The Linda vs. Chrystia show

Anne Kingston sizes up the Toronto Centre candidates debate


Chrystia Freeland, with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau

So it wasn’t the mud-caked Trudeau-Brazeau sling-fest a lot of people had been hoping for, not even close. But the first major parties candidates debate for the Nov. 25 Toronto Centre by election, a one-hour panel format on Rogers TV (link here), had its more subtle dramas as NDP candidate Linda McQuaig and Liberal candidate Chrystia Freeland squared off in public for the first time. The stakes are high, at least metaphorically. What happens in the high-profile riding is being upheld as a portent of the 2015 election.

Back in July, when Freeland announced her intent to run in newly vacated Toronto Centre seat, the coronation appeared all but complete. Freeland was an acclaimed journalist and think-tank pundit who had lived outside of the country most of her adult life, returning only for two years to work at the Globe and Mail in the late 1990s.  The Alberta native was a catch: a woman with an international profile, powerful allies and a bestselling book that appeared to dovetail with the “middle-class agenda” platform the Liberals were readying for the 2015 election. The riding, one of the country’s most diverse, has been a Liberal seat for two decades, though support waned considerably in 2011, with the NDP gaining ground. Then, a week later, McQuaig, a Toronto Centre resident and long-time activist, entered the race for the NDP nomination and certainty evaporated. McQuaig too is well-known for writing about economic disparity; her book on the subject was published before Freeland’s.

Since then, the by-election has been eclipsed by the Senate sideshow and Toronto civic trauma. Still, within the riding, campaigning has been intense, with Mulcair stumping for McQuaig, Trudeau for Freeland. There have been gaffes, a barrage of attacks on Freeland reminiscent of the “just visiting” attack ads against Michael Ignatieff, and she has been blasted for calling Sarah Palin a “feminist hero”  in 2008. McQuaig hasn’t gone unscathed; her call for a two-person debate with Freeland was deemed “anti-democratic,” past comments and actions have come back to haunt her, and frictions exist between some of her published ideas and official NDP policy. Still, nobody is counting McQuaig out. And if last night’s showing is any indication, they shouldn’t.

Linda McQuaig

The two women sat next to one another on a panel fielding questions from callers and Twitter. Conservative Geoff Pollock and the Green Party’s John Deverell served as left-right bookends. Pollock, a lawyer, came off as a credible and affable fellow who understands his odds of winning are about as good as Stephen Harper and Rob Ford going golfing together. At one point he actually suggested that anyone who didn’t want free trade should vote NDP. Deverell, a former journalist, proved an eloquent speaker with a mesmerizing ability to stuck like glue to his one talking point—the need for a proportional representation voting system to ensure greater democracy. Just when you thought he wouldn’t be able to turn a question about LGBT issues to proportional representation, Houdini-like, he managed to.

Freeland was decked out Liberal red, her signature on the campaign trail (somewhere there must be a Liberal brand advisor brandishing a Pantone chip). She cleaved to a clearly scripted message, which included repeated mention of her daughter being born in Toronto Centre. Again and again she referred to the campaign as “a job interview.” At times she seemed to be channeling Tracy Flick, the super-smart, know-it-all played by Reese Witherspoon in the 1999 movie Election. She quoted Churchill and had a tendency to correct others. When Deverell, a former Liberal, was explaining why he left the party in disillusionment in 2011 Freeland, a Liberal party member for mere months, patted his back and said “You can come back, John.” Deverell retorted he’d come back when the Liberal Party embraced democracy, again cycling back to proportional representation.

During the conversation Freeland contradicted comments made  in an interview with Maclean’s this summer during her run for the Liberal nomination. Then, she quibbled with the suggestion she had been “approached” to run:  “‘Approach’ is too strong a word,” she said, clearly wanting to avoid the fact she’d been parachuted in. “I would say things became more concrete; more general idea policy conversations took on the possibility of a more specific role.”  Last night, the story changed as she boasted of her ties to the leader: “I’m here because Justin Trudeau invited me to contest the nomination in Toronto Centre,” she said, adding that she was named co-chair of his Economic Advisory Board in Sept. because Trudeau wanted her on his team “to flesh out the agenda.” What that means in actual policy is still vague, though Freeland spoke enthusiastically of “a solution which is about the middle class and growing the middle class from the middle class.”

That McQuaig is the more experienced debater was evident. Dressed in taupe, she was on the offensive throughout, lambasting both the Liberals and Conservatives, who she lumped together in sharing a long line of policies. She seemed prepared for the inevitable question about the contentious tax increases for the rich outlined in her book; when it came she shifted focus to the need for higher corporate taxation. She quickly found a segue to jab at  Freeland’s authority to discuss the squeezed Canadian middle class: she asked how shadowing the superrich (Freeland made her name profiling Russian oligarchs, then global plutocrats) helped her understand the reality of life in the riding’s poor neighbourhoods. She also zoned in on whether Freeland believed economic inequity was even a problem, likening statements she’d made about inequities being an inevitable aspect of capitalism’s “creative destruction” to Reagan’s “trickle-down theory.”

Freeland’s counterpunches were not as vigorous. “You’re not reading my work as carefully as you might have,” she told McQuaig before arguing that the subtitle of her book—The Rise of the Global Superrich and the Fall of Everyone Else—should serve as proof she cared about the middle class: “It’s pretty clear there that I’m concerned,” she said. Her points that global experience and understanding the economy from an insiders’ perspective are pluses were more credible. “I don’t think class warfare and being divisive is the way to go,” she told McQuaig, echoing a tweet made Wednesday by Bob Rae.

Freeland avoided any partisan swipes. That could have been what prompted the last call directed at her from a man who said she “appears to be a nice person.” But he wondered how, as someone who had lived in the U.S. for 10 years, she can understand the concerns of Toronto Centre. In answering, Freeland corrected the caller. “I only lived in the U.S six years,” she said, overlooking the fact she’d lived in the UK years before that. “The day you become a citizen you have as much a right to participate in the country as someone descended from United Empire Loyalists,” she told him. It’s a lofty thought, but not an answer. Meanwhile, McQuaig sat taking notes. After all, this is only a warm-up. 


