Saturday, December 02, 2006

C'est Fini

This one comes to you live from Stephen Taylor's laptop...round 3 is over and it looks like Stephane Dion is heading to victory. After Gerard dropped out, I put on a green scarf and followed Kennedy to the man who has been my number two choice from start to finish.

This whole journey began back in January when I looked around at the 50 or 60 candidates in the field. Gerard caught my eye for reasons which long time readers obviously know by now. And while I'll admit I was crushed earlier today, there's a lot to be happy about. Gerard went down fighting for his vision of Canada and gave the speech of his life on Friday night. I don't think I've ever been prouder of a candidate I've supported in my life. Like Andrew Coyne said in the Post this morning, Gerard had the right message for where the party needs to go and I hope that Dion listens to the advice Gerard has to offer. It also looks like Gerard was the kingmaker at the convention and may have been the only leadership candidate to deliver his vote to the man he endorsed. His future looks bright, to put it mildly.

I'll have more thoughts later but, while I'm obviously a little choked, this has been a great convention and I truly think it has brought the party together. There were some great candidates in the race and the party's future looks bright. Bring it on Steve!

52 Comments:

  • In my view (as I've commented in the previous post), I think Dryden was the bigger kingmaker. His move forced Kennedy to make a move, which forced Rae off the final ballot, which guaranteed Dion's winning of the race.

    While I don't think Dryden capable of making such a machiavelan move, I wonder if he knew his move to Rae would force Kennedy to support Dion early and in turn cause Rae to fall on the 3rd ballot. Is Dryden the type of person smart/conniving enough to support someone he wants to actually be removed from the ballot. Probably not but if so, that would be truly impressive.

    By Blogger Jasen, at 3:26 PM  

  • I disagree that Dryden was the Kingmaker, Dion would not be where he is without Kennedy, bar none. What I wanna say though is that I'm a liberal outsider. A voter, but not a party member. I've been very impressed by Calgary Grit and his posts. I saw you on CTV when Kennedy went to Dion, good job. About the Liberal party, though, hopefully Dion wins. Even though people knock Dion for what he can do in PQ, I look forward to him debating Duceppe and doing better than Harper, Martin, or Chretien. Chretien sold in Ontario and so can Dion. In this case because Dion has the right issues whereas Chretien had the charisma. I hope Kennedy and Hall Findlay have a strong place in the Liberal party because it's no surprise that these two picked the one who should win. This can be seen as a victory over the establishment. That speaks to what the members of the party think, and the Liberals would be wrong to ignore the sentiment of the grassroots, especially since they got such a stron message from PQ last time out. Dion must take this and build on it. I look forward to purchasing my membership if Dion wins. Good job Libs.

    By Blogger m5slib, at 3:35 PM  

  • A decade from now, when we have our next competitive federal election, Liberals will look back at this day and curse both Kennedy and Dion.

    Goodbye Fortress Toronto, Goodbye Quebec, Goodbye Liberal governments.

    By Blogger 3ML, at 3:41 PM  

  • Goodbye party functionaries who lined up behind Iggy and Rae to save their butts.

    Gain by ballot with percentage of gain among all three.

    When the also-runs left the 2nd ballot changes were widely distributed:

    Dion +118 (32%)
    Iggy +69 (19%)
    Rae +155 (42%)

    When Kennedy and Dryden left the Kennedy vote went as hard to Dion as one could imagine:

    Dion +808 (66%)
    Iggy +179 (14%)
    Rae +243 (20%)

    By Blogger anonymous, at 3:56 PM  

  • Well is the kingmaker the first domino who falls and topples the others, or the finger who pushes the first domino... Kennedy certainly had a central part to play in Dion's victory but so did Dryden in my mind.

    By Blogger Jasen, at 3:58 PM  

  • Frankly, I disagree. I don't think the future looks bright at all. I am putting the finishing touches on a long column I have been writing in preparation for the outcome of the leadership vote, and it'll be on my site as soon as the results are in.

