Monday, March 31, 2008

Liberal Critics Shuffle

-Rae stays in Foreign Affairs, while Findlay and Murray will get eased in with associate and vice chair portfolios.

-In the most interesting move of this shuffle, and one which will probably be overlooked by a lot of people, Gerard Kennedy is the new intergovernmental affairs critic from outside caucus, replacing Dominic LeBlanc (who also holds Justice). Given the recent squabbling between Flaherty and McGuinty, I doubt it’s coincidental that Dion has moved a high profile former McGuinty Cabinet Minister into this portfolio.

-With all that’s been going on in Quebec, it’s interesting to see Coderre shuffled out of Defense to Heritage, and Raymonde Folco dropped. (update: Folco was shuffled out last fall...silly internet is slow updating these things)


UPDATE: Here's the new Liberal seating chart, for people who care about that sort of thing. (hat tip Star)

And can anyone explain this to me?
A Dion spokeswoman said Mr. Coderre will continue dealing with military files in Quebec, in addition to fighting against the Conservative government's Bill C-10 as part of his new portfolio.

(update: Folco was shuffled out last fall...that pesky internet is slow updating these sorts of things)

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53 Comments:

  • Wow, Dion may finally have organized the tools for effective attack on the government. And not a moment too late...

    By Blogger James McKenzie, at 12:22 PM  

  • Coderre is going to be pissed being demoted from Defense and will seek his revenge in all the petty little ways he is so adept at.

    Probably a good move as he was a pathetic Defense critic.

    And Gerard Kennedy being parachuted into Cabinet without a seat is desperation on parade.


    The Liberal Party of Toronto lives on.

    By Blogger Fred -, at 1:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 1:14 PM  

  • well, the job in defense is done, and besides coderre and verner have history as he once called her a "simple-minded person who has no place in cabinet".

    as per usual with coderre, prepare for fireworks.

    although when trying to quell a revolt in quebec, I cannot think of a better place to put the most anti-quebec candidate in the last race than intergovernmental affairs.

    It really isnt hard to top rona ambrose, but like all the Dionistas say, never underestimate Stephane Dion.

    speaking of Kennedy and unelected shadow cabinet members, where is Justin Trudeau's position. I think Associate Intergovernmental Affiars may be available...

    By Blogger Antonio, at 1:15 PM  

  • "And Gerard Kennedy being parachuted into Cabinet without a seat is desperation on parade."

    It's a way of getting him involved, even though he doesn't have a seat. It's not like the Liberal benches are bereft of talent, unlike some parties ;)

    Antonio

    Just because Kennedy didn't endorse Harper's political stunt, doesn't mean he is anti-Quebec. So, if someone doesn't play Harper's games, then they are branded? Interesting.

    By Blogger Steve V, at 1:18 PM  

  • Who said "wow"?

    Despite my hatred of Coderre and pleasure in his dismissal, this shuffle really doesn't do anything either way. It doesn't help or hurt Dion.

    If Dion wanted to do something smart he would have made an economic attack team out of this shuffle and put someone stronger in the defence file.

    By Blogger Forward Looking Canadian, at 1:19 PM  

  • Antonio - is everyone who disagrees with your views necessarily anti-Quebec? Just curious.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:34 PM  

  • Ummm.. fred - newsflash... it isn't "cabinet". We're in opposition last I checked.

    All of these positions are purely symbolic.

    Desperation would be putting a guy in cabinet via the Senate and letting him take a pass when his home riding becomes open in a byelection.

    Oh wait - That's Fortier. Nevermind.

    By Blogger Mark, at 1:37 PM  

  • no mo trips to Afghanistan for Denis?

    By Blogger art, at 1:46 PM  

  • "Antonio - is everyone who disagrees with your views necessarily anti-Quebec? Just curious."

    I am sorry 99% of the delegates from Quebec at the convention agree with me...

    By Blogger Antonio, at 1:56 PM  

  • antonio

    Come on, Kennedy never stood a chance in Quebec, given the other players. You know better than anyone, that it's a tough nut to crack, you need operatives to get anywhere.

