Friday, December 05, 2008

"Democratically Elected Representatives"

We've heard much talk of our MP's, our elected representatives, which gives them the moral and legal authority to turf the government. If Liberal MP's decided to form a coalition with other parties, despite no grassroots input, that is acceptable, because again, they are our elected representatives. In extraordinary times, we rely on our elected representatives to act in the public interest, and beyond that, for the party they represent.

There is a way out of this Dion disaster, and interestingly enough, it relies on the same arguments people have presented to defend recent events in Ottawa. I'm with Herle's suggestion, it's based on sound reasoning, which needs to be considered. Liberal MP's should hold an immediate vote, and choose a new leader, not interim, but the real deal. Later, the grassroots can rubber stamp that choice, but given the environment, Liberals need to move fast and decisively, the time for political correctness is over. Let our "elected representatives" decide, surely if we have faith in them to cobble together a coalition behind closed doors with no public input, plotting to take down the Prime Minister, that confidence extends to choosing a new leader, in a time of crisis. To argue otherwise, is a logical inconsistency, it fails to extend the "crisis" mentality to the leadership.

There is something horribly wrong, if the Liberals actually elect another leader, that doesn't have the confidence of caucus. As a matter of fact, it's a recipe for disaster, and no matter your personal preference, one can see how caucus resolve is key to a confident opposition, simply a critical ingredient if we are take government. For that reason, given the circumstances, let's just get the hell on with it and let our "elected representatives" choose a captain.

Dion has to go, and must go NOW. An interim leader is not sufficient, because it doesn't project the stability, or credibility, required to influence the GG. I see a scenario, wherein late January comes, the Liberals stuck with Dion or another caretaker, the GG sees the problem, opts for an election and we are completely and utterly screwed. We must be nimble, adapt to the circumstances, think beyond our personal preferences and get the person in place who can lead this party, who has the confidence of caucus, who can turn the page and give the Liberals a fresh start.

People can say, this is just an attempt by an Ignatieff supporter to get help his candidate of choice. That's fine, even if misguided, but I'm not making any decision, I'm leaving in the hands of our "elected representatives", they could pick Rae, whatever, let's just GET ON WITH IT. Serious times call for serious people, to make necessary decisions, that accurately understand the situation. Dump Dion, and get this leadership race over now, Canada requires it.

UPDATE

Olaf offers a fantastic suggestion, which appeals to grassroots input. Dump Dion, and hold 308 emergency riding meetings, wherein party members can vote on a new leader. Let's do it, and do it swiftly. Sounds fair to me, under the circumstances.

83 comments:

Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

You & other Iggyphiles may require it, Canada does not (nice Coynism though, purporting to speak not just for entire LPC but the country now).

I won't waste my breath as I always enjoy watching you alienate the undecided. But really, think about whether your words are the most constructive right now. even I have found it in my heart to give Iggy some props. Can you not try to be a team player?

olaf said...

Steve,

I don't really like the idea of shutting your members out altogether, not that I really have a say one way or another. But why can't the Liberals just say "screw this, no leadership race, no debates, no nothing, save all our money, and everyone with a Liberal membership card go to your local riding association and cast your vote for either Iggs, Rae, or Dominic the White. Do it. Polls close on Monday. Person with the most votes wins".

gina said...

Perfect summary. Send to LPC ASAP.

Steve V said...

olaf

That's a great idea, and I've considered it. Every riding opens a poll, you need a Liberal membership, vote and you've consulted the grassroots. I love it.

eugene

You are such a predictable boreasaurus. Go back to your hate-on, that's your motivation, nothing positive, constructive, or the ability to use any part of a rational brain. Whatever.

Anonymous said...

"Dominic the White"

LOL!

Rae as interim leader actually may work, because the Libs cannot let Harper get away with the January budget.

Dion, obviously, must be forced to pack his bags and move out of Stornoway before Christmas.

Steve V said...

Olaf

I've put your suggestion in the post :)

olaf said...

Steve,

That's a great idea, and I've considered it. Every riding opens a poll, you need a Liberal membership, vote and you've consulted the grassroots. I love it.

Oh, well, in that case, I hate it, and I withdraw my suggestion. As you were. :)

Kevin T. said...

I am a Dion supporter, and I agree, he has got to go, effing now! I don't care how they do it, but the Lib party and their ridiculously drawn-out leadership races are disasters in and of themselves, and they damn well need to get their act together (first things first, fire the whole A/V team now!) The only thing they learned from the last race (9 months for crying out loud, is there no common sense in the Lib Party?) was to make it 7 months. All those crying about due process, get your heads out of your behinds, urgency is now required because annihilation will come from within and elsewhere, and IT won't wait for a costly far-off convention. I am goddamn embarrassed to be a Lib party member. That effing video disaster, had it only been one iota competent (was the videographer blind? Was the zoom button lost? Was everyone colourblind? WTF!!!!????), it may have been less painful, but following Harper's anemic and angry 4 minutes, it could have been a home run but instead it totally shit the bed. Right now the Lib party is a political eunuch, it can hit those high notes but has no way of consummating anything of note.
I admire Dion and it is painful to see such an honorouble and sincere man get so brutally attacked that I want the bleeding to end. For the good of the country, Harper should resign and let someone less vile lead the government, and for the good of the Liberal Party and the country, Dion must resign as well. I don't care who leads (Iggy or Rae, both are definitely better PM material than Harper ever will be, just fucking decide already!) Since it will come down to either one of those two, how about Leblanc withdrawing from the race as he has no chance at this point in time, and HE become interim leader?

sjw said...

