Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The New/Old Liberal Party

Truth be told, I probably wouldn't have joined the Liberal Party, had it not been for Gerard Kennedy's leadership bid. Reading Kennedy's comments tonight, after he was acclaimed in Parkdale-High Park, reminded me why I saw this man as vehicle for real renewal:
"It's not going to be easy to bring back a Liberal government. ... It's really fundamentally important that we understand as Liberals that we don't have a right to be the government in Ottawa, but what we have a right to do is to compete and put in front of Canadians what we really stand for.''

I love the humble tone, that mocks the notion of Liberal entitlement. In my mind, Gerard Kennedy represents the new Liberal Party and he will shine in Ottawa.

Unfortunately, the OLD Liberal ways of tribal warfare and petty posturing seems alive and well in Papineau:

Trudeau is also getting a cold shoulder from some Liberal Quebec MPs who bristle at his star status.

some Quebec Liberals may want to punish Trudeau for his support of Gerard Kennedy during the recent Liberal leadership race.

That support eventually helped Stephane Dion win, over the objections of MPs like Denis Coderre and Pablo Rodriguez who backed Michael Ignatieff's failed bid.

But Coderre has shown disdain for Trudeau in the past while Trudeau supporters say an incident at Sunday's Earth Day rally illustrates where the 35-year-old activist and onetime West Coast school teacher stands with MPs like Rodriguez.

Trudeau tried to lend a hand holding the banner at the head of the parade along with local environmentalists and politicians from all levels. Rodriguez sent him away, saying he could join the front of the parade and raise the banner if he's ever elected, Trudeau friends say.

First of all, who is Mr. Rodriguez to tell anybody where they can stand at a non-partisan rally, particularly someone who's OLD party did jackshit on the environment until its last days in office (let's keep it real people). Trudeau is a star, I would throw his face all over the rally if it meant more exposure and ink. From this outsiders perspective, the Quebec Liberals seem like an esoteric circle jerk, that holds grudges and can't seem to accept the basic premise of democracy. You can argue the merits of Trudeau's candidacy, but it really is distasteful to watch the overt attempts to keep him down. How about we let the voters decide if Trudeau is a fraud or phenomenon?


Scotian said...

I have to agree with you here Steve V, this was not a good thing to be seeing, and is unhealthy for the future of the Liberal party. It was also bad media strategy, and given that they are not the government to spurn good media tools like this is simply stupid, especially in Quebec where they are still recovering from the most damage they suffered in any region from Adscam. I can't say I'm all that surprised by it though, while I support Dion as the best chance of removing Harper I am not blind to the imperfections of the Liberal party. However, I am also not blind to the competence as a government they have shown in the main even when taking into account the corruption that occurred in it. Indeed, given how much money they were surplusing over the last 5+ years it is actually surprising it was not even worse given Canada's history/"tradition" of money scandals.

In politics as in war the perfect is the enemy of the good. Politics is inherently about balance and compromise to allow large numbers of humans to live together and resolve differences without resorting to the use of force, especially on the large scale but also on the small when living in a society under the rule of law like ours still is. You also have to accept that as long as it is meant to oversee human beings and have such power entrusted to it a minimum amount of corruption and abuse is inevitable, the trick is to make it as difficult as reasonably possible, stop it whenever exposed, and judge a government not just by it's corruption alone but also in relation to what they accomplished as a government. On this scale the Liberals were certainly not all that bad, and the longer Harper stays in power and continues down the path he has followed so far the more that will become a common sentiment in the public I suspect.

One of the biggest problems I have with ideologically rooted rhetoric is the inherent absolutism within it not allowing for the inherent ambiguity within politics. Now while a certain amount of flourish is expected in political rhetoric it also is supposed to have at least a decent kernel of truth/fact/reality at its core, and that is something the Harper rhetoric has been more and more exposed to be missing, especially in much of its attacks on its opposition/enemies just like their GOP brethren operate against their domestic opposition yet again I might add.

Unfortunately we see this sort of behaviour, and it is detrimental, and it needs to be gotten a grip upon by those Liberals that did not get who they wanted as leader. What is more important to them, that Dion fail so their person can have a chance even though that gives Harper more time as government and quite possibly win a larger one even a majority or to stop him and his agenda for this country? I will hold them to that same question/point/standard as I would and do the NDP in this core issue of mine. For me it is about stopping Harper first and foremost, discrediting his brand of politics, his approach to it and his Calgary School of political thought as a viable one for running this country. Hopefully then a more PCPC looking regime comes to run the CPC and turns it back into something rooted in Canadian beliefs, traditions, and most importantly respects and likes/loves what this country is instead of having so much anger, contempt and hatred for it as Harper and his crowd have shown for so many years now.

