Monday, September 21, 2009

The Outremont Headache Returns

Remember the fun times Stephane Dion had figuring out who to run in Outremont, and the calamity than ensued?'s baaaaaaack!

Martin Cauchon, the former justice minister who made history with same-sex marriage and his effort to decriminalize marijuana, has apparently lost in his bid to re-enter politics.

The Liberal Party is expected to run a prominent businesswoman in Montreal's Outremont riding, a onetime Liberal fortress Mr. Cauchon once held for 11 years.

Leader Michael Ignatieff announced Monday that the nod will go to a woman, amid reports the party is courting Nathalie Le Prohon. She was the president of Nokia Canada and has been a senior executive at IBM and Hydro-Quebec.

Mr. Ignatieff said he had already discussed his choice with Mr. Cauchon.

“I made a decision,” the Liberal Leader told a Toronto news conference.

If you haven't been following this story, the scuttlebutt is that this is merely the extension of a decade long Coderre versus Cauchon feud - Cauchon wants back into politics and Ignatieff's Quebec lieutenant Denis Coderre doesn't want him back.

Now, frequent readers will know I like Martin Cauchon a lot more than Denis Coderre. Always have. But, even when I put that aside and shuffle the names around, I can't help but take Cauchon's position here.

Let's say it's 2007 and both Justin Trudeau and Pierre Pettigrew are making noise about a run in Papineau. Well, even though I'd rather see the star newcomer get the nod over the riding's former MP, I certainly couldn't argue against an open nomination.

Now let's say my buddy Jean Lapierre decided to make a comeback and wanted to fight for the nomination in Outremont (in this scenario, let's assume he's going for the Liberal nomination) - well, good on him.

And that's all Cauchon is asking for here. An open nomination battle.

I can see the benefits in appointing star candidates. And I recognize the need to have more female candidates running in winnable ridings. But it seems obvious this isn't about either of those things - this is nothing but a Quebec turf war (in the Liberal Party? GASP!). And that's the type of thing this party really needs to move beyond.

So whether you're a Coderre man or a Cauchon man, it's hard to argue against Outremont going to an open nomination. Quite simply, Ignatieff made the wrong call here and I hope he reconsiders his decision.



  • You may have a minor typo: "Coderre wants back into politics and Iggy's Quebec lieutenant Denis Coderre doesn't want him back".

    I suspect you mean "Cauchon" for the first instance of "Coderre" in this sentence.

    As for the substance, why should any of this matter to the man who was simply anointed as head of the LPC? Voters, after all, are a nuisance, aren't they?

    By Blogger Paul, at 6:25 p.m.  

  • There is a very simple solution here...

    Put Cauchon in a different winnable Quebec riding and put Le Prohon in another different winnable Quebec riding. Then let the candidate from the 08' election (who almost won), fight in Outremont again. This way you are pretty much guaranteed three new Quebec seats with the current polling numbers. On the other hand, if the two 'star' candidates can't live without being in Outremont, then hold a nomination meeting...simple.

    By Blogger Scott, at 6:41 p.m.  

  • There's 2 more considerations here:

    1) NIMBYism. Everyone can agree the Liberal party would be well served to have a female business executive in Parliament and better yet in cabinet. This is especially important when the leader does not have a corporate background himself. But nobody wants to facilitate this in their own riding nomination process because they themselves, or someone they have ties to, wants to run. You need a mechanism to counteract this.

    2) Riding nominations are not exactly triumphs of democracy anyway. A political veteran (and Cauchon is that) can scoop these things quite readily. Craig Chandler grabbed an urban PC Alberta nomination and do you think most PC voters, never mind most urban Albertans, would truly support that? Or just check out Tim Uppal's nomination in my federal riding.

    By Blogger Brian Dell, at 6:44 p.m.  

  • Reminds me of the Sheila Copps file. That riding is now in the hands of the NDP?

    I agree open nomination 305 and 3 parachutes max per election.

    If Cauchon has not been a thorn or anti Iggy he should be allowed to return and fight for his old riding.

    Let the local riding benefit from an open contest.

    This is also inside baseball stuff so it should not be national news.

    By Blogger CanadianSense, at 6:49 p.m.  

  • Cauchon has deep ties to Outremont, given he represented the riding for over a decade. I think he'd have a better chance of taking down Mulcair - perhaps they can find another riding for the star candidate Coderre wants.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 7:24 p.m.  

  • With Cauchon's position on same-sex marriage etc, I am sure he would be a strong candidate in another riding. Flip the question around: what Quebec riding would this new woman appointee have a better chance winning in? As an MP Coderre is good as an agressive advocate for priority issues, but those types are not often taken seriosly as leadership candidates.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:39 p.m.  

  • I wonder if St. Laurent-Cartierville might not be coming available for a star candidate sometime soon? Frankly, it's a safer seat than Outremont, and if Dion is thinking of stepping down, this would be a great place for a parachute candidate (as it was when Dion himself was recruited back in '96)

    By Blogger Matt, at 8:28 p.m.  

