Friday, August 11, 2006

Friday briefs: Dion, Khan and conspiracy theories

Tough questions: I've been offered a blogger interview this afternoon with Stephane Dion. As I haven't heard back from the campaign on the education issue I intend to explore that topic, but given as some have lamented that no one has asked the candidates the "tough questions" I wanted to open things up for suggestions. What question would you ask, that the media hasn't or won't? Be reasonable now, I'm not asking something like "When did you stop beating your wife?" Anyway, post your suggested question in the comments by 2:30 EST today and I might pick one or two to fire at Stephane.

Predicting the future
: Let me gaze into my crystal ball and predict where this Wajid Khan thing might be going, and why I think Stephen Harper, while I dislike him and his policies, is crazy like a fox:

Say, one month from now, Khan and Harper hold a press conference to announce that Khan has crossed the floor to the CPC. "This wasn't my first choice," said Khan. "I was a loyal Liberal and a loyal Canadian, and I wanted to contribute to Canada in the spirit of bipartisanship by offering my help on the Middle East issue. But my Liberal colleagues have made it clear they no longer want me in their caucus, so, with a heavy heart, I have agreed to follow their wishes."

A somber Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomed Khan to the CPC fold, saying it was unfortunate the Liberal caucus wasn't more welcoming to such a talented MP and supportive of his efforts to find a solution to the Middle East crisis, but added Khan will be a welcome addition to the government team.

Angry Liberals lashed out at Khan's move, calling it a betrayal and demanding he resign to run in a by-election. Kahn dismissed their complaints, however.

"How can they be mad at me for doing exactly what they asked me to do?" asked Kahn. "They forced me into this decision."

More then he bargained for?
Still on Khan, reading the Toronto Star the other day I have to wonder if PM Steve maybe got more that he bargained for.

In an interview with the Star last night, Khan laid out a much more ambitious agenda for his mission, saying he hopes Canada can help broker peace between India and Pakistan and better communications with Iran. He hopes to visit Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Iran, Pakistan and India, as well as Afghanistan.

"My father spoke fluent Farsi," he added. "I understand what Iran is all about."

Remember that tall fellow from the Maritimes, he used to lead the Progressive Conservative party, got dumped by an auto parts heiress? Whatever happened to that guy?

Silver lining: One final Khan note. Hey, it's not all bad for Liberals. In fact, it's pretty decent. You see, the Cons can no longer go after us for voting against their Afghanistan mission extension. Why? Because Harper's new special adviser on South Asia and the Middle East voted against it too.

Although Khan voted against extending the Canadian Forces mission to 2009 earlier this year in the Commons, Khan said in the communiqué, "I support the mission in Afghanistan."
…Reminded he voted against the extension of the Afghan mission, Khan said "at that particular moment it was too rushed ... but you can't have an exit strategy based on how many soldiers have died."

By bringing Khan into the fold Harper clearly agrees with this reasoning, which is what most Liberals have been saying all along: we support the troops, but the vote process was rushed, and there needed to be a proper debate, and that's why we voted no.

So thanks for clearing that up for us Stephen. I'm sure that's the last we'll be hearing from the Cons on that vote.

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Zac said...

Jeff, I would ask about urban poverty and what Dion has planned to deal with the ever growing crisis.

I'm from Hamilton so its always an issue for me.

burlivespipe said...

Perhaps a question on two industries close and dear to the hearts of B.C.ers (and other Canadians, too)... fisheries and forestry. As renewable resources, both industries have suffered through poor management and also global issues -- pine beetle for one, warming oceans for the other.
What role can the gov't of Canada play in directing these industries to protect and strengthen the resources which seem to be labouring under their 'renewable' name?
-sidepoint on fisheries - where as the ocean fishery has seen serious declines over recent years, the farm fishery has stepped up to fill the gap, although its operations have been incredibly controversial (insert rafe mair rant here)... Should farm fisheries be removed from the ocean water and put in land-based ponds until a solution for the fecal and feed pollution and sea lice issues?
by the way, any comment on Bob Rae's statement on Canada's role on the international front yesterday? Seems to me a very succinct, well thought-out and Liberal-minded platform.

bza said...