Why is it it seems so many CPCers from the leader on down hates Canadians so much? By that of course I mean Canadians that do not share his vision of this country, roughly 2/3rds of us, a clear supermajority. This is something I never saw from the old PCPC and it is in many ways at the heart of what truly scares me about them and the impact they can have on our future as a nation. It is why I am so passionate in my opposition despite not being a partisan of any party or leader despite the disbelief of that by so many of my critics. I love my country, my family put many generations of work into building it on both economic and political levels and I will be *DAMNED* if I stay quiet when I see a threat to all of that as I do here no matter how much it might suit anyone else that I simply shut up and go away. I know I am long winded, but that is because I not only say what I think I say why I think it as well as also providing the general basis for what I am basing my reasoning as well. That makes me a bit more challenging/tedious to read than the short snappy writers, but it also tends to leave more sense of seriousness and gravity to my arguments despite their passion, and I think that is why it bothers so many of my critics that they keep harping abut my length far more than my writing contents itself.

Red Tory said...

Tribalism indeed. You hit the nail on the head with that one. Oh well, even if Trudeau doesn't get the nomination he'll have earned his stripes, as it were and maybe people will have more respect for him afterwards.

Anonymous said...

Dion should set Coderre straight - he's like a loose canon.

Justin Trudeau is not responsible for who his father is. The jealousy is childish.

The worst to me is "Fuddle Duddle" - he has it in for Trudeau. This is childish jealousy and Fuddle Duddle is becoming a joke.

Anonymous said...

I am supporting Mr.Dion but I feel his french will do him in as his words come out backwords...I blame Mr.Kennedy for this and for ruining the comvention...the person I wanted to win was Ken dryden and he would have made a wonderful prime minister and leader but now I think Iggy was the 'One' who should have won..I just think he is super and he scares the hell out of harper...so happy rae did not win.

Steve V said...

"I blame Mr.Kennedy for this and for ruining the comvention."

Seems to me all the other candidates moved to support people, why is Kennedy singled out his decision. It also seems to me that delegates decided, and if they followed Kennedy, that speaks to their faith in his decision.

If you wanted Iggy to win, then the question becomes, why did everyone move to Rae and Dion? Blaming Kennedy is just crap, he did exactly what everyone has done since the beginning of conventions.

Bailey said...

I was at Kennedy's nomination last night and thought he gave a really good speech. Humble but still had just enough partisan shots in it to get the crowd going. I've seen him give a few speeches and this was a good one.

Tom Axworthy was the guest speaker. His speech was fairly strong in parts too. He spoke of party renewal as well.

Steve V said...


That's interesting that Axworthy was present, there seems to be an affinity between the two, which bodes well for the party. Thanks for the first-hand account :)

Anonymous said...

No matter what anyone thinks of J. Trudeau, Coderre, Rodriguez and their pack of anti-Israel young Liberals have got to go. Who are they to dictate to anyone when they are a pack of Hizbollah supporters.

Anonymous said...

To Anon who "blames" Kennedy for the outcome of the leadership convention:

Get a Life!

The Party has spoken!

If Iggy was the right choice then he would have won. Dryden never had enough support to be a top contender.

After Kennedy, choices were slim-pickens in my opinion.

The end result was the choice with the least controversial past who did not stick his foot in his mouth over and over again.

It is up to Dion to prove himself now. It has nothing to do with Kennedy.

Anonymous said...

If it was "democratic" one-person, one-vote I'm sure the picture would be VERY different, but we can't go back.

Time to move one. Dwelling on what if's is wasteful.

Kennedy made a judgment (not a good one) but we have to live with that. It shows me that Kennedy is not quite ready but will be.

Enough of this already!

canuckistanian said...

the war on trudeau by the iggy camp is disgusting. the dion animosity to him is strange as well. if it is because trudeau may be a liability among quebecers, that does not show leadership. coderre needs to be turfed, especially as defence critic. pablo rodriguez: go fuck yourself. tous ensemble??? ;-)

Bailey said...


Here's a link from Macleans where Aaron Wherry gives a bit of a more detailed report of the nomination meeting:


There is a good line that Kennedy gave near the end of that article where he doesn't want a landslide, he wants to engage the community. Sure, as Wherry suggested, it's slightly cheesy but it was a good line and built on what he was saying earlier in his speech.

Kennedy also spoke about how it was important to have the meeting in Parkdale since it's an area of town to remind us of why we are all Liberals.

Steve V said...

Thanks Bailey, much appreciated :)