Sunday, April 04, 2010

Liberals Need Forced Retirement

There's one element to Liberal renewal that is rarely addressed. This subject came up in Montreal, from a non-partisan source and from my perspective it makes perfect sense. Ignatieff should refuse to sign nomination papers for some of these permanent fixture MP's, who's relevance is long since past and are representative of the tired entitlement that the Liberals need to shed.

It's a pretty sad state of affairs, wherein even partisan Liberals cringe when they see a Joe Volpe rise in Parliament. The Volpe's, the Jimmy K's of this world, these useless and ineffective MP's are nothing but a drag on the Liberal Party. They operate within their little fiefdoms, and while successive leaders realize their shortcomings, nobody dare challenge, for fear of backlash. And so, the Liberals are saddled with these fossils, a fact which detracts from the entire presentation. From what I gather, these MP's enjoy little respect in Ottawa and their presence betrays a party trying to change its image.

I'm not sure if Ignatieff can be so provocative that he openly refuses to sign MP nomination papers, but some behind the scenes nudging is clearly required. Most of these MP's in question sit in solid red ridings, so in the interest of "fresh blood" it's almost annoying to watch these characters float through, time after time. If Ignatieff really wants to send a signal that the Liberals represent a new, forward thinking entity, then it might be time to challenge the status quo. On the one hand, there's a certain top heavy feel to dictating a riding preference, but since some of these people seem content to stay on for an eternity, despite their low standing, a push is required.

Ignatieff needs to build the best team possible, and this idea of dead weight roaming the halls, is an affront to "renewal". It's time for Ignatieff to step on a few toes, bring in people that are motivated, fresh, more representative superficially and philosphically. Optically, forced "turnover" would send a powerful signal that the Liberals are relevant and renewing themselves. It's pretty hard to be a credible vehicle for change, when the presentation includes people who offer nothing to the cause and are frankly embarrassing.

35 comments:

Anthony said...

Steve,

you need to be careful who you call dead weight.

Sometimes, organizers win riding nominations. It happens. If they won some in the past, they can win them again if challenged.

Saying people are dead weight because of rumblings among a few Liberals is a pretty stupid way to run the party, especially when I would consider Paul Szabo and Dan McTeague to be two of the most effective parliamentarians the Liberals have in Ottawa, despite their view on abortion.

Do you propose they boot out ineffective parliamentarians and then close the riding off to the same person by having a closed nomination? What if the same person wins an open nomination? Do we boot them out again?

Liberals don't need forced retirement, they need to make MPs accountable.

PS: Volpe is quite a good critic, much better than many of the others

Steve V said...

Anthony

People laugh at Volpe, he's not a good critic, and from what I've heard he made a fool out of himself with the Toyoto hearings, per usual. He's just not a good critic, and I'm shocked you're trying to spin him as effective.

The Liberals need turnover, to defend the status quo defends the same "lost our soul" crowd. I'm not sure I'd include the names you've mentioned, but even a Hedy Fry can go anytime. Let's keep it real, we have a lot of marginal MP's in my mind, this isn't the "best and the brightest", it's a lot of career politicians who don't seem to realize their time has passed. A party needs turnover, and waiting for everybody to lose elections, is a passive response.

Steve V said...

Just to add, please don't think this post is in any way a response to the vote debacle two weeks ago, it has nothing to do with that incident, nor were those people top of mind necessarily.

Anthony said...

Nevertheless Steve,

they have won nominations.

Many are organizers and can win nominations again.

Also, people who would make great MPs would often get trounced by these career MPs in open nominations.

So what I am asking is how do you kick people out, and prevent them from winning the nominations again without causing another Outremont fiasco

Steve V said...

Well, wasn't Outremont exactly the kind of nonsense you get when one guy acts like a warlord?

You and I both know winning a nomination isn't exactly a free expression of democracy. Sort of like Volpe signing up dead people, those kind of tactics.

Ignatieff can choose to not sign nomination papers, ask the MP in question to retire and let somebody else fight an open process. Like I said, you probably don't want open conflict, but I'd start calling some people in and asking them to respectfully step aside. People like Volpe are a joke, a guy like Jimmy K should have been turfed long ago.

People are afraid to rock a boat that's been taking on water for years.

Volkov said...

While I do think this is an interesting idea, Anthony makes a good case against it. These are people we know can win, people we know can make a contribution if we push them.

Thats why I was originally impressed with the move to force all candidates and incumbents to get a certain amount of members and money in order to not have to face a nomination battle. It forced them to do some work, even the ones who sit on their arse. 'Course, that changed once the "September Declaration" in '09 which ramped us into election mode and took away all restrictions. Its time we restore it. If incumbents can't prove their ability to contribute something more than a warm body, let the nominations begin!

