interesting. I hope he does not spin and calls a spade a spade. The photos have not been altered.


    By Blogger Peter, at 2:18 p.m.  

  • Good analysis, CG. Orchard is so anti-free trade and anti-American that people easily forget that there was indeed a good fit on many issues for him in the Conservative Party.

    That being said, it's not clear to me just how many delegates he can actually produce. Leadership campaigns get access to a lot more membership forms at a time (which must be returned before more can be issued) and individuals only get a handful (which must be returned before more can be issued). Given that he would have no support in the existing membership to bring to Dion, it is not clear to me that his admittedly large contingent of supporters translates into very many members. And only members vote. So I'd be surprised if his endorsement will result in many delegates frankly.

    So if there are few delegates, will it be worth the odd coupling and the negatives for Dion?

    Well, Orchard will bring organizers and that is key for both getting the vote out and for fundraising, the latter being the big issue I think for Dion.

    Plus it gives Dion some good news (sort of) today and a sense (if only a sense) of a bit of a building of momentum. Momentum is going to be key for any winner.

    The baggage that comes with Orchard is high but not overwhelming so, like you said, maybe a necessary evil for Dion.

    But I really really hope Dion (or any other candidate later on) haven't done any conservative-style dealmaking for leadership.


    By Blogger Cerberus, at 2:46 p.m.  

  • You're "e-mailer" is silly if he would go to Rae.

    Fact is Rae lobbied Orchard and failed to get him onside. So did other candidates. Rae still hopes to earn Orchards support on the convention floor. So do other candidates.

    That is the whole point of this race.

    Dion would have been a moron to say no to a perfectly good endorsement that came with about 25x the delegates as Bevilaqua.

    By Blogger Hammering Jow, at 2:58 p.m.  

  • Yeah, what could Dion do.
    If Orchard came and said I want to support you, you can't really turn him away.
    But if other teams lobbied Orchard that means that Dion did too.
    What did Dion say to get him on side.
    Lobbying means questions were asked and at the mimimum assurences were given.
    My alternate candidate to support is now firmly Ken Dryden.
    Dion will have a tough time getting me to ever consider him now.
    I still like him a lot but... what was said? Why is Orchard there?

    By the way I heard that 5 liberals went to meet with Bob Rae at Higherground in Calgary yesterday at noon. Open event everyone invited. 5 showed up. 200 showed for Iggy last time he had an open event.
    Yep Rae is gaining...
    (can anyone confirm those numbers the person who told me five may have had an axe to grind)

    By Blogger Aristo, at 3:09 p.m.  

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    By Blogger Peter, at 3:26 p.m.  

  • Ted's (Cerberus) link

    reveals that Dion went to Orchard (in Saskatoon) for the endorsement.

    Dion would have been wiser trying to pick up an endorsement from one of the many Liberal MPs who have yet to declare their preferred choice.

    Other than Jason Cherniak, I wonder who else in the Dion camp feels this was a spectacular endorsement?


    By Blogger Peter, at 3:27 p.m.  

  • Obviously Dion needed Orchard's supporters but he should have gone about it quietly. A press conference might not have been the best plan.

    The leader-post today says that Orchard is considering running as a Liberal next time around. I can't wait for that.

    By Blogger Zac, at 3:37 p.m.  

  • This agreement is centred on the fact that both agree on the importance of environmental and sustainable-economy issues.

    Obviously the two don't agree on a number of other issues, such as NAFTA, gun control, same-sex marriage, Kosovo, etc. I don't think that any of the leadership candidates agree with Orchard on those issues.

    Imputing any of Orchard's views to Dion based on his endorsement is just spin, just like it is illogical to impute Paul Szabo's views on same-sex marriage and stem-cell research to Ignatieff, or Werner Patels views to Kennedy.

    This is just one environmentalist endorsing another.

    By Blogger robedger, at 3:50 p.m.  

  • What a nightmare it was when we had to deal with this fake farmer.

    Oh well, he's YOUR problem now. But I am sad that Dion considers this a coup.

    By Blogger Joan Tintor, at 5:03 p.m.  

  • I think the real question is whether Dion is going to merge the Liberals and the Conservatives into one big "Libervative Party of Canada".

    By Blogger LeoPetr, at 5:03 p.m.  