    Read it and you'll see what I mean about party unity, future electoral prospects, etc.

    Cheers,
    Werner

    By Blogger Werner Patels, at 4:02 PM  

  • Division is when half of the elites go one way and the other half the other.

    Unity without renewal is when they all go behind one.

    Unity with renewal is when none of them are behind the winner.

    Dion winning with the outsiders (GK and DFH) is like Klein over Betkowski. The Chretien-Martin thing might just get left behind.

    By Blogger anonymous, at 4:12 PM  

  • I agree with you. Gerard did a tremendous job, and out of everyone left if we can get Dion in here he is the next best option.

    Gerard will hopefully get into government this spring and build on his impressive resume. Now he has the national eye, and it's up to him to show that in 10 years or so he can become Prime Minister.

    For now, I really hope Stephane uses him as a strong member of the team to help realy rebuild this party.

    By Blogger Shawn, at 4:26 PM  

  • That more than 80% of Kennedy folks (the 91% number assumes nobody from Dryden went to Dion) moved to Dion is simply amazing. Only David Orchard has ever topped that kind of personal loyalty.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 5:33 PM  

  • And it's offical. The Liberals are the Party that wants to be Quebec's party but isn't. Three straight leaders from Quebec, and a generation of Conservative rule.

    We need one member one vote. Those of you who think this was an election of reform are beyond naive.

    The single strongest topic the Liberals had was the environment, and we have just chosen the francophone-male version of Rona Ambrose. We have thrown away any chance at winning an election for a decade.

    I'm disgusted by the naivite of all the so-called blogging experts who have supported this. You have distanced yourself from reality, hiding beyond your keyboards and policy discussions. You have completely lost touch with the voters, how campaigns actually play out and an honest look at the future. You've been led like sheep by Kinsella and his rabid pro-Chretien allegiance.

    You have been duped, and you and those like you have condemned this country to a decade of Stephen Harper. Shame on the lot of you.

    By Blogger 3ML, at 6:09 PM  

  • Can someone more familiar with Liberal party politics inform me as to why everyone was so sure that Dion would win after the 3rd ballot? He was only a few points ahead of Ignatieff.

    This may sound like a dumb question (which I excel at, by the way) but everyone on television and everything I've read suggested that it was almost assured that Dion would win after the third ballot. Why though? Was it all about momentum?

    By Blogger Olaf, at 6:10 PM  

  • It was almost an intangible feeling, sitting here and watching the convention. I think the conclusion was that Ignatieff had barely grown throughout the day, yet Dion, having doubled his support, had almost all the momentum. Additionally, there has always be an impression that Ignatieff had little room to grow, such that whoever wound up facing him on the final ballot would be the recipient of the "anyone but Ignatieff" vote, which seems to encompass about 55% of delegates.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 6:24 PM  

  • Olaf:
    Polling had apparently indicated that roughly half of the Rae delegates wouldn't vote for Ignatieff under any circumstance (the same was true of Ignatieff delegates and Rae), or so one of the TV analysts said.

    With that many of Rae's supporters refusing to go to Ignatieff, that made it quite likely much of Rae's support would go to Dion instead and hand him victory.

    By Blogger Iccyh, at 6:51 PM  

  • I thought there were several very good options - Kennedy was one, and Dion was another. I've liked Dion's no-nonsense, all-work, no-airs attitude all along and I tell you, I've been pleased with Harper so far, but this next election will be a tough choice - they're both good candidates.

    I think they compliment each other perfectly - quiet, unassuming, introverted policy wonks. They'll make a fantastic and absorbing campaign.

    I look very forward to being seriously challenged, for once, for my vote.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 6:54 PM  

  • Olaf, I'm with iccyh - too many were against Ignatieff (because of his many blunders). I didn't "know" Dion would take it, but I sure had a feeling he would.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 6:58 PM  

  • (D/art, you were by far the best blogger in the whole campaign. Thanks for being the best - and free, too!)

