October 23, 2006

The Divider

Well after some allegations flew my way this past weekend, Chantal Hebert took Stephane Dion to the cleaners on Les Coulisses du Pouvoir and in the Star and Le Devoir, and Vincent Marissal saying Dion was sunk, it was Michel C. Auger’s turn to lambaste Dion. Jason Cherniak says I am too scared that Dion can actually do well in Quebec. I wonder how long he will remain so blind to the obvious.

The Divider
by Michel C. Auger

Has the one we are used to come back to his usual gallop or has the pressure finally become too much at the end of the race? All I know is that Stephane Dion used this weekend’s general council of the Liberal Party of Canada (Quebec) to prove he does not have what it takes to be Prime Minister.

From the beginning of the campaign, Mr Dion had succeeded in re-inventing himself as a sympathetic champion of the environment. But on one Saturday afternoon, he showed that he is a politician who divides instead of a leader who unites.

First off, there was a debate on the recognition of Quebec as a nation within Canada. This is a change of pace from the party of Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien. The question turned into a battle between the supporters of Michael Ignatieff, who recognize this recognition, and those of Bob Rae and Stephane Dion, who oppose it. For them it is a strategic argument: do not raise expectations or deviate the debate towards symbolic questions.


That being the case, Mr. Rae and Mr. Dion proposed, once again, that the federal Liberals in Quebec separate themselves from the majority of federalist Quebecers, who are, by a very large majority, moving in the same direction as the Liberal Party of Quebec (provincial)

While federal Liberals are on the endangered species list off the West Island of Montreal, it should be time to reconciliate with the PLQ and the majority if Quebec federalists. Not the old paternalistic attitude that we must treat Quebecers like mischievous children up to a few shenanigans.

That which is encouraging, and we saw it Saturday, is that there is no longer a majority of support for the ideas of Mr. Dion within his own party. It should show his supporters from other parties how he is disconnected from what goes on in his own backyard and that he cannot rebuild this party in Quebec.

Mr. Dion’s strategy on Saturday was to repeat as much as possible that Liberals needed a leader who was not “linked to the errors of the past”. For him, the only mistake that applies to is the Sponsorship scandal. Not to the way the LPC treated federalist Quebecers under Mr. Trudeau or Mr. Chretien.

There is the substance, but there was also his style.

Mr. Dion had the opportunity to speak last after a largely passionless debate. This was the moment where he could show himself as a uniter. At home, in his city. All Mr Dion had to do was show a bit of class and score in an empty net. Instead he chose the tone of lecturer, with an added bonus, the courage of a guy who attacks at a moment where others cannot respond. (edit: I could not say it better myself)

Two minutes to remind Bob Rae he was a disaster as a Prime Minister of Ontario, then he tried to cite an article from Michael Ignatieff, written in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, on a strong solution to impose on the Middle East. When Ignatieff supporters began to shout him down, as if he were the arrogant smart aleck in the class, he accused the boo-birds of not wanting to hear the truth (edit: I would have preferred to hear the truth Stephane, if only you were offering it.)

Except that, by doing what he did, Stephane Dion violated an unwritten rule of a leadership campaign: never do the work of other parties by undermining another candidate’s credibility when they might become leader.

In fact, he did much worse, he imported one of the most pernicious tactics of the United States. In the US, for a few years now, we choose candidates who have not written a lot. No Paper trail, we say in English.

We can hang whomever we want, especially an intellectual, by taking his words from a long time ago and using them in today’s context. In the US, this has given candidates who are vague an advantage where they do not propose anything because it may come back to haunt them. George W. Bush is the best example of this kind of politician.

Saturday night, the Dion camp sent an email to all journalists with a Michael Ignatieff quote from 2001. “Do not ask me what exact constitutional demands should be, I ignore that. That is up to lawyers to cut through it and frankly, the subject bores me.”

This was in 2001, when Mr. Ignatieff was not in politics and had all the right in the world to find the subject boring. Except today, we notice he did his homework and thought up a few solutions.

Stephane Dion always knew what the constitutional demands were from Quebec. He always rejected them with the back of his hand.

30 Commentaires:

Blogger big gay al's big gay liberal sanctuary a dit...

antonio,

don't quit your day job...

whatever that is...

10/23/2006 2:14 PM  
Blogger WestmountLiberal a dit...

Quote -
"Attack dogs always attack a runner in front of them"

Congratulations! Another "Fuddle Duddle" blog post = more strength to the "Anyone But Iggy" campaign.

ps> I love it when Liberals quote the Quebec French media. There's another GREAT article in these same newspapers today on the sponsorship scandal in case you missed it.

10/23/2006 2:35 PM  
Blogger canuckistanian a dit...

Michel Auger said:
"When Ignatieff supporters began to shout him down, as if he were the arrogant smart aleck in the class, he accused the boo-birds of not wanting to hear the truth (edit: I would have preferred to hear the truth Stephane, if only you were offering it.)"

