Sunday, October 22, 2006

Yet Another Final Liberal Leadership Debate

I’ll confess I had a tough time paying attention to the Liberal leadership debate yesterday. Maybe it was because of the translation (I decided to just listen on CPAC en francais after hearing our translator argue with himself for an hour). Maybe it was leadership fatigue. Maybe the show in Toronto last weekend was too hard to top. But most likely it was because of the ridiculous choice in questions. “Do you support the francophonie?” Well, duh, I wonder. On a day when Quebec delegates voted for a contentious resolution which has divided candidates and could potentially lead us all to a new round of constitutional talks depending on who wins this thing, we were subjected to several debates on Quebec culture. I don’t think topics need to be picked solely to generate fireworks (or else, we’d talk about the Iraq war for two hours) but on a crucial issue like “Quebec as a nation” or the Middle East, I would think delegates would be curious as to where the candidates stand.

So all we really learned today was that Michael Ignatieff’s organizers did a great job packing the room and that the people they packed the room with don’t take very kindly to their man being criticized. So rather than subjecting those who were lucky enough to be doing something fun on Saturday afternoon to a tedious blow by blow recap, here are a few general comments on the frontrunners:


Ignatieff – Came out of this one in better shape than last week, maybe because his opponents were afraid of getting lynched in the parking lot afterwards by the IggyNation if they said anything remotely critical of Michael. The frontrunner didn’t get any fire on Quebec as a nation or on the Middle East so that alone makes it a pretty good day for him.

His most interesting line of the evening was probably “we must choose a new leader who has nothing to do with the errors of the past”.


Rae – Rae’s been good at attacking Ignatieff in these debates but going after him on torture was weak. Like I said back in March, there are lots of things to criticize Ignatieff on, but his position on torture isn’t one of them. At the same time, Ignatieff’s defense that he couldn’t support torture because his mother’s fiancé was killed by torture was just odd. I mean, for starters, if her fiancé hadn’t been killed, there’d be no Michael Ignatieff.

Also loved the Bob Rae common touch when he mentioned in the same speech that he was the Chair of the Royal Conservatory of Music before quoting Moliere.


Kennedy – Gerard’s French seemed fine to me in the parts I listened to online, although I’ll be curious to read the reviews in the local papers. Kennedy was really hitting the party renewal theme which I like and, once again, stayed positive. As much as it pains me to say so, David Herle was right in his commentary – Kennedy should have played up his Afghanistan position a lot more than he did since it certainly would have resonated well with the Quebec delegates.


Dion – It was certainly fair game for Dion to bring up Ignatieff’s former writings in his closing statements but I really do question how well Dion’s “attack everyone” strategy is going to resonate with Liberals who are looking to move past twenty years of infighting. He also should realize that if he says it’s fair to criticize Rae’s economic record and Ignatieff’s academic record, that Dion’s very mixed record as Environment Minister should be fair game as well.

Dion was definitely playing up the “Quebec candidate” aspect in his opening speech and once again vigorously defended the Liberal record.

57 Comments:

  • Here's a comment from Antonio. I think that he is VP POlicy in Quebec.

    http://fuddle-duddle.blogspot.com/

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:01 PM  

  • Iggy's mob.

    The Bushies and Fox News like mob tactics. Iggy didn't silence his mob. He attempted to use his mob.

    And he used his mother as a prop.

    And then he p^%&$& on Pierre Trudeau's constitutional legacy by advocating repeating Mulroney's folly, which led to the near loss of the country in the second referendum.

    Can you imagine Pierre Trudeau resorting to such tactics?

    God help us.

    By Blogger godot10, at 3:05 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Hammering Jow, at 3:22 PM  

  • I wonder where all this criticism of Mr. Dion as Environment Minister is coming from.

    He was in the position 18 months and made a great deal of progress in that short period of time.

    Mr Ignatieff by comparison has accomplished very little except to regularly embarrass himself with his public statements.

    Mr. Rae's record in public service is well documented.

    Mr. Kennedy seems to have accomplished very little. It's not as if he introduced a Learning Commission and implemented 90 plus recommendations as was done in Alberta.

    Here are some things Mr. Dion did in the short 18 months that he was Minister of the Environment.

    Developed the Canada United States Air Quality Agreement Progress Report 2006 that was supposed to be published in June.