The Linda vs. Chrystia show

  1. Reads like diatribe from a McQuaig supporter. I thought McQuaig was loud and obnoxious. I don’t know what debate this author was looking at. The women(McQuaig)needed to have her hands tied down or she was going to end up hitting someone in the face. And she also lived in a million dollar mansion and shouldn’t be throwing rocks at glass houses.

    • I was curious about that. The fact that McQuaig’s income and assets [ i’m asking? I don’t know] might actually put her out on the same upper limb of the M/C as Freeland is a bit of a hoot. Good [not] to see the ndp can be as thoroughly intellectually dishonest as any other party out there.

      • McQuaig has more privileged Rosedale childhood and more wealth, but she doesn’t talk about it. Crazy of her to attack others who have less.

    • I don’t know the details of McQuaig’s housing situation, but in Vancouver what are now $1M plus houses were $300K houses 12 or so years ago. I suspect Toronto could be the same.

  2. I’m tired of the suggestion that Canadians who live and work out of the country — for new experiences, to understand the world better, to see their own nation from a different perspective — are somehow unable to understand issues in their home country, or leaving because they are not good Canadian citizens. My daughter lives in Australia, after living in UK, and trust me: she’s Canadian and proud of it. She may be a citizen of the world in may ways — but that experience has given her great perspectives on her own country.

    • Oh give it a rest. Is it really too much to ask that voters get to elect someone who actually calls themselves a resident of the riding? It’s no secret that the ONLY reason Freeland moved to Toronto-Center was to run for the Liberals in what was considered a safe seat and to take her throne unchallenged.

      The Liberals really need to stop parachuting in foreign candidates and telling the residents that party central HQ knows who they should vote for more than the voters themselves. It’s just another bit of Liberal arrogance.

      • “Foreign”…not only is that stupid, it’s vile, you moron.

      • Like Stockwell Day, that well known BC resident?

      • Rick and the Conservatives are correct. You parachute Senators in to represent Provinces, cause that works so much better.

      • Ah…give it a break!
        As if we attack persons because they have spent time be it working or just living somewhere out of Canada! Why act like typical big C conservatives who use any excuse possible to cut down someone who doesn’t agree to Harper’s political idealism yet when politically profitable to themselves Harperites support immigrants or new Canadians to gain votes in an immigrant community. Whats the difference except that some are Canadians that have lived and worked abroad and some are immigrants that have lived and worked abroad but are not challenging the Harper governments statutory standing?

      • There’s a certain irony when a guy mindlessly blathers about “foreign candidates” while using an American spelling instead of a Canadian one. It’s centre not center, Richard. If you want to adopt more American conventions and customs I heartily suggest you move there.

        PS: Since I saw you mindlessly blathering about spelling and grammar in other posts, you should know that sentences need subjects. Do you have a little Dunning-Kruger effect going on in your life? lol

        • Lol
          DK pretty much covers Ricky.

  3. That’s the second time I’ve heard a conservative plugging the NDP candidate. I think that tells us who they are afraid of.

    • Neither

  4. “Deverell, a former journalist, proved an eloquent speaker with a
    mesmerizing ability to stuck like glue to his one talking point—the need
    for a proportional representation voting system to ensure greater
    democracy. Just when you thought he wouldn’t be able to turn a question
    about LGBT issues to proportional representation, Houdini-like, he
    managed to.”

    lol I think i might have voted for a guy who tries so hard to make the most of the very little he has available.

    The sense i get from far off is that Rae’s tweet is bang on. The problem is, is it avoidable, or even desirable in politics to stop the low ball stuff? Freeland may well have good stuff she wants to do, but she has to fight in any case for the right to get the opportunity.
    I hope she gets her chance, but it isn’t a gimme. Politics sure looks like an ugly scummy game at times, but it is a competition in the end. Just so everyone gets a chance to make their case or yell foul i guess?

    It is a bit funny and ironic [Freeland’s comment to JT on the LPC panel discussion] but the fact that Stephen Taylor does not do context should surprise no one.

  5. I also need to say that I don’t think I like the use of their first names in the header, like it’s some girly girl thing — these are pretty solid women, and if the Trudeau/Brazeau fight is mentioned using their last names, then why do we have to have Linda and Chrystia in the header? Seems to suggest women aren’t as serious as men. I think they’re both pretty serious.

    • I’ve often been struck by that as well. Women politicians are almost always, e.g., Christy, rather than Christy Clark or Ms Clark. Male politicians are, e.g., Thomas Mulcair or Mr Mulcair. The one male exception seems to be Trudeau who is often referred to as Justin.

      • I assume he’s called Justin so he won’t be confused with his father,

        • Here’s an example, I was watching CBC’s “At Issue” a while back and Trudeau was being discussed. Coyne and, IIRC, Mansbridge both referred to him as Justin. There was no possibility of him being confused with his father at that point.

          • Well….Cons on here often call him Justine…obvious innuendo, but it seems unlikely either Mansbridge or Coyne would do that….so maybe it’s a level of comfort with him?

            Like you’d call somebody Fred rather than Mr Smith. People seem to feel that level of comfort with women politicians as well, and aren’t so formal with them.

      • I would definitely say often, but I am not sure about “almost always”. And yes the phonomenon is almost always with women.

  6. Linda McQuaig stumbled for words, rudely interrupted and spoke over, and wasn’t accurate. This is your idea of an experienced debater?

    But mostly McQuaig seems caught between two worlds. Her old world where she rallied for taxing the wealthy, closing the oil sands, no free trade, lending support to Israel Apartheid Week,… and her new world of following Tom Mulcair with no income tax increases, an expanded pipeline through Toronto, open for trade, and no Israel Apartheid Week. Being caught there, it undermines what was her strength … conviction with and loyalty to her own opinions.

  7. Pretty clear by the comments here from the hard-core partisan Liberals that they’re terrified of McQuiag. And rightfully so. When McQuiag wins this riding, it’ll raise a tonne of questions about Trudeau’s leadership ability. Losing a Liberal safe seat could be devastating for the LPC.

    Maybe the Liberals will learn a lesson from this, that they should stop taking ridings for granted. How many “safe Liberal seats” did they lose in the last election? But I suppose arrogance is a required to be a Liberal.

    • The fact that you’d go out on a limb for someone whose views you would normally abhor leaves little doubt[ if there ever was any] as to just how uber partisan you are at core. I suspect what you really like about LM is the extend to which she is apparently prepared to go to assassinate someone’s character on the flimsiest evidence – makes you long for “Just visit’n” does it?