Mala Fides said...

You have to be fucking kidding!!

And to think that you idiots are in the "In Crowd" among Liberal bloggers and the Party!!

You will go after sitting Liberal MPs, who actually have won elections and built riding associations and Party machinery?

Are you stupid?

What about all of the unheld ridings?

What about putting energy into building the Party, not starting a civil war?

Is this a trial balloon, or are you serious?

This is exactly the kind of crap that I expect from the people who have come in around Ignatieff.

You can have the Party.

Enjoy it, as you see us drop down to 20 seats.

Suzanne said...

I agree with the sentiments of Mala Fides, minus the vulgarity.

What do the riding associations think of all this? I'm sure they would not be thrilled to have their wishes over-ruled by the leader.

Good Luck with that idea.

James Curran said...

Actually the solution is what it always has been. OPEN NOMINATIONS.

First of all, Volpe and Jimmy the K have signed up more members for this party (coast to coast I might add) then the other 75 members of the party combined.

Volpe commands four languages fluently and, if not for the debacle during leadership '06, he would have finished ahead of all but the top four and may have split Rae's vote even further.

He's a brilliant orator and cagey debater.

I'll put him up against the likes of Martha Hall or Bonnie Crombie or Michelle Simson any day of the week.

The problem is these MPs are MPs without homes. They have been since Martin, as these two almost single handedly out organized the Cretien folks.

I would suggest we ask the boys just how DID we get to 250000 members??? Were they really all dead people?

As a riding president Steve, I can tell you I've had my fair share of dead members over the years. It happens. That's why I fought to end multi-year, $1 per year memberships.

Again, the solution is to have OPEN NOMINATIONS. It swells the memberships and makes sitting members pay attention to their constituencies for a change. You know, the people that voted them in in the first place to represent them.

The problem is extinct MPs Steve. The problem is we're an endangered species as a party of the whole.

Where's sane, smart MPs like Ken Dryden these days? He's where he never was as an MVP NHL goalie....on the bench!!!

The party is lost. Spiralling down into depths we have never seen before. We haven't a clue who we are and, Montreal Conference or not, we have no plan to find out who we are any time soon.

Quito said...

Steve,

I have to agree with Jim here, open nominations are what is needed. I would bet that Volpe, Jimmy K and most of the other people named by you would still win those nominations because they are organizationally strong. These guys are the "fighters" who brought us out from opposition to government last time...we might want them around to teach the new generation how.

Annie... said...

This does not sound very intelligent, and is beginning to sound like Harper's doings.
A good way to lose a grest deal of seats..why rock the boat?

Steve V said...

Please James, everybody in Montreal sat on their hands when Volpe came on, prayed it wouldn't last long, because people were ashamed at what he came to represent, and now I have to listen to this impassionated defence, like he's some massive asset. Fuck me if there aren't 308other people in this country I'd rather have holding the banner.


"why rock the boat?"

This "machine" been taking on water for years now, hey don't change a thing.



You know what, the reaction here shows why the Liberals don't represent change, apparently can't be a vehicle for such, everyone just plays along and NOTHING every happens. This could be a stupid idea, but here's the rub. It was floated to me by somebody that watches all these star MP's and just shakes their heads at how this party operates. Some friendly advice, and I saw merit.

New energy, some generational change. I recognize all the organizational considerations, but in the end it speaks to the fiefdoms angle. How can you be a vehicle for change, when you have no turn radius, when it's so institutionalized that just perpetuates itself.



Harper is still the Liberals best chance.

RuralSandi said...

Generational change - as in only young matters? Harper has inexperienced MP's - how's that working out on the various files?

You need the mix of old and new - experience counts.

Bashing older people isn't the right way to go.

The constant bitching about the party by some is getting tiresome.

Steve V said...

Sandi

It's not bitching, and frankly I resent the idea that offering an opinion is counter productive.

Fred from BC said...

James Curran said...


Volpe commands four languages fluently and, if not for the debacle during leadership '06, he would have finished ahead of all but the top four and may have split Rae's vote even further.

He's a brilliant orator and cagey debater.



In your opinion, perhaps.

But no matter how many languages he speaks and how 'brilliant' an orator he may or may not be, Joe Volpe is still damaged goods. He is still an embarrassment that the Liberal Party would rather not have to deal with. To make things even worse, his weasel-like face, whiny voice and boorish behavior make him unsuitable for TV interviews or political panels (when was the last time you saw him on Power Play or any similar exposure?).

As much as it pains me to agree with Steve, he is correct on this one...

(oh, and fighting amongst yourselves? Not a great idea at this point; there will be lots of that to come in your future once Bob Rae decides to make his move...;)

Tof KW said...

