Sunday, March 02, 2008

Liberals Can't Go On Cadman

Anyone who bothers to read this blog knows that I am firmly in the "hawk" camp, as it relates to the Liberals forcing an election. However, given the position the Liberals have publicly taken on the budget, to suddenly pivot and decide to bring down the government invites strong criticism.

I don't see any danger of a "blowback" over Cadman itself, as others have argued. Not only does this scandal pass the smell test, it is a reeking heap of smoldering bison dung. I have no worries that the Liberals could pay a political price for forcing this issue, it will remain a point of debate for months to come.

Why I hesitate, in adopting Turner's "pull the plug" advice over Cadman, it is just too opportunistic to be credible. Last week, Liberals spent their entire time trying to develop clever ways to avoid an election. This scandal breaks, and then suddenly, Liberals have found a solid spine, it's time to go. The chronology is too cute for words, and I doubt Canadian voters would be overly impressed with the obvious motivations. No, the Liberals have made their bed, the opportunity has passed, the optics of a reversal are dreadful.

This scandal will fester for quite some time, the ethics committee work guarantees a steady diet, not to mention what the RCMP comes up with. In other words, we have time to use this issue tactically, without appearing ridiculously opportunistic and hypocritical. When I say time, a few weeks is sufficient, allow something else to percolate, so the argument isn't entirely about Cadman.

I would suggest this looming showdown over the Canadian Wheat Board will provide the cover, a perceived genuine stance, enough to look credible. If the Conservatives want to force this issue down the Liberals throat, then it provides the perfect occasion to say enough is enough, with Cadman lurking, an almost certain election issue. In my mind, that's the smart play, avoid the quick kneejerk, lie in wait and then pounce on another matter, apart from the one's the Liberals have already compromised. The Liberals must avoid the frame of naked opportunism, that is the only way that Cadman doesn't work against the government.

37 comments:

clh said...

I agree. I really hope the Liberals will fight the next election on issues and vision and leave any scandals to percolate in the background.

I have heard that amount of extra election financing allowed if the in-and-out scheme is reimplemented and maximized is substantial, so it would be good to get a final ruling on that if possible before an election. I wonder if the LPC is trying to wait for this.

northwestern_lad said...

Steve... thanks for using the "O" word because that's one that I could never use without being accused to being a blatant partisan. You are right, to go on this now does run the risk of being labeled as opportunists. Mind you, I would also argue that regardless of when the Liberals do decide to go now, that argument could be made because they have fought so hard to avoid this election.

But as I have said over on my blog, if the Liberals decide to go on this issue of corruption, it's not one that will play well for them given their history. If they are truly trying to move on from that past, thinking that this issue is their issue is probably the worst way to do that.

IslandLiberal said...

I don't know that I'd agree with you there. If the Liberals (and the other parties) make the Cadman scandal the reason for voting the government out of office, what does it matter, PR-wise, what they were doing before the Cadman scandal came to life? All you need is:

"We were content to let the budget pass, since it was unobjectionable, but now we find that the Prime Minister and his associates have engaged in...blah blah blah."

I'm not saying we should; I'm still unsure what I think about this whole affair, and I some of Dona Cadman's actions (specifically continuing to associate herself with the Tories) just don't make sense to me if the story is true (but I can't come up with a strong motive for this all being a colossal sham either).

Steve V said...

"If the Liberals (and the other parties) make the Cadman scandal the reason for voting the government out of office, what does it matter, PR-wise, what they were doing before the Cadman scandal came to life?"

Canadians didn't want an election on Friday, but now we desperately need one on Monday, sounds a tad ridiculous, and I'm willing to bet the media frames it that way too. It distracts from the real story, I say we get some breathing room first.

wilson said...

"We were content to let the budget pass, since it was unobjectionable, but now we find that the Prime Minister and his associates have engaged in...blah blah blah."

What is the blah blah blah?
Libs will get their butts sued if they go on the election trail accusing anyone in the CPC of criminal acts, that haven't been proven.
That's how Mulroney won his $2m.
The Libs can only use the cover of the House to hurl accusations without consequence.

