Sunday, September 30, 2007

Why Can This MP Air Laundry In Public?

This might be a trivial point, but while reading another brief article on Liberal MP Bryon Wilfert's argument for no fall election, this sentence was striking:
One of Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion's staunchest supporters is making a very public plea not to force a fall federal election.

Very public indeed. Assume that Dion hasn't made up his mind on what he should do moving forward. How does a public airing by Mr. Wilfert benefit that thought process? Mr. Wilfert questions the wisdom of going to the polls, and has offered many reasons why the Liberals probably won't win. Wilfert details why the Liberals might be too weak presently to fight effectively. Wilfert is entitled to his opinion, and he has told us all that he will discuss his viewpoint with Dion, but why the public comments, what are you doing on Question Period?

Let's say that Dion eventually decides to pull the plug and head to the polls. I would seem to me that Mr. Wilfert undercuts that position with his public display, is this not an internal matter? Why tell the world that the conditions aren't right, if there is a possibility that the Liberals bring down the government. We seem to vilify anyone else who casts doubt or questions, so why is it that the "confidant" gets a pass here? Other MP's speak their minds, and people wonder if Dion has control over his caucus, by the loyalist muses and nothing. Isn't strategy, the pros and cons, best left to the "closed door", and what does it say of unity, if we have an MP on the record saying an election would be silly? Why is Wilfert telling Canadians that the Liberals aren't ready? I guess counter-productive displays are in the eye of the beholder.

11 comments:

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

I read this as a trial balloon, not as an undermining of the leader/the party by a backbencher.

Steve V said...

ID

But, if Dion decides to go, he has effectively said it is a bad idea, poor judgement. If he wants to float the balloon, seems to me, there are plenty of ways to convince people without going public. Just a thought.

lance said...

No, this isn't a trial balloon nor is it an effort to convince Dion. This _is_ Dion.

Willies's on every station and bugging every political reporter because Dion is trying to send a message to the voters, not the Liberal faithful.

He's setting the stage and highlighting the reasons that the Liberals will use when they pass the Throne speech.

I thought you guys could see this.

James said...

Personally speaking, I'm grateful that a different view has been aired from the steady drum beat for an election this fall.

The decision is ultimately up to Dion and I have full confidence in whatever decision he makes.

If he calls for an election in the fall, I'll work my hump to get him in office. If he waits, I'll be happy that we'll have more time to get organized.

The Jurist said...

I realize that Harper has received far too positive a reception from the press for his party-muzzling strategy. But have we really reached the point where it's seen as inherently negative for a political party if the public becomes aware of an internal debate?

Tomm said...

Steve,

The Liberal's are going to try and push Dion into an election so they can see him in action, and if he fails, they can then call for a leadership review and manage the damage.

If Dion does not pull the pin on this government his weakness will spill over and right through the Liberal Party. Everybody will then be seen as pointless power seekers, even outside of Quebec.

When that happens the rest of the country will look like Quebec during the next election.

Let's try a test. If Dion doesn't end the government at the Throne Speech, watch Harper call the Toronto bye-elections. If one of the LPCs star candidates lose, that will be my indication that they are in serious and longterm trouble.

Tomm

Calgary Junkie said...

How hard is it for Dion et al to keep repeating, ad nauseum "We will wait to see what the throne speech says, discuss it in caucus, and come to a determination" ?

Sure, that's boring, and the media wants more, but so what ? When the media presses Dion or any Liberal MP, just say "Oh you media guys are much better at analyzing possible scenarios, so I will leave that to you. We are here to provide effective opposition"

Anonymous said...

let's try to be fair here. From what I've seen in interviews - Harper hasn't even contacted the leaders of the opposition parties for input on the Throne Speech - this is pathetic. Other PM's do this - it's the norm.

Harper is one slimy piece of work isn't he?

Anonymous said...

give one example of us asking the opposition for input into the throne speech. What rubbish.
Wilfret is just being used as a useful fool for authoring this silly strategy

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:56: the other anon (9:41) is correct. Doesn't anyone watch the interviews - there is often input - get over yourself you nincompoop.

Steve V said...

"He's setting the stage and highlighting the reasons that the Liberals will use when they pass the Throne speech."

That actually makes sense.