I enjoyed Rick Salutin's quip today that "if the Liberal Party doesn't find a way to ditch Dion in the next 10 minutes, it should lose its public funding". Funny.
The difficulties I am having with Ignatieff becoming leader is that it seems almost entirely based on the fact that 'he can win'. Never mind the obvious fact he has negligible political skills. Never mind that he isn't exactly an electrifying orator. Never mind that he is probably as divisive internally as Dion, there is this (I believe misguided) perception that he can win. That he alone is the best bet to beat Harper. I think that is a dangerous assumption and one that Liberals better think long and hard on before taking that particular plunge.

Anonymous said...

When you lose your job and ponder why there was no economic stimulus remember that Harper shut down democracy so he could keep HIS job. Merry Christmas!

Steve V said...

sjw

I'm not going to turn this into a discussion on Ignatieff, but your comments on "orator" are a gigantic head scratcher, and his political skills are much improved. Go listen to his address to the economic club, and tell me he isn't an orator, good grief.

Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

Who is the enemy, dude?

Reflect on this: "And what's happening as a result of this is bigger than Stephane Dion, bigger than me, Michael Ignatieff or Dominic Leblanc." (Rae)

Is it about "Iggy great. We must all submit to the Borg-natieffs", or is about keeping a united team to fight the Cons in this crucial time?

Have some perspective. Get some fresh air. But have the honesty to admit that forcing a leader out is not going to be terribly unifying or strengthen the party.

O well, I was foolish enough to waste my breath again. Consequence of being a democrat I suppose.

Anonymous said...

"The difficulties I am having with Ignatieff becoming leader is that it seems almost entirely based on the fact that 'he can win'."

He reminds me of John Kerry, in more ways than one.

Jesse said...

The problem is that you're not saying "it's an emergency, let's just pick and see who wins", but rather "it's an emergency, let's just pick Ignatieff".

Now, maybe that's the right answer at this point, but let's be explicit about what we're saying, shall we?

Steve V said...

"Who is the enemy, dude?"

Exactly, give your head a shake you hypocrite. You've spent more time bashing Iggy than Harper.

Anyways, I'll try to care...oops, can't seem to. Yawn.

sjw said...

Perhaps when he is speaking from a prepared text at some function, then his oration is spectacular, but when he finally arrives on the scene to comment on one of the most important and trying days in political memory and comes across as he did yesterday, then one immediate thought crossed my mind: Holy shite. This guy's NOT a leader. That was my impression anyway and just my 2 cents. And as you don't want this thread turned into a discussion of Ignatieff, all I will say on the subject.

Mark Dowling said...

If the Libs have Dion in charge on Jan 26, they are SO screwed. They get a little bit more screwed every day but budget day is now a hard deadline.

Amusing to see that while he is no longer leader, by proxy Martin is still screwing the Liberal party courtesy of his GG appointee.

Steve V said...

Jesse

Pick Rae, I don't really care, just get a real leader in there. I want Ignatieff, but the gravity of the situation is well beyond considering his personal fortunes. Let the members pick Ken Dryden, whatever, just get moving. NOW.

Steve V said...

sjw

I respect your opinion, I just disagree :)


Anyways, riding votes are a great way to get out of this mess, and have grassroots input. If not, then let the MP's decide.

Anonymous said...

There is no need to "force" anybody out, just vote on party leader NOW. Surely there must be some way to do this and provide stability to both the Coalition and the party?

liberazzi said...

Better for Dion to read the writing on the wall, but no need to go into panic mode at this moment. I would like to see a coalition, but I think it is reasonable that if Harper comes back with concessions that we work towards a compromise and let this die . Then once Iggy or Rae is elected then take em down in the fall.

Apparently, the GG ordered Harper to play nice, but if he cannot then someone/everyone needs to go to Dion and say thank you, but your services are no longer required. If the coaltion proceeds then the screams will get louder and louder. I know Dion is stubborn, but he cant be tone deaf can he? If Dion stays on then what little respect he still has will disappear, which will be unfortunate. He needs to realize this fact.

Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

The difference between us is that from the beginning of the crisis I've tried to avoid criticising Iggy as much as I'm able without being hypocritical. You, however, seem incapable of even a momentary pause in your divisive rants.

My views on Iggy will not change. But now is not the time to be divisive. So I have even praised him in a post. But you are in constant leadership race mode. Geez Louise!

If and when the leadership race becomes priority number one, I will fight my corner again. But for a week I have been trying to put out a message of unity. Are you really incapable of doing th same?

