Thursday, December 29, 2005

2005 Person of the Year

Just as Time doesn’t always pick a saint as their Person of the Year, I gave Ralph Klein the “Calgary Grit Person of the Year Award” in 2004 for his interference in the Federal Election and his rather underwhelming provincial campaign. This year, the Person of the Year goes to none other than Belinda Stronach.

Belinda’s defection is one of those events that will make a great “what if” history essay in twenty or thirty years, the same way political followers love to play the “what if Joe Clark could count” game these days. A June election would have been completely different – we would have had the Grewal fiasco and Jean Brault dominating the headlines at the start and the Chaouli decision dominating the headlines at the finish. Perhaps Gilles Duceppe would have run for PQ leadership in the fall, and at least one of the two major parties would be in a leadership race right now.

Although Chuck Cadman was just as crucial in the cliff hanger vote, nothing will compare to Belinda crossing the floor. It told us a lot about Harper and Martin. It thrust Peter MacKay into the spotlight. It got Canada the “political play of the week on CNN”. It left a lot of people, myself included, absolutely stunned. When I saw the headline on Bourque, it took about five minutes for it to actually register, and about six different media sources before I believed it was true.

So while she hasn’t made a splash as one of the twelve Ministers of Democratic Reform, because of her floor crossing, Belinda Stronach gets my “Person of the Year” award.


  • Interesting to imagine the Liberal Party led by Belinda Stronach... Not altogether beyond the realm of imagination. Certainly better than any other alternatives out there. Does she speak French?

    By Blogger Red Tory, at 8:14 p.m.  

  • No, she doesn't. Nor is she able to articulate a complete sentence in English spontaneously.

    Her being leader isn't beyond the realm of imagination, but neither is Joe Volpe as leader (shudders).


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:24 p.m.  

  • If being a "L"iberal in Calgary means being a total Party Guy, then I guess it's possible to be so engrossed in the "success" of the party ie it not losing gov't, that it is possible to see buying the (temporary) loyalty of one MP as being a notable event and the decision of that MP to switch allegiances (from a party that didn't want her to a position in Cabinet)as being significant.

    To all normal people she's an opportunist and lost points for being so obvious about it.

    By Blogger Ed E. Trebor, at 8:33 p.m.  

  • She is a worse public speaker than Paul Martin.. if someone could be worse than Paul Martin.

    I wonder if she was in opposition if she would stick around or quit.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:06 p.m.  

  • Okay, based on the comments above, I retract my idle speculation.

    By Blogger Red Tory, at 11:08 p.m.  

  • Female Liberals. Hmmm. Do you think if Ralph Goodale was a female that Martin and his gang would be standing by her. I think you know what I mean Calgary Grit. Goodale is a good ole boy, so he can count on their support. Female Liberals have not been able to.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:09 p.m.  

  • I absolutely agree. Politics is usually pretty predictable, with only election campaigns and leadership races occassionally being in question. Shocks are rare, but Belinda crossing the floor was absolutely stunning. I couldn't believe it when I turned on the news that morning, I just sat there stunned. I didn't know what to think for a few minutes. It was definitely the political event of the year, with Cadman's vote coming a close second - the reason I say the vote was second was because we all knew it was coming. Everyone knew Cadman was going to vote up or down, and he did just that. But everyone knew Belinda was going to vote down... and she voted up. I'm really hard-pressed to think of such a high-profile defection. Leadership candidates have defected before, of course, but Belinda represented a part of that party that they're having a very hard time keeping happy now that she's left, and add to that the fact that she basically helped create it by being the "unknown" benefactor who kept getting Harper and MacKay together for face-to-faces and whatnot. It was just unbelievable - in March she was hosting, at considerable personal expense, the Cool Blue party. In May, she was a Liberal minister. I really don't see how it's possible to give person of the year (politics-wise) to anyone else for 2005.

    By Blogger Ryan Ringer, at 11:28 p.m.  

  • Best line from that time:

    Peter McKay: "I am going to go home and walk my dog. Dogs are loyal."

    By Blogger mezba, at 11:33 p.m.  

  • Stumbled onto this site, thought I would say hi.

    I seriously can't see Belinda as the Liberal leader. She already defeated once, will she do it again for her advantage? It's quite possible...

    By Blogger Tawcan, at 11:44 p.m.  

  • Belinda is a Barracuda in disguise.