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 7:01 PM  

  • Some observations:

    1) CBC's French translator was so bad and incoherent that they replaced her in the middle of Dion'acceptance speech with a guy with a deep voice and an accent.

    2) Ken Dryden slightly resembles an intelligent Dick Cheney.

    3) Dion's daughter is very attractive...almost has a French Canadian Ruby Dhalla thing going on.

    4) Anyone concerned about the lack of emotion or charisma in Dion should watch that acceptance speech. There's something about him that is very genuine.

    5) Gerard Kennedy is the Lisa Loeb of Canadian politics. 2 words: Lazer Surgery. But he's got some major oratory skills.

    6) Ignatieff should stay in politics...I remember another cerebral academic who came to Parliament one day...and that man is now your leader. Iggy could do a lot of good.

    7) Chretien stole the show. Funny, charming, faithful, committed.

    8) Scott Brison looked sweaty. Was it hot in the Palais?

    9) Why was Martha Hall Findlay wearing Mardi Gras beads during her speech? Lover her though. She's got a bright future.

    9) Lots of bad white-people-dancing going on. Don't people realize this is nationally televised?

    10) Volpe's green Dion scarf around his designer suit made him look like an Italian stereotype.

    By Blogger BCgrit, at 7:33 PM  

  • I hope Kennedy and Hall Findlay have a strong place in the Liberal party because it's no surprise that these two picked the one who should win. This can be seen as a victory over the establishment.

    Agreed - that must be why I feel so positive about the outcome.


    Personally, I don't think Kennedy's choice was affected by Dryden - or that Dryden's choice anticipated Kennedy's. I think they both just went with their hearts and beliefs and chose as they thought wisest.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 7:51 PM  

  • Interesting comments from everybody. Here's my open letter to Dion.

    For Stephane Dion,

    Congratulations on your victory. I was uncertain about your prospects. However, events worked in your favor. The best of luck to you as leader of the Liberals! Canada depends on you.

    May I offer some advice.

    1) Create a coalition by absorbing the losers. You need the political and organizational skills of every member of the party. Treat all of them with respect, even if they are careerists and shady. Deploy them where they can do well and earn respect.
    2) Gerald Kennedy is an important asset. He may be a future leader of the party. He has already been rejected once in Ontario. He would be crushed if he were rejected again.
    3) As leader of the party, you can beat Harper. Create a logical and consistent platform based on an understanding of the electorate. A great leader understands what is in the heart of his people.
    4) For the imminent general election, the party only needs to execute well. Harper will make the mistakes and about-faces. You only need to avoid critical mistakes.
    5) I would strongly suggest that you acquire the habit of looking from behind the eyes of others. Canada will likely have a series of minority governments. Flexibility and empathy is necessary in the long run.
    6) Once you are settled in, you may want to revisit the issue of party reforms. This party conference has rejected the key recommendations made by committees. Much needs to be done. The party can afford to renew itself once it regains the government.

    All the best! Our hopes ride with you.

    Jimmy Tan

    By Blogger JimTan, at 8:51 PM  

  • "Gerard Kennedy is the Lisa Loeb of Canadian politics."

    Kennedy kept reminding me of someone and this week-end I realized it was Matt Damon in "The Talented Mr. Ripley".

    I picked this top four line-up, with Dion beating Iggy, on my blog on Aug 31.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 8:55 PM  

  • 3ml,

    Not sure what Toronto you're in. In my Toronto about half the pub applauded when Dion's victory was announced--and it wasn't a political crowd.

    The Liberals shouldn't get cocky but if they play it right they've got a real chance at a majority--and it'll take a massive screwup on the campaign trail for Harper to get one.

    By Blogger Kevin Brennan, at 9:45 PM  

  • I am sure Kennedy, Hall Findlay, Dryden and Brison will have major roles to play in the future of the Liberal party.