Please prove me wrong.

Joseph said...

Dion must go, and it needs to happen now. We just can't have that face on the screen explaining anything. I swear he loses votes.

Here's the reality. He had one last chance - ONE - to prove he could be the face of the Liberal party and gain the confidence of the people as a viable Prime Minister.

After Harper's flatter than flat performance on Wednesday evening, all he had to do was come on and professionally destroy Harper's demagoguery - which Harper had set himself up for. Beyond that he needed to express unity and devotion to the needs of the country and explain the coalition not only had validity but also a viable plan on the economy that he would honorably, strongly, and humbly take care of until his successor was chosen.

That was it. It needed to be one of those moments you EXPECT of leaders when they, as pundits like to say, "Rise to the Occasion."

Dion failed.

I honestly there was an audience of people tuning in to see him again - me being one of them - to see him carry the torch for a new direction.

What happened is unforgivable. It's not the cameraman's fault, and it's not the "handlers" faults. It was Dion. It was his moment and it failed. Either he or the people he has placed around him or allowed to remain around him are not competent or he has a gaping lack of competency himself in that area. It is NOT the language barrier - it is his very presence.

The reality is in this day and age, that skill is essential. In reality, I would say long before cameras and TV, that skill was essential. Every ruler has had times when he needed to gather people - followers or doubters - into a room and command respect.

Dion gathers people into a room and gathers empathy, sympathy, or derision (of a bit of all three).

This is the harshest thing I have ever written or said about Dion, but it needs to be said. HE CANNOT REMAIN AS THE INTERIM LEADER AND HE CERTAINLY CANNOT BE THE FACE OF THE COALITION OR THE LIBERAL PARTY.

I like the suggestions here on how that happens sooner rather than later, but it MUST happen.

Open the riding polls now, and have a result by Christmas. Start the new year with a new leader, new party, and new drive in the coalition.

DO IT NOW!

Who do send this message to in the Liberal Party to make it happen.

We don't need a breather. We need to act.

Steve V said...

Well said Joseph.

sjw said...

I should point out I didn't wholeheartedly mean to say, "Ignatieff is NOT a leader". I just felt he waited far too long to comment on yesterdays happenings and when he finally did his response left me cold and more than a little bewildered. Imho, Ignatieff allowed Rae to use his superior political instincts (dare I say talents) to seize the moment and thus, the day. I really fear having someone at the helm that may be too easily framed as "not a leader". I've had enough of that to last a lifetime. There is much I admire and respect about Michael Ignatieff, but for me, he is a tougher sell then Bob Rae.

Kevin T. said...

I am really liking the proposal to vote at riding offices. It can be done quickly and democratically, but even more importantly, it needs to be done to get us out of this situation that the Liberal Party let happen. It would give us hope and direct us off this path irrelevancy and derision, and it would allow a chance for everyone to participate, not thos fortunate ones who get to party in Vancouver.
As P.O.'d as I was about people blaming Dion personally for the video disaster, since I figured he could not view himself though the viewfinder, I have to say I agree with Joseph. It IS Dion's personal fault because the people he chose to surround him let it happen (time and time again, and then for good measure, again when it counted the most), and they are still there.
Much like Paul Martin, who's disastrous performance as PM almost overshadowed his historic run as Finance minister, Dion is rapidly expending all capital of his clarity battles by staying.

Steve V said...

Kevin

We could just have a general vote, or a riding by riding preference. A general vote is the purest, but a riding by riding decision, respects each constituency equally, as we do with conventions. If you win a riding, then you get one vote and whomever has the highest of the 308 is declared leader.

Ted said...

Just how hard and costly is it to set up an electronic voting system?

Jerry Prager said...

Frank Valeriote has gone back to supporting the coalition because after Harper's speech Frank came to the conclusion that Harper cannot change his nature. As for Dion, I'm not a Liberal,but he has an extraordinary capacity for rising phoenix like from the ashes. I keep thinking his advisors/staff aren't strong enough. During that CTV interview, all he needed was one staffer to say, 'no Boss, you don't need to answer the question again because your five point plan is the answer', same with the tape screwup two nights ago, but I don't know. The only hope here is to win the PR war, to rally and grow the coalition's supporters into active agents of change, to use the goodwill of those who distrust Harper and put them to work growing the coalition. The infighting is not helpful.

olaf said...

Olaf offers a fantastic suggestion, which appeals to grassroots input

Oh dear God, what have I done? The folks at the next Hidden Agenda Society meeting are not going to be pleased with me.

liberazzi said...

The moment after the election, I said Dion had to go, but I was lambasted for that. Hmmmm. Would I like Dion to leave now, sure. Does he need to leave today? No. We need to see what Harper comes back with. If Harper continues on this destructive path and we need to form a coalition still, then we need to start pushing Dion out. However, lets at least take a day or two to chill out, otherwise we are no better than that ass Jimmy K. Yet, in Paul Martin's words, let me be perfectly clear, if the coalition is to move forward and to succeed then Dion needs to go.

