Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Baird Carries NDP Water

When is the last time a Minister of the Environment has found it necessary to interject himself into a federal by-election, particularly one where the government party has no chance of winning? John Baird’s comments, surrounding a very old opinion piece, written by Liberal candidate Jocelyn Coulon, is odd at best, but revealing in a tactical sense:
The political attack was prompted by an opinion piece published in a Montreal newspaper by Jocelyn Coulon, the Liberal candidate in Outremont, which stressed the importance of Canada's natural resources, including its water.

But Coulon, a well-known political commentator and academic, said it's clear he wasn't referring to bulk exports of water.

Dion, radical lefty:
Baird said he was baffled by the remarks since Liberal leader St├ęphane Dion last week accused the Harper government of "secret negotiations" to export water in bulk to the U.S.

"It's a joke, and it's almost like (Dion) can't find enough to oppose what's in the government's agenda that he has to join the extreme left in aligning himself to get any traction, which is crazy," Baird said.

Baird added Dion was starting to make NDP leader Jack Layton look Conservative by endorsing the "fear-mongering" of left-of-centre lobby groups.

Layton Conservative, Dion “extreme left”? Clearly, Baird is carrying the NDP’s water in Outremont, trying to undermine the Liberals for NDP advantage. Baird is obviously making his comments at the request of the PMO, as surrogate pitbull. The Liberals are being attacked from all sides, the NDP lumps them in with the Conservatives, the Conservatives liken Dion to a marxist. If you counter-balance the criticisms, it says mainstream, which probably explains the contradictory attacks.


ottlib said...

As I have said before the NDP has no real shot in Outrement. They will need at least 35% of the popular vote to win and they only managed to get about 12% during the last election. A star candidate that manages to triple the popular vote of his party is not just a star but a superstar and I do not think Mr. Mulclair has that kind of star power.

The Liberal's main opponent is the Bloc. So Mr. Baird and Mr. Harper could be helping out Mr. Duceppe.

As well, I agree with some who say that the fact the Liberals are being attacked from the left and right in Outrement is a good thing. It demonstrates that the Liberals are probably the frontrunner, and probably by a rather comfortable margin.

In the broader political context I believe the attacks are coming fast and thick because Mr. Dion has been on the right side of several very important issues.

There is a suspicion regarding the SPP and the perceived secrecy around it. Mr. Dion articulated that suspicion very well the other day.

The Liberal position on Afghanistan is the position most in-line with the opinions of Canadians, including those in Quebec.

Mr. Dion's environmental bona fides have been well established and that is still a very important issue to Canadians.

Mr. Dion and the Liberals are beginning to establish themselves as a viable alternative to the Conservatives and that situation upsets both the Conservatives and the NDP, although for very different reasons.

Anonymous said...

Watch the CPC numbers in the Outremont by-election. If the CPC numbers go extreme south then you are seeing so-called Con supporters pursue the tactical voting thing. Vote Mulcair as a means to spite Dion.

Mulcair should do better than Lauzon, the far-left guy the Dippers ran the last time.

Ottlib, are you confident that Coulon will do better than Lapierre? What you say seems to suggest that the Grits can win all three by-elections in Quebec. This would be success similar than Trudeau 1980!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed. If anything, Coulon's response is perfect - and presents his position in a very good light.

I can't think of a better response to Baird's, how shall we say, "blustery" approach than by saying, "He doesn't really understand (i.e., he's really stupid). Let me re-state what I originally said in a manner the more intelligent voters of my riding will undoubtedly grasp (i.e., still over Baird's floundering head).

Perhaps we could somehow entice Baird to get personally involved in more elections, if this is just a sample of his abilities as a perfect foil.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps we could somehow entice Baird to get personally involved in more elections, if this is just a sample of his abilities as a perfect foil."

Then we should rake up some mud with regards to his career in Ontario politics ie. mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients. Of course, the Grits can also establish a needle exchange in Baird's own riding.

Steve V said...

"As I have said before the NDP has no real shot in Outrement."

If this wasn't a by-election I might agree, but we all know conventional wisdom can be skewed in this type of contests. Do they have a good shot, no. Do they have a shot, I would recommend acknowledgement, lest complacency be the undoing.

"Perhaps we could somehow entice Baird to get personally involved in more elections, if this is just a sample of his abilities as a perfect foil."

Baird's credibility is hardly impressive, particularly in Quebec. A curious choice for an attack dog.

ottlib said...


I think Mr. Coulon will do at least as well as Mr. Lapierre because he no longer has the sponsorship scandal as being the hot topic of this by-election.

I have said it many times before but I will say it again. If a reformed separatist can win this seat, by a comfortable margin, during a scandal that much of the residents of Quebec took personally then the Liberals are in pretty good shape out of the blocks.

It is theirs to lose and they can lose it if they are complacent but as I said their real threat is the Bloc not the NDP.

As for the other by-elections in Quebec it is highly probable that both will be won by the Bloc.

Steve V said...

"It is theirs to lose"

That sounds reasonable.

Anonymous said...

"Ottlib" is wrong. The NDP took 18% in Outremont last time - not 12% and that was with a scary candidate and no money or organization. The NDP will spend the maximum allowed by law and will be funneling in organizers.

YOu don't have to be a "supernova" to close a gap like that in a byelection. The Ontario NDP has won three byelections recently in seats that went Liberal by huge landslides in 2003 - the candidates the NDP ran were solid but not superstars by any means.

If histrionic crank like Elizabeth May with no organization to speak of was able to get 26% of the vote in London North Centre running for an absurd fringe party like the Greens - it is entirely conceivable for Mulcair and the NDP to get over 30% and win in a four way race.

ottlib said...


Key difference between this by-elections and the ones in Ontario. The Federal Liberals are not the government so there is very little incentive to vote against them as a protest, which was a big factor in Ontario.

Elizabeth May still lost the by-election in London and by a wide margin.

I have no doubt that Mr. Mulclair's star power will cause the NDP to pick up support but it is improbable that he will pick up enough to win.