Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama Works Against Harper

A under-reported nugget from the latest EKOS poll, it would appear that Harper has some Bush baggage, Canadians see Ignatieff as far more compatible to the new American administration:

Quite a gap, in favor of the Liberals, another intangible that should concern the Conservatives. Ignatieff would be wise to continually reference his personal ties with many in Obama's adminstration, any connection is a positive.

I have to admit, I've had a smile on my face, listening and watching government officials fall all over themselves trying to forge strong ties with the new administration. I smile, because the pivot from "Steve" to Obama's best friend is rife with transparent motivations. This government will desperately attempt to capitalize on any Obama popularity, his visit will be a brown nose spectacle of biblical proportions. With that said, it's nice to see Canadians see a disconnect, the Liberals look the more natural "partner".


Jay said...

Isn't Obama also meeting with the leader of the opposition, Mr. Ignatieff?

The Mound of Sound said...

Harper wanted nothing more than to transplant the Reagan Revolution into Canada. It's why he spent the last three plus years in permanent campaign mode trying, unsuccessfully, to persuade enough Canadians that he was a moderate to dupe them into giving him a majority.

Now the clock has run out on that bullshit and Furious Leader looks like the last man standing for the far right, his American Idol having hitched a seat on the last chopper out of Saigon.

Poor Steve, he only ever learned that one dance - the green apple two step.

anon said...

The delicious irony to Harper playing friends with Obama is that it will rub open sores on the hearts of the hillbilly faithful; they don't like liberals of any persuasion, from any country.
Harper steps into another - damned if ya' do etc.

Mike said...

Off topic here, but while Iggy's new critic line-up looks 95% solid, can someone please shed some insight as to why Ken Dryden was dropped entirely and while Dennis Coderre gets moved up to #3 at Defence and becomes the Quebec lieunenant?

Coderre was dropped from defence because he kept making gaffes and we set MHF stay as a critic but not Dryden one of the dwindling few with actual cabinet experience?

Very bizarre twist to another wise fine line-up but I think Ignatieff does owe an explanation for placing Coderre and MHF way above Dryden.

Mike said...

The list of critics is here.

Hedy Fry and Ujal Dosanjsh were also both shafted when they are two others with cabinet experience. The one thing Fry, Dosanjsh(sp?) and Dryden have in common was there were all Rae supporters, I'm sure that's not Ignatieff's motivation but he should know that's it's not great optics to shaft 3 former cabinet ministers who all have that in common. If I were him I would have found critic positions for any former cabinet minister, since even to add 4 more critics would have still made the shadow cabinet smaller than Harper's actual cabinet.

Btw to stay on topic you are dead right about Obama and what he means for Harper and the Liberals and I think there would be nothing better than to vote Harper down next week and then welcome Obama to Canada as one of the first acts of the coalition government. It would do wonders for the popularity of Ignatieff and the coalition.

Mike said...

And no Irwin Cotler either, ugh. Even though I know you can't fit everyone in I object to MHF and Joe Volpe staying in while more qualified people got booted out. If you have cabinet experience you deserved to be there.

Steve V said...

"Isn't Obama also meeting with the leader of the opposition, Mr. Ignatieff?"

Is that true, hadn't heard?

Steve V said...

On the critic lineup, Ignatieff gave Kennedy a prime role, given the economy. Nice gig for LeBlanc too.

As for Coderre, he has a background in this area and he needed high profile Quebec representation. Seems a political calculation, but nothing new there.

Dryden's name does stick out, not sure why he was omitted.

All in all, the talent dwarfs Conservatives.

Steve V said...

This from the release on Dryden:

"Ken Dryden will take on the new role of National Outreach Advisor, Working Families & Poverty, reflecting his long-standing commitments to these issues, and will also act as Special Liaison, National Fundraising."

So much for the omission :)

Mike said...

Ok good to hear about Dryden that would have been extremely bizarre to have him left out of a prominent role entirely since he's one of the strongest members of caucus.

Still think Dosanjh, Fry and Cotler belonged more in the lineup than MHF and Joe Volpe though.

Steve V said...


MHF deserves a slot. Completely agree on Volpe.

It's a "lean" team, by Ignatieff's definition, and you don't put people where they have no expertise, so once certain positions are gone, you can see how a name or two doesn't make it. Unlike the Cons, we actually have considerable talent, so you're bound to leave some off the list, that are probably deserving.

Mike said...

Fair point about MHF she's qualified definitely but I don't think she has paid her dues to the same extent as Cotler, Dosanjh and Fry. I just think the best thing would have been a critic for each member of Harper's cabinet that would have allowed all these ppl to be acccomodated and would follow the general tradition of what shadow cabinets look like. And then if we moved to government we would have 24 cabinet posts and 24 parliamentary secretaries so again it would be easy to accomodate everyone.