    Regulations were developed to reduce sulphur in fuel for rail locomotives, marine vessels, and off-road construction and mining equipment.

    Regulations were developed for bus standards that would require a reduction of 85 percent from current allowable levels of emissions of NOX and 95 percent for particulate matter levels.

    Regulations were underway to amend the rules for Ozone-Depleting Substances including Methyl bromide.

    Comprehensive regulations on Volatile Organic compounds in paints, and consumer products of all kinds were developed.

    His proposed environmental plan has specific targets and demonstrates the leadership that the Auditor General said was lacking prior to 2004.

    It seems to me he compares very favourably to the other leadership candidates in terms of accomplishments.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 3:43 PM  

  • Chack Out Paul Wells.

    He basically says that Mr. Kennedy could serve as Kingmaker for Mr. Ignatieff.

    My comment would be that would be a most unfortunate outcome and we will likely be undertaking another leadership process shortly after the next federal election.

    Paul's perspective on yesterday's debate is well worth reading.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 4:04 PM  

  • godot10,
    It's not the Mulroney idea to bring back Quebec in the constitution that led to the results of the 1995 referendum, it's the intervention of Trudeau that caused the failure of this process that pushed us there.

    By Blogger ecrelin, at 4:15 PM  

  • Down & Out in L A,

    GERARD IS NOT HEADING TO IGGY!

    Paul Wells wrote:

    "Kennedy had better not ask for anything in writing. Ignatieff seems unconvinced of the value of what he writes."

    Iggy is a good man. His team are good people. Iggy is not what the Liberal Party of Canada needs to rebuild and prepare for the next election.

    GERARD IS NOT HEADING TO IGGY!

    MississaugaPeter

    By Blogger Peter, at 4:17 PM  

  • Bart, you can listen to CPAC in French without using the online feed if you have a tv with SAP. you just switch to SAP and bang - French.

    The debate was poorly organized, and had weird questions. Seems to me the Quebec branch of the party is very broken, and militants will need to be brought in to fix the organizations breaucracy, and set it on the right course again.

    By Blogger Liberal Pebbles, at 4:26 PM  

  • I don't frickin' believe it! Harper has CALLED AN ELECTION for during the Liberal Leadership Convention? Is there no end to how low this scumbag will stoop for political advantage!!??

    By Blogger PurpleLiberal, at 4:37 PM  

  • But put yourself in Mr. Kennedy's shoes.

    If he can't win this time and at some point is forced from the ballot, would his interests not be well served to support Mr. Ignatieff?

    Mr. Ignatieff goes on to get hammered in a federal election, quits, and Mr. Kennedy gets a second shot at the leadership.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 4:56 PM  

  • //It's not the Mulroney idea to bring back Quebec in the constitution that led to the results of the 1995 referendum, it's the intervention of Trudeau that caused the failure of this process that pushed us there.//

    Quebecers have always voted with Trudeau. In the two Quebec referendums, in the Charlottetown referendum, and in all those federal elections.

    Constitutions, by nature, are imperfect. The constitutional wounds of the patriation are still too fresh to be reopened. That was Mulroney's folly. That IS Ignatieff's folly and it is a disqualifying folly.

    The Canadian Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court already recognizes Quebec as a "distinct society" or as a "nation".

    As Meech and Charlottetown demonstrated, if you reopen the Constitution on this question, Canada will end up with hundreds of nations, defeating exactly what you are trying to accomplish by inserting the actual words.

    That Quebec is a distinct society and nation is at the unwritten heart of the Canadian constitution as is as interpreted by the Supreme Court.

    Ignatieff is an complete moron for not understanding this. I don't care how many fancy letters he has after his name, or all the neat titles he can put on his curriculem vitae. It is the sovereignist trap they lay for the gullible or those overly ambitious for power, a la Mulroney, Martin, and now Ignatieff.

    He is the anti-Trudeau in every sense of the word.

    By Blogger godot10, at 5:44 PM  

  • Was listening to an interview with Bob Rae on the radio today.

    Bob is the man to watch. He may have a lot of baggage, but few have his expert ability to verbally navigate shark infested waters and interviewers like he has.

    Iggy states the truth about careless tossing of rockets and hangs himself in the process.

    Rae thinks fast and smooth on his feet, framing *heartfelt* answers made of teflon while Iggy answers too nerveously with answers of hemp rope.

