April 14, 2007

For a Special Occasion, I Go into Detail

I have to admit I was enjoying myself yesterday.

Red Tory, I think irascible is a little over the top (especially when most of my “anger” is sarcastic), but choleric is pretty accurate in describing how I have been feeling the past little while with regard to the judgment and the political instinct of our leader.

I guess I am sort of a purist when it comes to politics. I don’t mean I am not open to change. I just think that disrespect is the worst way to lose a voter because they tend not to come back.

I actually like Elizabeth May. I like her because she is quirky. I like her because she has worked tirelessly for her cause. I also want her elected to the House of Commons.

Spending most of my short political life in Quebec, I am accustomed to leveling the “national party” argument against the likes of Gilles Duceppe because they show a fundamental disrespect for the rest of Canada by taking their money for their party, but wanting to break the country up.

For the Liberals of Central Nova, we have told them we prefer to see somebody else elected, a party with principles different than ours, with a different history than ours. As much as some people like to think that leaders are everything when it comes to voting, for the 70% of the vote that does not budge every election is based on deep party ties which transcend who the present leader is.

Nowhere is this deep tradition more present than in the Maritimes. The Atlantic Provinces need a good reason to change their MP most of the time. Last election, with Quebec and Ontario experiencing major change, Atlantic Canada saw 2 seats change hands. What do we tell the lifetime Liberals of Central Nova? That in this constituency, Liberal values don’t matter? Why this riding and not any of the other 307?

I usually don’t listen to Jack Layton but I am told he thinks backroom dealing is bad. If somebody can prove to me how the only accomplishment ever in 40 years of NDP history, the NDP budget, was NOT backroom dealing, I will vote for the NDP. Seriously Jack, get a grip…

I understand that we all don’t like dogboy and we think his time is best spent moping on his farm with his neighbour’s dog rather than embarrassing Canada on a daily basis.

If we think Elizabeth May should get into Parliament on principle, why not give her a Liberal riding to run in? She wanted to run in one up until she started making phone calls and figured a riding that went Conservative for 40 of the last 44 years was the place to be…

But she did run in London, in a Liberal seat, and came second. If a Liberal didn’t run, she would have likely won too. Liberals actually do have a tradition of not running against a leader when they seek a seat in Parliament after winning their party’s leadership.

I guess the real principle here is that Liberals are the best and then if no Liberal is available, Elizabeth May is just as good. I actually think she is better than a back bench Liberal MP when it comes to promoting the environment. You won’t ever see me saying we should not present the Liberal option in a general election…EVER! How silly of me…

Now that we have rationalized making political orphans out of 10 000 Liberal Nova Scotians, why not do it in the 25 or so other ridings where Liberal votes allow the Tories to beat the NDP. If the goal is to beat Stephen Harper, we should be willing to make political orphans out of these 250 000 Canadian Liberals as well…after all, the ends do justify the means, right Scott…

There is a method to accomplish this kind of madness and it was accomplished by a Liberal which we all admire, Jean Chretien.

In his riding of Shawinigan or Saint-Maurice-Lafleche, Mr. Chretien had a tough time getting ahead of the Creditiste (damn the ADQ) and in order to make his life easier, he would make sure one of his friends would win the Conservative nomination, and then not campaign very much during the election. According to Jean, some people just liked the business they would get by having their name on the ballot and on the posters.

This strategy was not public. It was not a park-your-vote ploy in Shawinigan. It was slightly nefarious methods by one of the smartest political operatives in Canadian history. So if we wanted Elizabeth May elected in Central Nova, we would put up a symbolic candidate who wouldn’t campaign too hard, and allow some of our softer vote to go green. I was an advocate for this kind of strategy as one of my readers went and pointed out.

“I'm sure we can keep Roger Cuzner somewhat occupied.” is what I said. Not saying Mr. Cuzner is a bad guy. Actually, to the contrary; Mr. Cuzner is a really great fellow. I actually think we need Elizabeth May in Parliament to get the environmental message out. I do not, however, appreciate the openly crass methods that Mr. Dion has used. It damages the credibility of the party I have loved my entire political life.

I also do not appreciate Ms. May leveling criticism at our party after we did her the biggest favor she will ever get in her career. Her loyalty is to Dion, not to the Liberal Party. Sounds Lapierrish to me. Last time I checked, it was these Liberal voters she needed to get elected…not Green voters…

By openly endorsing Ms. May, we are giving her party instant credibility, further splitting our vote. It would have been one thing to quietly participate in one riding, (probably better to do Saanich Gulf Islands) and let the chips fall as they may. It is entirely different to openly acknowledge that we do not care for our voters in a part of the country, where party loyalty is very, very important.