This old Reformer heart would be thrilled if the Libs bring down the government over the CWB.
Imagine, Libs think barley sales in the West are more important to Canadians than Kyoto, Kelowna and the Budget!!!

Steve V said...

"This old Reformer heart would be thrilled if the Libs bring down the government over the CWB."

And that is why you are truly clueless wilson. You can't win more seats in Alberta, many farmers in Sask and Man, that normally vote Con are hopping mad at this government, all you do is essentially erode your base. Go for it, you are dividing your own voters. A reporter from Sask on CBC Friday thought it would cost the Cons votes, maybe seats.

Steve V said...

"Libs will get their butts sued if they go on the election trail accusing anyone in the CPC of criminal acts, that haven't been proven."

Like Goodale in 2006? The media will drive the story, hello in there!

Woman at Mile 0 said...

I am in complete agreement here Far and Wide. Good post.

Scott Tribe said...

I'd agree with you if it was the Liberals bringing forth the non-confidence motion on Cadman, but as it's the NDP rumoured to be doing that, I think any blowback will be minimal.

As for the Wheat Board Bill, I hear they aren't going to bring forth anything till April.

wilson said...

'The media will drive the story, hello in there!'

Right Steve, during an election campaign, the media will be ignoring the daily surprises that PMSH will spring on the country and focus on Cadscam.

I don't think the CPC are going to lose many votes in Quebec or Ontario over the CWB.
I look forward to Dion explaining how it is in his vision of Canada , Western farmers are thrown in jail for doing exactly what Eastern farmers are free to do.
"I want a richer Canada, a fairer and a greener Canada...social justice...blah blah blah

wilson said...

Scott don't know when the vote is but:
'...Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz will introduce the legislation Monday to amend the Canadian Wheat Board Act to allow Prairie barley producers to choose whether they sell their barley on their own or through the wheat board.

Ritz would not confirm it will be a confidence motion but he didn't dismiss that possibility either.

The government can declare a vote to be a confidence issue at any time,
even after the vote takes place...'

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/story/4135289p-4727166c.html

Green Assassin Brigade said...

There has not been enough time since Gomery for Liberals to go on anything but issues. As a Green I sure hope the Liberals try because it can only be good for us if the Libs and Cons have a "you're more corrupt than me" pissing contest.

That said we need the electorate focused on issues for a change, provided we can somehow convince people to turn off the hockey game and actually see a debate with all leaders in it. Unless something big happens people will continue to vote on image and perceptions and look what that has got us so far. Yikes!

Steve V said...

"As for the Wheat Board Bill, I hear they aren't going to bring forth anything till April."

That's not too far off.


wilson

And, it won't win the Cons any votes in Que and Ont. We get your opinion, but there are lots of farmers who don't see it your way, farmers that have always voted Con, you do the math, it's a net loss by any calculation. Go for it.

Gayle said...

Steve - I think you are bang on about this, and I also think they have to draw the line on the wheat board issue.

This scandal is not something that warrants calling an election, but people like Wilson are foolish indeed if they think it is going to disappear just because Harper makes daily policy announcements.

She seems to forget that it will be during these announcements that he will be facing questions from the media about Cadman - which will be their only opportunity since he is not big on facing them right now.

bigcitylib said...

I suspect if this scandal is still percolating in April the Wheat Board thing will suddenly not become a matter of confidence.

I also don't think the Libs should have any problem going over the wheat board, for reasons several have given.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

You know, if more of your party were like you, I'd have a hell of a lot more respect for them.

Jim said...

I think it would be wise for some of you partisan Liberals to try and focum through the blood in your eyes and look at this from the point of the average voter.

I had a lengthy discussion of this matter at a party the other night with a bunch of friends and aquaintances.

The general consensus is that Cadman was aready being bribed to vote with the Liberals...by his illness. Whatever was offered (nobody believes the insurance policy story) was giving Cadman an option to voting for the Liberals and thereby compromising his morals to maintain his MP insurance policy.

If it is true, were the Conservatives right to offer to bring him back into the fold and promise to help him overcome the hardships he must have been suffering in regards to his family? Probably not. Would the Libs have done the same thing? Probably, or worse, they would have just offered a stuffed manilla envelop.