    Too bad. Good bye Iggy. Bob will be a disarming but dangerous contender = TG

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 5:47 PM  

  • Same problem exists now as always did, Calgrit: Iggy's statedopposition to torture doesn't extend to questioning its efficacy, nor to whether or not "coercion" counts as torture. Instead, it's simply a personal distaste- an argument that "we are civilized, so we shouldn't torture".

    Anybody who argues that is deliberately leaving his foot in the door for the "this is no time to be civilized" argument, even if he doesn't make it himself.

    Until he moves away from "civility" and comes out in opposition to both "coercion" and torture's efficacy, this will continue to be Iggy's biggest weakness, and Jack's greatest gift.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 5:53 PM  

  • Down and Out,

    The fact remains that the environment record for Canada worsened while Dion was the minister. Dion seems to forget that Canadians and especially Quebecers voted out the Martin government. It is time for change,unity and renewal and Dion cannot credibly deliver this. Furthermore, he is acting like a kid with a temper tantrum lately. It is divisive to the Liberal Party and not prime ministerial behaviour.

    As for your comments on Kennedy not having accomplished much. This is simply not true.

    AN EFFECTIVE CHALLENGER IN OPPOSITION
    Prior to helping elect a Liberal Government in Ontario in 2003, Kennedy was a strong Member of the Official Opposition, serving as Critic for consumer affairs and housing, health, and education. His “roll up your sleeves” style, innovative studies and published critiques help win important gains for consumers, tenants, seniors, patients and students, and helped to stymie the Harris Conservatives.
    Kennedy spent seven years as a member of the Public Accounts Committee and as Chair of the Estimates Committee reviewing all government expenditures.
    In the 1996 provincial Liberal leadership race, Mr. Kennedy came second to now Premier Dalton McGuinty. He has served the Ontario Liberal Party in a variety of capacities:
     Chair of its reform commission, 1997
     Head of the membership renewal project, 1999
     Co-chair of key committees of policy, communications and organization for election readiness, 2003
     Kennedy developed the Excellence for All education platform that has been the first priority for the McGuinty government
     He established the Liberal Education Advisor Program (LEAP) to engage party members in current and future directions in education.
    A RECORD OF RESULTS
    Building on the vision he developed as Education Critic while in Opposition, Kennedy forged a new Education Partnership with Ontario’s school boards, principals , teachers, support workers, parents and students, as well as businesses and not-for profits organizations. As Minister, his goal of building high levels of public confidence and support for public education was built on a foundation of three new “Rs” – Respect. Responsibility. Results.
    As Education Minister, Kennedy has delivered:
     The first ever affordable four-year contracts with teachers
     Significant student performance increases in standardized reading, writing and math tests and in high school graduation rates
     A ban on junk food in elementary school vending machines
     Daily physical activity has been introduced while phys ed has been expanded for all Junior Kindergarten (JK) to grade eight students
     Several province-wide safe schools initiatives have been implemented to prevent school intruders, bullying and violence
     Class sizes have been reduced in the early years of JK to grade three - on track to achieve the cap of 20 students per classroom by 2008
     A formal year of on the job professional development and mentorship has been instituted for new classroom teachers
     Previously lagging french language education has experienced significant gains to now equal or surpass results in the majority language systems on several key measures
     Each Ontario high school has newly designated ‘student success’ teachers to ensure struggling students receive individualized help
     Massive capital renewal for long neglected school buildings is underway
     Projects in development include expanded arts in education, reform of special education and character/citizenship values education
     A Student Performance Bill has been introduced to modernize education in Ontario, raise the school leaving age to 18 and provide innovative programs to deliver a good outcome for all students, whether through work experience with learning, apprenticeship, college or university.

    By Blogger jill, at 5:55 PM  

  • Sorry, that should be "stated opposition"

    Also, since when do Kennedy's delegates have the slightest interest in supporting Ignatieff? They'd bleed like a stuck pig, and Kennedy would look weak. Unless Wells has impeccable sources, this smells of speculation, and a desperate attempt to shore up his claims that Ignatieff will win.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 5:55 PM  

  • Boy, the Quebec Liberal Party has problems.

    Dion is recruited by Chretien to bring intellectual rigor to the federalist side, and Dion successfully takes on Bouchard, Parizeau, and Landry.

