Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ignatieff, An Election "Hawk"?

We already know the Liberal leader wants an election, now it would appear the deputy leader also wants to go to the polls. What's the holdup then?:
An insider says the meeting lasted almost three hours, during which Mr. Dion and House Leader Ralph Goodale exchanged strong words with Liberal Senate Leader Céline Hervieux-Payette.

About 15 people attended and they were divided on whether the caucus should defeat the government. Insiders say that Deputy Leader Michael Ignatieff made a "passionate plea" for the Liberals to trigger an election.

Mr. Ignatieff is on the "hawk" side of the caucus. Many of his supporters want to go to the polls now so as not to be seen continually supporting the Tory economic agenda.

But he was shot down, most significantly by national campaign co-chair David Smith, a veteran organizer and senator from Ontario. Mr. Smith said simply that the party wasn't ready to mount a national campaign, one insider said.

Again, how can you not be "ready", given the inherent volatility of a minority parliament, not to mention this is the third year of said situation? I tend to agree with this harsh position:
"It's a mess," said one MP about the state of play in the caucus over triggering the government's defeat. Some MPs believe that if the campaign team is not ready, after being put on notice as far back as the fall, then the leader should fire them all.

There is simply no excuse to not be ready at this stage, and if the Liberals aren't than there is clearly an issue of competence. If the situation is so dire presently, no one can reasonably expect anything to improve in the next few weeks or months, which translates to a toothless Liberal Party heading into the fall. Maybe it's time to face reality here, do some major house cleaning, some sober second analysis and just accept the fact that October 2009 is the only timetable. How can anyone have confidence in this campaign team, when they can't even get the fundamentals prepared to fight an election in the first place?


Oxford County Liberals said...

I owe Iggy an apology, as I figured he was on the side of those not wanting to go.

That would lead me to believe it must be the Rae faction that doesnt want an election. I do wonder who it is that was put in charge of election readiness... because that person or persons have some explaining to do.

Steve V said...


I assumed Iggy was on the other side too, because his support should translate to the nervous nellies in caucus. I hate to be cynical here, but I wonder if Iggy's reasoning isn't the same as Rae's in reverse. Rae wants to get in and flex his muscles, Iggy wants to go now, while he is the natural successor.

Anonymous said...

I hate to be cynical here

Then stop. Ignatieff has been telling his former supporters since last fall, at fundraisers, to be ready to go the polls by spring time 2008. However, not all of his caucus supporters are onboard with this mentality, especially given Senator Smith's comments. There is no “universal” Ignatieff camp as people tend to think.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of people were wrong about Iggy - just watch - who's been out there saying opposite to Dion in public, who's a sore loser, who's got the ins with certain Chretien friends - uh, huh - he has very white hair, a big ego and says a lot without saying anything. He's the one who should know better than to go around saying opposite things to the leader of the party in public.

Who in the Liberal caucus is telling tales in the woods? Whoever it is should be removed.

Steve V said...


You didn't address the reasoning as to why Iggy wants to go now. Look, everyone can pretend that people aren't manoeuvering behind the scenes, but really much of it is very overt, hardly news. People at the riding level are well aware of the quiet jockeying. I mean, you pretty much acknowledge this when you say telling former supporters, as opposed to just Liberals.

In_The_Centre said...

I think a lot of people were wrong about Iggy

Yep, I agree. He would have been the better leader


For the record, 12:04 pm was me

Dame said...

I See the budget as a DELIBERATE act to prevent an election at this point,safe for the Con's situation .

The Con's do not have a big appetite for elections now/ just like liberals./ Harper just want to have time for manoevering and well just enjoys POWER ....he is really enjoying power as is.

By the way I can't find NUMBERS FOR WAR,,, and generally MILITARY in this budget. What 2% means?
where they are?

In_The_Centre said...

You didn't address the reasoning as to why Iggy wants to go now. Look, everyone can pretend that people aren't manoeuvering behind the scenes

I don’t deny maneuvering is taking place by all sides. In fact, a lot of people think Kennedy started it when is supporters blatantly took over the Ontario and BC Liberal executives after leadership. But, we all knew this was going to happen after leadership. Any organization, whether it be a business or political party, gets stuck in a vacuum when the leader does not bring enough to the table (and trust me, good ideas are not enough) to consolidate power.

