Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Globe is trying to manufacture controversy

Apologies to Bill Curry, but this story in the Globe this morning is ridiculous.

It's a piece on the appointment yesterday of Michelle Simson as the Liberal candidate in Scarborough-Southwest, and it tries to make it seem like there's some controversy about it and that people in Scarborough are upset. And of course, as always an 'unnamed source' is trotted out to somehow bolster this flimsy case, this time an unnamed 'long-time Toronto Liberal' who apparently didn’t have the guts to put their name to their comments.


I live in Scarborough-Centre, and I've heard of no controversy. Indeed, it has been well known for many months that Scarborough-Southwest was reserved for the appointment of a female candidate, and that it would likely be Michelle. The only other candidate that had been green lighted, Vijay Sappani, is quoted by the Globe as being in favour of the appointment as the best thing for the party. I know that he's supportive of Michelle and the appointment was no surprise to him either, it's been expected for months.


The power of appointment is one that the members of the LPC democratically gave to the leader. It is rarely used; besides the by-elections Dion’s only other appointment has been Martha-Hall Findlay to Willowdale. Dion has signaled he will use appointments if necessary to reach his goal of 33 per cent female candidates, and as soon as Scarborough-Southwest was opened with Tom Whapell’s retirement announcement it was signaled within the party this winnable riding was reserved for a female candidate, likely by appointment.


It's unfortunate that some anonymous people with their own agendas and motivations are trying to sow the seeds of dissent, stir the pot and create controversy where there is none. Obviously, they have their own axe to grind. It's just unfortunate the Globe would play along
by unnecessarily granting them anonymity.

If the person at least had the guts to put their name to their comments I could respect that, and their points could be debated. But hiding behind anonymity while throwing bricks at people is just weak.

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16 comments:

Scott Tribe said...

I would take a guess the Toronto Liberal is probably a disappointed supporter of Georgina Benzcik, the other candidate wanting to run in that riding.

knb said...

Presuming Curry titled the piece, (which he may not have), he's stirring the pot too.

It's really beginning to tick me off frankly. There are ton's of off hand statements by reporters of Dion being MIA, which is untrue, he's just not being covered. When he is covered, it seems mandatory that the "unrest" in the party angle is thrown in.

Mark Dowling said...

If the only alternative is a carpetbagger (too), I don't have as much of a problem with appointed candidates but otherwise I do. Look how Emerson turned out after all. If only someone would turf my absentee MP (Layton)

Rural Empowerment Program said...

Jeff,

Just to stand corrected, I am not sure if the process and time taken was right, but the party had their own reasons to it. I have made it clear that if the appointment was made to keep the leaders promise for 1/3rd seats for women, then I support the ideology and support the candidate.

I am not taking any guess on who the long time Liberal is, but such remarks do not help the party or the communties they claim to represent.

Anytime some one is appointed, there will be people who are dissappointed. It is upto Michelle to work with everyone and win their support, which I think she is capable of doing.

Rural Empowerment Program said...

Jeff,

Just to stand corrected, I am not sure if the process and time taken was right, but the party had their own reasons to it. I have made it clear that if the appointment was made to keep the leaders promise for 1/3rd seats for women, then I support the ideology and support the candidate.

I am not taking any guess on who the long time Liberal is, but such remarks do not help the party or the communties they claim to represent.

Anytime some one is appointed, there will be people who are dissappointed. It is upto Michelle to work with everyone and win their support, which I think she is capable of doing.

Vijay Sappani
p.s. due to your posting restrictions, I have to sign in from the only blogger id I have.

Blogging Horse said...

Rarely used?

Dion has already used it at least four times: Jocelyn Coulon in Outremont, Anne Park Shannon in Victoria, the Liberal spokesperson who runs the Green Party in Central Nova and now Michelle Simson in Scarborough Southwest.

And does it matter that it's "rarely used"? Imagine that Elections Canada had the power to choose how you voted, but it was "rarely used". Would that make it more democratic?

If Liberals want to avoid charges of this sort they should tell Dion to stop overriding local democracy. It's not complicated.

The NDP has the best record of any party in running women, and it doesn't require Jack Layton dismissing local democracy.

Johnny said...

Jeff Jedras sorry but
this is controversial,because every time a leader of a political party appoints
a candidate no matter what political stripes is wrong controversial this is why they have riding associations. They are the ones who are supposed
to pick their candidate i
know other parties do the same but it is wrong. Or else why do they have riding associations? Its not democratic.

BTW KNB nice to see you on this blog too;)

Justin Tetreault said...

I bet the anonymous source was Ray Heard.

janfromthebruce said...

Like blogging horse said, not all parties "do this". The NDP mandates that every riding association conduct a candidate for people who are considered minorities, and this must be submitted to the provincial and/or national office.
If the libs national office wanted this candidate to win, they could have put the resources in there to help this candidate sign up new voters and talk to local riding members about what a great candidate she is.
In fact, by the candidate getting out in the community and gathering support and members, is better for her to win. It makes it look like she couldn't win against other candidates, or men. Thus it makes her look like a weak candidate.

