Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No Traction

Probably not the most popular point of view, but this whole Guergis pursuit, from the Liberal perspective, looks like a complete waste of time. There are valid questions confused within mostly trivial information, but the Liberals receive little benefit leading the charge. I'd also wager that this scandal doesn't put any dent in Conservative support, nor does it give the Liberals any traction with voters. In the final analysis, this kerfuffle will prove to be another week wasted, for a party desperate to resonate.

I agree, Harper should let us know what the "revelations" were that lead to the RCMP request. However, Canadians will hardly react negatively to the idea that Harper has called in the police to look into the matter. We're all pretty used to law enforcement refusing to divulge information, and we also know that things have a way of leaking out over time. Surely, it isn't the job of the Liberal opposition to produce new lines of inquiry in QP, that's what the cops do in this instance. Couple that inherent fact, with an engaged media doing its homework, and the Liberals are simply piling on, rather than scoring effective points.

For weeks now, and I've had some fun myself, it's been demanding resignations, seizing on every new development. At some point, we have to ask ourselves- are these the big issues that Canadians want us to focus on?

When I was sitting in Montreal, entirely impressed with actual substantive, stimulating discussion, I worried (and I wrote this on return) that the moment was fleeting, the culture in Ottawa would dominate again, high minded purpose the casualty. Well, here we are, and I'm sorry to say it, but the moment does look lost, not an INCH of progress on presenting an alternative vision to the country. Time ticks by, and before you know it the summer break comes and the Liberals are left to fight for off season coverage scraps. Head back into the fall, and we are still confronting a perceived rudderless party, and our opposition takes comfort in that liability.

Again, I'm not saying there aren't genuine concerns here, but more a commentary on the singularity with which they are persued, at the expense of matters that will actually matter in the end. Let the RCMP and media do their jobs, we have a supposed vision to sell, often and hard.


Volkov said...

To point out, it is the media focusing on Guergis. The Party is doing other things. They just came out with environmental and pay equity bills. The media, however, is focussing like a magnifier glass on Guergis and Opposition questions because, well, the modern media is essentially sensationalist.

So, before you blame the Party, check to see whats actually going on.

Steve V said...

Ummm, I know exactly what motion was presented today. However, if you want to HIGHLIGHT it, might help if you have the big guns actually TALKING about it.

Volkov said...

Oh, I agree - but you can't blame the entirety of this circus around Guergis on the Liberal's following of the issue. This affair might not prove to be the biggest thing ever to happen, but the Liberals aren't following it so doggedly that it takes up all of their attention. Give the Party some credit.

Steve V said...

I'm not blaming the Libs, all I'm saying there is no real politcal payoff here. I'd also say the Toronto Star story isn't sensationalist, it's good journalism, on a relevant matter.

I also don't take a passive view, just throw up my hands and go with the flow.

Marpman said...

I think the Liberal party should focus on its agenda and move on. I think that we would gain more voter interest if people knew what the Liberals are, not what they are not.
The Tories are ripe with candidates for resignation...let them fall and fail.
Like your comments about the export of Bitumen....the Liberals should focus on that as a core of their environmental strategy. In fact, Canada's active presence in the Arctic could also be in support of our concerns over the impact of development of the region, rather than the militaristic and protectionistic approach the Tories are taken. In this age of global concerns over the environment and our impact on it...this would be a bold and positive step.
I must lament that I am not seeing the impact of the change in the inner-circle...these changes were supposed to bring about focus, but they have not.

Steve V said...

" I think that we would gain more voter interest if people knew what the Liberals are, not what they are not."

That's where I'm at as well. If you notice, the polls narrow when the Cons stumble, but in the absence of that, voters drift away from the Libs. This is because, we don't draw them, the gov't repels them, and this won't change until we offer an attractive alternative.

Harper booted Guergis and gave it to the RCMP. Unless somebody finds a pipeline that runs through the whole party, this rogue affair will be forgotten.

Northern PoV said...

Iggy should appoint a "prosecutor" for QP & Scums to specialize in this type of scandal (D. LeBlanc comes to mind).
He and Bob and Ralph should focus on weighty matters.