This whole thing is seriously eroding the legacy of Cadman, who I liked. Surrey North is my riding and I always voted for him, even as an independent.

On the other hand I have no use for his wife. She endorsed Penny Priddy in the last election. Frankly, she is not MP material and I was against her nomination.

COuld she be profiteering for monitary gain? Quite possibly.

Nobody has answered the burning question...what is her cut of book sales?

Scott Tribe said...

What a shocker: Conservative partisans don't believe that Conservatives tried to bribe Cadman (but that the Liberals were PROBABLY doing it)

I'd never have guessed that was the attitude if you hadn't brought it up, Jim. Thanks for showing us the "Conservatives with blnders on" mindset.

Kris said...

I agree completely, as I see it, the Cadman story would fade during a campaign with no new witnesses or evidence and Liberals are suddenly left to defend an election that's being fought on terms they were running away from just a month earlier, reinforcing the optics of oppurtunist Liberals reversing their decision and jumping on an election the second they think they can win. Wait it out.

Kris said...

On a side note, why are the Liberals and NDP not bringing up the Dan Cook radio interview wherein Chuck claims there were "some offers" made when the Tories trot out their "Chuck said it on national tv" excuse? Would it not nullify the Conservative defense?

Jim said...

Did you actually read my post, Scott? I did not say anywhere that the allegations may not be true.

As well, the discussion involved people of all political stripes.

Talk about blinders, you lefties have tunnel vision.

I will wait for the facts before making up my mind on the affair.

bigcitylib said...

Actually, I don't see how the Cadman affair would fade during a campaign until at the very least what was going to happen to Dona Cadman became clear. If she jumped ship from the Tories at the start of the campaign, that would be HUGE. Same if they turfed her.

Anonymous said...

wilson.....you have NOT been paying attention - Mulroney "LIED" admittedly so - why isn't he offering to give the taxpayers' their money back.

Gayle said...

BCL - neither scenario will occur. Harper would be an idiot if he turfed her. If this was going to drive her from the party she probably would not have been their candidate in the first place.

The party has been very careful about not calling her a liar - they let the Wilson's of the world do that for them.

They will probably come up with some scenario where she admits that perhaps she misunderstood the meaning of what her husband was telling her. If they could get her to do that they may be able to neutralize this whole thing.

Or it could be too late...

Scott Tribe said...

The problem Gayle, is that 3 members of the family directly got told by Chuck this offer was made - it wasn't a telling to his wife who re-told it to their daughter and son-in-law. The daughter has been even more insistent then her mother that her father did indeed say this to her. I don't think it will wash if Dona suddenly retracts.

Note also that her daughter says she can't understand why her mom would continue to associate with the Conservative Party.

Gayle said...

Yeah, you're right. That was dumb of me.

lenny said...

"Nobody has answered the burning question...what is her cut of book sales?"

What's that going to tell you, Jim? That she pulled the allegation out of thin air in order to sell books?
The only problem is, if you were a candidate for the Conservative Party and decided to invent a damning allegation to sell more books, wouldn't it make more sense to allege that the Liberals tried to bribe him? Not only to avoid damaging your own party's fortunes - but because, let's be honest, the market for a biography of Chuck Cadman is pretty much limited to gormless Surreyites, and why would you piss them off?
No, you'd throw them some red meat and smear your opposition if you were going to lie.

Anonymous said...

Go for it...
Go for it...
Go for it...
Ethics is an issue Liberals can win on...
GO FOR IT!!!

HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Scott Tribe said...

Steve:

From BC'er - the Wheat Board Bill seems to have been moved up:

Gerry Ritz said the bill will be introduced in Parliament on Monday and the federal government is looking at all options to get it passed.

"If it takes a confidence motion we'll go there," he said.

Tim Webster said...

You are foolish to attempt to win an election on a single issue. Regardless the issue chosen it will not resonate with everyone. As a result when ever the election is called all this issues need to be brought to light again. Even though the Conservative sandals are HUGE, the polices and direction for the future must be expressed clearly and vigorously.

You can't forget the purpose of governments is to manage social cost and provide social benefits efficiently.