    If you want to point to Dion, the known, that's fine, but Kennedy was never in play in Quebec, and the votes took place WELL before Harper's silly motion.

    By Blogger Steve V, at 2:04 PM  

  • Blaney, Bloc MP, is making a statement in parliament on Kennedy's appointment. Pretty harsh stuff about the "nation" question, leaders not needing to be bi-lingual.

    By Blogger Steve V, at 2:11 PM  

  • Not winning any delegates doesn't make someone "anti-quebec".

    Not the favoured candidate? ok.
    Unpopular? maybe.
    But Anti-Quebec? come on


    I guess Martha Hall Finlay and Scott Brison are anti-quebec too.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:15 PM  

  • Don't forget Dryden!

    By Blogger Steve V, at 2:29 PM  

  • haha, Antonio, 99% of delegates in Quebec may not have voted for GK (although I think your number is off by about 1%, but whatever, you are traditionally uninformed). But, you cannot deny that a number of Quebecer's voted for Dion, about 30% (contrary to Hebert's ridiculous assumption today in the Star). A large percentage of Quebec Liberals do not share your views Antonio. And given the atrophied state of the party out there, one would think an excellent organizer like yourself could go and sell a bunch of memberships and take over the party. Do it Antonio, and show the world the greatness of your organizing abilities

    As far as Intergovernmental Affairs goes, Quebec is one province out of ten, nothing more, nothing less. Always has been, always will be. Perhaps GK is the best candidate for the other 9 provinces?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:30 PM  

  • Gee, Antonio. I didn't know that the "Quebec Nation" was a political issue anymore. I thought that the motion in Parliament settled the matter.

    By Blogger Jason Cherniak, at 2:35 PM  

  • It didn't settle the issue. I have a feeling we'll hear of it again. Maybe the next convention?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:48 PM  

  • Bob Rae held a critic portfolio before he got into the House - this isn't that weird.

    The big brou-ha-ha is with Ontario, not Quebec, right now. I assume Kennedy was brought on to comment on McGuinty/Flaherty feuding which makes sense given his background.

    Harper has an Albertan in the post and will handle any big Quebec files himself. So, it will obviously be Dion himself who goes after Harper if there are any big Quebec issues that come up for debate in the House.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:54 PM  

  • Oh, and Harper's first choice for intergovernmental affairs Minister was an Ontarian who was against Quebec as a Nation too.

    And we're just talking about critic portfolios here too...given that EVERY member of Liberal caucus seems to have some critic portfolio, their importance really isn't that major.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:57 PM  

  • Let me correct myself,

    not anti-Quebec, just by far the least popular among Liberals in Quebec.

    and to steve, when only 24 members vote in urban ridings, you don't need organizers, to need to come visit, communicate with people in their own lanaguage, and do work on the ground.

    as for an unelected critic, this isnt news, he can tour the country and gather feedback from Liberals everywhere. Nothing novel about that at all...

    As for me, to the anonymous commenter... I left the Liberal Party last year to pursue a different career path.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 3:01 PM  

  • Seems to me that MH-F got a raw deal compared to her fellow leadership contenders, although we shouldn't be surprised to see Kennedy Kingmaker get intergovernmental, Dion's old stomping ground and one which will get lots of airtime while Danny Williams is around.

    By Blogger Mark Dowling, at 3:02 PM  

  • In some provinces, Antonio, being a member of a political party isn't a career path.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:04 PM  

  • Raw deal? She's a rookie politician, completely untested who finished last in an eight person race...

    I think she did ok for herself.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:05 PM  

  • come on dan, you didn't chuckle a little when of all the people to end up in at intergovernmental affairs, gerard kennedy?

    I am not calling it a bad decision, I just think that with all the chaos arising from Quebec last week, this one raised a few eyebrows...

    I am sure Benoit Pelletier is looking forward to those meetings...

    Mind you, if this is the shadow critic of attacking Jim Flaherty, it may work in the end...

    By Blogger Antonio, at 3:06 PM  

  • to the anonymous commenter, some career paths dont allow you to be members of political parties, like journalism...