    Dion remains loyal to Martin, even though Martin casts him into the dungeon, and returns to save the bacon in Martin's first election, after Jean Lapierre (Paul Martin's idea of an intellectual) screws up.

    And Quebec Liberals have the gall to shout him down when he tries to speak.

    Rae, likeable, though hopelessly incompetent, has always stood for what he thought Quebec wanted...i.e. he has always tried his best to be a friend to Quebec.

    And Quebec Liberals have the nerve to boo him.

    Iggy must apologize for his mob.

    Iggy has Brian Mulroney's constitutional policy, Paul Martin's electoral tactics, and mostly has sympathized with Bush's and Blair's imperial project.

    And on that last item, he doesn't have Harper's excuse of being a provincial rube, as Iggy is a lifelong imperial courtier.

    By Blogger godot10, at 6:23 PM  

  • It's pretty obvious that Iggy is looking for support from everyone behind him - no one doubts that. Of course he'll court Gerard but I doubt any of the top 4 are really ready to worry about who they'll support if they don't win. They're all still focused on winning.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 6:44 PM  

  • ''The Canadian Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court already recognizes Quebec as a "distinct society" or as a "nation".''

    Pourrais-tu m'expliquer cette déclaration, car je n'ai aucune idée de où tu sors celà. Merci d'avance.

    By Blogger ecrelin, at 7:49 PM  

  • The environment did not significantly worsen in the 18 months when Mr. Dion was minister.

    Get real.

    I will independently verify Mr. Kennedy's record. I have some expertise in education.

    It would seem to pale in comparison to the advances made in Alberta under Lyle Oberg.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 7:56 PM  

  • The debate has a hand-grenade which was only partly exploded. Dion touched on it in his final summary. All Liberal delegates should read the article by Ignatieff he was referring to. It is in the April 19, 2002 The Guardian, headed Why Bush Must Send in His Troops - Imposing a Two-State Solution is the Last Chance for Middle East (just google the first few words of the heading).

    This is the warrior prince who wishes to become leader of the Liberals and Prime Minister of Canada?

    Of does Ignatieff no longer stand behind his recent writings ....?

    By Blogger CuriosityCat, at 8:51 PM  

  • //Pourrais-tu m'expliquer cette déclaration, car je n'ai aucune idée de où tu sors celà. Merci d'avance.//

    Something which is self-evident does not necessarily need to be written down, especially post facto.

    Often attempting to write down what is self-evident will fail, because when one enumerates the uniqueness of one group, other groups assert their uniqueness, and demand recognition. See the whole Meech-Charlottetown fiasco.

    "Sexual orientation" was not written into the constitution. The Supreme Court read the unwritten words into the Constitution anyways.

    The distinct society clause is in the Constitution, just not in ink, and because we are in a time of identity politics, to actually put them in ink at this point in time would diminish the unwritten clause (not to mention tear the country apart again.)

    Consider the notion of equality. The Supreme Court of Canada basically has articulated a notion of substantive equality, where equality does not necessarily mean the same treatment. It means that sometimes groups have to be treated differently to achieve equality.

    Iggy is Mulroney II, choosing to use identity politics to seek power (or Slobodan-extra-lite if you will). It is something neither Trudeau nor Levesque would ever do.

    By Blogger godot10, at 8:58 PM  

  • Godot, your last comment is bizzare. Contrary to his principles, Trudeau endorsed "multiculturalism", which is classic identity politics; while your comment regarding Levesque is bizzare, because French Canadian nationalism is inherently exclusive of English Quebec.

    Secondly, I think a lot of people are overrating the extent to which the various camps are divided. Ignatieff, apart from foreign policy, is not particularly conservative, and has a lot of common ground with all of the other camps. Further, he has some qualities that people also see in Kennedy - in that he is a new face. Leadership selection is not exclusively ideological.

    To play the game of realpolitik, it is in Kennedy's interest to side with the weakest potential leader, and wait out for the long term. He can then work on his French while Iggy or Rae (my sense of who the worst candidates are) implode. Most of the other candidates are old geezers who are only in it for one kick at the can. He has tried not to alienate anybody, and played coy in the debates - focusing on non-divisive issues like party renewal. It sounds a lot like he is looking for the finance ministry or something.

