I had family visiting from BC last week so I’ve been on a blogging hiatus, and now that I’m back one of the posts I’d planned to write was one congratulating Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff for listening to both the grassroots and senior members of his party about the Outrement situation and making the right call by allowing Martin Cauchon to contest an open nomination in the riding and Nathalie Le Prohon to do the same in Jeanne-Le Ber. Now, things have developed further this morning with Coderre announcing his resignation as defence critic and Quebec lieutenant:
"It is a tough decision, a very emotional one that I have to make today," Coderre told a Montreal news conference on Monday. "But I took four days on my own...and I thought that I don't have any more the moral authority to remain as the Quebec lieutenant."First, to the earlier doings. As I wrote earlier, the initial decision to not allow Cauchon to seek an open nomination in Outremont was a mistake. He’s exactly the kind of experienced, progressive candidate we need on the team and allowing him to seek the nomination in his old riding should have been a no-brainer. Ignatieff erred initially in backing Coderre’s decision to block Cauchon, particularly given that Coderre has seemed more interested in preparing for his own future leadership campaign and blocking potential rivals then in doing his job, organizing Quebec for Ignatieff and the Liberal Party for the next election.
After a major outcry from the grassroots, from the blogsphere, from senior Liberals and even Members of Parliament, Ignatieff did exactly the right thing in re-visiting the situation, and allowing Cauchon and Le Prohon to contest open nominations. It was a victory for the party as a whole, and an example of real leadership by Ignatieff: that he’s willing to listen to criticism and reverse an incorrect decision when a compelling argument is made. I was a little surprised, frankly, but very pleasantly so.
Now, as for Coderre’s resignation today, frankly, it was inevitable and necessary. He really had little choice. Ignatieff reversed his call on Outremont and Cauchon. And while Ignatieff made the right call in doing so, it did cut Coderre’s legs out from under him, and would have left him largely impotent in the Quebec organizer role, unable to speak with the weight of the leader. He had to resign.
And let me say that I, for one (of many, many Liberals), couldn’t be happier. We’re going to read many pundits opining how Coderre’s departure is a bad thing for the Liberals, that it will mean trouble organizing in Quebec, that it speaks ill of Ignatieff’s leadership, and so on. That’s all bollocks, and amusing given the low opinion all the critics actually hold of Coderre.
Coderre was an embarrassment as defence critic, unloved and running his own agenda as Quebec lieutenant, and his departure from both positions will be a positive for the party. Instead of someone who has been dividing Quebec Liberals, trying to muscle aside rivals, trying to push out incumbents, we can have someone working to build a more open and inclusive party in the province, someone who will work to build the organization and find the best candidates, period.
This is all very inside baseball. Canadians don’t care who the Liberal Party’s Quebec lieutenant is. The pundits will bray, but it’s just white noise and they’ll move on soon enough. Internally, however, a divisive force has been removed from the equation and that will result in a stronger Quebec organization, better able to fight the next election.
In the long game, this is a good day for the Liberal Party. And I know very few Liberals who would disagree.
Au revoir, Denis. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers