The Liberals’ wake and some parting remarks

Mitchel Raphael on the Liberals’ wake and some parting remarks

A new day: Peter Milliken with Ted Hsu

The final humiliation: a cash bar

Last week the Liberals gathered the night before what would be their final caucus meeting with both defeated and elected MPs. One Liberal staffer called the party a “wake”; a Hill security guard predicted it would end early because it was a cash bar. Surviving Toronto Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan arrived with a bandaged hand that will need surgery. “I fell on Wednesday and the government fell on the Friday,” she says. Five weeks campaigning didn’t help: “Even when you break your hand,” said Duncan, “people still want to shake it.” Some days ended with Duncan in excruciating pain. Defeated MP Marlene Jennings arrived with a white cane, announcing that she is now officially vision-impaired. The one person who spoke at the party was surviving MP Ralph Goodale, but no one seemed to be listening; former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff left before Goodale spoke. The Liberals’ only two rookie MPs were there: Sean Casey from Charlottetown and Ted Hsu from Kingston, Ont., which was previously represented by Speaker Peter Milliken. Hsu’s win was a surprise for the Conservatives, who for years said that once Milliken retired they would easily win the riding.

Goodbye Fatima!

With the defeat of so many MPs come the aftershocks on the capital’s dining scene. Defeated Liberals Mark Holland, Navdeep Bains and Mario Silva were regulars at the Green Door vegetarian restaurant, hitting the buffet a few days a week. “I am worried about the Green Door,” says Holland. “We gave a lot of business to them over the years. When you are up here you don’t eat well. Their food was always exceptional and healthy.” The defeat of the Bloc means that just over the Ottawa River in Gatineau, the owner of the Moroccan restaurant Chez Fatima, Fatima Semlali, will miss many of her regulars. For seven years the Bloc gathered in small groups several nights a week; some, like Serge Ménard, came alone for the excellent food and superb hospitality. The Bloc even had parties for their whole caucus in a special upstairs dining room. Returning to clear out her office, defeated MP Nicole Demers was in tears when she went to Chez Fatima for lunch.

Never again, says this former MP

The day after the dismal election results for the Liberals, defeated Ontario MP Glen Pearson had his old job back at the London Food Bank. Since he did not serve at least six years as an MP, he does not qualify for a pension. He says he will still get a small pension from his years as a firefighter. But with three children, Pearson notes he will need to cut back. That means selling his Smart car and motorcycle. Pearson plans to continue his humanitarian work in Africa with former PM Paul Martin, who has taken a keen interest in that continent. Michael Ignatieff called Pearson after the defeat and said: “We didn’t take easy to politics. It was always difficult for both of us.” Pearson was pressured by members of his party to go after Bev Oda, the minister of international co-operation, because he was the critic for the Canadian International Development Agency. Pearson never attacked and consistently spoke of wanting to work with Oda to improve the way Canada delivers aid through CIDA. Oda sent him a nice text after his loss. Pearson says he will never run again, noting it’s “a very alienating experience.”

When voters bash your dad

Surviving Liberal MP Mark Eyking had his two sons, who both live in Ottawa now, knock on doors for him in Cape Breton during the last week of the election. One man, not knowing who he was talking to, told Jonah Eyking: “I wouldn’t vote for Eyking if he was the last man on earth.” When the young Eyking told the man his connection and added, “Try being raised by him,” it elicited a smile—and an Eyking vote.

The Liberals’ wake and some parting remarks

  1. Parties win and lose and win and lose and…..so I don’t understand the melodrama.

    It’s not only happening all over the world, it happened here to the conservatives first. Yet they came back, and so will the Libs.

     

    • True, of course; no victory or defeat is permanent. But what current senior Liberals must fear is that all their hard work sucking up to the right people is going to be wasted if they win again an election or two down the road…and it’s a new generation not at all beholden to the old guard that was just decimated.

      • Why would anybody worry about that?  Did the Cons?

         

        • I doubt they did in 1993, but that was because the upstart factions rebelling against the old backroom boys had already started leaving.

          • LOL Reform was, and still is, a bunch of old guys. 

  2.  Oh I love Jonah Eyking, we would have my vote too ; )

  3. “The day after the dismal election results for the Liberals, defeated Ontario MP Glen Pearson had his old job back at the London Food Bank.”

    And folks wonder why good people don’t want to run for political office.

     

  4. They had a “cash bar” at the party  . They figured since McCallum and Rodriguez would be there it was a good opportunity to start raising some big cash.

  5. The one person who spoke at the party was surviving MP Ralph Goodale, but no one seemed to be listening; former Liberal leaderMichael Ignatieff left before Goodale spoke.

    Fitting.

  6. The Liberals got exactly what they deserved. They lost, big time.

  7. The gLiberals have virtually been wiped off the map throughout mainstream Canada and have now been reduced to the Atlantic regional party. Considering several close election night results, they’ll probably lose even more seats in Vancouver-Toronto-Montreal come 2015. And I won’t shed a tear for them when it happens considering the decades long sense of lies and betrayal I and countless former Liberal voters must feel about them.

    • I always find comments about lies and betrayal supposed Liberal voters feel curious given the results of the election.  You would think someone feeling a sense of lies and betrayal would not elect the people who promised no tax on income trusts, but did. Promised not to appoint unelected senators, but did. Promised to demand the US live up to NAFTA agreements, then paid them a billion dollars not to.  Promised not to raise taxes, but raised EI premiums. Promised to hold fixed elections, but didn’t. Promised to respect the will of the House, and prorogued, etc.

      Do these people even see the irony? Or are they just that clueless about what the CPC has been doing?

  8. A centre-left party will come back and hold government again, and possibly within a decade.

    Might be the Liberals, might be the Dippers — ultimately, it makes no difference, as the general population is what drives the parties and where they go.

  9. A fitting epitaph for a party that will eventually exist only in history books.

  10. Huge loss for a party that spoke for the majority of Canadians. At least that’s what they continually told us. Hmmm… I guess they were wrong. Certainly won’t miss Mark Holland. 

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