As usual, calls of my disloyalty appear. I am not terribly surprised. Some Liberals seemed to have confused Tous Ensemble with cult-like Kool-Aid drinking. (Hi Jason!) By rallying to a leader, it should never mean that one has to throw their principles out the window and blindly support the leader’s decisions. We should never abandon our Liberal principles anywhere, even in ridings where we are certain to lose. Did we learn anything from Howard Dean? Or were we just waiting for him to scream?

The best parties are the ones with a vibrant internal debate. That applies to the best democracies as well. Those with the most competitive democracies are often the best…

Strategic voting is an option all parties offer to Canadians. By removing one of the candidates, we no longer offer the option, but force strategic voting onto Canadians. I hardly think this is the way the greatest political machine in the western world over the last century, would operate. Just the opinion of a perplexed Liberal…nothing more.

28 Commentaires:

Blogger PhillyC a dit...

If Canadians had a better electoral system, which they easily could, you wouldn't have to write all of that. There would be no issue.

I don't question your loyalty to the Big Red Machine. Ever since Dion won, you haven't mentioned that his environmental plan was plagiarism.

4/14/2007 12:03 p.m.  
Blogger JimTan a dit...

Dion walked into the Montreal Conference Center with just 17% of elected delegates. I thought that he had a realistic chance of winning. He did, and without compromising himself.

In fact, the party would not be able to prevent a harper majority without Dion’s green platform.

At this moment, Dion is likely to get his way on green regulations. It is even possible that he could be the next Prime Minister if the opposition unites against harper.

So far, I hear a lot of complaints that Dion is not behaving as we would like him to. I've said that he is a terrible leader and the worst communicator in Canada. He is.

Fact of the matter is that this is Stephane Dion. He is going to do things his way. Give him credit for his analytic intelligence. In his life, he’s learned to work around his handicaps. Let’s wait and see his entire strategy.

P.S. Don’t underestimate the lingering resentment against the party from ex-supporters. I’ve talked to lifetime voters who have said that they will ‘never’ vote LP again.

Dion has the platform, but he has to emotionally rehabilitate the party.

4/14/2007 12:05 p.m.  
Blogger Scott Blurton a dit...

I'm sorry Antonio, you're caught in a contradiction of your own design. Are you seriously suggesting that we should manipulate the system a la Chretien (which borders on fraud) instead of choosing not to run a candidate in a riding we can't win? Are you suggesting that we should sacrifice one of our sitting members (Cuzner) rather than Mr. Mackay? Your problem now seems to be that Dion is doing it openly and honourably rather than secretively. Furthermore, what Dion has done is exactly what you've suggested earlier. Give it a rest Antonio, the leadership is over, we have no time for sour grapes.

4/14/2007 12:29 p.m.  
Blogger Glen a dit...

It's funny how now you're saying we should have run in her a Liberal riding instead of a Con stronghold.


There you were arguing we should ally with her to take down the NDP in Ottawa Centre. Falling a little too in love with Harper and Mackay Antonio?

4/14/2007 12:34 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Bottom line

I think Elizabeth May should be elected.

I also think Liberals should run in 308 ridings.

I suggested Ottawa Centre

Ms. May chooses where she runs. We were better off helping her behind the scenes then openly announcing that we think she should win. Not all Liberal voters are comfortable voting Green, even for May.

We removed their option. That is why I am upset.

4/14/2007 12:38 p.m.  
Blogger Gayle a dit...

For some of us (the ones who live in ridings the liberals do not expect to win), token candidates are insulting. Where I live the NDP would win if the liberals would not run a candidate. Just to the north of me, the liberals would win if the NDP would not run a candidate. Instead, the conservatives get two MP's.

Perhaps you can tell me how this helps the people in these two ridings - people who do not want to be represented by Harper, but who end up with that result because of the stubborn adherence to party tradition that says that someone has to run in every riding.

Our country would be a much better place if party members put their country first.

4/14/2007 1:04 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Gayle, the only thing I can tell you is that there are some people who want to vote for their party, regardless of who the candidate is.

The Liberals were publicly much much better off with a token candidate then angering the community.

4/14/2007 1:36 p.m.  
Blogger Kuri a dit...

As much as some people like to think that leaders are everything when it comes to voting, for the 70% of the vote that does not budge every election is based on deep party ties which transcend who the present leader is.

Yes. This whole leader thing is an Americanization of our political discourse.

Leaders are just MPs in many respects. And while they're necessary to the organization of a political party, we don't have to make all of our parties into personality cults for them to be effective.