Given all the Harper follies to date - and the way he has successfully deflected most of the fallout by confusing the issues:
* shutting down committees, Parliament and independent accountability bodies
* using the courts (in/out, Cadman etc) to bury the issue
* calling the cops on Lucky Lucien when he became radio-active (can't talk about a police investigation - until our guy is exonerated he he)

I think there is a good chance Helena's transgressions likely warrant her dismissal from Cabinet but fall well short of criminal.
In the meantime ... until she is exonerated we can't talk about a police investigation, he he, and Harper gets to look decisive while covering up and bailing out his ship of fools.

bigcitylib said...

...And then Dudley Doright showed up to ruin the fun.

Steve: this is a real gawldarned lobbying scandal, with cocaine and hookers and all involving CPoC types. Stike while the iron is hot, I say!

Marpman said...

Actually, Guergis is just a simpleton in all of this. It is her husband who is of interest. Sure, she has an overinflated opinion of who she is...but there are lots and lots of MPs and Senators who suffer from this little phenom.
Her husband comes from the Reformers...a scary bunch to say the least.
I would save this for the election, throw it out as a sample of the party overcome with power....move on to things that really matter to Canadians. Remember....this just reinforces the opinion most Canadians have of our elected officials, best not dwell on it too much.

Northern PoV said...


"Iggy should appoint a "prosecutor" for QP & Scums"

Freudian slip - I meant:

Iggy should appoint a "prosecutor" for Question Period & Scrums

Steve V said...

I'd say the iron is hot, no matter. What the Libs do or don't do will have no bearing on the size of chink this scandal leaves.

ottlib said...

Many said the same thing about the Conservatives and their dogged pursuit of Adscam.

From the time that scandal broke until three weeks before the 2006 election day the Liberals never trailed the Conservatives in the polls. Certainly, they came within the MOE a couple of times but they always recovered within weeks to enjoy comfortable leads.

After months of this dynamic many commentators were stating the Conservatives were not getting any traction despite Adscam so perhaps they should move on. The Conservatives ignored that advice of course and the rest is history.

Scandals like this do not pay immediate dividends to the Opposition. They never have so to look at the Liberal polling numbers and conclude that this scandal is not helping the Liberals or hurting the Conservatives is suspect.

These types of scandals are the Oppositions opportunities to plant some seeds with the voters. It is a way to set in the minds of voters that these folks are not fit to govern. So when the election comes around they can take that theme and contrast it to their own program to win an election.

That is how Stephen Harper won government. That is how Mr. Campbell in BC won government. That is how Dalton McGuinty in Ontario won government. It is a tried and true formula for victory and the Liberals would be silly not to use it.

JimmE said...

ottlib, I think you have the essence of this correct. I've had more conversations with folks who generally could care less about politics in the past week than I did during the entire 08 campaign. This serves to tarnish the Reform party's brand. Northern PoV's is the one to move forward with.
This so called strong leadership that the Reform party is pushing is wearing thin. Iggy should pivot & if he mentions this file it should be in the context of The Present PM's incompetence by allowing this Minister to continue in HIS government given the ample reasons to rid us of her.

Steve V said...

"Many said the same thing about the Conservatives and their dogged pursuit of Adscam."

Ottlib, but you always go after the trash and rebuke the slightest hint of actual policy or vision. You want to play like Harper, and I think that's why nobody votes. The party that rises above the daily gotcha will be rewarded. I predict, when the dust settles, this will be another doctored tape, Bernier, no real traction beyond immediate gratification. We're not winning that way, and if you think we are, prepare to wait a few more years.

Like I said earlier, and tonight's news proves it, the media has it covered thanks. Liberals don't lose any "hit the jackpot" advantage if they train their gaze elsewhere. It's not an either/or proposition, it EXISTS outside our internal choice.

Steve V said...

BTW, that doesn't mean I'm not following the story, it's a question of obsessing on this particular topic.

Suzanne said...

Shrewd post.

Sir Gallahad said...

Well Suzanne,

You are starting to stray out of the BT swamp.

If that idiot thinks this story shouldn't be followed, does it tell you anything Steve?

Tof KW said...

The opposition needs to needle the government on this, but I'm not sure how much the opposition parties really need to do here. The media are having a field day with this story, and why not? This story has everything: elitist politicians, influence peddling, miscarriage of justice, booze & drugs, and busty hookers.