As far as the leadership goes, you have two contrasting styles at the moment. Iggy is supportive, but keeping his distance. This is a smart move on his part and you know it. Rae on the other hand wants to wear this which is also ok in my mind. It gives us two distinctive choices. Do you guys want a boring leadership contest?

Kevin T. said...

Steve,
That sounds really good. But is it too common sensy for the Liberal Party to actually implement? The riding by riding vote sounds very good. It could help offset the ridings with huge representations and give equal voice to rural ones. I like it a lot. It could also match the urgency of the situation. Dion could redeem himself somewhat if he would push for this right now. If he makes it his goal to have a new leader before January 26, he would get an awful lot of support and it would salvage his exit to a certain degree.

Steve V said...

olaf

If it's any consolation, I came up with a similar idea on my own. I omitted it from this post, because I wanted to float the inconsistency of saying our elected MP's can dream up a coalition, which nobody signed onto and turf the PM, but they are undemocratic if they choose a opposition leader. I still think the two arguments don't jive.

Anyways, if you get a membership, maybe you can vote ;)

jerry

If people want this coalition to have any chance, Dion must go. There will be no rise, he's done, people have no faith him, that's it. I'm trying to figure a way out of this internal mess, which is actually an extension of the general public's unease with the man. Do it fast, get back to the issues at hand, put our best face forward.

Anonymous said...

I know Dion is stubborn, but he can't be tone deaf can he?

He did say he had a hearing problem. Only this time, his listening ability has nothing to do with his ears.

Joseph said...

What I want is to have a new leader while, as they say, "the world is watching."

If Dion steps into chambers at the end of January - and the weeks leading up to it - as the leader, it will be the Liberal party that wears it, not just Dion.

There is a point we are arriving at or have arrived at where the face of the party becomes the lingering brand of the party.

It will do NO good for any leadership contender to have sat around and strongly - or even sort of - supported events that drag on with Harper in power.

I want Canada to see the Liberals have moved on while they are still paying attention. All eyes will be on Parliament in January.

Do you want them to view a dithering party or a party that knows how to act when times demand it? These are the type of times where leadership is demanded. And if the Liberals answer is to wait until its more convenient, i.e. sometime after May please, then they will wear that as well.

There is a reason Harper gets away with his gross and disgusting demagoguery. At the end of the day, people still see confidence, and they will respond to that when no other viable option exists.

I'm sorry but the days of apologizing for Dion have got to end. I love him, I supported him. But we are so beyond trying to convince people that he's really good if you know his heart.

They don't care, and I am quickly approaching the point that I don't either.

Who cares at this point? Move on.

Any of the leadership contenders are acceptable to me. I see strengths and weaknesses in all of the. But all of them have demonstrated the basic ability to connect to people and command some respect in what they express.

So just get on with it.

liberazzi said...

Im going to the convention, so why are you trying to spoil my fun? Jerks!

Hate to spoil your fun, but this is not going to happen. The die is cast.

This is what is going to happen, if they cannot make a deal with Harper:

1. Dion is pushed out
2. McCallum or someone replaces him
3. They vote out Harper
4. Iggy or Rae takes over when the time comes

End of discussion, have a good day.

You guys dont have jobs or you dont work on Fridays. Stop dreaming and go back to work!

Steve V said...

"There is a reason Harper gets away with his gross and disgusting demagoguery"

I have no doubt that Harper has diminished himself with voters, despite what appears support in the polls. When you mention Dion, most people just go "pfft", shake their head, etc. Harper isn't liked, people are upset at him, but relatively they are much more comfortable supporting him. It's as simple as that, Harper has no serious hold in Canadians hearts, partisans aside, and they think less of him today, than they did a week ago. With Dion, Liberals will never take advantage of that, he effectively pushes people towards Harper. I don't fear Harper, I fear what Dion allows Harper to do.

Anonymous said...

"he has an extraordinary capacity for rising phoenix like from the ashes"

Funniest.Line.Ever.

Too bad he crashes and burns every time.

Jerry Prager said...

Steve,
I suspect you're right, and I am a sentimentalist, I've spent way too long in the underclasses to take any pleasure from attacking a man as decent as Dion, you're Libs, he's your leader, and rationally, I know you're right about his public acceptance levels, the thugs did their job too well. When times get bad, I don't trust Canadians anymore: they bought into a delusion a long time ago, and won't know reality again until it destroys those delusions.

Steve V said...

Jerry

I have much respect for Mr. Dion, but he is such an incredible liability at this moment, I can longer attach any emotion to the situation. Dion doesn't resonate with Canadians, for whatever reason, and his standing erodes further by the day.

Joseph said...

Well spoken, Steve.

I think that's my own soap-box point . . . any of the current leadership contenders allow an opportunity to face Harper. But that opportunity won't exist as long as Dion is there.

If times were different, I think May could have been a reasonable expectation.

But these are the times we are in - and we have just had a tumultuous and riveting week in Canadian History - and it ain't over yet (as they say).

The new leader is needed now, not next May. Otherwise, the party is in effect handing the microphone to Harper to dual with Dion. And we've seen that over and over and over again. We know that story.