    By Blogger Antonio, at 3:11 PM  

  • What has Martha Hall Findlay ever done? She lost to Belinda. Then she finished last in the leadership race. Then she got appointed to a safe seat and won it.

    I fail to see how that qualifies her for a major portfolio. And being McCallum's assistant isn't bad if she wants to one day get a big economic portfolio in government.

    By Anonymous CFD, at 3:11 PM  

  • I agree with CFD. What has Hall-Findlay done? She's a lawyer... yawn. She was tossed aside for Belinda. Yawn. She ran a leadership campaign that came last. Yawn.

    Have you seen her on Mike Duffy Live? She's not that good when put up against the red haired NDP woman who I really like... can't think of her name... from BC. Well anyway the red haired woman always wallops her so if she can't hold her own on MDL, do we think she'll shine in the House of Commons?

    By Blogger Forward Looking Canadian, at 3:15 PM  

  • Critics portfolio means much less in Canada then it is in the UK. In the UK there are shadow cabinet ministers. These shadow ministers take on large portfolio.

    The key to who is the effective critic will be who gets to ask questions in Question Period.
    Martha at Associate Finance is a good start for her. She gets to heckle Ablonczy whenever Flaherty is away. What fun!!!

    By Blogger Mushroom, at 3:20 PM  

  • Alright Antonio, I'll bite.

    Kennedy has experience as a senior minister in a provincial government.

    Next to Bob Rae and Ujaal Dosanjh he has arguably more provincial government experience than anyone else in the front benches.

    Second, it's been a long, long time since we have had anyone responsible for intergovernmental affairs in our party (and eventually our caucus) who actually gives a damn about more than one province.

    Third, if Kennedy is a joke, as you suggest, please give us an honest description of Rona f***ing Andrews.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:24 PM  

  • " when only 24 members vote in urban ridings, you don't need organizers, to need to come visit, communicate with people in their own lanaguage, and do work on the ground."

    Actually, that just proves my point. You are dealing with hardcore activists, an very insular group, and with Iggy, Rae and Dion, a person with shaky French never stood a chance. You know better than I, Quebec is so skeletal right now, a few people carry massive weight, when it comes to where the delegates went, Kennedy was an afterthought.

    By Blogger Steve V, at 3:33 PM  

  • Ambrose. Ambrose.

    Clever quips only work when you get the name right.

    Antonio is 100% right. We're still waiting for Gerard to move, en famille, to Quebec as he promised.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 3:37 PM  

  • You have quite a future as a writer Antonio....

    The most "popular" Federal Liberal in Quebec right now? My bet by almost any metric other than "Who Jean Lapierre/Lisa Frulla/Antonio likes the most" would be Justin Trudeau. In fact, Dion would be better off if he literally started from scratch and built around Justin and other new, young Quebecers with strong federalist bona fides instead of rerunning "star" candidates who have already lost like Garneau and Frula.

    By Anonymous David, at 4:00 PM  

  • Chuckercanuck,

    maybe you don't realize it, but to move a family to a different province, you have to uproot everything -- including your job and livelihood.

    Don't fault GK for not quitting his job and forcing his wife to do the same just to satisfy your stupid rant!

    -- Anon GK #1.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:59 PM  

  • Antonio, maudite nouille. La participation au Quebec etait quasi non-existante. Ca n'a aucune espece de difference di Iggy ou Dion ont eu 30% des delegues au QC. 30% de rien, c'est RIEN!

    By Anonymous Jonas., at 5:05 PM  

  • I have to laugh at people who lump me in with Frulla and Lapierre. If I ever achieve the level they have achieved as media commentators, I will have done something right. You dont have to agree with people to respect them.

    But please, by all means, blow up the party and rebuild around Justin Trudeau in Quebec, you'll keep me employed...

    By Blogger Antonio, at 5:16 PM  

  • So you want to be just like Lapierre....why not found a new separatist party then return to the federalist fold when a new saviour comes in as leader and then use your superior political judgement and strategic abilities to deliver the worst result for your party in Quebec in a generation. See, it's easy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:26 PM  

  • Antonio I would never lump you in with Frulla. You're likeable.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:44 PM  

  • Ah Great, a Minister of the opposition who can't speak English, and a minister of national unity that can't speak French.