A lot of you like to reference Chrétien and his term nervous nellies. What you fail to realize is Chrétien also brought in major money into the party due to Power Corp, and had an all star rat pack of lifetime loyal caucus supporters as a shield around him.

With all that being said, there is no monolithic "Ignatieff" camp or brain trust as to put it. I really don’t know what he is thinking, but I laugh at the notion that it's Ignatieff's fault Dion is in the position he is in now.

Look, I’m voting Green in the next election, and that’s a decision I made after leadership.

Steve V said...


Who said it was his fault?

Anonymous said...

Get Rid of the Rae Faction...he is being used on question period and duffy with lapierre as Ontario hates them and the cons like to try and pass them off as liberals......get rid of this david smith...he is the Rae sidekick gumming up the works and trying to make stephane look like a dummy and he is doing a good job he wants his fatass bob in charge. Ontario hates Rae that is why the cons wanted him as leader.signed gramps if Rae is so perfect like he thinks he is how come all the people who use to work for him cant stand him.

Steve V said...


I confess, I haven't really studied the military expenditure, I just saw it as money available for whatever is needed.

Dame said...

The military Spendings what usually makes me really really upset ..these spendings are always in Many Billions just out of blue sometimes in mid year announced like "no Big deal" and somewhat nobody seems to oppose it how it is fitting into this BUDGET GAME. I am wondering if all is just a game a smoke screen For the naive masses.
I am Not against a capeble strong Military But the letest added fighter Jets and heaps of scrapmetal tanks what cant move ??? good greef why nobody is asking what the heck is happening with our money??

Another notion of me. why our government has no plans and setaside a chunk of money disaster releaves for future environmental crashes sure to come..,..
they have no money to try to prevent and they don't have money for repairs??? it is just not in their CON minds..

well I can go on what should be on the tables... not who is the best Bully around .and who looks better in Military gear.

tdwebste said...

Great article in the Globe and Mail

Now I know Dion is responsible for pushing through the horrible crime bill.

Dion by pushing this horrible crime bill is the enemy of justice, just as much as Harper is.

Jim said...

Ummm, what is so horrible about the crime bill, Tim? Is your girlfriend 14?

To comment on the actual topic of Steve's post...I believe that Iggy would love to go now, before Rae wins a seat and brings all that Power Corp money back into the back rooms of the caucus. Iggy can't compete with influence of that scale.

Given the choice between a centrist expat like Iggy and an influence peddling socialist POS like Rae, I would go with Iggy in a heartbeat. Both choices suck, mind you.

If Rae does become leader of the LPC, the Cons will have an easier time hammering him and his record than they would with Iggy.

One thing is certain though, Dion and those advising him closely are destroying what is left of the LPC...not that I mind.

Anonymous said...


Who said it was his fault?

Not you, just some of the anon posters and other libloggers.

Anonymous said...

The presumption is that Iggy and David Smith thought the same way. This now looks to be different. David Smith is in charge of election readiness so you can blame him for this mess. Also for shutting down debate on MMP.

It is a mixed hodgepodge now. Iggy, McCallum, and Coderre have stuck together saying that one more abstention would be fatal. They are now joined by the young bucks such as Holland, Bains, and Alghabra. On the dove side are Rae and Goodale. Dion supporters such as Martha and Wilfert have gone to their side. The Toronto caucus is pretty dovish with Sgro, Dryden, and Albina siding with Rae.

Fingers have been pointing at Coderre and the Iggy people for sabotaging the Outremont campaign. In response, Dion decided to cut Jamie Carroll and Denise Brunsdon loose. David Smith and Leslie Swartzman were brought in, trying to repackage Dion as Chretien-lite 2.0.