      Rick Omen[???] ethical to his partisan core…not!

      • xxx

    • im not one bit terrified at all. it seems the dippers are more terrified, their the ones in attack mode, not the libs. that’s all the libs got to do now, is stay on message. the libs are going to tighten up their discipline from this point on.

      • It is the conservatives who are terrified. Mr. Omen here makes the third time I have noted a conservative plugging the NDP candidate.

        The CPC have been plugging the NDP for years now. It is no secret why. The number one reason why I left the NDP was their willingness to work so closely with Harper.

  8. Freeland repeating the UEL loyalist myth burst years ago by JRS among others. She really doesn’t seem know much about Ontario.

    • Technically she’s from Alberta. And we know how foreign THEY are.

  9. Whether Freeland wins or lose, this is a huge failure by Justin Trudeau, he personally picked her. Such a safe riding, what was he thinking?! And now will be deeply divided, bad call. He needed to get someone with strong attachments to riding, community matters He’ll take a big hit.

    • So its O K for Tom to have duel citizenship, but its not O K to have someone who is a Canadian and went away for higher learning, to come back, and not be able to run for a seat anywhere in this country. just because someone grew up in the city, dosnt mean that it makes them a good representative of the area(where did you learn that one from). From what I understand, Miss Freeland is only loyal to one country, and that’s Canada. What country is Tom loyal to, France or Canada, you hypocrite ? Could you please tell me which one Tom is loyal to, and I don’t want spin.

      • Is that you Justin?!

        • Just the type of answer I thought I would get, inaudible. Have you seen the polls lately ?

    • Win or lose? That’s ridiculous. Where else was he going to try and slot her in other then a safe seat? Just visiting Claudia? Or are you here in a more official capacity? Lots of Conservatives sniffing around here for some reason.

      • You don’t get it do you. She earned it whether you like it or not. Miss Freeland was nominated by her party to run in this district, it wasn’t a given when she first arrived(she won it on her own merits)because the media made sure everyone new her past. Whats the part you don’t understand, that any Canadian can run in any district in this country as long as their a citizen of Canada. I know you don’t like the fact that CF is a highly qualified individual, but your going to have to get over that. You should go to the states to live, you would fit in perfect with the tea baggers down there. Remember tom has 2 passports (France@Canada)(which one is tom loyal to ?) and the GG is also a CFA. would you like to criticize them too ?

        • I’m a LPC member. So either you posted this incorrectly or you’re barking up the wrong tree. A little reading comprehension might help.

          • sorry about that, I meant it for Claudia Lemire. I will make a point to not do that again.

          • It’s ok. I’m just glad i deleted my original post back at you :)

        • Why not just leave it to the poster herself to figure out why what she has said was stupid.

      • it’s SOP for CPC members to spout this kind of thing. Liberals could come within a point of unseating the CPC candidate in Wildrose Alta and Claudia would direly proclaim “the fact they didn’t win this riding means the Liberap party are doomed.”

    • Wouldn’t that be nicely balanced by Brandon-Souris?

  10. I’ve heard a fair amount from both these women over the years ..
    LM in person on several of her book flogging trips through Halifax
    and CF because she was often on Chris Hayes’ weekend panels
    when he had his weekend shows.
    I haven’t read either of their recent books .. I’ve read most of LM’s
    and they’re fine .. but they are all mostly the same book. CF is
    vaguely liberal in the USA context.
    I’m a bit surprised that LM chose to run because lefties of her ilk have
    mostly given up on the NDP … other than a residual loyalty based on
    “the better of a bad bunch” mentality.
    Anyway … CF would probably perform better as a pattern parliamentarian
    but LM would be a lot more fun to have in Ottawa … especially if she were
    to drag her frequent co-author ( Neil Brooks ) with her.

    • McQuaig’s been asked to run before but always declined. This time she took an interest after it was announced Chrystia Freeland was running.

  11. In watching the debate, it was distracting the way Ms Freeland kept swinging her hair around. Seemed like she thought it was neat the way she could flip it, now to the right, now to the left… very impressive to have such locks!

    • Must have been distracting indeed if that’s the only comment you can make about the debate! What are we to take from that — don’t vote LPC because of Freeland’s hair? Or vote LPC because of Freeland’s hair? If you don’t like her hair, wouldn’t you vote for LPC anyway because of Trudeau’s hair? Since we’re on the topic — what do you think about McQuaig’s hair? It’s kind of dry looking, isn’t it? And too long for a woman of her age too…sheesh.

  12. I’m glad you kept us up to date on the women’s fashion choices.

  13. Freeland may think she is quoting Winston Churchill when referring to laws being like sausages but she is not: “Laws are like sausages. They are good. But one does not want to watch them being made.” or words to that effect are from Otto Bismark.

  14. Freeland was out campaigning yesterday (when this article came out) with long-time homophobe Liberal MP John McKay from the suburbs who as recently as 2004 contributed a chapter to “Divoricing Marraige” (http://www.mqup.ca/divorcing-marriage-products-9780773528949.php) an anti-gay-marriage diatribe. This is proof that Freeland, a parachute candidate, has precious little idea where she is or what is going on.

    • Proof! You have bizarrely low standards! She was out campaigning with him? That makes her what? Responsible for
      everything Mackay thinks; her job to know what articles he writes to
      obscure blogs.[ your link doesn’t work by the way]
      I’m also skeptical based on what constitutes your standards of evidence that JM is a homophobe.
      This is really disappointing to[ me anyway] to see the lengths that the ndp are willing to turn this into the kind of ugly, grimy crap throwing carnival the Harper goons delight in.

      • Me too, kcm2. NDP supporters hate Liberals possibly even more than they hate Conservatives. It will only benefit Harper’s regime. Fasten your seatbelts: it’s going to be a bumpy couple of years to E-Day 2015.

        • Thanks to our disproportional winner-takes-all voting system that the Liberals still support against their own advisors’ advice, this is a 2 way race between Linda McQuaig NDP and the Liberals. So no, sending an NDP MP to join the official opposition in parliament in no way benefits Harper’s regime. If anything it reigns in the Liberal tendency to support the same awful policies that Harper does, like Keystone XL, subsidies to big oil, unfair elections, etc.