I think many people are waiting for another option with Center / Left credentials and a love of Canada - all of it. At the risk of sounding crass, give the people what they want.

Joseph said...

I think I mean "duel"

one of many typos this morning, I'm sure.

liberazzi said...

One caveat to my point is that if we do not make a deal with Harper, but instead of a coalition, we instead are faced with an election, then the caucus should decided immediately on a new leader. Now if we are faced with that reality and the grassroots make a big enough stink then, we could try the 308 deal, but it would have to be done quick. Is there no way that we can get a sense in the next few weeks of which way the GG will go?

liberazzi said...

If we could basically figure out which way the GG will go if we are faced with this situation, then we could start making arrangements right away.

I have no problem with an interim leader replacing Dion, but it should have been done when he resigned.

Steve V said...

" Is there no way that we can get a sense in the next few weeks of which way the GG will go?"

We have to prepare for all possibilites, but it is fair to say Dion or an interim leader presented, weakens any case to the GG. If the coalition has no credibility with the public, I suspect she will lean towards an election, as the only fair way to settle the confusion. If Liberals are comfortable with Dion, or no clear leader, confronting this possibility, well...

Ted said...

Question: How does the party "renew" itself when comingled in a coalition with a further left party? Is that even possible?

Jerry Prager said...

This is the crux of the matter really, and changes everything. I wouldn't count on the GG, not only did she have strong reasons to say no to prorogueing, but she could have struck a blow for what Harper and Bush did to Haiti when they turned it over to the junta that subsequently did nothing to help Haitians through 3 of the worst hurricanes of the season: she went down to help on the ground but did not come back prepared to fight for their freedom. So no, if Ms. Jean lacks the courage to give the government to anyone but the enemies of Haiti, she'll be no help to Canadians fighting enemies within. She's just another pretty face. You need to introduce democratic reform legislation designed to make 4 year fixed terms work through coalition government, get it passed and then she'll have law to protect her from the wrath of the Cons. Use that to drop Harper. You're going to have to swallow the budget. Relying on the GG would be disastrous, which is why you don't need to force your party leadership. She lacks the courage for this kind of evolutionary action.

whopitulia said...

For my two cents, I'm not an Iggy-ite, in fact I have been more of an Iggy-hater since the last race but we are going to lose everything we hold dear if Harper turns public opinion into a majority just to stop the instability in our government. We need the leadership settled ASAP. However that gets done is fine by me, whether Iggy wins or not, we have no easy out and no more time to waste. I'm ready to vote, if I get my new membership card in time, name the time and place. Everyone else I know with a Liberal membership is ready to do the same.

Steve V said...

who

I know your view of Ignatieff, so your endorsement is very welcomed.

kheimbuch said...

Agree with the post 100%. Sound commonsense. Another worrying thing is that the main pitchman now appears to be Rae -- not the best choice to fight the growing support of the Cons in vote-rich 905 Ontario. As unfair as it is, too many people in Ontario still see Rae as a bad choice for dealing with a troubled economy. And because of Harper's latest sniping at Quebecois, Ontario will be the apriori battleground in the next election and PR war.

What the LPC really need, ideally, is someone who can strike a populist chord that can resonate throughout main street. In my view, the best thing would have been McKenna for this reason, but sadly, he is not interested. Iggy really, is the most reasonable choice although he might prove to be only slghtly less divisive (within the party) than Dion in the end.

The polls should be taken with a grain of salt; all the public is saying is that they would rather go with the devil they know, then with the devil they just rejected. This will change quickly - *IF* the LPC do what Steve is suggesting here.

Steve V said...

Toronto Star:

Federal Liberals say that Stéphane Dion's leadership role could be coming to an early end as the party gears up for the next round of political conflict with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government.

"There's a good possibility that he will step down early" as leader, said one well-placed Liberal insider.

CTV News reported this afternoon that Dion would likely be resigning his position as interim chief before Christmas. But there was no immediate statement from Dion's office on his future.

This prospect has led some Liberals to look for ways to install a new leader – possibly an interim head such as former cabinet ministers John McCallum or Ralph Goodale – as soon as possible so the party does not wind up fighting another election under Dion.



Good to point, but the logic of fighting an election under an interim leader is completely asinine. If we're moving, get it over with, don't be timid.

kleim

Agree on the polls, the key word is "devil" :)

whopitulia said...

I would love an opportunity for the members to vote as soon as humanly possible. It would show that the Liberal Party is at least making an effort to be democratic and united in purpose, that it means business, that it can adapt and move quickly if need be. I think the coalition attempt proved that we are serious already and if we are prepared to trust the Bloc (gulp) and the NDP (yikes) then how can anyone complain about Iggy, really? C'mon, that's just silly at this point. So let's end the squabbling and get this thing done. Let the chips fall where they may. I'd rather take a chance on Michael Ignatieff (if it comes to that) than hand over public opinion to the the Harper spin machine and risk our GG calling an election in January as we sit rudderless with no leadership. I would have liked to see Dominic LeBlanc have more time to build membership support because he's still my candidate of choice but time ran out yesterday. So let's go. Just do it!