I think NorthernPoV made a good suggestion, Ignatieff should just appoint 2 to 3 attack dogs for the daily QP to appease the media on this; and he, Rae, Goodale & McCallum should all concentrate on weightier subjects.

Also, whenever a reporter with a microphone is present, Libs should use the adjectives; corrupt, arrogant, elitist, incompetent, and secretive when referencing the Harper-Conservatives. Do that ad nauseam. Use the US Republican party tactics against them.

When those morons fire back with “...but Adscam” - BURY THEM! Remind Canadians that Iggy has as much to do with sponsorship as Harper does with the Mulroney Airbus scandal. This has been fully investigated, guilty parties are in jail, and Grits should promise to enact the last key recommendations from the Gomery inquiry that Harper FAILED TO DO. Proclaim that the Libs have rebuilt, and now the voters must allow the CPofC the time to do the same.

Steve V said...


I find it funny when Conbots, compliment you for showing a capacity they don't have. Whatever Suzanne, if the roles were reversed you'd be telling Harper to go full bore.


I agree, NPov makes a good point. I've often wondered why we don't have a designated rat pack to needle the gov't.

Sir Gallahad said...

CTV, is reporting that the third party allegations, came from a licenced PI.

Apaarently he passed it onto the CPC lawyer in Toronto.

The PI, was concerned about buying and selling drugs, and the potential for blackmail.


Steve V said...

If you noticed Baird, he continually makes the point that these third party revelations don't involve a MP, staff, etc, CLEARLY saying this is to do with Jaffer.

Sir Gallahad said...

Guergis was stripped of her portfolio, and thrown out of caucus.

We will see if it's just Jaffer.

The CPC, is doing contortions, to try and distance themselves, from the whole sordid mess.

Tof KW said...

BCL makes the point that Jaffer's use of 100% Colombian (and we're not talking coffee here folks) is now out there in the public domain. So how could he be blackmailed about this?

Steve V said...

How do you know the timeframe of these blackmail allegations?

Who knows, but I'd say these revelations by the media show it's pointless for the Libs to be the vanguard, uncovering whatever during QP.

Tof KW said...

Of course, but the Libs should be pressing the secretive Harper government (see how these adjectives work?) to divulge the nature of these allegations.

What's the big deal in that if indeed they do not pertain to any MP or staff? Baird is lying or else Guergis would still be in the CPofC caucus.

Steve V said...

See, I think those are very carefully chosen words. The PMO knows exactly what this third party said, and the wording of the reaction is telling.

Steve V said...

Kinsella taking a step further today.


"And, quite frankly, it looks bad on us – not them."

I note a serious thrust on the environment today, coming from the Libs, which tells me something as well.

Noronic said...

I say keep the pressure on. At the least we won't be treated to the Nicholson comedy act on stupid crime bills.

Just heard from a friend that the tories have inked a deal to have a prison camp in Terrace BC for all the new 'guests' who don't have good lawyers like Jaffer to get them off.

The kicker: the inmates will be working on GREEN POWER! You can't make this up!

Run with it. What Ottlib said.

Steve V said...

It's already been "ran" with, why people must make this an either/or escapes me.

Noronic said...

Scratch that about Terrace. It was an April Fool's joke. But a damn convincing one...


Omar said...

OT (sort of)

Didn't we used to see an entire row of blonde female MPs lined up behind Harper when he stood before the HoC cameras? Now I just see Rona Ambrose, barely.

Fred from BC said...

Sir Gallahad said...

Guergis was stripped of her portfolio, and thrown out of caucus.

We will see if it's just Jaffer.

She resigned as Minister, and has temporarily agreed to sit as an independent. As she should, under the circumstances.

The CPC, is doing contortions, to try and distance themselves, from the whole sordid mess.

What "contortions"?

The Prime Minister has handled this perfectly, and in accordance with all the applicable regulations and/or laws. He has taken no chances, erred on the side of caution and acted on this as soon as it became appropriate to do so (and NOT before; very important point). Anyone who insists otherwise runs the risk of being mocked as ignorant of proper procedures. How could he have done better?