Finally riding the shirt tails of the party don't necessary bring votes for the local candidate. Each local candidate must stand above those around them in their contribution to the committee they serve.

So in the end it doesn't matter on what the election is called, but rather simply that the election is called.

Anonymous said...

Doing what's right is never being opportunistic.

First I think this is a non-starter. I don't believe forcing an election of this 5 day old story is even possible. I can't see any validity in suggesting we bring down a government over allegations that are a few days old when there are countless questions to be answered.

Second in response to your post, your argument is basically saying that Liberals can't appear to be oppportunistic, on this point I would argue I wouldn't care and I don't think anyone else would either.

The Liberal Party could have promised the Conservatives to support their every move, but I think that a story concerning them bribing and damaging our very system of democracy, not to mention being extremely immoral, would justify the Liberals breaking that promise.

The Liberals by giving a stance are not locked in no matter what news may come, no matter how soon. A wrong is a wrong, and for you to suggest that it would appear opportunistic for Liberals to change their stance, my response is it would actually be the reverse.

By the Liberals not doing what they think is right, by worrying about their image, then and only then are they opportunistic.

Doing what's right is never being opportunistic.
-scott
thescottross.blogspot.com

Steve V said...

"would justify the Liberals breaking that promise.'

I think it much wiser to bring them down, without appearing to break any promise, that's my point. The Libs can't vote against the budget now, they really can't vote against the Afghanistan amendment, it has to be something else, whether the NDP presents a motion, CWB, or if this develops further.

Tim Webster said...

Sad, but by Dion waiting for the perfect time to force an election, that time has passed.

There is no perfect time!!
But now is the perfect time to replace Dion, because we all know he won't be forcing an election.

And if Dion does not want himself replaced he better force an election FAST!

P.S. I hope Dion is read this.

Anonymous said...

No, That's my point. The Liberals can vote down the budget because it's a confidence vote. Just because someone may agree with the budget doesn't mean they can't vote it down for a different reason. That's why confidence votes exist, to show the confidence we have in the government. And with this Cadman affair, we could express our sincere lack of confidence.
-scott
-thescottross

Steve V said...

Sorry Scott, I misunderstood.


tim

"Sad, but by Dion waiting for the perfect time to force an election, that time has passed."

I can't help but think, had the Liberals not backed down on the budget in the last days, then we would headed into an election while this issue blossomed.

Miles Lunn said...

It does look opportunistic, however I think if the NDP brings forward a non-confidence motion on this, we could always vote for it arguing that the budget didn't warrant an election, but that on this issue we couldn't support the Conservatives. The CWB is an interesting one since obviously the Liberals would look like to complete flip floppers if they backed down on this, but at the same time its not an issue that really affects 90% of Canadians. Sure we may have our opinions on it, but I suspect a large number of Canadians have never heard of the CWB let alone know what it does and this presents a problem. If 90% don't fully understand what the CWB is and what it does, then Canadians may simply stay away arguing all parties were irresponsible for triggering an election that doesn't affect most. Also it would depend on who puts the best spin on the issue. The Conservatives have mastered political spin, while the Liberals under Dion seem more honest, which is a good thing in the long-run, but could be problematic on this one. The Liberals being more honest is more likely to work on an issue Canadians are more informed on and where they will have an easier time seeing through the Conservative spin than one they know little about.

Miles Lunn said...

As for Wilson's comments, I agree with you Steve V that a lot of farmers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are not happy about this, but I think the Conservatives are aiming their votes more at the traditional Reform votes (who mostly aren't farmers BTW) but feel the Liberals see the West as second class citizens so they will make the argument that Ontario and Quebec farmers don't have to go through the Wheat Board while Western farmers do and hope the gains amongst the Western Alienation crowd offset losses amongst farmers. But regardless of how popular or unpopular the issue was in the West, there are only 8 seats out of 56 seats in the Prairies that didn't vote Conservative so not exactly the area you want to look towards to win a majority or even hold off seat losses elsewhere if things in Ontario and Quebec turn against them. The only Western province that has enough seats to really make a difference is British Columbia which is outside the CWB zone.