  • You seem to be missing the obvious Bart. Apparently there are two people (well three, if you include the former candidate) who think its worthwhile contesting a Liberal nomination in Quebec. That hasn't happened for, what, three elections now? It's a sign. I'm not sure what it means, but it can't be all bad if you're a Grit.

    By Anonymous herringchoker, at 8:36 p.m.  

  • Matt,

    Dion has confirmed he is running again and, as such, the riding is not available. I read the other day he was scouting locations for a campaign office.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 8:42 p.m.  

  • I for one would like to know where all of these 'winnable' Quebec ridings are?
    At last count the only decent unannounced riding is Jeanne Leber post the Marc Bruneau Gomery fiasco.
    Dion, Folco, Patry and Zarac are running again and if Coderre continues to try to push them out I promise a holy war within the Liberal party in Quebec.
    Iggy is a fool for going along with Coderre's no-name star candidate in Outremont. Mulcair must be loving this.

    By Anonymous OutremontLib, at 10:15 p.m.  

  • Trivia question: who was the last person to win an open contest for the Liberal nomination in Etobicoke-Lakeshore?

    By Blogger Political Outsider, at 10:40 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Scott in Montreal, at 11:23 p.m.  

  • Would Coderre prefer for Cauchon to take on Duceppe in Laurier-Ste. Marie? Heh.

    By Blogger Scott in Montreal, at 11:47 p.m.  

  • Great analysis CG. You have a great site.

    By Anonymous Derek Lipman, at 2:19 a.m.  

  • There are several winnable seats (very close results in 08') on the island of Montreal. I don't know the names of all the riding, but you can look them up on various websites. There are also about 10 other seats in Quebec that can be won with the current poll numbers. Some will require more work than others, but the Liberals should be looking for strong candidates in a total of 25 ridings for the next election.

    By Blogger Scott, at 8:13 a.m.  

  • This is SO tiring - secret sources and all.

    So, Cauchon decides not to run in the last election, then takes forever to decide if he'd run in the next one and then expects people to jump and let him have his old riding?

    What am I missing here?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:23 a.m.  

  • Wasn't Coderre the moron who advised Iggy to go on Quebec tv and accuse Israel of committing war crimes? I see Iggy is still seeking counsel from this genius....

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

  • This is SO tiring - secret sources and all.

    Well put anonymous!

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:13 a.m.  

  • Put in long hours, for two federal elections, supporting Cauchon. What I remember most is how he would cuddle up to the Senator who assisted him, and others of influence, without at any time taking a second to thank the rest of us. He also didn't bother to have a record of those who generously gave of their time to help get him elected. This I know as for the second campaign, I had to go through hoops just to get flyers for the door to door campaigning. The end result for me being that I don't appreciate PM wannabees, especially those who use and ignore.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:18 a.m.  

  • i think the last anonymous is Denis Coderre....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:46 a.m.  

  • I'll play PO. I guess Judy Brandow.

    By Anonymous herringchoker, at 9:52 a.m.  

  • Scott you don't live in Quebec. Name these alleged winnable ridings for Cauchon.
    Unless you are suggesting that Iggy remove already named candidates and or sitting MPs. By the way he has already tried and failed.
    This f*ck up is Iggy and Coderres alone and they will be held to account if it blows up.

    By Anonymous OutremontLib, at 10:01 a.m.  

  • I'm not a Quebec expert, and don't have a list of nominations, but there are probably 20-30 "winnable" ridings in Quebec, depending how optimisitc you are.

    Not sure how many of them have candidates as of yet.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:09 a.m.  

  • Run Cauchon in Bourassa, that is a winnable riding

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:54 a.m.  

  • "20-30 winnable ridings, depending how optimistic you are". The Calgarian has brought some nicely calculated Canadian Wry east with him, I see. Good one.


    By Blogger Eugene Forsey Liberal, at 12:49 p.m.  

  • Chretien had the right to appoint candidates. Dion made it a priority to appoint female candidates. People can't complain about Iggy doing the same things. Unless the grassroots want to take away the right for the leader to appoint candidates, people will have to go along with the leader using the power they gave him.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 1:12 p.m.  

  • Most canadians could give a fig which lieberal runs in which riding in quebec....the ROC has a firm opinion on iggy and the old mob....nous somes finis

    By Blogger inthepaint, at 1:25 p.m.  

  • Once again I ask/ name these alleged winnable ridings WITHOUT sitting M.P's or candidates. They don't exist unless the likes of Saint Justin Trudeau is going to step aside.
    As a Young Liberal it makes me sick when we have to go to the media to get the old Liberal farts to listen to us.
    Open up the nomination in Outremont and may the best man OR woman win.

    By Anonymous OutremontLib, at 1:29 p.m.  

  • IT pains me to give advise to the Liberals BUT:

    Why can't Ignatieff/The Liberal party have ALL the Quebec MPs that were sitting in 2000-2005 just step down. Have open contested nominations without these guys.

    If they were not directly implicated in the adscam they almost all certainly benefited from it.

    That would make for a much stronger and believable Liberal party and would be good for Canada.

    As the Liberals left in Quebec are reduced to their island fortress the next election could return powerful new Liberals to Parliament.