I'm pretty happy to see the latest misfortune to happen to the Liberals also moonlights as Captain Kirk's greatest advesary.

Its nerdtacular...

Anonymous said...

Jeff, sorry a bit off topic, but is Dion in TO, or are you doing the interview by phone?

If he's in town, I wondered if he would be going to the AIDS conference. (Not really an interview question, just curious as to what kind of Liberal presence there might be). Are any of the candidates going?


Anonymous said...

I'd ask Dion how he can paint himself as the environmental candidate when every independent organization out there has lambasted the Liberal government's environmental record, including his time as environment minister.

I'd also ask him about the lack of policy on his website.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Dion,

To win this contest you (or anyone else) will undoubtedly have to build a coalition on the convention floor.

Likely you will need the support of Gerard Kennedy to win. What will you do to reach out to Gerard and/or his supporters?

A BCer in Toronto said...

I'm pretty happy to see the latest misfortune to happen to the Liberals also moonlights as Captain Kirk's greatest advesary.

And you're ok with the fact that casts the Liberals (Graham, I guess) as Capt. Kirk? :)

KNB, it's a phone interview, I'm not sure where he's at today.

Anonymous said...

Kinsella said:
Him (Ignatieff) and Dion for the finish. They're the only guys the Tories take seriously, in any event.

Did you read this on Kinsella's site? He is predicting a Dion Iggy final ballot. So am I. Which is why i asked the Kennedy question above (before even reading kinsella).

I think Kennedy will be the Kingmaker.

If he picks Iggy it will be because he negotiated a good cabinet spot for himself. If he picks Dion it will be because he wants to be the leaders after Dion (ie. Anglo, Franco, Anglo, Franco pattern)

RedMapleLeaf said...

I love this Liberal 'outrage' over Khan (like Minna, Fry et al represent the party, lol). Khan is a principled man, who is well positioned to excel in this role.

Yes, it is not usual for a member of the opposition to work with the government in this capacity, but these are unusual times.

The fact of the matter is, these same outraged people said NOTHING of the fact that Denis Coderre marched under a HEZBOLLAH flag in Montreal with seperatist leaders, thereby offering tacit approval.

Hmmm. Khan is accused of collaborating with the enemy in Parliament whose worst threat is re-election and Coderre marches in support of a murder-peddling TERRORIST group, so defined by a Cabinet he was a member of, and no one bats an eyelash.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Interview went well, I hope to have something up over the weekend.

Anon 454, I did see the Kinsella post. I certaintly hope for that scenario, and Gerard could well be a kingmaker, but I wouldn't count Gerard out yet either, simply because of the strength of his organization.

I didn't ask that question of Stephane though just because, as interested as we and me all would be, I know there's no way he would answer beyond boilerplate, nor would any candidate at this point.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Maple, I'll leave it to others to retort on the "marching under the flag" issue.

On Khan, I'll just say I, for one, and not outraged. More like amused, entertained. And dismayed by the outraged ones, particularly Fry and Minna, as you mentioned. I think reactions like Minna's and Fry's, while understandable, are playing into Harper's hands. I could well envision the scenario I outlined in the post playing out. And while I don't think Khan will have seen that end game coming, I think Steve will have.

Scott Tribe said...

I'll ask the same question that was asked earlier... did you interview him personally or by phone - or by submitting questions via email?

A BCer in Toronto said...

Scott, we did a a phone interview.

MississaugaPeter said...


A generation ago fisheries and forestry were renewable industries. They are no longer.

Predictions of a Dion-Ignatieff final two are very premature and idiotic to make considering the convention is 5 months away. Of all people, Warren knows that. He is just plugging his guy Dion.

bza said...

How bad is Graham's acting skills? ;)