The attitude is more like an early election would destroy Dion once and for all leaving Iggy more chips to play with since the Martinites still have some semblance of control. This whole thing is more of a sick joke. Reminds people of the Toronto Maple Leafs nowadays. The names at the back of the sweater becomes more important than the Grit logo in front. We may have the brightest shadow cabinet in Canadian history. But instead of attacking Harper, they are spending more time playing Fantasy Prime Minister while dreaming up fictitious Cabinet Ministers and fictitious patronage appointments.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I think the reality is with the polls so volatile, no party sees an election as beneficial since any of the four parties could decrease or increase their seat counts.

If the Tories really wanted an election, I think they would have brought down a far more provocative budget to trigger one and the fact they didn't suggests they are only appearing to be eager for an election, to look tough, but really know an election might not deliver the results they want.

In the case of the Liberals, I think it would be better had we voted against the budget, although I somehow suspect if we voted against it, the Bloc Quebecois would have supported it.

Anonymous said...

One thing that is being overlooked which is a large factor if not the deciding factor is money. The Liberal piggy bank is empty and elections are expensive. the longer they wait, the more time they have to raise money. When talking politics, you can never take money out of the equation.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:39: Let's get the facts straight here - David Smith was an Ignatieff supporter during the leadership race - he had fundraisers in his home (next town to where I live) for Ignatieff.

Of course Ignatieff was trying to raise funds and get ready for an election. Why didn't the others - part of the problem is that Dion hasn't made sure all are doing this.

Jim said...

The latest headline from the CBC must bring you guys no joy...

Un-friken-believable! Really, we need to have an election just to end the ridiculousness of the situation.

Anonymous said...

It is a tad strange that past Iggy supporters are for and against an election call. It is very, very strange. Unless of course, some Iggy supporters now have tied their futures to Rae.

It is in Iggy's best interests that an election be done with so after the defeat, another leadership campaign can begin.

It is in Rae's best interest's that an election be held off so he is not seen as a rookie Liberal MP once a leadership campaign can begin.

If any of you honestly think that Iggy or Rae have Dion's back, I have some serious business opportunities for you which will make me rich and you getting what you justly deserve.

McGuinty won an election in a cakewalk. Why and how, does not matter now. He won 71 ridings. Any future talk about broken promises is history. He has a clean slate with Ontarians. And did I mention he won 71 ridings.

Ontario in previous 3 elections:

In 2000: 100 Lib, 2 CA, 1 NDP
In 2004: 75 Lib, 24 Con, 7 NDP
In 2006: 54 Lib, 40 Con, 12 NDP

The rest of Canada has voted almost the same in all 3 elections. In 2000, Ontario gave Chretien his majority Liberal government. In 2004, Martin lost a chunk of Ontario and won only a minority Liberal government. In 2006, Martin lost a further chunk of Ontario and gave Harper a minority Conservative government.

If Martin had kept his 2004 Ontario MPs, he would still be prime minister. He didn't. We need to get those Ontario seats back. Did I mention that McGuinty won 71 ridings without a sweat.

Iggy, further right than the average Liberal. Rae, I don't know anymore. McGuinty, a Liberal with Liberal values.

Anonymous said...

One thing that is being overlooked which is a large factor if not the deciding factor is money. The Liberal piggy bank is empty and elections are expensive. the longer they wait, the more time they have to raise money. When talking politics, you can never take money out of the equation.

Your right, but it won’t matter if we had another 5 years to raise money, Dion just cant draw crowds like Ignatieff can. I’ve seen it in person, when you have to go begging to old time LPC stalwarts to please come out so the leader doesn’t get embarrassed at some function.

This brings another point, MP’s/potential MP’s in swing ridings who need the money usually get it by aggressively lobbying the leader of the party to do a joint fundraiser. No one is doing that these days with Dion.

A lot of these so called swing ridings, tier 2, have been vastly out raised by the NDP and CPC, especially out here in B.C

Finally, Vancouver-Quadra is in trouble as a safe riding. Not because the CPC has suddenly gained popular support, but because low turnout is expected. Dion is not drawing traditional Liberals out of their houses to vote. And we all know, the CPC wins hands down when turnout is low.


Anonymous said...

Well at least the NDP are acting more like an opposition party should. Taliban Jacks views are extreme, yet he is looking better as a leader than our Dion.

