Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Layton Good For Liberals

We may love to poke fun at him. We may enjoy his tireless attempts at populism - all the while forgetting his core NDP supporters. We may laugh at his antics. We all deride him for being the cause of this Harper government.

Whatever we think about Jacko, we are starting to see how he is worthwhile to our party as the leader of the NDP than he would be replaced by someone, er... ummm... let's just say "competent".

Jacko will keep playing with his neoCon friends, all the while alienating more of his left of center supporters... The whole idea of a party two steps left of center even talking with Cons is ludicrous. Yet "wacko Jacko" will persist. His "socialist principles" will be sold out for a fleeting brush with fame. While this carries on, more NDP supporters will siphon off to the most logical benefactor, or course (us).

If Layton is "clipped" by his party in the next several months, we may see him replaced by someone better able to solidify core NDP supporters. Let's hope this does not happen anytime soon.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Note To All Leadership Camp Stalwarts:

Grow up! We have wax museum dummies to beat up...

JC had a great line he used throughout the 93 campaign: "We have work to do!" Well, we as a party have LOTS of work to do to knock off Harper and his neoCon cronies. It's great to have a lively debate, but we need to ensure we are being constructive in our criticism.

We are a great party, and we will adapt to any condition (we always have), but we have to adjust to fighting a new enemy. This enemy is one who uses a right wing dominated press effectively. This enemy takes advantage of the current Western Societal need to be a "tough guy" and respond quickly with overwhelming force, even if it means making the wrong decision. This enemy is moving Canadian society to the right in subtle shifts of small parts of our liberal democracy. If we blink we may just miss what is going on...

We need to start focusing most of our energies towards defeating Harper and his band of wax museum dummies. If we have pent up aggression left over from the leadership battles, let's use it on two important bye-elections coming up in November. Imagine winning those two contests prior to the next federal campaign. Shrub will be quaking in his tighty-whities...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rae and Ignatieff Looking More & More "Prime-Ministerial"

Wow! What a difference a few weeks and a poll or two make. We currently have two very strong contenders atop the Liberal Leadership race. Both offer something different in the way of style, but I think it is fair and safe to say that both approach the party equation from Center or Center Left. People think of Rae as the NDP Premier of a 1980s Ontario. I think we all forget that as Liberal democracies mature, their denizens tend to become more "liberal democratic" over time. Rae is probably a lot closer to Center today than he ever was. Michael Ignatieff is Center-Left, regardless of what detractors say.

Michael Ignatieff has really developed through this race, and we see his stage presence become better and better each week. It really does look like the final contest/ballot (Dion/Kennedy supporters, please don't hate) will come down to a contest between the two. I think as responsible Liberals we need to stop the "mud-slinging" between all the camps. One of these four will be our leader, and we need to ensure we don't saddle them with any baggage coming out of the convention. Ignatieff is well-spoken, a commanding figure, a statesman, and has no reason to have to prove that he stands for global human rights - he does. Bob Rae could prove to be popular in Ontario (especially urban Ontario). Stephane Dion does have the cajones to be "tough", and can speak English well. GK - well, he IS still popular in some parts of the West (we can at least give him that can't we?). Let's really chose NICE things to say, and debate the candidates strengths and weaknesses in a frank and open manner - without twisting things and taking public shots...

I think a lot of people (even some Liberals who support him) had the little fear in the back of our minds about Ontario seats if Bob Rae were to become leader. Certainly the Cons will try to paint him as a "big spender" who spent the Ontario economy into the ground. However, have we ever thought what the urban Ontario voters may be thinking now? Let's see: Ontario economy not doing as well as usual. New Harper gov't basically "hates" Ontario (especially urban/905 Ontario). Harper is not willing to spend anything on social programs, infrastructure, education, women, minorities, etc. Yes, he makes shallow platitudes and miniscule spending announcements in areas where neo-Cons can make concessions, but basically he refuses to spend anything on the social programs Ontario really needs right now. Perhaps what Ontarians really WANT right now is a "spender" as a PM. A spender FROM Ontario, who actually LIKES the province? Hmmm... Makes me wonder.

Now I don't want this to sound like an "endorsement" of Bobby - because it is most certainly not... It is just an observation on why the recent Globe poll may have found Rae to be Ontarian's favorite choice among our leadership hopefuls. One needs to keep in mind that the spread from 1 to 4 was less than 10 percent, so Rae just may be a name everyone is familiar with...

Since we all know that one of these 4 will be leader (and by default, PM), let's try to be a little more civil - even on these blogs... Peace out.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Dion Goes on Offensive... Again... But....

(Thanks to Le Devior for the cartoon I linked to in this post).

I've been contemplating Stephane Dion as a choice for leader for some time now. He is certainly one of the top choices for me. I like his intelligence, I like his wit, I like his defence of the good things we did in the past 13 years as a party... Hey! Wait a minute... It is good to embrace a solid record - just not a good idea to lay yourself out for Stephen Harper to pick apart 4 months from now.

Mr. Dion was a terrific Intergovernmental Affairs/Unity Minister, but he really needs to reconsider his embracing the Environment as his "cause celebre'" in this leadership campaign. To avoid sounding disingenuous he needs to state that he "had a plan", but was unable to convince the two caucuses he worked with of that plan's value. Yes, we all agree that it should not be this way, but we know the Con Team and Shrub are just waiting to pound on our new leader - especially if he is able to gain party leadership simply by talking about the environment... an issue we were not completely successful with - on his watch.