    I don't expect Ignatieff and Rae to stick around and I don't think there's anything Dion can do about it, nor do I think it's much of a loss. I don't see them as team players on someone else's team, and they're not going to stick around for their next shot at it, because there isn't one. Rae cab continue to do his task force/investigation/white paper gigs and Iggy will go back home to after having disproved the truism that Canadians only respect performers after they've made it in the United States.

    I also hope Justin Trudeau takes the plunge into politics next time. He has enormous potential as a campaigner.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 9:58 PM  

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    By Blogger Askinstoo, at 10:35 PM  

  • I think Kennedy's haircut is what did him in. It could have given him the 2 votes and momentum he needed on the second ballot.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 11:49 PM  

  • I'm so looking forward to having Kennedy in the federal liberal caucus.

    By Blogger Charlie Barnard, at 3:48 AM  

  • I was wondering about the Rae campaign tactics after the 1st ballot.

    It seemed clear then that Iggy could not win. Rae's team then ought to have realized that their biggest threat came from the widely rumoured Kennedy-Dion deal. The best way of trumping Kennedy-Dion was to approach Iggy, reinforce the fact that Iggy's tank was empty and he was coasting to a stop, and promise what you have to to get Iggy's support.

    It looked like they were trying to do that on the floor following Kennedy's move but by then it was too late.

    I guess I'm not sure if, following Ballot 1, Rae's team appreciated the impending Kennedy-Dion threat, and if so, whether they started working on Iggy on Friday night.

    If they did all the above, then too bad for them, it was out of their hands. But it looked like they were taken by surprise by the Kennedy move.

    It must be especially frustrating for Rae as I truly believe that he would have beat either Iggy or Dion 1 on 1 had he gotten to the final ballot.

    By Blogger Abrawang, at 5:24 AM  

  • I think the problem may have been that Rae and Iggy had nothing to offer each other. Both wanted to be leader and nothing else and both wanted the other one to lose.

    Neither one will be running in the next election. To paraphrase Joe Clark, they are tourists in the Liberal Party. To them it was nothing but a vehicle for their personal ambition.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 9:43 AM  

  • I have a slight quarrel with whomever did Kennedy's makeover: Where were they 9 or 10 months ago? He looks sensational - he looks so groomed and tidy now, like he just stepped out of the PMO.

    I like to think that looks don't count, but - appearances do. He looked like such an Ontario Education Minister the whole campaign, now he pulls out the Cary Grant???

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 12:25 PM  

  • I actually disagree about Ignatieff - he's already an MP, and I think he'll run again. Rae, however... I guess we'll see.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 12:43 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Technetium, at 1:25 PM  

  • I'm amazed at all the comparisons that were being made last night between Dion and Harper. On the CBC panel there John Manley was describing Harper to a tee and Mansbirdge cought it too.

    Then this morning on CTV.ca I read this headline:

    "Dion exceeds expectations throughout career
    ... the improbable political makeover of Stephane Dion is half complete."

    =O Sound familiar?!

    As a Stephen Harper fan, I can't help but like this guy =)

    By Blogger Technetium, at 1:26 PM  

  • I'm sure an awful lot of sad and defeated Liberals are comforted by the fact that the winner is someone that they like and respect, and noone's "nightmare Liberal leader."

    I think it's important for Ignatieff, Kennedy and Rae to get/stay in the federal caucus.

    People who had trouble swallowing the idea of Rae, Kennedy or Ignatieff as leader - name the various nightmare scenarios offered by their rivals - should have no objection to working with them all, and making the most of their abilities and what's left of their national support.

    As for the leftover ABI types still spilling their bile on the blogs; I'll exercise restraint here. You have served your 'purpose' and you only harm the Liberal party for your own amusement now. It is time to turn the venom on Stephen Harper and help Stéphane into 24 Sussex ASAP.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 4:03 PM  

  • I was hoping for new blood for the Grits (ie Iggy), but it seems that they love their entitlement and the lineage of patronage (does anything ever change?).

    Way to go, Libs. Dion's election is Harper's mandate.