    In record time she is at the helm, hands on the controls of the ministry that can set the scene where all workers in Magna factories everywhere can put on full time / part time.

    That way there need be no requirement to provide the usual negotiated employee benefits.

    No matter who wins the next election, Liberal, Conservative or NDP, there are basic treasury controls that can be put to work that will keep any of these big three to the straight and narrow where our public monies are concerned.

    Linda McQuaid touched on this in a well written April 17th piece. Linda was brave enough to give me permission to reprint her writing and so I did that and added two important things to help insure that our public funds will not be wrongfully diverted or laundered.

    One of our National Parties has actually listed these essential controls in their platform . They are the party I will be voting for. Hope you will do the same. TG

    Tony Guitar

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 12:02 a.m.  

  • After tonight's story by Kathy Tomlinson on CTV, confirming that "well connected Liberals" were leaking like crazy in advance of Goodale's announcement.... Belinda's task of restoring Canadians' faith in government just got a little bit tougher.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:27 a.m.  

  • Is it too late to change your mind and give the award to Kathy Tomlinson?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:32 a.m.  

  • On Jan. 24 she'll be an unemployed Liberal...along with a lot of others.

    And people will say, "Belinda who?"


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:58 a.m.  

  • Stephen.Leacock,

    "To all normal people she's an opportunist and lost points for being so obvious about it."

    To many progressive people it wasn't all that surprising... she was a HUGE supporter of gay marriage right from the start... in a socially backward party... just look at how they voted on SSM... 3 for 93 against... I bet the SSM supporters in the CPC would all fit in my bathroom... brave brave souls.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:04 a.m.  

  • Good Choice it certainly was the shocker of the spring and blew the wind out of the Tory's sails, and probably swung the independents votes in favour of the NDP budget.Her story was far more important than Gomery.

    By Blogger EUGENE PLAWIUK, at 5:11 a.m.  

  • Belinda as PM... hehehe... that´s a good one...

    1. No education
    2. Speaks one language
    3. Has worked only for her dad

    Take away the her money & looks and there isn´t much left. She makes George Bush look like a self-made man.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:11 a.m.  

  • In hindsight, it was a dodged bullet for Canada when she lost the CPC leadership. Can you imagine: The leader of the Liberals working for Power Corporation, the leader of the Tories working for Magna, and the leader of the NDP working for the CAW. Could there be a greater nightmare for anyone outside the Windsor/Quebec city axis??

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:08 a.m.  

  • Oh please let Belinda be the next Liberal leader...please, please, please..

    Her Grade 11 education should serve her well in that position.

    By Blogger JL, at 11:16 a.m.  

  • I wish there was a Western Seperatist party candidate in my riding. I would like to put in a protest vote this time.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:29 a.m.  

  • Looks like Libs getting pounded in polling, eh?

    SES overnight results today:

    Libs - 35%
    CPC - 34%

    Dropped 5% overnight with 400 polled, which means the CPC should be in front by tomorrow.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:43 a.m.  

  • I think the most notable thing about Belinda's defection was the press conference with PM. I'll never forget the parlimentary press gallery roaring with laughter when PM claimed this had nothing to do with the looming confidence vote. A truely classic moment in canadian humor/politics!!PM at his unwittingly funniest.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:01 p.m.  

  • The Conservative transit credit is what might push me away from considering the Tories. Their plan is stupid, ill-considered and worthless.

    Giving approx. $200 to every transit rider is not going to make anyone using their car switch to transit (taking a car downtown Toronto costs in terms of gas+parking+mantainance+insurance to upto 5,000 per year). $200 is a small amount to consider the switch. While those already using the transit would benefit, the plan will cost the government 400 million dollars to effectively do nothing. It won't help environment, won't help reduce cars on roads, won't help in reducing road costs, and won't help get a better transit. Investing that $400 million directly to transit infrastructure would be a far better idea.

    Roads will remain clogged and get more so as the conservatives will then have to cut services, make cutbacks in other areas to fund their ridiculous tax breaks. Where will money come from for building more roads, expanding subways and adding more buses?

    Harper's party has finally shown they don't know how to run a country.

    By Blogger mezba, at 12:08 p.m.  

  • Mezba, there will be a Conservative announcement on transit infrastructure investment in the new year. Patience.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:18 p.m.  

  • Mezba, that's just plain stupid.

    You don't like their Rapid Transit policy...which is only part of their plan, more to come according to Harper...

    So you conclude "Harper's party has finally shown they don't know how to run a country."