Hell, Deborah Gray was in the HoC for the Reform party first without stepping aside for Manning. Her win didn't undermine him but actually supporting their movement....

4/14/2007 1:51 p.m.  
Blogger Gayle a dit...

And that is where I think you are wrong Antonio. This move may anger some party members, but it will make a lot of people who are not party members very happy.

It is that whole "putting the country before the party" thing that I have been talking about.

It is not like every party member supports every liberal party position. There will always be positions taken that alienate some party members, but the goal is to appeal to the vast majority of the electorate who are not members of a political party, and whose votes are up for grabs. This move does just that - the only people complaining are the NDP, the CP and some prominent but too-cowardly-to-be-publicly-identifed liberal party members.

4/14/2007 1:53 p.m.  
Blogger Dan McKenzie a dit...

The problem with your post is that you're saying this move was unprincipled by Dion. But I believe, and maybe I'm being naive, but that Dion was doing what he thought was principled.

Now whether this is a good idea, I still have no idea.

4/14/2007 2:48 p.m.  
Blogger canuckistanian a dit...

agreed gayle, there is no lower form of pondscum than partisan sycophants who put party before country. this is something i will never understand.

the benefit of this is that not only is it good for the country, but it is good for the liberal party too. the benefit for dion is that not only was it a good move tactically, it has the benefit of being principled.

4/14/2007 3:28 p.m.  
Blogger Sinestra a dit...

Antonio, agreed that all parties need internal dialogue. The problem with your approach (and Cerberus, etc.) is that you don't seem to believe in 'internal' dialogues. Rather than raise your concerns with people in the OLO, you choose to slag the leader on your blog. I'm sure, Antonio, if you convened a meeting where we Liberals could have an 'internal' dialogue about the problems you perceive as signs of M. Dion's weakness/ poor leadership, many people would attend. This public pillorying by you - who have not had a positive word to say about the leader since he was elected - kind of gives lie to your great, long explication.

4/14/2007 4:30 p.m.  
Blogger Gayle a dit...

Just one more point.

Is it not hypocritical for anonymous liberal party members to complain about disenfranchising liberal voters, when those same anonmymous liberal party members are undermining Dion - the choice of the grassroots of the liberal party (at least the closest thing one can be to grassroots with the current system) - at every turn? Talk about disrespecting liberal voters.

The rank and file chose Dion - I know he was not the choice of most caucus members, or of longtime senior party members, but he was the choice of the people who count - the people who donate their time and money to this party.

Each and every time some anonomous doofus decides to complain about Dion to the press, it is an insult to the people who voted for him. It is also a really good way to make sure the liberals lose the next election, but then again it seems it is far more important to have great influence over the leader than it is to have an effective party.

4/14/2007 5:39 p.m.  
Blogger propatriaducimus a dit...

1.Run a throwaway candidate in the riding you secretly dont want to win against May just so you can say "308!" in public.

2.Publicly declare that you want may to win that riding.

I dont understand how someone can say choice 1 is right and choice 2 is wrong.

This is why i like Dion. He takes a BS situation that everyone knows is BS but pretends isnt , and once again brings clarity to the table.

4/14/2007 6:28 p.m.  
Blogger Mark a dit...

"The rank and file chose Dion - I know he was not the choice of most caucus members, or of longtime senior party members, but he was the choice of the people who count - the people who donate their time and money to this party"

Gayle - a very good point. Which is why it is curious still that the first people the media go to for reaction are the bery people who bet wrong at the Leadership convention.

Another thing. Caucus members who are so adamant that the party maintain a "principled", "traditional" and "democratic" approach should probably pause to ask the membership what they think of the fact that their nominations have been protected, in some cases, since 1988...

4/14/2007 7:42 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

First, I have never asked that Dion quit, just to be more open to the wishes of the Quebec people and the LPCQ.

That is what I have been pushing from day one.

Those who know me also know that had Michael won, and we were in this situation, I would be raising the issue. It is my nature.

I believe deep down that we must offer the Liberal brand in 308 ridings.

There are some Liberals who dont care who Dion supports in Central Nova, because they are Liberals and want to support the Liberal Party.

We cannot remove the option of voting Liberal for them. I am steafastly agaisnt that.

When I said we need to run a token candidate, I mean we must do something to accomodate those who wish to vote Liberal.

If I was in Central Nova, I would vote for May. However, there are many Liberals in the riding who want to vote Liberal. We must respect their decision.

4/14/2007 9:17 p.m.  
Blogger Red Tory a dit...

Antonio — Well argued, but I still can’t bring myself to agree with you regarding the merits of running a token or symbolic candidate that’s really nothing more than a façade. I think that belittles and patronizes everyone involved even though you might choose to put a lofty top-spin on it.