Steve V said...

That's the spirit!

Jerry Prager said...

If Dion will actually step aside of his own accord, then by all means do it, that's the best case scenario for what you're suggesting vote-wise Steve, but the GG will still not give you the government if you drop Harper over the budget.

Steve V said...

If we have our leadership in order, at worst we can get more concessions from Harper. Also, the GG may well not agree, but there is a much better chance if we have a clear leader. Leverage and probability, plus we present a new face to the Canadian people. If we decide the coalition is hurting our chances, then the best way to turn the page is another direction. I can't see the downside, no matter the circumstance, it's in the best interests of the party.

liberazzi said...

Glad to hear that Dion might be seeing the light.

- coaltion = interim leader
- snap election = let caucus decide or 308

My interim choice - Dryden, followed by McCallum

The leadership camps need to have an early indication of what's going on, as it will start to have an effect on fundraising and volunteers if the whole thing is in flux.

Dame said...

the Riding version Olaf proposed would fit for democratic and better system for chosing a leader then we had before ... yes we need a credible leader as by this weekend ... lets do it!!!

the party is sending me e-mails several times a day .. they have a working list of Liberal members .. set the polls up today give us 2 days ask all media to convey the message for Canadians... it can be done

marta

Anonymous said...

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the tenor here seems to imply that you all feel the coalition will go ahead, should go ahead, and will/should attempt to form the government by the end of January without seeking the ratification of the electorate in a general election. In other words, two more of the same please and damn the torpedoes--the only problem is the leader.

Let's bracket the whole question of whether, after a budget was defeated in the House, the GG, being able to read the House and the mood of the nation at large, and now 3.5+ months out from Oct 14, wouldn't just grant a CPC request for dissolution (I believe she would).

More germane still is the trend-lines. Comaps today has the Tories at 51%, the Liberal at 20%. Golly, I guess we'd have to call that majority territory, no? And what salient action has the Liberal Party of Canada taken to experience this drop, and help, along with a serious freefall in NDP support, fuel the Tory surge? Sure, there was the EPIC FAIL of the video. But M Dion was there just playing to type.

No, these numbers are forceful, consistent, and clear repudiation of the whole idea of this coalition, in part because of the involvement of the Bloc, in part because if Canadians wanted a PM Dion, they could have chosen one in Oct, thanks, and above all, because it violates Canadians' sense of fair play and their own democracy.

You can talk all you want about how it's constitutionally legitimate--yes, it is. But that it is without precedent tells us something about how democratic legitimation has always derived in this country from something more than whether the Constitution allows you to do something.

People mention Byng-King, but that's a red herring, or worse, proves the point of the people deciding. Byng refused King's request for dissolution, after all, to allow the man who actually had the plurality of seats in the Commons after the recent election the chance to govern. He did not refuse the request of the man who held a 67 seat plurality so that a cobbled coalition could take power. What's more, King eventually clobbered Meighan on a campaign of villifying the unelected, British GG for refusing the people an election. And the people agreed, wholeheartedly. So much for that precedent.

In the Rae/Petersen case, we see huge diferences: Mill did not request a dissolution. He considered it and decided against, and so resigned instead. The LG then acted appropriately in asking the other parties if they could come together before unilaterally, as an appointed, not elected figure, dissolving the legislature. Again, not so much like what's on the table here, and this true consensus, notable absent in the present case, conveyed legitimacy, as it could be seen to be a matter of fair play.

All of this is to say, if you think you just need to keep going ahead with a coalition you need a better leader to "sell", but not to campaign on and seek a legitimate mandate for, I feel you are much mistaken and are apt to help solidïfy Mr Harper in "majority territory", however much you are all convinced that he is Satan and that the poor, benighted electorate is but groping in the dark for some enlightenment by a coalition they did not vote for.

Just sayin'.

DM DeCoste

whopitulia said...

Just one last thing I forgot to mention, in favour of settling the leadership ASAP. We need to get the media off our leadership soap opera and back on the Cons. A friend of mine made a good point today, Harper has cobbled together his own coalition of misfits, a few moderates and a lot of maniacs. The media was starting to cover the problems in side the con frankenstein coalition, we need to steer them that way. Make Harper's problems (and trust me he's got plenty) the focus and let our own party get back to business. As for the coalition, it's probably a necessary arrangement if we can make it work just to protect ourselves from those absentions we had to do last time. The public wasn't really paying attention when this thing suddenly appeared and it freaked everyone out. I count myself in that number and I'm still not so in love with the idea. BUT if you show me this thing really works as an opposition coalition and the public can see it's not the diabolical plot Harper's led them to believe, well maybe we earn respect and see if the polls turn. We can't do any of that without a leader. If you can prove to me this coalition isn't some crazy desperate gimmick, that the Bloc and NDP aren't laying a trap for us Liberals, maybe you can win over other people too. Like any relationship, it takes time to build trust and see if this deal survives tests. A new leader can re-negotiate and test drive a more cautious opposition coalition that doesn't look so half baked and dangerous to voters. Let's hope anyway.

