Saturday, April 14, 2007

What else? The Dion/May thing

I hesitate to kill more virtual trees over analyzing the May/Dion thing but I'll say this, in typical Liberal fashion: it will either go really well, or really badly.

The more I think about it though, the more I think it's a good, although risky move. On reflection I think the whole running in each riding thing is more important to politicos than it is to regular Canadians. The one part I still have trouble with is the plight of the Liberals in Central Nova, I know if this happened in my riding I'd be pissed. Hopefully I'd get over it, but I'd be pissed.

I certainly understand the objections of Liberals that have concerns with the move, like my friend Ted. I don't agree with them all, but I understand. I think though that, as I said, what we as political junkies feel is important aren't necessarily what most Canadians feel is important.

And I think most Canadians are tired of the partisanship and the rancor of three years of minority governments. They don't care about long-held political traditions, they have other things on their mind. But they do see politicians as increasingly childish, and they want to see politicians try to work together. I think they'll welcome, and applaud, moves in that direction.

If, that is, the messaging is done right here. The spin war has already begun, the battle for the hearts and minds if you will. Hopefully we can pull this one off. As I said, it will go well (seen as working together for the greater good) or it will go badly (seen as political opportunism). Time will tell.


This certainly seems to have many grand Liberal mucky-mucks upset, given the large number of anonymous “senior Liberals” being quoted by the gossip columnists. Pretty chickenshit to be hiding be hiding anonymity to make comments like: "In Monty Python lexicon -- we are the silly party." Anyway, I'm not going to lose any sleep over this “insiders” nonsense, their motivations are far from pure.

I did laugh out loud (it deserved to be spelled out rather than LOL'd) at this line though:

The criticism from senior Liberals also focuses on what this deal says to the grassroots...
Yes, because senior Liberal insiders have always been sooooooo in touch and concerned with the grassroots before. Trust me friends, the grassroots are liking this.

That brings me to the Conservatives, who for some reason sent Monte Solberg out to spin on this one. I thought it was a pretty weak performance, and this bit was particularly amusing:
He also says Dion must explain to Canadians whether he endorses the entire Green Party platform - and agrees with them that Canada should leave the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Tories have co-operated with the Bloc Quebecois to pass their budget and keep Parliament alive.

But Solberg quickly dismissed a suggestion that - by his own logic - that means the Conservatives could be accused of supporting Quebec independence.

"The Bloc Quebecois thinks it's in the interest of Quebec to support the Conservative budget and we agree with that. This is about Stephane Dion's leadership," Solberg said.
Yeah, hey, look over there! Sponsorship, and what not! Pay no attention to the man behind the mirror, or my logical contortions! Oppsy.

The Cons though only see this as an opportunity to gain some ground though, they don't stand to lose from the Dion/May deal.

Now, the NDP on the other hand...which would explain Jack Layton's rather angry response. Long story short, he's threatened. He needn't have been, it seems May wanted to work with him to and he refused to take her calls. One hopes if we ever see the kind of electoral reform the NDP advocates, he'd be more willing to work with the other progressive parties.

I can't blame him though for trying to maximize his gains under the current system. Disappointing, but entirely understandable. I will, however, say this. If we're picking dance partners and the Liberals and Greens are doing the tango, I wouldn't want to be the NDP left on the dance floor with the Harper Conservatives...

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The Rat said...

How do you think voters think? I bet it's something like this:

When an election is called they pay attention to a few things like commercials, a few prominent news stories, and maybe the debates, but most cannot name the candidates in their own riding. They make up their mind mainly on a few new things and their voting pattern in the past. Come voting day they head to the polling station and look for the party symbol on the ballot.

OOOPS, there's no Liberal on that ballot. Now who do I vote for??

Do you really think the average Joe voter is going to be keeping track of all the little backroom deals you guys make ad vote the "right" way, or do you think maybe he'll have to go with some second choice, on the spot? Gee there sure were a lot of Conservative commercials on TV . . .

Jason Cherniak said...

I'm pretty confident that voters in Central Nova will know that Dion is supporting May.

burlivespipe said...