          • Ah, it was only about 10 months ago that people were talking cooperation. I knew even then such a thing would never work out because neither LPC nor NDP want to give loose to any hard-fought power. But fyi: the cooperation movement would have seen NDP NOT run candidates in long-held, or traditionally held LPC seats, and visa versa. So where I live, I would have had only an NDP candidate because that party is best-placed to beat the CPC candidate here; therefore Toronto Centre would NOT have run an NDP candidate. But your last sentence says it all — there will be no cooperation in the 2015 election. Oh, and by the way: there also will be no Jack Layton, and no Michael Ignatieff. Let the chips fall where they may, Lief, and let’s hope it’s not another four years of CPC majority. And stop lying about LPC policies — or do you feel the only way for NDP to win is to lie?

          • I’ll have you know that Justin Trudeau himself said as clear as day “I do not support proportional representation…” then goes on to obfuscate and confuse the issue as much as possible. So there’s no way anybody can seriously work with Liberals on electoral reform until, at the very least, their leader relents.

          • He gave perfectly reasonable arguments for not supporting PR. It isn’t a cut and dried debate as you seem to think it is. I sense your level of tolerance for ideas that conflict with your pov isn’t all that high.

          • You’re right, I have no patience for unfair elections. Sue me for wanting the vote of every Canadian to count, and not just for the Liberal Party (the dithering second choice). And sue me for wanting the authentic winners to win seats in the same proportion that Canadians actually voted. Consequently, I have no patience for the likes of Justin Trudeau who is clearly being disingenuous. To be fair, many if not most Liberal voters also support proportional representation – Bob Rae and Stephane Dion are both huge supporters of PR, they are now both on the Advisory Board of Fair Vote Canada for heaven’s sake. It’s the Liberal Party machinery, whip and leader who remain stuck in the undemocratic muck.

          • Cooperation with rightwing faction of the LPC has always been rejected by the NDP. Cullen mentioned something, but he was referring to the Dion wing that’s basically invisible at this point. Besides, Cullen didn’t win.

            Maybe if Trudeau and his Bay Street backers had a single progressive policy, there’d be something to talk about. They don’t. Just more of the same increase inequality, destroy the environment bs. The CPC-LPC are the same party in essence, and Canadians are starting to realise that.

          • There won’t be any cooperation, promich, as you say, it was shot down and I wasn’t a proponent because, as a Liberal, I do see many differences between LPC and NDP. I just think it’s silly to go from whispers of cooperation to — well, today, Mulcair is in the news saying he “will mop the floor with Trudeau” re: separation of Quebec. He should be trying to mop the floor with harper.

          • He’s mopping the floor with the leaders of both the CPC and the LPC. And doing a magnificent job.

            It shows that Mulcair will be a great PM. Why? Because, he’ll:

            – End the LPC-CPC war on the environment
            – Take measures to abolish the unelected and unaccountable senate (NDP policy for three decades)
            – End the extremist LPC-CPC economic policies that have made Canada the least innovative, most foreign-owned corporate environment in the developed world
            – support smart, innovative small businesses and young people
            – put in policies to help end child poverty (embarrassingly high)
            – bring justice to our First Nation communities
            – put in measures to stop corruption and cronyism in federal spending

            History tells us that the LPC-CPC cannot be trusted on any of these key issues. They’ve proven it.

            Your turn. Tell me why the Dauphin would be a good PM. Name just one reason.

          • Oh, promich, Cullen was my first choice in that Leadership race because of his emphasis on that issue. Mulcair was my close second choice and he’s impressed the socks off me since then. A one-time pulling of candidates would be effective in itself but to what end? The Liberal Party officially does not yet want proportionately fair elections, until they do there can never be a deal. But the NDP’s door remains wide open. So please, lobby your Liberal MPs and candidates for PR! Come on Canada, we can do this together!

          • Actually it totally benefits Harper. I am sure you are well aware that a strong NDP splits the left vote. Why do you think the CPC and NDP tag team against the LPC?

          • Not only is the NDP the official opposition, which makes the Liberals the 3rd party official spoilers that helped Harper’s Conservatives get their fake-majority with our undemocratic voting system, but Liberals like Freeman disingenuously support Canada’s unfair disproportional winner-takes-all system.

            There is no way adding an NDP MP to the official opposition could possibly help Harper. And the Conservatives don’t stand a snowballs chance in hell in Toronto Centre anyway.

          • Right. There is no way taking a seat from the LPC helps Harper.

            Have you bothered to look at the polls lately? You can pretend this is about a battle between the NDP and the conservatives, but the rest of the country knows better.

          • Have you bothered to look at the polls in Toronto-Centre? The Conservatives don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell here. So you’re talking nonsense. Toronto-Centre can never be of any help to Harper. Linda McQuaig would go to Ottawa to join the Official Opposition against Harper. Correction: Freeland might help Harper by helping Justin Trudeau rubber stamp Harper’s policies. Like the Harper-Trudeau policy against fair proportional representation.

            It’d be like opportunist Freeland to be drooling over the few blue streets in Rosedale. Maybe that’s why she’s campaigning with John McKay, the Liberal bigot MP from a blue burb.

          • How interesting. And yet so irrelevant. The polls I am referring to obviously are the national ones, the ones that say that the best chance of replacing Harper is Trudeau.

            I assume you are smart enough to see why, then, it really really helps Harper if the LPC lose this seat.

          • How on Earth could the polls in Toronto-Centre be irrelevant to the Toronto-Centre by-election?! You’re either as out to lunch as Freeland or you’re obfuscating on purpose. Read my lips: The Conservatives can not take this seat. The Liberals will be lucky if they can again.

          • It is irrelevant to the point I am making. You know, the one you are taking issue with?

          • Gayle: You made a nonsense point that adding an MP to the official opposition is good for Harper. That is not even remotely true from any angle. This is a by-election, so National polls are not relevant. The polls in Toronto-Centre are all that matter. It’s a clear 2 way race here between the NDP and the Liberals. Neither win would be good for Harper’s Conservatives, and an NDP win would be Harper’s worst nightmare both because the NDP are Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and because unlike the Liberal Party, the NDP do not support most of Harper’s policies.

            On top of all that, Thomas Mulcair may not be as cute as Justin, but he is a far stronger speaker, commands more of the House, and like me he speaks the truth. Nothing pisses Harper off more than the truth.