A BCer in Toronto said...

probably a disappointed supporter of Georgina Benzcik...

If so, that would make their comments complaining about "a Caucasian woman" rather odd.

Presuming Curry titled the piece

Reporters don't write the headlines, but in this case the story matched the headline.

Just to stand corrected, I am not sure if the process and time taken was right, but the party had their own reasons to it.

Sorry if you felt I misread your comments, I was just trying to summarize your comments to the Globe. And I agree, the process was poorly handled. Given that an appointment was a foregone conclusion, I don't know why they didn't do it months ago.

And the login thing is needed to keep the spam, and trollers, at bay, it was getting bad at one point.

Dion has already used it at least four times: Jocelyn Coulon in Outremont, Anne Park Shannon in Victoria, the Liberal spokesperson who runs the Green Party in Central Nova and now Michelle Simson in Scarborough Southwest.

I said besides byelections (which would include the other two Quebec ones too).

Anne Park Shannon was not appointed, she ran for the nomination and was unopposed. And a candidate wasn't appointed in Central Nova, though I get what you're saying.

As I said, besides byelections there have been two appointments: Hall Findlay and Simson.

The NDP has the best record of any party in running women, and it doesn't require Jack Layton dismissing local democracy.

They don't make appointments, no. But, like all parties, the NDP have told people they're not to run in order to reserve a riding for a desired candidate. Strongly discouraged not to run, shall we say. While all parties do this, frankly, I'd prefer an appointment in the open to a backroom fixed nomination.

sorry but
this is controversial,because every time a leader of a political party appoints
a candidate no matter what political stripes is wrong controversial this is why they have riding associations


Contreversial to some, perhaps sure. There's bound to be a few people upset. But the fact is the power of appointment is one that the members of the LPC voted to give the leader. They could vote to take it away, but instead they've affirmed the power over the years. To argue it's undemocratic to use the power granted democratically is a bit of a stretch.

That said, while I feel that since the power to appoint is on the books it's fine if the leader uses it selectively, if there was to be a constitutional amendment on the floor at a future convention to remove that power I'd support it.

I bet the anonymous source was Ray Heard.

Ha, funny. But probably not. I disagree with pretty well everything Ray Heard says, but at least he speaks on the record and stands behind it. I give him credit for that.

Like blogging horse said, not all parties "do this".

As I said further up, yes they do. They just don't do it in the open, they fix it in the backrooms. To deny that is niave, but if people need to deny it for their own political reasons I understand. Let's not kid ourselves though.

It makes it look like she couldn't win against other candidates, or men. Thus it makes her look like a weak candidate.

I actually agree Jan, while I support the goal of more women in politics I dislike the idea of a quota, and I'd prefer appointments not be used. I do think a strong female candidate that wins an open nomination process is a stronger candidate, and I'd like to see us addressing the systemic barriers that stop women from succeeding in the nomination process, like money, connections, etc.

Nevertheless, Dion has made his policy clear, he ran on it, he won, and now he's implementing it. He's doing what he said he do, which is get more women in Liberal nominations. And, in this case, in a winnable riding. And, while I wouldn't use the same tools, I do support the goal.

Johnny said...

janfromthebruce i couldn't agree with you more! You forgot to add
undemocratic too.

Johnny said...

Mr. Jedras:

"To argue it's undemocratic to use the power granted democratically is a bit of a stretch." O.K. then why does the left keeps saying what Harper is doing is undemocratic? Example when he uses his
power not to let the media get to his ministers with out going threw the PMO!! Has far has i know its all legal.
So please explain to me
how this is undemocratic
and what Dion is doing
with his party is democratic? Thank You!!

Bailey said...

I think it's somewhat ironic that Simson was appointed in Tom Wappel's riding.

Wappel rode the ride of anti-abortionists to upset Patrick Johnson who was recruited by Turner to run in Scarborough West. If anything, this is one of the reasons why I support the appointment of candidates to ridings because I don't think how Wappel originally won the riding is anymore 'democratic' than appointing a candidate.

Browners Blog said...

Jeff
Lets get this in the proper perspective Martha Hall Findlay was Nominated ONLY AFTER the Riding Association asked the Leaders Office to appoint her. She was quite prepared to run and win a Nomination.
Riding Association = grass roots democracy = Leader support.
Far cry different than this Out right Appointment. Georgina is as seriously qualified and we should have let democracy prevail.
We as a party are going further back rather than forward and this kind of heavy handedness strikes of the regimes of old and not the 21st century. The Party still DOES NOT get it. Point blank Michelle should have did the deed according to the "due process of nomination".

Johnny said...

People,people your forgetting that the liberals are masters in
appointing people just look
at our Liberal dominate senate they don't want to be elected they want to be appointed;) Enough said its
no surprise!

McLea said...

It's unfortunate that some anonymous people with their own agendas and motivations are trying to sow the seeds of dissent

No, it's unfortunate that candidates are now being chosen on the basis of sex and not merit.