Both the NdPer and CON talking puppets have been going on and on about 'back-room deal' between Dion and May... That Dion has burned the grassroots.
Hmm, taking those 2 apart shouldn't be too tough. Backroom deal, like the one Laytun made with Harpor in fall '05, that saw items like Kelowna Accord, national childcare, and committment to Kyoto killed? How has that backroom deal worked out for you, Jack, and the progressives you supposedly are working for? Backroom deal, Tories? Like the one you made with the Bloc to 'get things done for Quebec'? Sure, that's not necessarily an anti-Canadian thing, but when you pickpocket Peter to payoff Pierre, what are the farmers in Winnipeg and PEI to think?
Grassroots, yeh, Harpor knows all about them. He's essentially disenfranchised riding after riding with his secret deals, buying off candidates etc. He stiff armed long-time Cons who wanted to run to be the candidate to allow special candidates to run. And then when their candidates are elected? Can you say silent treatment -- because we know all words and winks can only come with PMO approval.
Had to laugh when Soleberg hinted at the Green candidate's viewpoint on 9-11, how now Dion must be endorsing that. So Monty, are we greenlighting the right to dig into every party's candidate's words in the past.

Prairie Kid said...

I wonder what the people in Central Nova will think about voting for a party who has a member who pumped their fist in glee when the Twin Towers fell? And the Liberals got in bed with a party that supports these views?

Gayle said...

Well, PK - they do not seem to be too concerned about the fact their current MP comes from a party with a member who believes Nelson Mandella is a terrorist, and a party who wanted to send Canada to war in Iraq, so I do not think this will impact them either.

biff said...

I don't recall the conservatives ever putting forth seperatist legislation.

I do recall the bloc voting for conservatives legislation, just as the liberals have, and just as the bloc did with Liberals.

The defense for Dion played in that article was pathetic.

No, there's a bit of a difference in another party voting for your legislation which happens, oh, I dunno, nearly every time a bill is passed,

and ceding a seat to another party which has never happened before in the LPC's history and for good reason.

The fact that dishonest analogies have to be used only under underscores how shaky the ground is beneath Dion right now.

UWHabs said...

Monty had some weak spin there. You think they would counter chatting more about the backroom deals and such.

Otherwise, everyone seems up in arms about it today, but it'll be interesting to see how this plays down the road. It seems the media is trying to spin it as a bad move, which isn't as good.

A View From The Left said...

biff two words: google search.

had you be so inclined to do one you would have found that there were two times in the LPCs history where they didn't run a candidate in order for progressive candidates to win over Conservative ones.

Woman said...

I was wondering about those anonymous quotes in the media. These Liberal mucky mucks should have the backbone to speak out in the open or shut my opinion.

canuckistanian said...

gasp, "backroom deals"!!! right on national television, in front of the cameras, how sinister!!!

oh, and biff, there were many times when the libs had a token candidate lose, like when we let joe clark take calgary center.

biff said...

Dion is in violation of the Lib Constitution,

both in the spirit, and the letter, the relevant portions:

"2 Purposes

(1) The fundamental purposes of the Party are:
(a) to participate in the public affairs of Canada by endorsing members of the Party as candidates of the Party for election to the House of Commons and supporting their election;

10 Rights of members

(3) Subject to Chapter 12, a member of the Party has the right to seek to be a candidate of the Party for election to the House of

Chapter 15 – Candidate selection meetings
58 Purpose
Each EDA must hold a candidate selection meeting to select a candidate of the Party for election to the House of Commons at the time specified by, and in accordance with, the rules made by the National Election Readiness Committee under Section 60."

- Purpose of the party is to endorse party members as candidates: violation (that's a biggie as it goes to the root of the party, which is obviously not to elect other party members),

- Each member has a right to seek to be a member: violation, in the NS riding EVERYONE is prohibited

- Each riding MUST select a candidate to run for parliament: violation.

Dion is explicitly violating his own party's constitution.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Well I'm not a lawyer Biff, or a constitutional scholar. Not sure if you are either. But I think before you finalize your brief, there's one more pertinent section of the LPC constitution you might want to consider: the part that says the leader has final approval on all candidates, and can refuse to sign their nomination papers if he choses.

biff said...


refuse to sign everyone?

On condition they they are Liberal?

That interpretation, my good man, would be a direct violation of all of those other sections,

and that just covers who he can exclude.

He MUST run a Liberal in every riding.


Dion's in violation.

I love how Liberals are fighting for an interpretation of their constitution which allows for ANOTHER PARTY to supercede the Liberals.

I just love it.

We have entered bizarro world.

The only world one could be in when defending Dion's actions.