    By Blogger Tim Jacobs, at 4:12 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 4:34 PM  

  • The Dion win is great for Canada and great for the Liberal Party. Now the party can unite, and Dion can forge a vision for all Canadians, not just privileged ones.

    By Blogger John Murney, at 5:23 PM  

  • Kennedy-Dion deal

    On CBC News tonight, Evan Soloman reveals that he was embedded with the Rae and Kennedy organizers.

    Deal done on Thursday between the Kennedy guy and a reluctant Mark Marissen (for Dion). Obviously, the Kennedy campaign thought they were going to remain number three.

    Good deal for Dion.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 10:18 PM  

  • I'm not sure how much of a consolation this is (if it is one at all), but I was an Ignatieff delegate and fairly sure I'd remain so for as long as he was in the race. However, Gerard's speech on Friday night(and the fact that he opposes the recognition of Quebec or les Quebecois as a nation) changed my mind and I voted for him in the second ballot, and would have continued to do so had he remained in the running.

    I was impressed and shocked by the immense loyalty Kennedy's delegates displayed in moving almost en masse to Dion. Kennedy's future looks extremely bright and deservedly so.

    In one of your previous posts, you said something along the lines of 'Justin Trudeau, say what you will about him...' What sorts of negative things have people been saying? I met him at Kennedy's hospitality suite at the Hyatt on Friday night and was blow away - I've never met anyone who exudes that much charisma (including all of the candidates and former Prime Ministers at the convention).

    Congratulations on a well-run campaign and thank you for your excellent blogging in the leadup to the convention.

    By Blogger Robin, at 2:35 AM  

  • robin; Thanks for the comments. I talked to GK on Saturday and when I complimented him on his speech he sort of gave a "that's a nice consolation prize because it doesn't look like it moved anyone" so if in fact you were swayed, that'd good to hear.

    A lot of people seem to imply that Justin Trudeau is weak on susbtance or is a bit flaky. I've never talked with him long enough to judge that for myself but, yeah, he's a fantastic campaigner.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:51 AM  

  • Speaking as someone who was not at the convention, the Justin charisma carries through on TV as well. A friend of mine said "Justin was electifying and he's an incredibly attractive man and not one of those men where that's captured in a picture you have to see his body language, his eye contact, etc. He's a very charismatic charming man. I hope that he runs."

    I don't know how strong he is or isn't on policy, but even if he isn't, what difference does that make? Not every MP - not even every cabinet minister - is a policy wonk or needs to be. He has the makings of one of the best campaigners anywhere, with true star quality.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 9:18 AM  

  • Reality B, it may seem that neither Iggy nor Rae had much to offer one another though it looked on TV that the Rae camp belatedly felt that Iggy's folks should have preferred Rae to Dion. I'd be curious to hear from anyone close to the Iggy campaign if this is true.

    Also, do you agree that Rae would have defeated either Dion or Iggy had he gone head to head on the final ballot?

    By Blogger Abrawang, at 9:59 AM  

  • I think that Rae may possibly have been able to beat Dion on the final ballot. Unlike Iggy, he was showing growth and had people willing to join his team when they still had options other than Dion.

    It would have been very difficult though, for Iggy to go over to him while still in first place, although that's what Svend Robinson did when running for NDP leader in order to block Lorne Nystrom.

    I think things worked out for the best though. Dion wasn't all that many people's first choice, but he was even fewer people's last choice. There were large numbers of people who, rightly or wrongly, considered Iggy and Rae unacceptable.

    As far as I'm concerned, if Dion's victory drives the Jean Lapierres out of the party - GOOD! Someone who was in the BQ or PQ does not belong in the Liberal Party. Mulroney tried to build in Quebec by appealing to separatists wanting power in Ottawa. It gave us the BQ. Martin tried to build by appealing to separatists not content with an MP salary and pension. It didn't work.

    I don't disrespect people who are not firmly opposed to independence for Quebec, but they don't belong in the Liberal Party. Being truly federalist let Pierre Trudeau win every seat in Quebec, even with the PQ in power. It let Jean Chrétien win sizable numbers of seats, even with the BQ as an option. Martin and Harper's pandering was not successful. Mulroney's was disastrous.