    Dion, on the other hand, is combative with good reason. He is trying to move up from being 4th place, and to make himself the clear alternative to Ignatieff. That means pushing down the other alternatives, so that he doesn't die as ballots continue. His strategy is one of differentiation - you may piss off 70% of the party that way, but if you can get 30% on-side, you can survive long enough to face off against Ignatieff.

    Rae is the natural alternative for the any-body but Ignatieff camp, so he is focusing on Iggy, and ignoring the other candidates. In doing so, he is maintaining the media presentation of a two-way race between Rae and Ignatieff (a prospect that surely must make Harper happy).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 9:36 PM  

  • ''Something which is self-evident does not necessarily need to be written down, especially post facto.''

    It may not be the case for you, but it is certainly the case for the big majority of Quebeckers. And I have no problem to recognize the specificity of other group/nation/people like the Acadians and the Firsts nations.
    Je suis cependand d'accord avec toi sur un point cependant, nous ne sommes pas prêt à ouvrir la constitution demain matin, et ce n'est pas ce que Ignatieff propose non plus.
    It is important to be sure that every Premiers of every provinces are on the same page first because failure is not an option, nor statu quo his...

    By Blogger ecrelin, at 9:39 PM  

  • The booing was tacky.

    But so was sandbagging Ignatieff with some trumped up accusation when Ignatieff had no chance to respond during the debate.

    And so was taking one sentence out of a 7000 word article about the ethics of the war on terror in order to suggest Ignatieff supports torture.

    All in all, a thoroughly tacky Saturday afternoon.

    By Blogger Winnipeg Liberal, at 10:04 PM  

  • Tacky? Crass?

    Isn*t this Canadian politics? = TG

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 10:35 PM  

  • Jill

    Stephane Dion is not a Martinite. He was left out of the cabinet when Martin first took over. Read his wikipedia thread for details.

    When he was Intergovernmental Affairs Minister he was the point man on Quebec, preserving unity and openly responding publicly to prominent separatists.

    It took a lot of courage and there were threats against him and his family.

    He deserves credit for handling one of the most difficult portfolios and for showing great leadership which is why I have a lot of respect for him.

    I imagine his competitors trying to achieve what he did and just don't see the same qualities.

    He demonstrated the same qualities when he took over the Environment portfolio.

    He was a quiet but agressive leader in developing new environmental standards and regulations, as I have provided previously.

    I am a Martha delegate but I am looking at the four candidates with the best chances.

    After reviewing past accomplishments, platform details and observing public performance, it seems to me that Mr. Dion would make a more formidable leader. than the others.

    I have looked at the acomplishments that you supplied on Mr. Kennedy but don't see these as monumental achievements. Most provinces have already implemented the educational recommendations that you have noted.

    In terms of academic results, Ontario students continue to perform poorly in comparison to students in Alberta, B.C and Quebec.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 11:05 PM  

  • //It may not be the case for you, but it is certainly the case for the big majority of Quebeckers. And I have no problem to recognize the specificity of other group/nation/people like the Acadians and the Firsts nations.//

    Quebec voted something like 60-40 against Charlottetown which did exactly that, because putting in ink the specificity of others, diminished the already inherent specificity of Quebec.

    Groundhog Day.

    By Blogger godot10, at 11:09 PM  

  • Down and out,

    Dion is the one for you. That is clear.
    For me, he just isn't leadership material. He attacks the other candidates like an angry kid and it is harmful to the Party. We don't need divisive leadership. We need new blood and new leadership, not a reshuffling of the deck.

    Kennedy's record as education minister is strong. I don't think objective observers would agree with your assessment. He was also very effective in opposition against the Harris ministers that are now Harper ministers. This gives him another advantage as Liberal Leader.

    As for Lyle Oberg. He was Learning Minister for 6 years and what is the Conservative education legacy in Alberta? It is run down public schools requiring repairs that now run in the hundreds of millions of dollars, with no funding in site. Schools have been evacuated due to leaking roofs, unsafe conditions and Conservative government neglect. Despite having truckloads of cash, the Alberta Conservative government has not built enough new schools in suburbs of Edmonton and Calgary. Children are being bused to communities far from their own to go to school. Parents are waiting 12-15 years before a school appears in their neighbourhood. Furthermore, the private school industry has been allowed to flourish at an explosive rate, all part of the Conservative plan to improperly fund public education and make private options seem more attractive.