Not wanting to hear the truth??? Actually he said he was surprised that iggy's supporters didn't want to hear from their candidate, seen as he was reading from one of his articles. Oops, sorry I'm the idiot...in iggyland having someone quote what you wrote is "putting words in my mouth"; or is a "lie"; or is a "smear". Down is up and up is down.

10/23/2006 2:57 PM  
Blogger petroom a dit...

Well, let's say we vote on the others:


Anyone-But-Iggy Web Poll


Hebert did not trash Rae or Dion on Les Coulisses du Pouvoir or in the Star as you've described. She commented on their tactics.

Oddly, Hebert use to write me that Harper would make a good PM. When she took a month off in the summer to write a book, I at first thought it was because she went crazy.

10/23/2006 3:46 PM  
Blogger Skip a dit...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/23/2006 4:29 PM  
Blogger Hammering Jow a dit...

I am glad Michael Ignatieff is uniting the Liberal Party!

His supporters are showing their appreciation for the contributions of his opponents.

There is no divisiveness to the prospect of opening up the constitution.

Everyone is united behind Michael!

10/23/2006 4:35 PM  
Blogger Jason Cherniak a dit...

Isn't Hebert the same person who always Chretien was hated in Quebec? Guess what...

10/23/2006 4:51 PM  
Blogger petroom a dit...

(Oops, wrong link)

Anyone-But-Iggy Web Poll

10/23/2006 5:04 PM  
Blogger Mark a dit...

Hmmm. We should all make our Liberal Leadership choices based on Michel Auger's opinion?

Right.

10/23/2006 5:13 PM  
Blogger duojet57 a dit...

Antonio

By accusing Dion of being the divider you are really suggesting that Ignatieff is the uniter.

Explain to me how by pandering to Quebec (i.e Quebec is nation, Qana was a war crime, etc.) does Ignatieff qualify as a uniter.

10/23/2006 5:41 PM  
Blogger Braeden Caley a dit...

I think we need some Real. Liberal. Change.

10/23/2006 6:01 PM  
Blogger Braeden Caley a dit...

For example,

From www.gerardkennedy.ca:

Gerard Takes the High Road at the Fifth National Debate in Toronto:



This past weekend marked the fifth and last official debate among leadership candidates and Gerard continued to inspire with his thoughtful positions on infrastructure, culture and human rights, while rising above the fray of on-stage battles to focus his remarks on renewal of the party. The Halifax Chronicle-Herald said that Gerard was the unifier who stood above the battles on the stage (http://thechronicleherald.ca/Canada/534681.html) while the Ottawa Sun reported that Gerard was the candidate reminding the leadership hopefuls that Canadians were watching us and that Liberals must be working to regain their trust (http://ottsun.canoe.ca/News/National/2006/10/16/2040058-sun.html).

Gerard's performance in this debate prompted the widely read French language daily La Presse to headline an editorial with "Kennedy à la hausse, Ignatieff à la dure" which means, roughly, "Kennedy on the rise, Ignatieff in a hard place". La Presse also declared Gerard the winner of the debate; "Gerard Kennedy did win the fifth debate yesterday in Toronto."

Gerard's focus on renewal and party unity throughout the debate was also reported in the Toronto Star: "Kennedy, the former Ontario education minister, also a newcomer to the federal realm, has ramped up his talk of "renewal." It was laced through all of his performance yesterday - he's the new guy, the one with youth, energy and no baggage. Speaking to reporters after the debate, he said: "There are still some old battles being fought on the stage and that's harmful to the party and it's also harmful for our capacity to make a new proposition to the country."


And, in the Globe and Mail:

"The heated exchanges involved three of the four major contenders, leaving out Gerard Kennedy, who warned later that the internal attacks threaten the unity and renewal of the Liberal Party.

"Unity isn't just language, it's what you actually do. I'm in this race because I believe we need someone new that can draw this party together. There's still some old battles being fought on this stage," he said.

10/23/2006 6:04 PM  
Blogger James Bowie a dit...

Only Hebert would call Bob Rae the "Prime Minister" of Ontario.

I like Stephane, and I'll be happy to stay on if he becomes leader. If we're going to argue that divisive politics are inappropriate during the leadership session, then we should be less divisive in our blogging.

Hope all is well.

10/23/2006 7:39 PM  
Blogger Steve V a dit...

"I love it when Liberals quote the Quebec French media."

It is relevant when people trumpet the fact that Dion would do well in Quebec, like he has some ace up his sleeve. It looks to me like the whiskers are returning and the re-invention is failed.

10/23/2006 7:45 PM  
Blogger question a dit...

you and fellow ignatieff supporters were a disgrace.
i was there i was appalled.

10/23/2006 7:45 PM  
Blogger Hammering Jow a dit...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/23/2006 8:13 PM  
Blogger dollard_liberal a dit...

Face the facts guys, if Dion addressed his concerns at the beginning or at the middle of the debate, there would have been absolutely no booing or the like, and you would have absolutely no ammo to throw at Team Ignatieff.

Does anyone else think that this meagre little debate in east end Montreal will have long-term repercussions to the 2006 Federal Liberal Leadership Race???