4/14/2007 9:45 p.m.  
Blogger JimTan a dit...

Antonio said

“I believe deep down that we must offer the Liberal brand in 308 ridings.

There are some Liberals who dont care who Dion supports in Central Nova, because they are Liberals and want to support the Liberal Party.”

I can’t believe that you are genuine. The LPC represents certain values and programs. Supporters of the LPC should be glad if the LPC succeeds.

Sacrificing a vote in a riding the LPC can’t win is a small price if May delivers enough votes to win several other ridings.

Brand loyalty works both ways.

The only valid exception is for voters who dislike May and the GP. In that case, Dion needs to apologize to them.

4/14/2007 10:16 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

talk to people who have voted Liberal for longer than we have been alive, and ask them what they would do if no Liberal ran.

I know here in the Italian community, just the thought of it sounds ludicrous

4/14/2007 11:24 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

First off,
for someone who worked Pearson's campaign in L-N-C against May, yes, she would have won the riding if Glen or another strong Liberal did not run. This is clearly clearly obvious from the student support and Green work on the ground.

Yet, I don't think the idea of giving up a riding, especially a Maritime riding, is a good idea. If May supports Dion, and vice-versa, one leaves to leave one of their parties and support each other. I'm not a fan of alliances, even though I support May and think she's got something valuable to say within the Canadian polticial sphere.

However, if I were a Liberal in Central Nova, I'd be incredibly pissed off. I'd be sitting it out, but of course I can't speak for a Central Nova resident. I mean, i'm from Ontario. lol

I'm not a fan of this deal.. if May wanted into the House bad enough, she should mount a good campaign like she did in London. Practically 'giving' her a riding isn't the way to do it.

4/15/2007 1:38 a.m.  
Blogger JimTan a dit...

Jason said

“I'm not a fan of this deal.. if May wanted into the House bad enough, she should mount a good campaign like she did in London. Practically 'giving' her a riding isn't the way to do it.”

I appreciate the annoyance of activists like yourself who have invested blood and sweat into your riding. A pass for May does make it all seem pointless.

Still, try and take the larger view. What’s in it for the party? Hopefully, May’s quid pro quo will help the LPC win. Why must it win in the next election?

1) To pass green laws that will help our children.
2) To prevent the CPC from diluting the enforcement of the law.
3) To prevent the CPC from weakening the federal government.
4) To restore international respect for Canada.

Surely those are goals worthy of our sacrifices?

4/15/2007 9:25 a.m.  
Blogger Sinestra a dit...

Antonio, Antonio. Please enlighten me. Just which 'wishes' of the Quebec people and PLCQ is M. Dion disrespecting? From what I can see it's the PLCQ that is disrespecting (a) the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and (b) the grassroots of the PLCQ. Seems a lot of these 'problems' could be solved with a thorough house-cleaning. Those leaked comments in the Journal de Montreal on Thursday tell me that certain people in the PLCQ are desperate to:

1. Associate Dion with 'criminal' elements: the founder of the Marijuana party.

2. Link Dion to sponsorship scandal: Me. Joncas's defense of an accused Liberal before Gomery.

3. Link Dion (and Justin Trudeau) to sponsorship scandal by pointing out that Franco Iacono is helping organise in Papineau.

This is all coming from inside. Who, I ask, is disrespecting who?

4/15/2007 10:24 a.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

I hope you are not accusing me of making those comments Jennifer.

There will be an election in November. You know who is responsible, you can take the requisite action then...

4/15/2007 11:20 a.m.  
Blogger Sinestra a dit...

Certainly not. The Journal claimed the source to be a Liberal insider. Why would you ever think I was suggesting you said them?

There are a few theories as to the source. You don't factor in on this one.

4/15/2007 3:00 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

I would hope not.

I may be opinionated Jennifer, but I dont go crying mommy to the reporters either

4/15/2007 3:15 p.m.  
Blogger propatria a dit...

"I believe deep down that we must offer the Liberal brand in 308 ridings."

Dion believes having May win in Central Nova and not playing games is more important for the country. Hes the leader of the liberal party.

You seem to cross the line between agreeing to disagree with dion and moving forward on the one hand, and trying to tear dion apart on the other as if there is no difference between the two.

4/15/2007 4:34 p.m.  
Blogger Sinestra a dit...

Darling, while I agree that you don't snivel 'nonna' to the reporters, I equally agree that you avoid questions that are posed to you. Again, what has M. Dion done to disrespect PLCQ and the grassroots? Please answer this time.

And while I'm on the topic, what is your opinion on the three leaked tidbits I included?

4/15/2007 8:49 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...


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