Having said all the silly stuff I just did above, I still think Mr. Dion has to be one of the top contenders for leader (and eventually PM). I like his tenacity. I like his ideas. He just really needs to distance himself from JC and PM a little. Don't wear it Stephane, or you won't be a lot of our choice for leader...

How were the debates? Nothing I add here will really clarify anything better than 150-some-odd other blogs. Here's my take: No-one dropped the ball clearly enough for it to matter 6 weeks prior to the convention. It would have been hard for one of 8 candidates to strike a "knockout punch", or "score the TD". Yes, some "passes were missed" - a few opportunities slipped by.

Ignatieff certainly weathered a storm quite well - and this is something that should speak for his resilience.

Stephane was firing on all cylinders.

GK was GK... slick and "sound-bitey".

Joe spoke well (and, he always does - when he's not calling the most diverse party in our land... discriminatory (to put it kindly).

Scott Brison is another favorite of mine. He is honestly a lot of fun to listen to. He always finds space for the gut-busting one-liner. Hope this convention is the beginning of something bigger for Scott.

MHF is sharp, witty, and bound for stardom - just not leader this time around.

Ken Dryden continues to be the "Super-Liberal". He is a Liberal through-and-through. Wish he had a stronger organization, as he could be a real factor.

What about Bob? If anyone took a few unexpected shots (re: Dion) during this debate, if was our new friend Bob. It appears that as Dion and GK jockey for position they both will be taking more and more shots at Bob. It could get nasty, as everyone wants to be in the "final two", and we all know Ignatieff pretty much has one of those spots sewn up. This think won't be ending on the 2nd ballot... Not until the jockeying for 2nd is done will the final round begin in earnest.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The "Final Four", Kennedy/Dion Camps Trade Shots, and other Scuttlebutt

So, we're hearing a lot about the "Final Four", as it refers to our leadership contest. I don't think we can't be so sure that one of the "back markers" couldn't squeeze into the picture... Someone like a Dryden, for example, could have some influence on the final result.

Let's look at the potential movement first. Looking at the top two, you don't really see movement early on from these two camps - not for a ballot or two - simply because they are the current leaders. Until one of Kennedy or Dion have a surge, the Rae people will also probably stand pretty firm. The Kennedy folks seem to be the most likely to travel to Rae early, but there are a LOT of Western Kennedy supporters looking at Ignatieff on the second ballot.

The blogs really seem to demonstrate a lot of shots being traded back and forth between the Kennedy and Dion camps. It's really starting to look like a heated battle. The barbs are now starting to get nasty. I might just be making an "inside" observation, since I'm relying more on what I see in the blogs and what my friends in both camps tell me - the story may be different from the angle the general public observes. From the seething dislike building up between these two camps, it seems more and more likely that supporters of both will prefer to oppose each other as the convention gets later and later in the rounds.

I'm starting to think (like a lot of others I've spoken with) that regardless of the end results both Dion and Kennedy will have a considerable impact on the eventual outcome. All the verbal shots and accusations we're seeing between the camps right now are just symptoms of the "jockeying for position" both groups are currently engaged in. The "back markers", while potentially not winning the contest, have enough votes to be able to influence - at the very least - the battle for 3rd place, and eventually impacting the choice for leader.

One thing is for certain: this is going to be a great convention, and I really can't wait to be a part of it all, in the city which really should take credit for the birth of modern Canadian liberalism...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Breaking News: Kennedy Camp to be Taken to Task for Richmond BC SuperWeekend Shenanigans

Just got out to the GVRD, and started hearing the scuttlebut about some interesting goings-on from Super Weekend. Apparently there were some "not-so-niceties" carried out by members of the Rae and Kennedy camps in DSMs in Richmond BC.

Sources indicate the events of the weekend need to be investigated, and include the following: Two bus-loads of Kennedy supporters pulling into a DSM parking lot, blocking off access to other vehicles, unloading their voters, then having their supporters block access to the meetings by any of the other camps. It was noted that the Parks Dept. called the police to one of the Richmond meetings to have two of the Kennedy buses towed. From what we have uncovered, the Kennedy buses were moved when the police arrived on scene.

It was reported that similar interesting events involved the Rae camp.

WesternGrit is going to do some more investigating this weekend, and see if there is any more information on this situation. From what we know, this could well have been a bad judgement call by the two camps, and nothing more. Still, the incidents do bear further investigation - considering we want to do what we can to ensure our party remains cleaner than the other federal parties when it comes to these types of things during leadership times. Rae and Kennedy are both good men, and we know they will make efforts to channel the zeal of their supporters.

While we all love good-old-fashioned, roll-up-the-sleeves politics, we need to make sure the image remains clean. When we need to call police to ensure voters can enter a DSM, we really need to think about what that does to image. I mention that word because image is really all it is... We know that all political parties have similar situations arise during different voting events. We have seen the Federal Conservatives being taken to court by disaffected Cons who were unable to win nominations in various ridings. In those cases, the irregularities were actually transgressions by the national party - a FAR more serious issue.

We know we're better than the Cons - let's just keep it that way.

More on this story in the next few days.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

WesternGrit Off to BC

Will be off to the beautiful province for a few days to celebrate Thanksgiving. Looking forward to some good Turduckhen... Very warm and festive Thanksgiving wishes to all my fellow Liberals - from all the leadership camps.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Montreal.