    I'm kinda interested to learn what would lead you to conclude that the Liberals are corrupt? Or for that matter, considering mindboggling fiascos like the gun registry and HRDC, that they know how to "run a country"?

    Let alone a roadside lemonade stand.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:21 p.m.  

  • Hi Mezba!

    I don't know you or your transit situation, but here in Ottawa public transit is about $3 a ride, which is quite pricey. For me, I look forward to be able to deduct my $71 a month pass (I pay on a monthly basis b/c I go from contract to contact) because after many waits in the cold for a late bus, ass-smelling seatmates, screaming snot-nosed crotchfruit, and many witnessed drug deals, somebody better offer me some compensation for my efforts!


    By Blogger Unknown, at 12:37 p.m.  

  • I rather prefer anon at 10:18 or patrick's comment at 10:23, which articulate reason, rather than sharp insulting comments which serve no purpose.

    As for Harper's transit plan, the mere fact that he is considering to place $400 million in the hands of transit users rather than invest in infrastructure is bad policy.

    I have not said I am voting Liberal, merely not Tory at this point. There's lots of other parties to choose from, especially NDP. Given all the Liberal fiascos, they still have managed to run the country well (better than most other G7 nations). It could be better, but let's look at the Ontario conservative government of Mike Harris.

    Downloading of transit to city (resulting in increased municipal taxes offsetting all income tax cuts), amalgation of Toronto (big mess), selling of 407 (paid for by taxpayers and should have remained public and would have solved gridlock on 401), selling of assets to pay for business tax cuts, a drive clean fee to offset transit tax, selling of crown lands downtown that now spoil the view of the lake (so many condos), cutbacks in welfare (resulting in more poor people and thus more crime), and cutting after-school sports programs, and so on.

    My point, investing in infrastructure is good, ill-thought out tax breaks is bad.

    By Blogger mezba, at 12:41 p.m.  

  • Mezba,

    You are wrong. I live in the 905 area code and my GO pass cost me $150/month. The cost is similar to what I would pay in Parking in T.O. Anyway, an extra $24/month is probably a tipping point to me not driving in. Which would be faster and more convenient.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:57 p.m.  

  • According to the Hill and Knowlten election predictor, Conservatives win by 3 seats... Wonder if Belinda will decide she's really a conservative after all, and so must cross the floor once more to make sure that the values she holds are properly represented... What's that old joke, "now that we know your a whore, we just have to decide on the price tag"... Belinda's being a cabinet post.

    She's no Winston Churchill, and while I am not a big fan of Scott Brison, at least he had the dignity to cross the floor during the takeover...whoops, I mean cosolidation, of the right.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 1:30 p.m.  

  • Mezba,

    that same $400m spent on infastructure will be a drop in the bucket. First of all, don't for a second think that if the Feds were distributing money for transit, they could send it to the "cities", rather it would go to every little hamlet and town in the country, regardless of whether they have public transit or not. In the end, that 400m will look like 30m if you are in Toronto, and substantially less if you are in the smaller cities. Basically, it will do NOTHING. It may keep the TTC running for an extra day. Pay for 2 extra bus lines. 400m is a SMALL amount of money out of a fed budget of 200b, so you are right, it is not a silver bullet for public transit, but it is a good first step and it is a good way to use tax incentives to get people out of their cars. It certainly doesn't demonstrate that the Tories are stupid and awful as some suggest, but I believe those that are against such a banal and cheap proposal just hate the Tories regardless of what they announce.

    Oh and Red Tory, as for Belinda as a LIBERAL PM? Puh-lease. She created the Conservatives, funded them, can't speak French AT ALL, can barely articulate anything in English, and sounds like a high school student interviewing for a senior management position ("No, but I'm willing to learn!!!"). If Belinda is the best the natural governing party can come up with, god help us all. I think they will go with McKenna once they finally ditch this stupid Dithers, and it will be a GREAT trade for them (and all who used to love the party before it was hijacked).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:54 p.m.  

  • I'm pretty sure Tories would be supporting Belinda Stronach as Harper's successor if she were still a Conservative.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:02 p.m.  

  • She ran for the conservative party leadership once already and we didn't support her. Thank Heavens.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:09 p.m.  

  • Besides Mr. Harper will be the Prime Minister until 2020 and then Belinda will be to old to be prime Minister. It will give her a chance to finish high school though.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:51 p.m.  

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