10/23/2006 8:36 PM  
Blogger Skip a dit...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/23/2006 8:46 PM  
Blogger canuckistanian a dit...

as skip pointed out dollard_liberal your logic is clearly flawed.

as for this little debate affecting the outcome of the race: it will not have an affect on the larger canadian populace as they don't watch cpac...only nerds like us do; however, it has and it will have a direct impact on liberal delegates and liberal party members; as many bloggers have already noted, if iggy wins (and this current booing disgrace doesn't affect the leadership race) than it will affect his leadership as many liberal supporters will be turned off the party, yet again.

it is sad that a group of such immature militants has so tarnished the liberal brand.

10/23/2006 9:20 PM  
Blogger dollard_liberal a dit...

There has got to be a better way of doing things. This booing business will get out of hand before things get any better. I can't wait to go to the convention... it'll be like having Dolby Digital (or DTS, my preference) 5.1 surround sound booing each other until we finally settle on a candidate... and maybe by that time we may manage to fight an election. My concern is what canuck has mentioned, turning off Liberal voters... we can't afford to eff up anymore. Every faction has to get their act together. Agreed?

As for Rae being booed... well personally, I can understand where it's coming from given that Michael has made it publicly clear that he's opposed in the very few political gatherings I've attended this year... and Mr Rae, Ignatieff's purpoted friend, ought to know this instead of challenging him on a moot point.

I'm sorry you see my logic as flawed but... well the gorram situation got flawed from the get-go. And unlike some of the bozos that post here, I'm trying to actually voice an honest opinion, listen to valid ones, and debate them. Thanks for reading... I'm to bed folks... gzzzz.

10/23/2006 9:47 PM  
Blogger anna yanuk a dit...

how does antonio and company help bridge liberals together?

by the way antonio, you're actions and those of your fellow youngsters constitute little more than a toddler tantrum.

actually, after your despicable actions at the debate, i think pretty much everyone would value the opinions of the toddler over yours and your friends.

YOU are a divider, not dion. who the hell will want to support ignatieff with cronies like you supporting him. not much better than vople at this point.

10/23/2006 10:10 PM  
Blogger [JTF6.0]Undecided a dit...

Why don't we all make the committment, right here and now, that we shall swear not to boo other candidates and show them the respect to listen to their arguments. I can accept that, I have no interest in booing ignatieff even though I disagree with him.

Secondly Antonio, when Jean Lapierre supports your Quebec strategy, then you know you've got problems. :)

10/23/2006 11:57 PM  
Blogger Wah Fist a dit...

Let me see...Iggy offers "a change of pace from the party of Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien."

How big a change do we want? Those guys actually won seats.

If Iggy has something concrete to offer Quebec, then he should lay it out. Platitudes will result in disappointment.
Undecided is right about LaPierre.

10/24/2006 3:01 AM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Lapierre is supporting Bob Rae

10/24/2006 8:17 AM  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

Antonio:

My understanding is that Lapierre is neutral and will stay that way until the convention.

10/24/2006 8:28 AM  
Blogger Braeden Caley a dit...

I think what people are referring to Antonio is Mr. LaPierre's assertions in the press that now we have to vote for this, because not doing so would be a slight against Quebec.

10/24/2006 9:07 AM  
Blogger Braeden Caley a dit...

From the CP wire:


Former minister Jean Lapierre, who is remaining neutral in the leadership race, said the party can't afford to reject the motion of its Quebec wing.

"It's essential that this motion passes at the national convention because otherwise it would be a totally unacceptable snub," he said.

10/24/2006 9:11 AM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Jean Lapierre is neutral. I t was bad speculation on my part and I apologize.

10/24/2006 10:31 AM  
Blogger Skip a dit...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/24/2006 12:07 PM  
Blogger Graydon a dit...

For a debate considered a bore by so many, I've seen more commentary from this debate then from any other held to date and rightly so.

Anytime misrepresentations and falsehoods are put forward people will justifiably get their backs up.

Bob Rae took Ignatieff's writing blatantly out of context and twisted it into an indictment that Ignatieff suppoprts torture. The only thing missing were the orange jump suit wearing New Democrats (yes, its been confirmed) who show up at Ignatieff's campus speeches in Ottawa and then deface his posters outside when everybody is watching the event.

Bob of course was satisfied with his crew of supporters giving a standing ovation to salute this intellectually dishonest travesty. If I was there I can assure you I would have booed as should anyone who has read the article and knows the truth of the matter. Then, to make matters worse, Dion has the gall to tell people not to boo Bob because he is asking valid questions. No wonder people were annoyed and let Stephane Dion know it as well.

Now of course in a perfect world there would be a gentlemanly exchange of ideas and a polite crowd, but trained seal standing ovations for an assertion by Rae that can only be described as bullshit deserve only one response and that's a resounding boo. Shame on Rae for sinking back into tried and not so true NDP tactics and shame on Dion for scolding the audience and not Bob Rae.

10/24/2006 12:23 PM  

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