    Right now it seems that the CPC is getting all the newcomer star candidates and they are exceeding expectations. Good for Canada. The Liberals have to step up and renew or step out of the way

    By Anonymous BC Voice of Reason, at 1:56 p.m.  

  • Every leader has a right to over rule the local riding when appropriate. Is this an example of a riding against the party?

    No, the riding executive are still fond of Cauchon vs the parachuted candidate by Codderre/Iggy.

    The Party Executive are going against the wishes of the local riding to allow an open nomination battle why?

    Time, snap election?

    Why not let each candidate fight for the spot and sign up thousands on new instant liberals.

    If this Star pick is real she should have NO problem winning.

    If Iggy is forced to put her into this riding does it mean those other ridings are less likely to be won?

    How many more ridings will Iggy go against open nominations?

    What are those conditions?

    Will this decision alienate the local grassroots and executive in Outremont?

    This reminds me of the Martin forces punishing Sheila Copps nomination.

    At least she was allowed to run again.

    By Blogger CanadianSense, at 2:02 p.m.  

  • I have to agree; personally I am a "Cauchon man," but regardless, I see no reason why this shouldn't be an open nomination. Outremont is a seat that the Liberals need to get back not only because it will add to our count, but because symbolically, if we can knock out Mulcair, it will give a sense of pride to the party that we've won back a stronghold from a member and party much less deserving of it.

    By Anonymous Kyle H, at 4:32 p.m.  

  • Canadian Sense (above) says this reminds him of the Sheila Copps file. How?

    Copps and Valeri were both incumbent MPs, who fought a contested nomination in 2004 in a newly redistributed riding which straddled both of their seats.

    How is this in any way, shape or form similar to the current Outremont situation?

    Like CG, I have a heck of a lot more time for Cauchon than for Coderre, but I don't recall contested nominations being very much à la mode when he was Quebec Lieutenant, either.

    By Blogger Mark, at 6:18 p.m.  

  • Were you out of the country during the race?

    Did you read the news and criticism from each camp?

    Was it ugly?

    Was Paul Martin neutral?

    Where are those two Liberals today and the riding is voting?

    Groundhog Day, Deja vu?

    From Monday's Globe and Mail
    Monday, Mar. 8, 2004

    Stoney Creek, Ont. — Sheila Copps has accused the Prime Minister's office of dirty politics, alleging that Paul Martin's aides interfered with the voting process that cost her the federal Liberal nomination in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek this weekend.

    Ms. Copps, the former deputy prime minister, lost the ticket to Tony Valeri, the federal Transportation Minister and a close political ally to Mr. Martin, by only a few hundreds votes. She said federal interference prevented more than 400 of her supporters from being eligible to vote on Saturday, and she may appeal the result.

    "There's no problem having a fight between Liberals," Ms. Copps told reporters yesterday as she arrived at a Sikh temple in this Hamilton suburb to thank members for backing her bid for the nomination. But "when the party takes sides, that's a problem, and when the leadership selectively uses the rules to massage an outcome, that's a problem."
    Former deputy prime minister Sheila Copps is helping out the Tory and NDP candidates in the Hamilton East-Stoney Creek riding in a bid to unseat her former Liberal colleague and political rival Tony Valeri.

    By Blogger CanadianSense, at 6:53 p.m.  

  • Maybe you didn't read it the first time:

    Copps and Valeri were both incumbent MPs, who fought a contested nomination in 2004 in a newly redistributed riding which straddled both of their seats.

    How is this in any way, shape or form similar to the current Outremont situation?

    By Blogger Mark, at 7:30 p.m.  

  • Do we never learn? The interference of the Martin PMO against Sheila Coppes caused the liberals to lose every hamilton seat. Dion putting in his close Jocelyn Coulon cost the liberals the fortress of Outremont and Iggy (under the influence or fear of Coderre) is mucking around again. The only positive thing that could come out of it is that the reaction is so bad that Coderre loses his seat as a result and he goes back under whatever rock he crawled out from.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:45 a.m.  

  • Tough choice... Cauchon or Cochon...

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 1:10 p.m.  

  • I'm not a fan of the Copps and Valeri thing, but at least it was an open nomination.

    I can't think of the last time a former Cabinet Minister of Cauchon's prominence, who is more electable in the riding, wasn't even allowed to run...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:16 p.m.  

  • I don't remember either but unintended consequences or fallout can not be predicted.

    It would have been better to have kept this inside baseball stuff quiet.

    My "faux" concern is the local riding executives and their request to have an open nomination is being trampled upon.

    Why introduce more wildcards into the equation?

    Is this distraction in one riding going to help or undermine the "unity" message?

    If Cauchon is not allowed, welcomed to run again in his old riding who is next?

    Is Dion safe?

    Any rival that Coderre/Iggy wants out?

    By Blogger CanadianSense, at 2:33 p.m.  

  • By Blogger Unknown, at 10:23 p.m.  

  • By Blogger zzyytt, at 12:31 a.m.  

  • By Blogger 5689, at 9:55 p.m.  

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