    The "parachute" issue is ridiculous though. Harper has a cabinet minister that was not election (Fortier), and had a critic (Verner) who did not have a seat (she narrowly lost).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 5:46 PM  

  • I'm terribly amused that Antonio seems to think that the only legitimate goal of intergovernmental affairs is that of Canada-Quebec relations.

    I was under the impression that Canada had fourteen of the things between the territories, provinces, and feds...but apparently not! Lower and Upper Canada are, apparently, alive and well among Canadian "liberals".

    (With "liberals" like Antonio around, no wonder the Blogging Tories are so ridiculously dominant. They're idiots, but at least they believe in something.)

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 5:48 PM  

  • "A large percentage of Quebec Liberals do not share your views Antonio."

    Only because the ones that did are now Quebec Conservatives. In case you didn't notice, they're leading in the polls.

    "why not found a new separatist party then return to the federalist fold when a new saviour comes in as leader and then use your superior political judgement and strategic abilities to deliver the worst result for your party in Quebec in a generation."

    Yes, it was all Jean Lapierre's fault the Liberals got slaughtered in Quebec. Nothing to do with the sponsorship scandal, general incompetence of the Martin government, and Harper's open-federalism speech. Nope, all Lapierre's doing.

    By Anonymous antonio supporter, at 5:48 PM  

  • sigh some people need to go back to school and learn how to read.

    "I have to laugh at people who lump me in with Frulla and Lapierre. If I ever achieve the level they have achieved as media commentators, I will have done something right. You dont have to agree with people to respect them."


    Frulla and Lapierre have something in common, they are both media commentators and were doing this before either of them served in Paul Martin's Cabinet...

    and demosthenes, I am sure that Jean Chretien brought in Stephane Dion as unity minister to deal with the 9 other provinces too...sure uh huh.

    Intergovernmental affairs minister deals with all 10 provinces, yet they always seem to make the news with one of the 10 provinces. I am sure it is all just a coincidence.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 5:59 PM  

  • The tories are ahead in Quebec because they are in government. Follow the cheques! Government graft and patronage was why they supported liberals, and it's why they'll support conservatives.

    All this nonsense about Quebecers being progressive on issues like Kyoto, the Death Penalty, Youth Justice, Women's rights, Gay Marriage, etc., etc. are just nonsense. That's out the window the minute the wind starts blowing any other way. The plurality of so-called federalists in Quebec simply vote for whoever is in power. Been that way ever since Trudeau left. Mulroney, Chretien, they wavered on Martin and now they're throwing their lot in with Harper. Wouldn't matter if the next PM was a hard right winger of a pinko leftie, the Quebec federalist votes will just follow the government trough.

    That may sound awful, but it is awful. And until someone changes the desperate voting culture of timid federalists, it'll always be awful.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:17 PM  

  • Antonio - back trolling again is the most negative depressing person and angry to boot.

    Lighten up.

    It's not only about Quebec.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:23 PM  

  • Having an opinion that differs from Toronto Liberals is not acceptable!
    And they wonder why
    1. they beg for donations and get zip, and,
    2. Quebecers are choosing an Albertan PM over their home boy
    3. their party has been renamed the Liberal Party of Toronto aka the Liberal Team.

    Antonio, if 'they' (above posters) were right and you were wrong 1,2 & 3 wouldn't be happening.

    anon said:
    ''Wouldn't matter if the next PM was a hard right winger of a pinko leftie, the Quebec federalist votes will just follow the government trough.''

    Pigs at the trough:
    -Liberal dominated Senate
    -BLOC,( what's a separtist party that refuses to separate)?
    -Liberal Party of Toronto, where holding onto your paycheque trumps holding onto your principles.

    By Blogger wilson, at 7:21 PM  

  • Wow! MHF did a great job on Jim Flaherty. Smiling Jim went red in the face and almost cried when MHF reminded him that Ontario did run a huge deficit when Jim was Finance Minister.