If for no other reason we need an election to get rid of our leader. He talks tough, yet when the tire hits the road he does the opposite. Either we get behind him and show our support or we ask our executive to call a leadership convention. If this keeps up the Cons will devastate us next election. I don’t want this and neither do most Liberals … yet what can we do?

I do not think the Green Party will help – even though Dion and their leader will not place a member of their party against each other in their ridings next election – their (Green Party) ideas are starting to be associated with David Suzuki and his extreme views.

Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

McGuinty won 71 ridings without a sweat.

Um.. no. McGuinty won the same way Chretien won in 1993, they both faced a pathethic, laughable campaign. And guess what, John Tory was front and centre in both.

Even McGuinty organizers acknlowdege they were given a gift after the religious schools fiasco.

MississaugaJoan said...

Anonymous, you say...

"Um.. no. McGuinty won the same way Chretien won in 1993, they both faced a pathethic, laughable campaign. And guess what, John Tory was front and centre in both."

I say,

"McGuinty will also reveal what Harper and the Conservatives really are - pathetic and laughable. They will not know what hit them."

LIBERAL POLLSTERS out there (I know a few of you have blogs), please do a poll and reveal what the numbers would be if McGuinty was leading the federal Liberals.

Anonymous said...

If there is a "bad guy" here, it is clearly Bob Rae. Look at every hire and appointment within the OLO and the campaign in the last sixth months -- if you werent with Rae, you werent getting onboard.

His motives have nothing to do with what is good for the Liberal Party and everything to do with what's good with Bob.

Anonymous said...

"Unless of course, some Iggy supporters now have tied their futures to Rae."


Note that Rae is no spring chicken and neither are most of the Grit caucus. He also came into the leadership race late and many of his friends had committed to Iggy.

Iggy needs new blood if he is going to win again, especially as the Martinites are being phased out.

"if McGuinty was leading the federal Liberals."

Polls mean very little in Grit leadership contests. Rae and Iggy polled much better than Dion among the general public. The rejection of one person one vote along with the presence of ex-officio superdelegates mean that compromise and consensus delegates do thrive in this leadership forum.

Steve V said...

The Liberals went on the record months ago, saying the party will be able to spend the maximum allowable during an election campaign, whether the money is raised or borrowed. Money is not a primary consideration, at least not in fighting a credible campaign.

MississaugaJoan said...

I believe that if polls revealed that McGuinty could win a Liberal majority and Dion could at best hold off a Conservative minority,

Dion would be forced, and so would caucus, to consider McGuinty.

McGuinty alone starts with a +17 MPs in Ontario, which means no more Conservative minority/majority.

If Martin's folks could force Chretien out, I believe Dion could be forced out as well.

Oxford County Liberals said...


IF you think it's bad right now for divisions, it would be even worse if the Liberals forced their leader out before he'd even faced a general election after being elected for only 2 years.. Not even the old Progressive Conservatives or Alliance Party members did that, and its a silly suggestion.

MississaugaJoan said...


You are wrong.

If MPs started to feel heat in their ridings and started to feel there was a possibility that they may lose in their riding, they would on a dime switch leaders.

Fortunately for Dion, right now, the fair majority feel they are in safe seats. So they figure that even if the Liberals lose another election, they will be still around. Each one of them needs to talk to the Liberal MPs who went down with the Martin ship. However, they will not, since they naively believe that since they survived Martin, they can survive any leader.

The only way to sink Dion is for the folks who got him to be leader, the grassroots, pull him down. If the Liberals lose 2 of the 4 bye-elections, Dion will be in serious trouble with grassroots Liberals.

Jennifer Smith said...

jim - the problem with the crime legislation has largely to do with mandatory minimum sentences which, while they sound like a good idea, have actually proven to be disastrous in application in the U.S. The recent case of 17 year-old Genarlow Wilson being sentenced to 10 years for having consensual oral sex with a 15 year-old girl is one that comes immediately to mind, but there are many, many others.

Let judges judge.

Regarding election preparedness, apparently the Conservatives are the ones who are unprepared. They have bags of money, but over half of the ridings don't even have a Conservative candidate nominated yet.