          • No. I made the point that Harper would like the NDP to beat the LPC candidate, because that would help him nationally.

            It is pretty straightforward. Nice try though.

          • Gayle: As long as you Liberals and Conservatives are AGAINST fair proportional elections, then you have NO right to be crying fowl over vote splitting. Until you officially support PR you have nobody to blame for the system the way it is but yourselves.

          • Well, I guess when you have nothing else left, you have to resort to personal attacks.

            Yet another way the NDP and the CPC are so alike.

          • First of all, if you’re worried about “splits” support the official opposition. Second of all, it what way is the LPC a party of the left? A single policy will do in support of your delusion. Just one.

          • The NDP and the CPC have worked quite hard together in order to ensure the NDP take votes from the LPC (they certainly are not taking them from the CPC).

            There is no need to cite policy. If you want to delude yourself into thinking the LPC and the NDP do not share voters, nothing I can say will change that. See, because I said they split the left vote, not left policies…

          • Because policy has nothing to do with politics? I don’t understand where you’re coming from.

            Cite a single time the NDP and CPC have worked together against the LPC. Under Iggy, the LPC propped the minority CPC government on dozens upon dozens of occasions. It was the backroom LPC that overthrew Dion before Harper could be ousted. This is recent history!

            If you look at voting patterns in Ontario in the last election, former LPC ridings went CPC, giving Harper his majority. It’s very obvious that LPC-CPC share policy and voters. The evidence is right in front of you.

          • Well duh. Of course they share policy and voters, in much the same way the LPC and the NDP share policy and voters. It is what happens when you are a party in the middle.

            The NDP and CPC combined forces in 2006 to make the fundraising provisions in the Accountability Act retroactive, thereby creating a huge problem for the LPC leadership candidates, who raised funds under one system, and after incurring the debts, had to repay them under another.

            That is one. I also know (but obviously cannot prove) that on the campaign trail CPC and NDP candidates will share polling data to ensure both parties can be effective in taking votes from the LPC (which, considering the LPC is the only party that shares voters with both the CPC and NDP, makes sense). I do not expect you to accept this, but I know it to be true.

          • This may sound crazy, but have you ever considered supporting a political party based on their policy?

            If so, what in the LPC playbook attracts you to them? What it something in the red book of lies that didn’t manage to implement during their decade of majority governments? (That would be all of it).

            Educate yourself. Learn from the recent past.

            The LPC’s war on the environment was from the hard right. Hardly the middle. Dion tried to change that and look what happened to him.

          • Trotting out tired old NDP lines is not exactly making a case for them. Nor are your silly little insults suggesting I am not educated just because I do not see the world through your orange coloured glasses. If you want a mature discussion then lead the way.

            I used to support the NDP. I live in the one riding they hold in Alberta, and I campaigned for Linda Duncan. My sympathies have always been part NDP, part LPC. That was until Mulcair came along, and I witnessed him engaging in the same kind of polarizing conduct I see in Harper. He is toxic. He talks about abolishing the senate, and ignores the fact that to do so there have to be constitutional negotiations. Why can’t he be honest about that? He supports 50% plus 1 in a referendum on separation. I most certainly do not support that. He has to cozy up to the separatists in Quebec because they form part of his base. Like Harper, he takes positions based on ideology and what is best for the party, instead of what is best for Canada.

            In Trudeau I see someone who is being honest, and who treats Canadians like we are thoughtful intelligent people. He does not allow ideology to dictate policy. And at the end of the day THAT is what is most important to me.

            Here is an example: in 2003 the LPC government passed the Youth Criminal Justice Act. They did not pass this legislation as a cheap way to buy votes from the uninformed. It was not a popular move, but it was the right one. They consulted countless experts when drafting the legislation to make sure they got it right.

            That is why I appreciate the liberals. Not because I am some blind partisan who will cheer for their every move, but because I can be confident that when they take a position they do so based on evidence. When Mulcair stops the cheap shots and partisan political games, and starts making evidence based policy, maybe he will get my vote back.

          • I once considered supporting the Liberals under Justin’s father, a far better man. When he allowed the US to test cruise missles, I changed my mind, just as Broadbent refused the offer of a coaltion government over the very same issue.

            No insults have been “trotted out”, and the only thing that’s “tired” is the Liberal’s record on the environment. It’s shameful. If they’ve changed it, they let’s hear them say it. Dion spoke up and was quickly muzzled.

            Abolishing the senate has been NDP policy for around three decades. It isn’t Tom’s personal idea, but it’s a good one. They are unelected and unaccountable. It won’t be easy, but it needs to be done. Canada has come around to the idea and Tom can get it done.

            I look at Trudeau and I don’t know what he stands for or why he’s even in politics other than because his dad was. When asked which country he most admires he responds: “China,” with their death penalty for political disent.

            When asked about what economic policy he states that more foreign ownership will solve our problems – even though we already have the highest rate of any developed country.

            He supports keystone and further deregulation of environmental regulations, when Canada is now considered to be a biggest per capita polluter in the world.

            Look, I have a soft spot for the Trudeau family too. PET’s funeral was a tear-jerker. And Justin seems like a nice guy to have a beer with, sure, but as PM of this country? You can almost see the Bay Street puppet masters rubbing their hands with glee. He has a good heart, maybe, but the intellect and the sharpness just isn’t there.

          • “Abolishing the senate has been NDP policy for around three decades. It isn’t Tom’s personal idea, but it’s a good one.”

            Whether or not it is a good idea, it cannot happen without reopening the constitution – an important factor Mulcair never refers to in his speeches. That is dishonest and dishonourable.

            “When asked which country he most admires he responds: “China,” with their death penalty for political disent.”

            Stop making stuff up. That was neither the question nor the answer.

            Finally, I do not have a “soft spot” for Trudeau. I explained why I support him and it has to do with how the LPC make policy. Too many NDP and CPC supporters insult women who support the LPC by claiming we do so because Trudeau is good looking or because of other emotional factors like having a “soft spot” for him.

            I know it is frustrating for you guys, but people are drawn to him because of what he represents, not his father nor his hair.

          • Look, I’m sorry you don’t follow the news very closely, but that’s no reason to be rude.


            Next time, use google yourself.