Well Fred, while we're talking about embarrassments to the party, when should we expect Harper to stop protecting Rob Anders from his own riding association?

I'm not a fan of Volpe either, but really this is a decision best left to the Eglinton-Lawrence Lib riding association, no?

RuralSandi said...

Steve, sorry about the bitching comment. When I looked again, I thought "I'm the bitchy one".

No excuse, but have been having some serious personal problems lately and I think I'm looking at all things negatively.

I still maintain you need a balance of fresh and experience though.

Sir Gallahad said...

Fred from BC,

You opine that Joe Volpe is an embarassment.

Agreed, he is.

Now how about the shining lights of the CPC?

John Baird, Helena Guergis, Pierre Polievre, Cheryl Gallant, Gerald Keddy, Lisa Raitt, Maxine Bernier,
Sylvie Boucher, JP Blackburn.

And let us not forget associate member Rahim Jaffer.

What are your thoughts on these characters.

Don said...

Steve:

I have read your blog for years, and have never felt compelled to respond until today.

You have made serious allegations against a senior Member of Parliament. Amazingly, you have taken zero ownership over your allegations. I challenge you to name your sources.

"...even partisan Liberals cringe when they see a Joe Volpe rise in Parliament." Who?

" From what I gather, these MP's enjoy little respect in Ottawa" Based on what?

"People laugh at Volpe, he's not a good critic, and from what I've heard he made a fool out of himself with the Toyoto hearings" Who? What criteria are you and your source making this assessment?

If your opinion is based on Volpe's performance during leadership, say that, and admit that you have been ignorant of Parliamentary politics for three and half years.

If it just that you don't like him, and would prefer to have more MP's like Gerard Kennedy represent the party, then say that.

And enjoy opposition.

Steve V said...

Don

Appreciate the comment. I've talked to other Libs who share my opinion, just rank and file, nothing more than that. As for my source, it's somebody that covers proceedings, and again just an opinion. These aren't serious allegations, just my thoughts, with some non-invested perspective. If I want to cringe when Volpe rises, if I see the ranting and raving as a liability, I'm entitled.

I don't self censor, and while people can disagree or criticize, you can't fault candor.

James Curran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve V said...

James

Well your guess would be utter nonsense then, which isn't surprising given who's saying it.

No conspiracy here, just some guy with a blog and his own opinions. Chill out people, you take me way more seriously than I do.

Omar said...

What of the dodgy process that saw Ignatieff elevated to the party leadership in the first place? I mean really, how do you justify such blustery commentary aimed towards individuals who, for better or worse, were duly nominated in their respected ridings and then subsequently elected to Parliament? There are many average voters who view Ignatieff's coronation as an example of "Liberal renewal" simply gone wrong.

A View From The Left said...

I'm not sure refusing to sign nomination papers would lead to anything other than problems. I'd prefer to see us getting rid of any kind of incumbent protection so that all MPs are forced to fight open nomination battles. While that means that Volpe would, unfortunately, probably be able to hold onto his riding some of the others wouldn't.

I also don't buy the "we need these kind of organizers" argument some commenters have been making. IMO those organizers didn't really do Martin any good.

Steve V said...

Miranda

That's probably a more reasonable approach.

Steve V said...

Since this post is up on the G and M now, I want to clarify a few things.

I take NO direction from anyone in this party, nor do I get any counsel. The views on this blog are my own, with no merit beyond a simple opinion. I don't take myself seriously, so Volpe supporters need not be concerned with the musings of a hinterland Liberal. I refuse to censor myself, thinking my views could be controversial, harm the party, piss people off, whatever, because again it's just some guy with a blog. I believe there is nothing wrong with discussing internal issues openly, nor do I believe said conversations are counter productive. I have ZERO ambition, other than to express myself.

Appreciate most of the comments, upon further review I see that this idea is problematic.

Fred from BC said...

Tof KW said...

Well Fred, while we're talking about embarrassments to the party, when should we expect Harper to stop protecting Rob Anders from his own riding association?


A self-described "feminist lawyer" who is a holdover from the Progressive Conservatives (aka Liberal Lite) actually conspired with the local Liberal candidate for help in hijacking the local riding association.

(seriously...look it up if you like)

She failed. Rob Anders has won his riding every election and increased his vote percentage in all but one. Obviously the voting public has no problem with Rob Anders...so why does this woman?

The party was right to intervene in this case.


I'm not a fan of Volpe either, but really this is a decision best left to the Eglinton-Lawrence Lib riding association, no?


Yes. As long as he isn't signing up children or dead people to nominate himself, of course...

Fred from BC said...