    From wikipedia:

    "Flaherty also promised to implement further tax cuts, carry through with plans to create a tax credit for parents sending their children to private school, and privatizing the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Flaherty also emerged as a social conservative in this campaign, distinguished by his vocal stance against abortion, and his association with pro-life groups."

    By Blogger JimTan, at 8:06 PM  

  • O.K. I am back. As long as my wife doesn't find out, I am back.

    Re: Gerard's French.

    Much, much improved since the December 2006 convention.

    Gerard canvasses Parkdale High Park, 2X/week, Thursdays from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 2:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Even when the wind chill is pretty nasty. He does not take anything for granted. He is trying to return a NDP riding back to the Liberals.

    Back to the French. On more than a few occasions Gerard has done the complete discussion at the door in French. Recently, I heard him speak with a doctor from France (who couldn't yet vote) for more than a few minutes, completely in French. How do I know it was more than a few minutes? Easy. The other canvassers in front of us were quite anxious to have him greet the people at the doors they were at. He did great with the French doctor.

    NOTE: Dion would not have chosen Intergovernmental Affairs critic if Gerard's French was not much improved and "up to snuff".

    Re: Gerard's failure in delegate support in Quebec.

    It was a group failure, that being, a failure of Gerard's team to realize how poor the Quebec result was going to be. Gerard's "grassroots" efforts and historic rise from provincial minister to third after the Delegate Selection Meetings (ahead of many well known, seasoned Federal MP's) due to the aforementioned "grassroots" efforts, never caught on in Quebec because his team failed to adequately get the message out. A mistake that Gerard and his team regret even today.

    MississaugaPeter

    By Anonymous MississaugaPeter, at 9:03 PM  

  • "He is trying to return a NDP riding back to the Liberals."

    Good luck to Gerard! We need more guys with grit in the party.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 10:33 PM  

  • If Gerard's French is an issue for Quebecers, then how is it that theu support Stepehn Harper, whose French is horrible, and whose cabinet is the most unilingual in decades???

    The same Quebecers who say the liberals can never win with people like Gerard Kennedy on the front bench are the ones that turn around and vote for the likes of Diefenbaker and Clark. There's no consistency.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:26 AM  

  • "Chuckercanuck,

    maybe you don't realize it, but to move a family to a different province, you have to uproot everything -- including your job and livelihood."

    No. I do realize this, which is why it was such a laughable promise for Gerard to make. It was so utterly foolish, it blew up his Quebec campaign.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 9:11 AM  

  • Obama’s political instincts triumph again. Can’t say the same for Discipline Dion.

    PRINCETON, NJ -- Barack Obama has extended his lead over Hillary Clinton among Democrats nationally to 52% to 42%, the third consecutive Gallup Poll Daily tracking report in which he has held a statistically significant lead, and Obama's largest lead of the year so far.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 11:55 AM  

  • "The tories are ahead in Quebec because they are in government. Follow the cheques! Government graft and patronage was why they supported liberals, and it's why they'll support conservatives."

    A rather peculiar statement given that large portions of Quebec have all but removed themselves from federal politics over the last decade by voting overwhelmingly for the Bloc (who have no influence and no cheque-writing ability).

    It's also a peculiar statement given that the Conservatives have eaten into the Bloc vote more than the Liberal vote. It's not like the Conservatives are stealing the anglo-Montreal ridings from the Liberals, they're stealing (or going to be stealing) francophone ridings from the Bloc.

    It's almost as if Quebecers (francophones for the most part) are voting for the federal party that actually bothered to listen to them and gave them a vision of Canada they could agree with, not the guy who writes the biggest cheque.

    Feel free to continue calling Quebecers a bunch of money-hungry sellouts. I'm sure Quebec Liberals appreciate it. It's not like they don't have a hard enough time rebuilding the party in that province.

    By Anonymous antonio supporter, at 12:32 PM  

  • what the guy before me said...

    By Blogger Antonio, at 2:02 PM  

  • By Blogger 柯云, at 8:14 PM  

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