Jeff said...

Good points DM, and I would add that by the time a confidence vote brings down the government, a lot will have changed since the October election. Calling another election seems much more likely than handing power to a coalition.

RuralSandi said...

Eugene Forsey is acting like a teeny bopper with kiddie slogans - "Rae Gets It" and a daily rant about Iggy.

Ya, right Forsey, nice way to pull the party and its supporters together.

Grow up.

Name calling like Iggyphiles? C'mon - go back to your playpen.

This hurts the party.

Let's see - Raedons, Bobbysoxers, Skinny DIPPER Rae....

...sigh

RuralSandi said...

The Liberal's success was that they were centred. Part of the problem with Dion is he went too far to the left.

Perhaps renewal - what's old is new again and get back to what we really are.

Because the truth is - that is where Canada is in general and that's why Harper stole it temporarily to rope in supporters.

Steve V said...

Sandi

Just as a slight reality check, is there anyone who doesn't think the "cross country tour" isn't a leadership gambit? I mean, COME ON.

Anonymous said...

Since we have to be ready for all contingencies, Ralph Goodale would be a good choice as interim leader. He could head a coalition government or take us into an election. He is a widely respected MP and being from the West will help with the public.

Steve V said...

anon

An interim leader is a lateral move, that accomplishes nothing. If anyone thinks we can win an election with a caretaker, I mean...

Susan said...

But was it not Dion that put the whole coalition thing together>? Harper would be many times worse now if he had gotten away with his horrible budget update. I think Dion has no one to help him because the knives are out. He's too far left for the 'senior liberals'. People like Martha and Gerard are not talking renewal in the party for nothing. You can also see the dramatic differences between Rae and Ignatieff. Rae is prepared to put himself out there, like Dion and fight. Ignatieff is not a fighter so how is he going to beat Harper. Martin got a coronation and look at how that ended up.

Steve V said...

Susan

With all due respect, Rae criticized Dion for how he handled the coalition in caucus, so let's dispense with the Saint Bob routine. I think it's great Bob is touring the country, but don't confuse leadership politics with purity, it's a strategy as much as conviction.

You could argue, in a time of great fluidity, it's best to watch it unfold, before you get attached to an albatross. Rather than dithering, I see a wise read of the dynamics at play.

Anonymous said...

Goodale is a good communicator and can "sell" the coalition. If the GG is keen on following precedent, she will ask the opposition parties if they can form a government after no confidence vote. On the other hand, going into an election with Goodale against deceivin' steven is not too shabby with economy as THE issue.

Steve V said...

Madness.

Joseph said...

To answer DM's points, which are valid but I think mistaken.

I for one am not advocating an ideal world of a coalition taking over without an election. It ought to be able to happen, but I recognize the political realities.

What I am saying is that with Dion at the helm, the Liberals will most decidedly NOT be in a position to be a viable threat in case an election occurs.

At this point, I am not even advocating an end game for the coalition. I am just saying Dion has to go now.

Conservatives can gloat about their polls - many of which were taken during the feverish pitch this week, in which I think most Canadians responded to fear and security. I maintain it is nearly impossible to gauge how an election would play out after this past week. If forced into an election,and if the coalition partners allowed sitting MPs to run without other coalition opposition in their ridings (a big if but not entirely unreasonable possibility), I maintain it would be extremely difficult for the conservatives to grow into a majority. And an election can change everything, given the current environment - especially with a new leader in the mix!

I simply think to be in the best position possible at the end of January - regardless of what happens next - Dion must NOT be the face of the Liberal party. Period. Regardless of what happens beyond that, that is an absolute given.

I give the coalition great credit for changing the probable course of events this past week.

With that, I'll take a week resulting in "scary" numbers over giving Harper a free pass in a new minority government. This was his great test, and within a week he was scrambling for the side-lines. At this point I think the entire country expects him to act like a tyrant, because he is. It is his nature, and everyone knows it.

So I do believe the coalition has to remain a credible option - even if that means voting him down and facing an early election. Ideally, though, the valid threat of such an outcome might just mean Harper has to act in recognition of a valid minority situation at least for a short while.

I would rather Dion step down and an aggressive effort put a new leader in place before mid-January (a couple of weeks prior to Jan 26). But if the Liberals won't do that, they at least need to have a credible - and election-ready interim leader - just in case.

But the best option is to just get a new leader selected and in place. Be done with it already.

As one public comment I read today at CBC said, Rae and Iggy already ran around the country for nearly a year running before. If Liberals don't know who they want by now, they never will.

I think that comment also offers an insight to my fear that Liberals and dithering may soon become a defacto connection in the minds of the electorate.

The Liberal Party needs to stop talking about reinvention and start reinventing itself. Start with finding a way to get a leader quickly and efficiently when it is needed. LIKE NOW.

Mushroom said...

"But was it not Dion that put the whole coalition thing together>?"

