Sunday, November 16, 2008

Well that didn’t last long, did it?

I haven’t done the math yet, but it’s safe to say the supposed leadership détente between Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff didn’t last long, with Bob’s unfortunate decision to go running to the media to smear and unfairly attack his fellow leadership contender.

I came out to Mississauga Saturday afternoon to attend the leadership hospitality suites in the evening, and then the leadership forum this afternoon. As I attended Michael Ignatieff’s and Dominic LeBlanc’s parties and got a chance to meet them both, I found myself wondering where Bob Rae was. Then, when I dragged myself out of bed this morning (had a few glasses of wine last night) and got online, I found out.

This is all rather ridiculous, frankly, given that no one is an actual formal leadership candidate yet at this stage. The debate this afternoon is an informal one, organized as part of the LPCO executive meetings. Which isn’t some elitist gathering by the way as some have claimed, any Liberal can attend. And the debate itself is open to any party member for just $20, or $10 for Victory fund members. That’s how I’m getting in.

Executive meetings such as this have never been open to the media. That has always been the rule, agreed to by all. My understanding is that, last minute, Bob Rae wanted to change the rule to open the forum to the media. Dominic LeBlanc was fine either way, Michael Ignatieff preferred to keep it more informal and stick with the original rules, as laid down by the LPCO and agreed to originally by all.

And rather than work this out within the party and see if a compromise couldn’t be found, Bob Rae seems to have decided to boycott the entire weekend (I hear he was in the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa last night schmoozing Young Liberals) and go running to the media to break his pledge for a clean campaign and attack Michael.

As a Liberal who feels it is the internal snipping and bickering that has been the death of this party, I find Bob’s decision as more of that annoying crap that has been holding us down for too long. The initial pledge to keep this a clean race was the right one, and it’s a shame Bob has decided to be the first to break it by airing internal dirty laundry in public. And it’s a shame he won’t be here today to meet Ontario Liberals, as I was looking forward to seeing him debate.

We do have two candidates in Mississauga today though that actually do want to meet with Ontario Liberals and discuss the future of the Liberal Party with the grassroots, and I look forward to hearing Michael and Dominic’s thoughts.

And I’ll have full blog coverage on the debates later tonight.

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Unknown said...

Bob was in Ottawa with the young liberals last night, where Iggy backed out of hosting a get together.

Unknown said...


I hope that you are getting paid by the word with bonuses for gobbledygook from Team Iggy.

I have been a loyal reader of your blog for years, and have never felt the urge to comment since I always felt you were on the right track.

I am really surprised that you have allowed yourself to be turned into an organ of the Iggy Backroom Boys Group-Think Club.

The rest of us are still trying to figure out who we should support for leadership.

You might be a BCer in Toronto who can drive to Mississauga, but the rest of us out here would like to watch the debate too.

Maybe you can ask the guys in the Club what they are so afraid of having Iggy say that they don't want it to be taped.

Skinny Dipper said...

I'm trying to figure this one out. The Ontario wing's Liberal executive is having a debate among the leadership candidates (some who have not formally declared that they are running). I don't think the problem is with either Ignatieff or Rae; it is with the executive itself. Had the executive offered a meet-and-greet among potential candidates and the general Liberal members, then it could have been up to the executive to invite or bar the media. The fact that it sought approval from potential leadership candidates (some who are not offically candidates yet) makes me wonder if the Ontario wing is supporting Ignatieff. Was this a set-up against Rae?

WesternGrit said...

If the media reports are true. I'm 100% with you. This is ludicrous. While I'm blogging neutrally, this is something that quite obviously has to be shared with the troops.

The process may get ugly before it gets better. Hope Iggy sticks to his word about taking on Harper during this campaign, and not his co-Liberals...

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

I have been a loyal reader of your blog for years, and have never felt the urge to comment since I always felt you were on the right track.

Wait, only comment on blogs when you disagree with the writer? Is that how you react in in-person discussions, too?

Jeff said...

Don, I'm on no one's payroll and someone can have a different opinion without it being a sinister conspiracy. By the way, if I was some kind of organ, they'd probably be annoyed that I said I wouldn't have minded the media being there. Anyway, this was an informal get-together, there will be many, many debates, and opportunities to meet all the candidates across the country.

skinny, my understanding of this, as I outlined in the follow-up post after hearing the explanation from the lpco, was that the no media rule was set three weeks ago by the party, and all three candidates agreed. The party decided it wouldn't change that unless all three agreed; all three didn't. And it didn't seem to be an issue until Saturday, mysteriously, despite weeks where it could have been discussed, and perhaps an amicable resolution reached.

Mala Fides said...


I think that some of the points are simply advising you that over the past couple of years your blog has been a relatively objective and fair reflection of the activities of all things Liberal.

There are a lot of people that don't want to see you turn into the next Canadian Cerberus, who for all intents and purposes tipped the barrel back and had his fill of the Kool Aid.

Bright guy, but because he turned his back on reason and turned his blog into a shameless propaganda tool for Team Iggy. A lot of people lost respect for him.

It is one thing to support your guy, but please don't start treating other Liberals like we should be treating the Reformers.

And btw, this is coming from someone that is pissed with the Party and who is having problems with all of the candidates.

I have not even come close to deciding, but I have to admit, posts like yours are once again completely turning me off of team Ignatieff.

And a further btw, as far as this episode is concerned, watching it on TV, the Party came out looking the worst for this, then Bob Rae and then Michael. The only people that benefited were Leblanc and the Reformer Party.