            People are repulsed by Justin for what represents: Entitlement and corruption. We’ve had enough.

          • Oh get off it – he was not asked which country he admired most and he never said he admired China most. link to his words, not to Rex Murphy slagging him off. Sheesh

          • Again, how is the LPC a leftist party? You’ll have to do better than that. Canadians aren’t about to get fooled again.

          • Again, I said they split the left vote. If you actually do not know this, then I cannot help you.

          • I like the way you provide zero facts to back up your argument. No substance at all really, Now who does that remind us of?

          • What you should like is the fact I am not going to waste my time “proving” that some people who vote LPC may also vote NDP, and vise versa. If you do not know this already, it is not worth my time demonstrating it to you.

          • What advisors? The decision to go with AV or preferential balloting was taken at convention. There is support for PR in the party, but it. simply hasn’t enough weight to pass.
            You’re entitled to your opinions on environmental and energy policy, but that doesn’t automatically make it a fact. Most of the libs I know simply don’t think you can get to a sustainable economy by demonizing the energy sector. The party tried a green policy shift under Dion and it got blown out of the water by Harpers demagoguery. I see little reason to believe the NDP will fair any better.

          • PR was recommended in 2004 by the Law Commission of Canada which was launched under Pierre Trudeau in 1971 and resurrected by Jean Chretien only to be disbanded by Stephen Harper in 2006.

            AV is just another winner takes all disproportional voting system; completely inappropriate and unfair for electing governing assemblies, so it’s more of the same. Justin is stalling for time by obfuscating and trying to confuse the issue on purpose; he’s pandering to his big party machinery that likes First-Past-The-Post. kcm2, I appreciate lively debate but we digress from the original topic, so I made this video for you: http://youtu.be/sSd4p1jq9HE

        • It has to do with hypocrisy being more repugnant than miseducation and ignorance. Think about why the LPC still exists at this point and what they represent. A Bay Street backup plan.

          • With CPC, you get all three: hypocrisy, miseducation (or no education) and ignorance! For crying out loud: Liberals clearly voted their own party out, years ago — now reduced to third party. It is not the same party any longer, just how long do you have to pout and cry before you forgive and move on? I would never vote CPC, but let me tell you: I do realize these aren’t the same Tories of yesteryear.

      • It is a book published by the McGill-Queen’s University Press (“obscure blog” lol) to which John McKay contributed significantly. And yes, there are plenty of Liberal and Conservative homophobes like McKay, even today, even sitting in parliament. Do you have any idea where Toronto-Centre is and just how idiotic it is for her to be hanging out with him?

        • Whatever. Book or blog it’s likely still pretty obscure to the ordinary voter; and it still doesn’t work, so conveniently enough you get to smear Mackay with no chance to view the context. I presume context might matter to you?

          • Okay, so John McKay is an obscure homophobic Liberal MP then. Whatever. Just google the book, (this comments system clips links too short). The cover alone is puke-worthy.

          • I have no idea about Mackay [ and no time to google this stuff] but would you still regard him as a homophobe if it turns out he’s a Catholic who’s expressing his religious convictions?
            Even then it would of course still be a matter of constitutionally protected individual rights being the law of the land and trumping religious convictions in law.
            I just find it difficult to conceive of JM having any kind of prominent role in the LPC if he was writing vitriolic diatribes in University publications or anywhere else for that matter. It would at least be a point of contention in the membership. It may surprise you to know that gays aren’t persecuted in the party.

          • I googled the book: it’s John MacKay, CONSERVATIVE MP. Good grief, Lief is like Emily Littella — “never mind.”

          • Ha ha ha!

          • http://www.johnmckaymp.on.ca/ The one and only John McKay is absolutely a Liberal MP. He is NOT a Conservative MP. Besides, even if he were a Conservative that would make Freeland even MORE out to lunch than she already obviously is.

          • I never called you a “doofus” Leif.

          • lol What a doofus!

            Nice work. I just couldn’t believe it was the other guy. I’ve never read anything he’s posted or written any where, that even hinted at homophobia.!

          • Ah, Leif wasn’t wrong — the book description was. McKay is LPC, and as you guessed, he’s one of the religious, anti-choice ones — I also did not know about any homophobia, nor did I read anything about that. But we all can only vote for our local candidates, and have to live with people in other ridings selecting different kinds of candidates. It’s still democratic. And I suspect that many vote for leaders, which is why we may expect Jack Layton being gone and Justin Trudeau being here to cause a few lost seats for the NDP. I just know it’s going to get ugly — NDP supporters already very attacky-provokey on Twitter lately. Harper will benefit from split vote.

          • In Toronto-Centre’s case it’s the NDP that will benefit from the votes split between the Liberals and Conservatives. Am I celebrating that fact? No, and neither is McQuaig because in the long run and nationally we would prefer a democratic (proportional) voting system for everyone in which vote splitting and vote distortion would be gone for good.

          • Oh dear, is there a Con JM as well or not. Look what you made me do? Do I owe Leif an apology? :)

          • Only because you believed me — sorry to you too omg sorry to everyone … ! You can blame me.

          • Okay, then he’d be an obscure homophobic Catholic Liberal MP, you’re just digging yourself in deeper!

          • I owe you an apology – my bad. You still haven’t made any sort of case for JM being homophobic. Freedom of religion is also constitutionally protected; that’s simply a fact and not a matter of digging in.

          • Freedom of belief is constitutionally protected, so McKay has every right to be a bigot and subscribe to any church he wants. That doesn’t make him any more likeable or acceptable to the good people of Toronto Centre. Freeland doesn’t appear to care if he’s a bigot, or just maybe she’s completely out to lunch, it’s one or the other.

          • Having sincerely held religious convictions doesn’t make a person a bigot. If you have those conviction and you claim your beliefs put you above the law – then you are a bigot. So, if you don’t mind sans all the facts and evidence i’ll not choose either of your petulent options. Life’s complicated, perhaps its time you realized that fact!

          • Having sincerely held religious convictions doesn’t make a person a bigot. Being a bigot does, regardless of a person’s sincerely held religious convictions. There is nothing illegal about being a bigot, it’s just repugnant. Because we have freedom of belief, every Canadian adult is 100% responsible for his or her own religious convictions, be they bigoted or not.