It was Layton and Mulcair's idea and Duceppe was on board quite early in the beginning. They already have a background plan that is being implemented, just in case the Grits defect. The NDP don't lose that much, particularly when they have almost max their support. In fact, Duceppe wins big time this week.

"If anyone thinks we can win an election with a caretaker, I mean..."

All the Grits need is a caretaker that, with the help of the NDP, can win ONE more seat than Harper's Cons. This is all that is needed. Someone who can win ten seats in Quebec and stem the loss of Liberal support in Ontario. Maybe an interim leader may help the senior Grit apparatus to realize that the only way to defeat Harper is to have one Coalition for Canada candidate in the next election. Similar to the Canadian Alliance of 2000.

Speaking of the 2000 election, Dion is in danger of becoming the Stockwell Day of the left. Both are nice men personally, but an accident waiting to happen.

"How does the party "renew" itself when comingled in a coalition with a further left party? Is that even possible?"

Run one ticket instead of three and I am counting Lizzie May's Green. Of course, May may want to sell the carbon tax on her own.

liberazzi said...

CTV is claiming that Dion will be out by Wednesday. The other rumour is that the convention will be moved up. Not much talk about the caucus deciding the next leader. Leblanc has been muscled out by Iggy and Rae, so should he continue at this point, except to make the race a little more interesting. Rae feels that letting Harper off the hook, no matter what is a bad move. CTV tried to stir up the fact that Rae is a former Dipper and that is why he is so in favour of this coalition (Libs dont trust his motive, whatever). Going to the rally tomorrow.

liberazzi said...

Ok, if Iggy is named interim, Rae and Leblanc get bought off, the convention is still in May, but an snap election is called. What happens if Iggy does poorly before he is officially named leader?

Frank Hinton said...

I agree, I think it is obvious a new form of selection needs to be opted as the last one didn't pan out at all. Dion is an excellent cabinet minister, I'll leave it at that. I think though what is actually needed down the road if Iggy doesn't pan out is an entirely new party altogether.

Anonymous said...

Joseph:

I take your rebuttal in good part but for one remark. It seems both a woeful, and not, for your own purposes, particularly helpful, condemnation of your fellow Canadians to think that 38-51% of them both know Harper to be a "tyrant" and are eager to have him be their elected Prime Minister.

Again, assuming the stupidity and ill-will of the people who actually (still) get to elect their government is not particularly healthy, neither politically nor spiritually. It's hard to win the votes of people when all your rhetoric suggests they're morons, or worse, evil, if they don't already agree with you. People who are otherwise accessible to arguments tend to become a tad defensive, if not outright hostile, at that. Go figure.

I don't mean to mischaracterize your whole post, the bulk of which was civil and reasoned, if in my view mistaken. But those kind of blithe assertions are deeply corrosive, not just to the tenor of political discourse (and we've seen how the degradation of that by all sides of late has contributed to a healthy legislature), but to parties' own political best interests.

liberazzi said...

ouch

Anonymous said...

Liberazzi--

You beat me to the link, or at least the allusion. Very interesting that. First, I have to applaud Mr Manley. His discussion is remarkably even-handed and accurate in my view. It's encouraging. But I also wonder if there's not an audition tape in there?

DM DeCoste

Joseph said...

DM,

I appreciate your response as well.

My opinion, which will not be changing of Harper is that he is a tyrant.

He may certainly have an appeal, and I am not discrediting the voters - or you. But I had great distrust and anger at Bush for his corrosive approach to governing when he had 75% plus approval as well.

I mention that not to say that Harper will ever be regarded that way. But to point out I am damned entitled to my opinion of the tyrant named Stephen Harper.

If people can flippantly dismiss entire segments of the country or claim they are going to break away - both I find highly offensive - then I am certainly entitled to express my opinion of a horrid man whose idea of leadership is to find enemies everywhere and then yell shrill lies about them.

I've witnessed leadership in my lifetime by men and women much greater than Stephen Harper. He is a small man, and that won't change no matter how many times he whips up a fury and gets elected.

900 ft Jesus said...

I completely agree, Steve V. Just had a conversation with someone on that very thing and came to the same conclusions.

Jack said...

So, you guys FINALLY throwing Dion under the bus, eh?

Sorry, but as a lifelong Liberal supporter who has suffered through the destruction this man has unwittingly wrecked upon my party, I'm finding this morbidly amusing.

Canadians clearly rejected this man since DAY ONE. Even after the election and their resounding rejection of him, you still championed him against all reason.

It just utterly amazes me that only NOW you're cluing into his inability to lead and inspire ANYTHING.

Jack said...

And forgive my snark. I respect this blog. That's why I post here. It's just a difficult, bitter time...

Anonymous said...

"A pox on all their houses", the lazy verdict

can only make voters wish a pox on all their houses. - John Manley


Everyone, Steve would like to inform you all that John Manley is lazy.

Steve V said...

A lazy verdict, that has become entrenched in the minds of Canadians. Rather than accuracy, let's deal with reality. And, I would add, our house appears relatively shabby, as hard as it is too imagine, given the impetus for this whole affair.