    By Blogger jill, at 11:56 PM  

  • godot10,
    C'est une façon simpliste de voir les résultats de 1992.

    You have to remember that it was only two years after the refusal of Meech by Canada(Manitoba/NFL) and that the nationalists feelings in Quebec were very high. Also, Mulroney was very unpopular.

    Finally, it is 15 years ago!! Everyone under 31 years old (I'm part of that group) did'nt vote on that.

    By Blogger ecrelin, at 12:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 12:24 AM  

  • Jill

    Having served as a school board trustee in Alberta for the last 14 years, all I can say is that your interpretation is simply wrong.

    We have 13 schools in our school division. We have replaced three with brand new ones and have funding for a fourth. Seven of our other schools have received major renovation money within the six years you speak of. (At least $5 Million each)

    That is true of many other school divisions throughout the province.

    Yes there are issues in Calgary, but the population grows by 75,000 every two years. It has been a challenge there because existing schools are in the wrong locations and are under capacity, while schools don't exist in new areas and can't be built fast enough.

    Most communities are doing quite well and the province began catching up with infrastructure spending in 1999.

    More than 90 recommendations from the innovative Learning Commission report were adopted and implemented.

    Alberta and Lyle Oberg compare well against any record in education in Canada for the past 6 years.

    While I am not a big fan of the Klein government. When someone does do a good job, I certainly don't mind saying so.

    There are far too many under-performers in public office so it is well worth while recognizing and defending the good ones.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 12:44 AM  

  • down & out in l a,

    I guess someone in Alberta could overlook the fact that the Ontario Liberals inherited a $5B+ deficit three years ago.

    I'm originally from Calgary/Edmonton and don't overlook Alberta's financial position.

    MississaugaPeter

    By Blogger Peter, at 1:00 AM  

  • Politics is bartering or negotiating by nature.

    Oberg was opposed by the entire cabinet but still found ways to succeed. In some cases, he cleaned up messes created by Ralph Klein himself.

    The challenges are different but they were formidable and should not be underestimated.

    His successor is a buddy of Klein's, has even more funds at his disposal and is incapable of making a decision on anything, so the contrast is striking.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 1:20 AM  

  • Edmonton Public Schools are recognized in the United State as one of the best public school systems in North America, and is being used as a model for the renewal of public schools in many cities in the United States.

    All the charter schools in Edmonton pretty much gave up and joined the public board.

    Kennedy did a good job bringing peace to the Ontario system, but Ontario public school systems are light years behind Edmonton Public schools. Edmonton is where private schools basically go out of business.

    Do a google search on the research by American academics on Edmonton's Public system and learn.

    By Blogger godot10, at 1:56 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Espen, at 2:33 AM  

  • //C'est une façon simpliste de voir les résultats de 1992.//

    Bouchard formed the BQ because he viewed Charlottetown as a watering down of the specificity of Quebec.

    Canada's constitutional state is such that Quebec's specificity is better recognized by NOT attempting to make written what is an unwritten part of the constitution. The Supreme Court recognizes/interprets Quebec as a distinct society.

    It is a paradox that seemingly only the sovereignists understand, because they keep suckering in the over-ambitious (Mulroney, Martin, Ignatieff).

    Our constitution is imperfect. The Soviet Union had a much more perfect constitution.

    Our constitution is necessarily imperfect because we do have irreconciable differences in our Canadian mythologies. The "creation myth" of a sovereignist Quebecers is different than the "creation myth" of third generation Western Canadian immigrant population. Each is valid, because each is seeing a different part of the "elephant", but a lot of people are incapable of seeing the elephant and only see their piece of the elephant. Hence the irreconciable differences.

    By Blogger godot10, at 2:35 AM  

  • "I wonder where all this criticism of Mr. Dion as Environment Minister is coming from."

    Even Scott Feschuk, in his Macleans column a few weeks ago, admitted that the Liberal record on the Environment (i.e. under Dion) was, umm, garbage. (Unfortunately, I no longer have the column for a direct quote.)

    By Blogger Paul, at 10:19 AM  

  • What happened?