          • Sorry, but thats sounds a bit like pure bunkum to my eye. Pretty well heads you lose tails you lose. You’re a bigot if you’re religious; and if you’re religious you’re a bigot. I know people who hold this religious conviction, they aren’t bigots pure and simple. They don’t hate gays, they just think it wrong. I get if you happen to be gay that’s likely to hurt a lot – but it isn’t bigotry There are of course many bigots who are religious.
            I’ll ask you once again, what leads you to believe JM is a bigot? Have you actually read something of his you find deeply offensive?

          • Oh for heaven’s sake. Whether or not you’re religious has NOTHING to do with anything. It was the Metropolitan Church of Toronto that DEMANDED gay marriage first, you won’t find many bigots there. Either you’re a bigot or you’re not. John McKay is a bigot- I couldn’t care less what church he goes to or what rationale he has for it. What leads me to believe he’s a bigot? Are you serious? He voted against gay marraige and wrote a diatribe against it. That pretty much makes him the bigotry poster boy. He sounds like the kind of person who could really help Freeland win Toronto-Centre, NOT!

          • Interesting you failed to answer my final question again. Can I conclude you haven’t personally read any of these alleged bigoted diatribes?
            I’d recommend a decent theological primer to you if I thought it would make any difference. You have the political side of the equation, but not the theological. As I said earlier, life’s complicated.

          • Tell that to the residents of Toronto-Centre. “It’s complicated, that’s why I’m not going to let you get married.” It’s not going to fly. Talks like a bigot. Writes like a bigot. Votes like a bigot. We can pretty much bet he’s a bigot. He’s such a bigot that you even believed he was a Conservative for a moment, lol.

          • Ok, so you haven’t read any of JM’s so called diatribes and you’re prepared to convict simply on hearsay.
            Sad to hear a progressive using the language of the bigot to condemn perceived bigotry. I think we’ve gone as far as we can with this. You have no evidence and i’m not interested in hearsay and gossip.

          • Hearsay?! John McKay Liberal MP voted against gay marriage in the Parliament of Canada. Gossip?! He published his anti-gay diatribe in a homophobic book which, if you don’t believe me, you can read for yourself. I don’t know what world you’re on but in Toronto-Centre that makes him beyond any shadow of a doubt a proven unwelcome bigot. He is no friend of Dorothy.

            The photo of the two together proves that Freeland who is just new in town, oh how do I put this gently, is at best clueless for campaigning with him here.

          • Look, voting against gay marriage if it happens to be because he thinks it wrong does not automatically make JM a bigot – it could i grant you!
            But i’ve asked you a number of times if you have personally read these diatribes and then judged them bigoted. Nada! Nothing in the way of evidence – that my fiend is commonly referred to as hearsay. You shouldn’t shoot a dog on hearsay, much less convict someone of bigotry.
            As to whether it’s advisable for him to be campaigning in TC, there you probably have a point. Obviously he doesn’t feel like a bigot.

          • Um, yeah I have a point. That was my original point – Freeman is at best clearly out-to-lunch if she thinks a heterosexist b—- (whatever you want to call it) can help her here. And “out to lunch” is giving her the benefit of any doubt.

          • Good debate Leif. I guess we’re miles apart on this,but you probably have reason to be. Let’s call it a draw, both declare victory and go home.

          • Good debate kcm2, but no draw, I win hands down. New to Toronto Freeland campaigning with bigot Liberal MP McKay in Toronto-Centre means she’s clueless. Game over.

          • I’d wish you good luck with that, but then I’d be lying. :)

          • You seem sincere — so you know Freeland isn’t out to lunch. You are concerned about hypocricy — do the images of McQuaig’s sumptuous, posh home for sale make you squeamish? She is clearly part of the 1 per cent.

            All I know is: NDP supporters lately are sounding as angry as the leader. And I think Canadians have had enough of angry politicians in charge for the last while. So maybe that won’t help. Proceed at your own caution, but in your hunt for power, try not to forget you are actually trying to become government — so you have to focus on and beat the current government, not the current third party.

          • You should really start a new thread when changing the topic. The McQuaig house was sold 13 years ago for a million, so yes, McQuaig has means. As does Freeland. By your logic a doctor would be a hypocrite for helping someone sick unless she was sick herself.

            Damn right I’m angry. Everyone knows a strong Liberal showing splits the progressive vote. So vote NDP and let’s defeat the Conservatives! Voting Liberal won’t help until they promise to support proportional representation, so if we vote Liberal we’ll just wind up with the same old mutual-spoiler “strateigic” voting problem over and over and over…

          • Thread, not threat. And in case you haven’t noticed, commenters here go all over the place — it’s okay and you seem to be following along just fine.

            Look: it’s a Liberal-held seat, so it isn’t Freeland splitting off the vote. And it isn’t the Liberals who are yelling about how much money Freeland has, is it, causing others to point out that McQuaig isn’t exactly poverty-stricken? I actually do vote NDP federally (and always provincially) much of the time because it’s a long-held CPC seat, and I want them OUT. But since joining the party, and as a Trudeau Liberal, I have promised myself to vote LPC next time — no matter how dreary the results will be.

            But go ahead and stay angry, if it keeps you focused. I don’t feel angry at all — rather excited seeing Trudeau in the news and raising loads of money for the war chest. And, you know, the Orange Crush, or whatever you call it, came under a really likeable fellow who was fighting against his own odds — not under a really angry lawyer. Food for thought.

          • Look: It’s a vacant seat.

            If we’re apathetic, we’ll never live in a real democracy. Why shouldn’t we be angry? It’s our constitutional right to fair elections, it’s in our Charter, but the Conservative and Liberal Party leaderships are doing anything and everything they can to prevent it.

            The former MP Bob Rae who held this seat before is on the Advisory Board of Fair Vote Canada that is the non-partisan organisation to promote fair proportional elections, so one would think Rae would advise himself to endorse McQuaig rather than being all pathetically party-faithful.

            There’s no way the Conservatives can take this seat, so you can afford to vote with your heart in Toronto-Centre’s 2-way (NDP or Liberal) horse-race, and my heart is with fair elections where our representatives are elected in the same proportion that we Canadians vote. Can’t you see, we have to hold Justin Trudeau’s feet to the fire on this because he’s more interested in himself and his party than he is in us, the Canadian Electorate or the future of Canada, in that way he’s indistinguishable from Stephen Harper so shame on Trudeau until he and his party gets with the program.