  • There is nothing wrong with David Orchard being a Liberal. There are several sitting MP's with more right wing views than he has. Rural organic farmers are a little quirky. So what, get over it. I don't share a lot of his views, but I can tell you he is a nice man who is polite and pleasant to talk with. He also isn't full of himself and was respectful to female speakers at the King Edward Accord, which more than I can say for a lot of Liberal men. We need a rural and western perspective in the Liberal Party and quite frankly, the fact that he was never Reform and left the Conservatives when they joined the Reform means he's really no more socially Conservative than lets say Steckle or Comuzzi, or Chamberlain, and less socially conservative than say Wapple or Telegdi etc. If you think he shouldn't be a Liberal, then you might as well go after about 20 sitting Liberal MP's.

    By Blogger s.b., at 5:53 p.m.  

  • Ha ha leoptr -- nice one!

    If you think he shouldn't be a Liberal, then you might as well go after about 20 sitting Liberal MP's.

    Too true, too true. The Liberals and the Conservatives are pretty much tied for assholes.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 7:04 p.m.  

  • Look at SB talking sense.

    By Blogger Peter Loewen, at 8:06 p.m.  

  • CG -

    if you can orchestrate Jean Lapierre coming on board for Stephane, I think we have a winner!

    Orchard should give Mel Hurtig a call, I say.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 8:36 p.m.  

  • sb; Yeah, there are a few Liberal MPs who I wouldn't mind seeing step down either.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:10 p.m.  

  • You are way off base here, CG. Orchard has lived a David vs. Goliath like political career. He is right on with NAFTA - Canada needs to pull out now! And anybody who says Orchard is "anti-trade" is, I'm sorry, but really stupid. Just because most Canadians don't want extreme free trade agreements (most voted for anti-FT parties in 1988, and elected a majority government in 1993 that promised to review it) doesn't mean they don't want trade. If we pull out of NAFTA we just go back to pre-1988 trading rules (the GAT, now WTO).

    David Orchard is a very symbolic pick up for Dion. He is lucky to have him.

    Thomas @

    By Blogger Thomas, at 10:20 p.m.  

  • When Orchard ran for PC leadership last time, I signed up to the party and recruited some friends and family. I've only ever voted dipper both federally and provincially but it was BC shortly after Clark and I was looking at other options. I didnt know too much about him, liked his views on agriculture and the environment and yeah, you know it now it now seems to be the boogeyman in Trudeau's party but I liked his economic nationalism. He is sometimes shrill when it comes to the US, I couldnt make it through his book and I love history, but he isnt just shrill like Parrish or Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette, he actually makes some good points in my opinion. In any case I agree with him that Chapter 11 of NAFTA should be renegotitated, I'd be surprised if a properly worded poll didn't find most Canadians agreeing as well.

    I've heard the charges of social conservatism a lot now online but I've yet to see any actual quotes or heard him say anthing remotely socially conservative. If anyone can provide any sources I would apreciate it.

    As for foreign policy, I wasn't protesting the bombing of Kosovo but in hindsight I've seen a pretty strong case made for how the rationale used for that war "just but illegal" laid the groundwork for the Iraq war. It set a bad fucking precedent for international law and the media has completely ignored this aspect of the conflict and it is still apparently taboo to take that position.

    That said though, I'm not following Orchard anywhere, I was disappointed that he backed Martin in the last election and I've already seen my support for him advance McKay's career so I'm not a big fan of his judgement. Going for Dion though is the right move, he is the best candidate (Dryden and Kennedy would be my next two picks) and it also has a nice sense of history to it, the radical prairie farmer and the Quebecois intellectual united by their strong federalist sentiment. I'm also glad that Dion took a risk, he has increasingly impressed me more than any other candidate. I know there are more than a few people who although might not be following Orchard's every command (still probably just koolaid drinking zombies though) but are curious about how the Liberals are going to treat him. Its encouraging that the party's best leadership candidate has stepped forward.

    By Blogger Day's Nightmare, at 11:32 p.m.  

  • thomas; I tend to think pulling out of NAFTA right now would be just about the worst economic decision any government could make.

    Obviously it isn't a perfect deal, but when Canada lives on exports more so than any other country in the world, free trade is a logical thing to have. And when 86% of our trade is with the US, it makes sense to have a trade deal with the US.

    And it's not even so much the NAFTA as the anti-americanism shown by a lot of his supporters. Whenever I see them (more, now than before, because he's a Liberal), they have various props, usually involving US flags, which really are just silly.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:49 p.m.  