As well, there's also only 9 women in this line-up which as a proportion is no better than Harper for his cabinet when we've been preaching much more about having gender equality in our caucus line-up. I hope if Ignatieff becomes PM he does commit to uphold Dion's commitment of having the real cabinet be 50% women. We shouldn't be taking steps backward on this. Joyce Murray, Hedy Fry, Kirsty Duncan, Albina Guarnieri, Siobhan Coady and Judy Foote all were qualified to be in this line-up and were shafted even though tehy had positions before.

Steve V said...

Actually, if you do the math, the percentage of women in the shadow cabinet completely matches the percentage of the caucus as a whole. Half the women in caucus are in the shadow cabinet.

Steve V said...

Anyways, can someone confirm Ignatieff will meet with Obama?

Mike said...

Steve half the women from the Conservative caucus are in cabinet, I don't think anyone uses that standard or has before. But regardless I think any Liberal get get past this, what matters will be the real cabinet. I maintain Ignatieff should find spots in cabinet or as Parliamentary secretaries when the day comes for all the poeple I mentioned and ensure his cabinet is 50% female as Dion previously promised (if the coalition took power there would be 18 Liberals in cabinet, there are easily 9 who are extremely qualified, but even if no coalition he should have no problem finding enough qualified women after the next election).

As for Obama, Bush met with Harper when he visited with Martin as PM as I recall so I would be surprised if Obama didn't arrange a meeting with Ignatieff. Would still prefer if Iggy was already the PM at the time of Obama's visit though :).

Steve V said...


Dion promised to run 50% candidates.

What did you want Ignatieff to do, name every female MP as a critic? That's what's required to reach that threshold, and it would just smack of an artificial quota, rather than merit. I doubt anybody would have found that particularly attractive. I think it's a good balance, given the makeup of our caucus.

Mike said...

No Dion promised to run 33% candidates and appoint 50% women to cabinet, the Senate and Crown corporations and he repeated this commitment at many events and Equal Voice praised him for it. He guaranteed this no matter the ultimate gender make-up of his caucus.

Women don't make up 50% of Jean Charest's caucus and he still appointed 50% women. I named 6 more women that could have been critics and I still left out more. You could have replaced Volpe, Byrne,Savage,Regan,D'Amours,and McTeague with those 6 women and no one could have argued that the women in there weren't just as qualified as the men. Same goes if the coaltion took power it would be easy to pick out 9 women for cabinet among the 18 Liberals. But again the critics list doesn't matter all that much in the scheme of things, Dion didn't have 50% in his shadow cabinet (though he did find a role for just about every female members of caucus) either but he did promise 50% in his eventual cabinet and had the coalition taken power last December I have no doubt he would have met it.

Ignatieff should commit to the same just as Jean Charest has done. I believe Equal Voice sent him a letter on that front asking him to do so as Dion did and they have yet to receive a reply.

wayupnorth said...

I agree with Steve, this is an impressive lineup esspecialy for an opposition party. When you can argue that certain people deserved it more that speaks volumes for the overall quality of a parties MPs.

From a biased point of view our Mp Larry Bagnall is Northern affairs critic which is one of the rare time an Mp from a territory is in this position to bring a local level of experience to the table.

If Iggy keeps this up he may yet convince this old pcer to switch brands!

Mike said...

Calgary Grit seems to have picked up on this too:
"By my count, 10 of the 38 positions were filled by women. Now, obviously Ignatieff plays with the hand he's dealt, but for what it's worth 11 of the 38 Harper Cabinet Ministers are women. What's more, with the exception of Carolyn Bennett and Martha Hall Findlay, none of these women are taking on what I'd call high profile positions."

So basically Ignatieff's appointments (CG includes House leaders and whips in his count I believe) are below what Harper did. Sorry for belabouring the point but it's a long standing pet peeve of mine with the party that only finally seemed to be meaningfully reversed under Dion and now I fear we will go backwards where 25%-33% women is considered "good enough". At least McGuinty (who didn't get to 50% in his caucus but still a much greater percentage than were women in his caucus) and Charest get it, but hopefully Ignatieff will pronounce his official views on this soon and hopefully he does commit to following through on the same promises Dion made.

All that said, none of these appointments change the fact that I still want to see Ignatieff as our PM next week.

Steve V said...


You're right, my bad. I was never big on artifical thresholds in the first place. If you want to elevate an issue, that's fine, but given the makeup of caucus, the shadow cabinet is representative, fine by me. Lots of female talent, and I'm frankly more interested in what they say and do, than if something dangles between their legs or not :)