Sir Gallahad said...


Now how about the shining lights of the CPC?

John Baird, Helena Guergis, Pierre Polievre, Cheryl Gallant, Gerald Keddy, Lisa Raitt, Maxine Bernier,
Sylvie Boucher, JP Blackburn.



How many of them have been around as long as Joe Volpe? You missed a crucial part of Steve's point, I think...

And please don't make me do up a list of my own; can you say Hedy Fry? Carolyn Bennett? Ruby Dhalla? Need I go on?

(wow...walked right into that one...;)


And let us not forget associate member Rahim Jaffer.


No. LET'S forget him, since he is no longer an actual MP. How typically Liberal of you to resort to such slimy tactics to bolster your pathetically weak argument. If you can't argue honestly, don't do it at all, okay?...

Steve V said...

Fred

I love how right I am wheb it's a jab at a Lib, but whenever it's about Harper I'm clueless. You're just a useless hack on auto-pilot. Oh, and you're a total bore as well.

Sir Gallahad said...

Fred from BC,

Actually some of them have been around for yonks.

Between their municipal, provincial, and federal service.

You do the math.

As for Jaffer, yes the conservatives would dearly love to forget about him.

You bring up Dr. Bennett, Why that is brilliant Fred.

A well respected Doctor, who does not go around throwing boots at airport personnel in airports.

Now it looks like the Guergis nightmare will continue, with alleged special treatment on an $880000 mortgage for a house in Rockcliffe. She represents Simcoe-Grey, and allegedly has no home there.

Let us not forget the math challenged Flaherty, who is now bringing his considerable talent for buggering everything up to Canada, as he did in Ontario.

I seem to remember the other guys, having balanced budgets, and respect in the world.

You are just like Glover, you never let the facts get in the way of your pathetic arguments.

Tof KW said...

Fred from BC said...
A self-described "feminist lawyer" who is a holdover from the Progressive Conservatives (aka Liberal Lite) actually conspired with the local Liberal candidate for help in hijacking the local riding association.

Oh I love this answer. So Feminists and old Progressive Conservatives like myself are just closet Liberals, huh Fred? Gee, and all you Reformatories wonder why you can't win a majority even like 2008 when everything is in your favour.

Also, the CPofC Calgary West riding association was being overrun by people who were tired of a nimrod like Anders continually embarrassing them. Even the National Post (official propaganda wing of the CPofC) has called him the worst MP on Parliament Hill. Not too many CPofC MPs have movements like this against them
VoteOutAnders.com
...with conservatives behind it even.

His latest bonehead stunt in joining the Wild Rose Alliance (despite Harper's warning to his Alberta MPs to not mix themselves in provincial politics) is just the latest example. If what you say is true and some Liberals who live there joined in with the fed-up Conservatives - that doesn't surprise me - and I hardly call that a take-over.

Anders is a teabagging GOP-wannabe wingnut. If Anders is the image the CPofC wants to project of Canadian Conservatism; don't be surprised to find yourselves in the opposition benches again real soon.

Also Fred I'll mark you down as someone who's all in favour of the party brass shutting down the grassroots and killing open nominations and challenges in the local riding associations. I'll remember that next time the Grits do something like this, and you blunder in saying how evil and undemocratic the Libs are. Also I can only assume the old Reform party ideals on MP accountability and recalls was all just bullshit as well.

Steve V said...

On the "rising star" Glover front, Cons might consider a re-think. Glover made a fool of herself yesterday on CBC, accusing the Libs on votes, only to have the facts completely wrong.

Sir Gallahad said...

Glover makes a fool of herself all the time.

She completely fabricated crime statistics last week to bolster her weak and pathetic arguments, ignoring government data.

She accuses Liberals, of being soft on crime to protect the convict vote. ie all incarcerated individuals vote Liberal.

She then went on to say all cops vote conservative. Meaning you are not a real cop if you do not vote conservative.

She was oblivious to the fact, that by proroguing parliament some crime bills were killed, and have to be re-introduced.

No wonder Justin Trudeau kept interupting her, she never makes any sense.

She is a brain dead moron.

Tof KW said...

Steve V said...
On the "rising star" Glover front, Cons might consider a re-think.

True Steve, but then who else is left in the CPofC to pick from their star-studded cast? Besides, Harper micro-manages everything anyways.

Patrick Ross said...

I wouldn't hold a surplus of faith in the Liberal Party's ability to hold those seats if Ignatieff starts rejecting long-sitting MPs who are nominated candidates.

Stephane Dion rejected David Orchard's nomination in Saskatchewan, in a riding the Liberals had held until the retirement of their MP. The riding turned around, elected a Conservative, and haven't looked back since.