  • It's interesting to see the distaste so many of you are showing towards David Orchard.

    He's a farmer...from the West? My Lord...the impertinence of this peasant, to believe himself worthy to mingle among the nouveau riche lawyers from Toronto and Montreal who, naturally, own the party.

    He wants NAFTA revisited? For shame! It's working quite well: look how easily the softwood lumber dispute was resolved under its aegis. NAFTA is also ridding us of those pesky corporate head offices we used to have far too many of, while making sure that crucial research and development occurs in the States, where it belongs.

    Doesn't Orchard realise that this party is controlled by "Mulroney Liberals", who are perfectly happy with Lyin' Brian's most limp-wristed capitulation to U.S. industry? Sheesh.

    As for his "anti-Americanism"'s all too frightfully true. He simply cannot stop insisting that we needn't have our troops deployed as mercenaries in Bush/Cheney enterprises and needn't have virually every one of our domestic and foreign policy options filtered through American priorities, objectives and values. I mean, what is this guy on? He sounds far too much like that Pierre Trudeau clown for my taste.

    Someone needs to tell Orchard to start conducting himself with more dignity. After all..he has joined the party of Hedy Fry. He's in the big leagues now.

    By Blogger Chris, at 11:51 p.m.  

  • Wow, Day's Nightmare - I really appreciate your post. I've had zero opinion pretty much on the whole thing, but you may just have swung me. Terrific typing, that. Thanks.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 12:37 a.m.  

  • As a Dion supporter I am okay with his endorsement if it is strictly on environment and national unity, but if he asks for any demands in return for support from Dion, I will yank my support.

    Anyways I think he is a traditional conservative in the sense of John Diefenbaker who like David Orchard was socially conservative, but quite anti-free trade and anti-American, while very pro-British (Orchard less so, although a staunch supporter of the monarchy).

    I too find the anti-Americanism in the Liberals sometimes excessive. I think we need to find a balance between maintaining good relations, but at the same time keeping our independence. I find the Tories on the other hand we too pro-American. I do support free trade, but I oppose any deeper integration. A European Union style organization just won't work between two countries of such unequal size. It only works in Europe since there are 25 countries, some small, some big, but no one country dominates the EU.

    By Blogger Miles Lunn, at 10:51 a.m.  

  • I wonder if Trudeau would be welcome in the Liberal Party of today? Doubtful, if Ignatieff is considered the "new Trudeau" by the rank and file Liberals, as he appears to be by the execs. Plainly said, Ignatieff is an apologist for American excess.

    Remember, the Liberals have been for (1911) and against (1988) free trade. Why the vehemence directed against someone who takes an historical Liberal position? Like the reaction of the Tories to Orchard, it must be something else.

    In fact, its very akin to the eastern reaction to Diefenbaker -- another prairie outsider.

    By Blogger Simon Pole, at 7:43 p.m.  

  • I don't understand why there are so many people who think that Dion will change his mind on policy issues to become more like Orchard. Yes, people cite the last PC leadership race and the infamous napkin, but let's examine what happened there: Orchard prioritized that his greatest concern was the continued independent existence of the PC Party and he gave his support to the man that he thought was the most likely to avoid a merger with the CRCAP (initially known as the CCRAP).

    Similarly, in the current situation, Orchard has seemingly prioritized: (a) environmental sustainability, (b) national unity, or (c) both a and b. While Orchard is somewhat of an outsider in the LPC, he is an environmentalist. So is Dion. This isn't rocket science people...

    By Blogger Scarberian, at 8:36 p.m.  

  • Oh Simon Pole, you wish it was as easy as, "He's a Western outsider"...

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 3:55 p.m.  

  • I would like to make a few comments on the Liberal Leadership Contest now underway.

    I think Dion is the man to lead Canada as Prime Minister. And I say that because he is clearly focused upon the priorities of Canadians.

    He most certainly and clearly understands the "dynamic" nature of Canadian Confederation and that we are most certainly different from a "static" and "indesolvable union". And his "clarity bill" was a civilized response to those in Quebec that harbour divorce in their hearts.

    The Liberals need a general housecleaning given the events of the past, but I would not exaggerate the importance of the "scandal". As scandals go, Alberta Tories are so far ahead of the Saudis, that everything else pales in comparison.

