Monday, March 31, 2008

So long Denis

As far as I’m concerned, this is the biggest news out of today’s shuffling of the Liberal critic portfolios:

• Denis Coderre becomes the Liberal Critic for Canadian Heritage, la Francophonie and Official Languages;

• Bryon Wilfert, formerly Associate Foreign Affairs Critic, becomes Defence Critic;

I know little about Wilfert’s views on defence issues, it’s certainly a promotion though for the Dion loyalist.

He has to, however, be an improvement in the defence portfolio from Denis Coderre. The guy was ineffective and an embarrassment and I’ve been arguing for some time that he had to go from that job. So I’m glad he is, and moving to heritage would have to be seen as a demotion. I shan’t shed a tear over that either.
• Bob Rae continues as the Liberal Party’s Foreign Affairs Critic and will join the Priorities and Planning Committee;

• Martha Hall Findlay becomes Associate Finance Critic, and will also join the Priorities and Planning Committee;

• Joyce Murray becomes Vice-Chair of the Caucus Committee on Environmental Sustainability;

• Geoff Regan replaces John Godfrey as Chair of the Caucus Committee on Environmental Sustainability;

• Gerard Kennedy becomes Critic for Intergovernmental Affairs; and

• Senator James Cowan and Dr. Bernard Patry join the Priorities and Planning Committee.

Good to see Gerard Kennedy in there, as a former Ontario cabinet minister he could be a good point-man against the Harper/Flaherty Ontario sucks campaign. Working his way into those stories would also help to raise his visibility and be a good boost in his campaign to unseat the NDP's Peggy Nash in the next campaign.

And no sign of the move supposed “senior Liberals” or “Dion advisors” or whatever they’re pretending they are these days called for in the media earlier today, namely dumping Michael Ignatieff as deputy leader and replacing him with, I suppose, the unnamed person whose agenda they’re really advancing.

Thank-goodness that, for once, the really stupid advice of these supposed “senior Liberals” was ignored. Lets hope it starts a new trend.

ELSEWHERE: Also with takes on the shuffle are Calgary Grit and Cherniak on Politics.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


Forward Looking Canadian said...

What is great about this post, and this blog, is that you constructively discuss issues and tactics of the Liberal party.

If I go to Cherniak's site, I know I'm going to get a fresh cup of kool-aid about how its the best thing since the electric frying pan.

With this blog I know I'm going to get the real analysis. Coderre was indeed a loser and had to be dumped.

Steve V said...

One of the Bloc MP's rose on member's statements to criticize Kennedy, quite vehemently actually. Basically, what does it say about the Liberals, that they put an anti-Quebecer on intergovernmental affairs? I can't believe someone is labelled, because they refused to play Harper's "nation" game.

It will be interesting to see how Coderre reacts. It sends a message, it's clearly a demotion, and it doesn't do the asinine, namely moving Iggy.

Mike514 said...

Totally agree with the Coderre thing. While I tend to be Tory-leaning, I have to admit Dion made a smart move with the defense critic shuffle.

Coderre seems 'loudmouth' enough to cause trouble, and he's probably not satisfied with his demotion. Any thoughts on that? Do you expect trouble from him?

Yes, FLC, Jason's blog is the premier Liberal cheerleading site. Every week he out-does himself. But that's what makes it so bloody entertaining.

Forward Looking Canadian said...

Now that he won't be busy making a useless attempt at understanding defence policy, Coderre will have more free time to march in Hizbollah parades.

Mike514, I am sure Coderre is going to make a stink below the radar. Expect more exciting "leaks" from caucus meetings about Dion's leadership.

liberazzi said...

Coderre was a loose-cannon and from media accounts a "subversive". Dion should have booted him to the back benches quite frankly. I was not an Iggy fan during the the leadership, but I have become one since and I believe he has been a team player. However, his supporters are another matter, which he admitted yesterday during QP that he has to tell them to "shut up" from time to time. The media once again is over-blowing the Quebec numbers which are not great, but still at the same levels as the last election. Promoting his bench players ala Rae, Findlay and Kennedy will all pay divedends and emphasize the talent the Libs have as compared to those jerks across the floor. All in all a good day for Dion. Also, Kinsella came to his aide today with a good post about how its not wise to count Dion out. Dion needs a few more good days like today, then we'll see about that.

liberazzi said...

Jean Lapierre on Duffy states that demoting Coderre is a "stupid mistake"? Huh? So you allow Coderre to keep making an a$$ of himself and embassing the party with his silly antics, while undermining the leader?

liberazzi said...

One last note from Radwanski:

Addition by demotion
Adam Radwanski, today at 11:38 AM EDT

No question, the Liberals are about to become stronger in Parliament. They're about to speak more intelligently on matters of foreign policy, particularly as they relate to Afghanistan. They're about to act a little more like grown-ups.

The addition of Bob Rae? Well, um, yes. Maybe. But I was actually referring to dumping Denis Coderre as defence critic.

Not that there's much to suggest Bryon Wilfert, Coderre's replacement, is going to revolutionize the way Canadians think about defence policy. But he's less likely to, say, misrepresent his own party's position on the main file he's responsible for.

Mark said...

Electric frying pans? They have electric frying pans?

Forward Looking Canadian said...

BCerInTO, or anyone else for that matter.

Is it just me, or does the Liberal party just expect that voters will naturally return to them? It's like Dion is not willing to get out and work for votes, ie create policy, reach out to undecideds, stand up against Harper, etc. Dion seems to think if he just waits long enough, people will all the sudden vote Liberal.

Or am I way off base here?

Jeff said...


Reading comments elsewhere I'm not still sure Coderre's move is a demotion. They say the heritage post and the c-10 file are very high profile in Quebec and will be a good platform for him there. Whether that's true or just spin though, I'm just glad he's out of defence.

On the Liberals expecting votes, I think every party expects people to support them to a certain extent, because every party believes they have the best policies etc. To Cons is unfathomable that anyone would ever vote Liberal. The NDP expected they can just attack the Liberals and gain votes, instead those people went Green. And the Libs have been doing a poor job of earning people's votes. I think that's because of poor strategy and execution though, not any sense of entitlement.

Steve, yes I heard the same anti-Quebec BS from others around the blogsphere after the news. I'll just say A) that's BS, and B) there are nine other provinces besides Quebec.


Jean Lapierre is about the last guy I'd take strategic advice from. And on Coderre, it's not like he was a big help before.

Budd Campbell said...

Good to see Gerard Kennedy in there, as a former Ontario cabinet minister he could be a good point-man against the Harper/Flaherty Ontario sucks campaign.

Several people have said that putting Kennedy, a vehement opponent of the "nation" resolution, into the Inter-Govt slot means that Dion, and of course Mark Marissen who's running Dion, have written Quebec off completely, much like the pre-Mulroney Tory Party often did.

Your emphasis on Kennedy as an remedy for Ontario's political ailments would seem to be a kind of back-handed confirmation of that interpretation.

Jeff said...


To be totally honest Gerard's position on the nation thing did not occur to be when writing this post. My only thoughts, as I wrote, were in the Ontario and Flaherty/McGuinty context.

Later in the day I did hear those concerns from others, and my views on that are reflected in today's post.