            As for parachute Freeland: Yeah, so back to my original post. Which is it, does she hang out with an anti-gay anti-choice Liberal bigot MP because she 1. really admires him, 2. she’s stupid, or 3. because she’s new in town and has no idea what is going on much less where she is. The best she can hope for is 3.

          • What twaddle. If the only issue was PR you might be right. But since it isn’t TC voters are free to look at both Liberal and NDP potential negatives and set their priorities accordingly.

          • PR is a prerequisite to ALL other issues. Without PR it’s just a matter of time before another radical fake-majority undoes any and all national progress with a single omnibus bill. That’s the sorry state of our so-called “democracy” where an ignorant/greedy party faithful minority can decide everything while the majority of Canadians have zero say in the matter because our votes don’t even count.

            I would love to see the day when I can afford to sit in the bath and dither between the Libs and NDPs plusses and minusses – there’s nothing like competition and options! But before that day can exist we need fair proportional elections, and the Liberals aren’t even on that radar screen yet. Here’s hoping they’ll come around and fast.

          • At least we agree its a matter of distinction. You really shouldn’t assume so much about liberals. I’ve strategically voted NDP more often then I have liberal when I think about it. I also voted for STV in bc. But there’s the rub. Attempts to move the. proportional ball forward have failed at least 4 times now. Obviously Canadians have reservations at the moment.
            For now I’ll support the kind of democratic renewal JT has proposed and lobby for more. At some point we will have a national debate on electoral reform and hopefully a royal commission should either Mulcair or JT make it to 24 Sussex.
            Whatever else politics is it isn’t a priesthood, so spare me the NDP is all about principle and the LPC all about everything venal propaganda . I don’t take fairytales at face value – not even Liberal ones if I can avoid it.

          • You know as well as I that the Liberal and Conservative leaderships are happy to sabotage any rare opportunity at PR that might come along, and to misinform and confuse Canadians about electoral reform as much as possible. Why else would Liberals be suggesting that AV was somehow a fair way of electing a governing assembly like the House of Commons? AV is only fair in a single-winner single-district situation, like electing A mayor of A city. Justin Trudeau said it himself” “I do not support proportional representation…” There you have it. He’s not on our side; the side of the Canadian Electorate.

          • I know of no such thing. AV was chosen at convention, no one forced it on the membership.

          • No, you’re a die-hard — above, you called Freeland “pathetically party-faithful.” I suggest that term would work well with your views too. Stay angry — it is a terrific way to win over new party members, by dissing those whose votes you’re trying to court.

          • Actually, I called retired-MP Bob Rae “pathetically party faithful” and then only with regard to his endorsement of Freeland and her anti-PR Liberal party in this by-election. She can be excused for being party faithful given that she’s new. If she gets in she’ll have to stand up and sit down on queue. To be fair to Bob Rae, he’s probably right in thinking he can do more to help Canada’s move to PR from chattering within the little Liberal tent for now. Chattering kind of like we are. Chattering is a good thing.

          • Pretty sure you could find another option or two in there. Do you really think that all members of any of the parties across this huge country all have exactly the same thoughts and ideologies? Ever heard the expression “Big Tent Party?”

          • “Big Tent Party” wouldn’t that be sweet? A one party system perhaps? It’s the only thing worse than a two party system. To be fair, even I might consider voting for a Liberal if Justin Trudeau promised loud and clear to not use his party whip on electoral reform issues like adopting PR, and the Liberal candidate was a staunch PR supporter (and isn’t totally clueless like Freeland). That’s not the situation today in Toronto-Centre or in Justin Trudeau’s head.

    • Leif — I googled the book and read about the book. I hate to break your heart, buddy, but John McKay is the CONSERVATIVE MP from Scarborough-Guildwood. Now your whole theory is gone — she was out campaigning with someone else. I’d laugh if it wasn’t for how wrong you got it while trying to put down a perfectly capable woman running for office. Check out the amazon.ca description of the book — it identifies that John MacKay, Conservative MP, was heavily involved in it. And then, perhaps consider apologizing to Chrystia Freeland.

        • Leif, I googled too — yes, you are right he’s Liberal. As kcm said, he’s one of those RC, anti-choice ones, there are a few voted in democratically by their constituents. I will explain that the amazon.ca description of the book says, “The authors are prominent Canadians in the fields of law, ethics,
          political science, religion, and culture and include, among others,
          Margaret Somerville, Ted Morton, F.C. DeCoste, Katherine Young, and
          Conservative Party MP John McKay.” Until you came back so emphatically, that’s all I knew about the book and the MP. I’m sorry I called you Emily Litella, but stand by my comments about the division being sowed, mostly at this point by NDP, but some by LPC too. The only benefitter will be Harper.

          • I just looked it up and McKay is not an RC bigot, he’s a Baptist bigot. But the church to which he subscribes isn’t relevant, that’s entirely his decision just as is his decision to be a bigot and be a Liberal. It is Freeland’s patently clueless decision to campaign with him here in Toronto-Centre, the most proudly queerest riding in the Universe ever – (er… maybe next to Darlinghurst in Sydney, Australia).

          • If you live in that riding, your assessment matters way more than mine. I don’t know anything about it, and while I am a Liberal, I’m not supportive of social conservatives, or any conservatives. I’m surprised he has won the riding if he’s such a fish out of water there. Frankly, both Freeland and McQuaig are impressive women, so the riding looks to have strong representation either way.

          • The Liberals are very much a conservative party. Check out their policies and actions during 10 years of majority governments.

  15. Mckay is definitely a social conservative. He’s never been shy about
    that. So be it … that’s going nowhere these days anyway and I think
    he’s learned to live with that.
    On the other hand he did try to legislate some reasonable restraint on
    the mining industry … with support from the NDP … but he was gutted
    by the very blue members of his own party … with the support of Cons.
    For that he has my respect. Everybody’s somethin’ …

    • Was Brison one of those blue libs doing the gutting? That would be too ironic, given he’s gay and given where this thread has been headed.

      • Bay St. is an equal opportunity employer.

  16. Freeland needs to speak about her leaders support for Keystone.

  17. By-election debates really don’t matter as much as this actual thinks they do, unless somebody makes a major gaffe, which didn’t happen there.

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