Dear Liberal caucus,
Welcome to Vancouver, and beautiful British Columbia. You could not have picked a better place for your summer caucus meetings. Wouldn’t this be a much nicer place for a leadership convention than, say, Montreal in December?
But I digress. I hope you enjoy your stay on the Wonderful West Coast. Take in the sights. Enjoy a few rounds of golf. But remember, you're also here to work. And judging by your performance in the last session of Parliament there's a lot of work to be done.
If this were a football game, we've have given-up a number of interceptions and allowed a number of touchdowns, having failed to move the yardsticks much ourselves, settling for a field goal. Luckily though it's only halftime, and there's plenty of football left to be played.
We've gotten soft. Weak. Out of shape. Too many of our veterans aren't stepping-up. OK, enough of the sports analogy. But the fact is too many of you haven't gotten the memo that we're not in government anymore. We're in opposition now, and that's a whole new ball game. Damm, I said no more sports analogies.
It's time to start holding this government accountable. It's time to be a strong, forceful opposition. That doesn't have to mean name-calling, not that our Conservarino friends are above such silliness. But with the governing experience our members have, we should be able to quite clearly and intelligently explain to Canadians the problems with this government's policies and proposals. Why aren't we?
I know we've got a leadership race on, but I don't care. Suck it up. Only a few caucus members are candidates, the rest of our rather large, veteran caucus should be back in the house doing their jobs. And yet it's our new, young MPs that have been the only ones to show any spunk so far. Where's our ex-ministers? I know you miss the limos guys, but get over it.
You need to find where you've left your guts, reinsert them, and get back to work standing-up for the Canadians that sent you to Ottawa. This is a minority government. Most of the Canadian population, and most of their elected representatives, don't support the Conservative agenda. It's time to stop being pussies and start acting like the Official Opposition.
Not everything can be a confidence motion, no matter what Harper threatens. So quit rolling over every time he makes one of his empty threats. Don't be afraid to say bite me Steve, you don't have a mandate and most Canadians don't support you on that.
We've got a communications problem. Both inside and outside the house we're not communicating our message. Instead we're coming across as weak, inconsistent, and divided. I know some debate is going to happen during a leadership race but still, it's time to smarten up. We've let the Conservatives control the message for far too long.
You guys need to stop treating Bill Graham like a substitute teacher. And Bill, you need to pick up the paddle and take charge. Everybody says they respect you, but walking all over you is a funny way to show it. Yes, you're just an interim leader, but after interim comes leader. Where have you been, man? I saw you give a barnburner of a speech at LPC(O) in May and then I don't think I've seen you since. We have leadership candidates but right now YOU are the leader. Set the agenda, enforce some caucus discipline to keep them on message, and communicate the message to Canadians. You need to get out front Bill.
I'm told election readiness is going to be on your agenda this week. That's a good thing, because we are so not ready for an election. I'm not convinced you guys have learned anything from 2004 and 2006. And we know what history says about those that don't learn from it.
I'm going back to the sports analogy. It's time to write a new playbook. Be bold, be sassy, be funny, and be aggressive. Take some risks. You've been playing like 102 individuals instead of as a team. Have a huddle in Vancouver, come up with a game plan and then come out in the fall and execute as one unit.
Stop worrying about getting your uniforms dirty. We can Shout-out the grass stains. The damage a Harper majority government could do to Canada would be much more difficult to fix.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Dear Liberal caucus,