    I don't care if someone supported Turner against Trudeau and Chretien, Chretien against Martin, Iggy against Rae, or vice versa. But I hope that anyone who isn't prepared to support the Liberal Party and its leader will have the good taste to get the hell out and go infect another party.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 10:34 AM  

  • "Harper's pandering was not successful." - RB

    We won't actually know that until the next election, won't we?

    By Blogger Technetium, at 12:27 PM  

  • "What we are doing now is not working," Dion said.

    He added that he was interested in proposing a multi-nation approach comparable to the Marshall Plan, the U.S. strategy for rebuilding the allied countries of Europe and repelling communism after the Second World War.
    - CTV

    Although I strongly disagree with his first statement, there is no reason not to try and do better than we are already doing in Afghanistan.

    He will need to somehow avoid the US Strategy part of it if he wants to get any Liberal/NDP support for the idea though ;)

    By Blogger Technetium, at 12:37 PM  

  • No, we know that right now. I'm not talking about the nation motion, I'm talking about the same mistake Mulroney and Martin made - sellout out to nationalists. 10 seats, with the Liberals in the state they were in, followed by slipping back into third place in Quebec, is enough to go on, unless you're a Conservative, which you are.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 1:33 PM  

  • We have a bright future.

    Imagine if GK, MHF, BR and JT all ran in closely contested ridings, currently held by the Conservative party.

    We would be well on the way to punting the Conservatives.

    Add to that plummeting support for the Conservatives in Quebec.

    I'm really starting to look forward to a spring election prompted by the defeat of a Conservative budget.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 1:50 PM  

  • Well Martha and Bob need to run in Toronto or the outskirts. Sad to say there really aren't any Conservative seats there. :D

    Gerard could run out west, but really, he's lived in Toronto for 20 years. I think he should run here too.

    I assume there will be some members who will be retiring.

    As for Justin, assuming I can't get him to run shirtless in my back yard, he should be running in Montreal or Ottawa where again, alas, there is a dearth of Conservative seats.

    If Irwin Cotler is not going to run in the next election (I'm not trying to start a rumour, believe me I have NO insider knowledge of any kind), then Mount Royal would be the obvious choice, both symbolically and for the fact that it would leave him plenty of time to help out in other ridings.

    Or with my yardwork.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 4:31 PM  

  • "unless you're a Conservative, which you are." how'd you guess? =D

    "..10 seats, with the Liberals in the state they were in, followed by slipping back into third place in Quebec, is enough to go on..."

    Possibly, although everyone else seemed to think 10 seats was a huge success. As for slipping into 3rd place, how can you tell that this is the cause as opposed to the party's take on Kyoto and Afghanistan and other policies which aren't said to be Quebec friendly?

    I think the same thing with Paul Martin, was his Q policy sinking him more? or did it keep the Liberals afloat in Q despite the sponsership scandal?

    It doesn't seem possible to know one way or the other.

    I personally prefer the hardline of the old Harper and the old Dion!

    By Blogger Technetium, at 5:28 PM  

  • I went to the Elections Canada site and looked at seats we could poach with our new candidates.

    Here are a few suggestions

    Bob Rae - York Simcoe
    MHF - Simcoe Grey or Parry Sound Muskoka
    Justin T - Ottawa Orleans
    GK - Any of half a dozen Tory seats in MB or a dipper seat in Toronto. Seats at the expense of the Conservatives would be best though.

    The strategy has to be to picjk vulnerable Conservative seats and run start candidates with a link to the region.

    Bye Bye and good riddance Tony Clement (and others like him.)

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 8:08 PM  

  • Tonight, Rex Murphy of CBC had some amazing things to say. He described Dion as “decent’, and he heaped accolades on that quality.

    Then, he laid the ghost of Chretien’s era to rest. Is it really over?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:00 AM  

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