    I used to really Ignatieff, but every - single - week my opinion of him sinks lower. His supporters' rude behaviour, and his happiness to go along with it, was gross.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 10:20 AM  

  • As I keep saying Paul, It's unrealistic to tag Dion with that.

    He was Minister for 18 months and made more progress than had been done in the decade prior.

    And, given what was announced last Thursday, more progress than will be achieved under the new Conservative government.

    I also look at his platform on the environment and see a lot more specifics than others are offering.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 10:45 AM  

  • Down and Out:

    I don't think it's unfair to tag Dion with the last 18 months of performance. 18 months is a long time to be minister, particularly in a governemtn that knows it will soon be going to the polls he had every incentive to achieve some concrete results, and didn't.

    And in other fairness news, I don't think it's fair for you to compare Gerard Kennedy's accomplishments in three years starting with a deficit to Alberta's accomplishments in 6 years with it's hoard of black gold. Also to say Ontario students are 'still lagging' ignores that they have been improving - these reults arent' turned around overnight, but they have been turned around.

    G

    By Blogger Gavin Neil, at 12:26 PM  

  • My point is that he worked to identify the problems and develop the regulations and standards to address them.

    What else could you expect in 18 months? He performed the role of government in providing leadership.

    It is policy based and provides direction.

    When I go to the convention in Montreal, I'll be supporting Martha for as long as she is on the ballot.

    In the meantime, I have to assess the other possibilities.

    I know this is a Kennedy sympathetic site but the arguments in his favour so far aren't compelling.

    Rather than present convincing arguments the tactic seems to be to attack the reputation of someone like Mr. Dion who has served the country well.

    Mr. Kennedy's accomplishments in education, to his credit, seem designed to bring Ontario up to the standards in place in Alberta, B.C. and Quebec but one could not describe them as "leading edge".

    My posts in defence of Dr. Oberg were intended simply to correct misinformation that had been posted regarding the conditions in education in Alberta.

    I'm happy that student performance is improving because education should always be student focussed.

    And educational politics should always be about advocacy.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 1:17 PM  

  • down and out: I may be wrong here, but considering what I've read about Mike Harris' education record, the fact that Kennedy was able to do anything at all is near-miraculous.

    As for Alberta, well... when you're swimming in cash, it's not as if you have to make the hard choices.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 2:17 PM  

  • I know that in reality, some may say only the "top 4" have a shot. This may even be true. But there were more than 4 people in the Quebec debate and they should all get coverage. This is not the Conservative Party where we can report what we want. This Liberal convention is about ideas and renewal, not just punditry and number-crunching. All ideas are worthy of reporting.

    From a tactical point of view, it doesn't reflect well on the Kennedy campaign when Calgary Grit ignores the bottom 4. Same goes for Cherniak, Cerberus, etc.

    Kennedy and Dion will need the bottom 4, not just to increase their own numbers but to prevent Iggy's and Rae's from increasing.

    If any of the bottom 4 go to Iggy or Rae, it might just kill the chances of Dion and Kennedy.

    Besides, every knows that Kennedy will drop and back Rae so he can be his Ontario lieutenant. Sad but true.

    By Blogger Concerned YL, at 3:00 PM  

  • In Alberta, the Klein government consistently under budgeted the projected surpluses and used that tool to limit budgeted spending.

    That was the practice for most of the past half dozen years.

    Arguing for funds in Cabinet was not easy among a party principally composed of red neck MLAs.

    It wasn't as if funds were budgeted and allocated to improve education.

    That is why I have a lot of respect for Dr. Oberg.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 3:25 PM  

  • Thank you folks, this is an actually engaging discussion of political actions and merits. Well done.

    But, to bring it down a knotch for one second; let's do a poll:

    If we don't want Ignatieff, then who?

    Anyone-But-Iggy Web Poll


    (Please don't pick Rae or we're doomed!)

    By Blogger petroom, at 4:19 PM  

  • concerned yl,

    Your complaint of the lack of coverage of the bottom 4 candidates is ignored when you make asinine statements like:
    "every knows that Kennedy will drop and back Rae so he can be his Ontario lieutenant."

    If you are as concerned as your name states, you wouldn't make flippant comments.

    Depending on which blog you read today (or any day), Gerard is either going to Iggy, Rae or Dion. I am happy to tell you, what anyone in the know will tell you, is that Gerard is NOT going to any of the above.