    Let me also say that I do not "trust" Ignatieff. He is an "American" by training and temperment, that while he is polished, he certainly slipped and fell in Toronto with his ill advised "Little Russians" comments in relation to Ukrainians in that city.

    He has Trudeau's arrogance, but he lacks the depth to bring it off.

    As for Bob Rae, its his personal track record as Premier of Ontario that is his Achilles Heel. I do not regard Rae as a "Liberal", he is and remains a "socialist" in a doctrinare sense. And I certainly do not "trust" Rae's "internationalism" as far as I can throw him. Bob has other "hidden agendas". Like Harper.

    Dion is not a street-fighter, and that is a most welcome quality in a leader from Quebec from a Western Canadian perspective. He knows his way around environmental issues, and that will be front and centre in future confrontations with Alberta, where I most certainly will be on his side against corrupt Alberta "neocon" Conservatives that take over Alberta Inc. from Ralph Klein's minions.

    So I like Prime Minister Dion, and he will be Prime Minister in a one to one showdown against Harper. Of the entire field of leadership Candidates, its Dion that has the potential to win an election. Winning matters for Liberals.

    Now to the matter of David Orchard. As others have commented here, I see him as another John Diefenbaker, and if the Progressive Conservatives had not blown their brains out with the "neocons", they could win landslides as they did with Diefenbaker and as they will fail to do with Harper.

    Canadians "trust" both Dion and Orchard. They utterly distrust leaders with "hidden agendas" and "secret side deals". Neither Dion nor Orchard would sell out the country.

    As for "trade", I think NAFTA is a failure. First and formost it failed to solve a key US Mexico border problem and only made the illegal immigration problem worse. You cannot have "trade" without "laws" and you cannot have "laws" without "sovereign governments". Both Dion and Orchard understand that.

    More importantly both Dion and Orchards UNDERSTAND historic Canadian political patterns as built up over the years in the Liberal and the Progressive Conservative Parties.

    For the Liberals, the key problem is to regain their balance in Quebec after a Separatist/Neocon onslaught that began with Lyin Brian Mulroney. For the Progressive Conservatives, the key problem is to marginalize the "neocons" and regain control over their own party. While MacKay is a traditional Tory, he could not stickhandle his way around conniving "neocons".

    I also think that the Conservatives are going to relearn the political lessons that John Diefenbaker applied when he took over George Drew's "conservatives" and rechristened the party as the "progressive conservatives" and then went on to win a landslide. No one at the time thought that Diefenbaker was a serious contender.

    I want to see a return to equilibrium in Canadian Politics and I want to see the Bloc, the Reform aka "neocon" Harpercons flushed down the sewer of history.

    As for the US, if we reject NAFTA and return to sectorized and negotiated trade, they will get used to it for the simple reason that their Achilles Heel is energy. We supply most of it, followed by Mexico, and when you have whores in Washington as we do today with the Bush Administration, then we need to play hardball with them, and their corporations that have taken up residence in Canada.

    A Dion-Orchard matchup would give Canadians a wonderful opportunity to regain their political balance, and to flush a lot of political hype and stupidity down the toilet, both in the Bloc and in Harpercon Land.

    Incidently, I agree with Orchard on expanding the Armed Forces, and I agree with his perspective that it be used to beef up our Foreign Policy posture. In my ideal world, the Armed Forces should be expanded to around 120,000 personnel to bring us into line with other NATO troop strength levels.

    On last point. Harper and Ignatieff are the spear carriers for American "values" that are incompatible with Canadian "values" that have served us so well since Confederation. Rejecting these American "values" is not "anti-American", rather its that we embrace our own historically proven values. The bedrock is "peace, order and good Government", as laid out in the Constitution.

    Remember that it could very easily happen. If Dion is chosen leader, and he goes on to win the election, as he is likely to do, then Harper is done like a turkey dinner. When that happens, its entirely conceivable that Orchard could bring with him a sea change in the "Tory Party" which would bring it back into balance with its Diefenbaker sucesses.

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 1:19 a.m.  

  • Ah, Joe Green how's that tinfoil hat fitting you?

    By Blogger Chris, at 5:12 p.m.  

  • Joan Tintor writes "What a nightmare it was when we had to deal with this fake farmer."

    What can you possibly mean with Orchard being "a fake farmer?" Please explain yourself.

    By Blogger Marjaleena Repo, at 1:25 a.m.  

  • By Blogger Unknown, at 9:51 p.m.  

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