    MississaugaPeter

    By Blogger Peter, at 5:03 PM  

  • (Oops, wrong link)

    Anyone-But-Iggy Web Poll

    By Blogger petroom, at 5:07 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 5:16 PM  

  • Strange things happen though.

    Who thought Carolyn Bennett would go to Bob Rae, after attacking him while still running as a candidate?

    So Peter, are you thinking that IF Mr. Kennedy is forced from the ballot at some point, he will simply release his delegates?

    That speaks well of him but not necessarily of his future.

    Sometimes there are benefits for being the kingmaker. (High profile position like deputy leader, obvious successor . . . if things don't go well etc.)

    And sometimes there aren't any benefits, as was the case with David Orchard.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 5:57 PM  

  • Better late than never...and there was that "exciting" discussion on comparative primary and secondary education reform that had to tail off.

    This last "debate"...again the quotes because I'm pretty sure it could be better described as a public speaking exercise (which takes far too long)...did provide some insight into what makes this leadership race relatively interesting.

    The reason that it is so difficult to fathom one front-runner supporting another is because the four (it is tempting to use the term Horsemen here...mainly because what they might mean for the Liberal Party) contenders present such different conceptions of liberalism.

    Rae holds out a version of the Liberal Party long dead...namely that of Laurier, Pearson and Trudeau.

    Dion provides a vision of a return to the Liberal Party of the 1990's...the one that subsequently lost to the Conservatives...whether because of infighting or the lack thereof on the other side of the House.

    Ignatieff would seem to be in line with New Labour...in as much as he can be pinned down to supporting an aggressive foreign policy and linking social programs to future economic prosperity.

    Kennedy remains something of an enigma to me...while he would no doubt claim at least partial ownership of the successes in Ontario, his ideology does not seem to be interchangeable with that of Dalton's. Perhaps he does represent a true...and necessary...generational change...or maybe he holds this position simply because he has yet to make a definative statement on a central issue.

    I stand by what I said here several months ago...we all could have saved a lot of time if we just would have went ahead and crowned Ignatieff...but at least Kennedy has made this process interesting.

    By Blogger Small Town Shyster, at 7:08 PM  

  • down & out in l a,

    Gerard has a lot of respect for all the leadership candidates. Gerard appreciates the positive contribution each of them has made to the Liberal Party in the past, and would hope they would continue on contributing to the Liberal Party in the future.

    Gerard has not made enemies during the leadership campaign, and will will not make enemies on the convention floor.

    Gerard does not do "backroom deals". Never has, never will. Not one of the MPs backing Gerard were promised something in return for his support. Each Gerard supporter is there because they believe in him and what he believes in, not because they have been promised something. Gerard is the lobbyist's worst nightmare (and the reason so few endorse him).

    I expect Gerard to be on the final ballot. However, if the unlikely event occurred that he was not, I would not be surprised to see Gerard release his delegates rather than back a candidate who does not become leader. This would allow Gerard to work with whoever received 50% of the vote on the final ballot.

    MississaugaPeter

    By Blogger Peter, at 8:33 PM  

  • we all could have saved a lot of time if we just would have went ahead and crowned Ignatieff

    Hmm. Interesting. If it does come to that end, you'll certainly be right -- it's turned into a bitter and divisive fight.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 8:56 PM  

  • You know, the inability of the Liberal Party to organize important, relevant questions for their big Final Debate is a sad comment on what they think their party has to offer.

    Probably already occurred to all you guys before, I guess. But it's interesting to stand back and look at -- don't the organizers of these things believe they have valuable, vital ideas on pressing issues?

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 10:37 PM  

  • Its all well and good to say that we should delve more deeply into what Iggy is really saying, but the reality is that voters look at the headlines and Harper is going to crusify Iggy with his own words. I also do not appreciate this aggressive approach Iggy's camp is now taking. This is once again going to divide the party, so Iggy's people better tone it down.

    By Blogger nacho libre, at 10:48 PM  

  • On Gerard Kennedy. "I’ll be curious to read the reviews in the local papers."

    Not good. Chantal Hébert (Le Devoir) and Lisiane Gagnon (La Presse) complained about Kennedy's lack of French. Hébert wondered why he was still popular outside Quebec. Quotes and links on my blog.

    By Blogger Altavistagoogle, at 3:00 AM  

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