Why the Liberals are yesterday’s party

Special interests and entrenched fiefdoms doomed the Liberals to electoral defeat, writes Peter C. Newman

Yesterday’s party

Photograph by Cole Garside

Peter C. Newman’s latest political book was supposed to be a close observer’s inside account of the rise of Michael Ignatieff from novelist and Harvard professor to prime minister of Canada, with barely a stop in between. Instead, as Newman followed Ignatieff during his climb to the Liberal leadership and the party’s catastrophic federal election campaign last spring, it became clear that he was chronicling the destruction of the Liberal party. In this excerpt from When the Gods Changed: The Death of Liberal Canada, Newman describes the Liberals’ abject failure to respond to the Conservatives’ devastating anti-Ignatieff ads and the Liberal leader’s hapless debate performance:

The attack ads defined Ignatieff in a way the Liberals did not—it turned out, could not—answer. Not because the accusations were true, but because they were repeated with brainwashing frequency.

How that lapse happened is the great untold story of the campaign. There was, during the 2011 election, no public proof that anything positive was stirring inside the Liberal camp, but in fact nearly $5 million quietly trickled into Liberal headquarters. Those voluntary contributions were greater than the totals mailed in during the last three elections. The Liberal party’s fundraising was actually quite good, much better than that of the NDP or Bloc. The problem for the Liberals was that the power brokers divided the spoils. The Grits had the highest infrastructure costs of all the political parties—every federal-provincial association demanded their own office budgets and staff, plus there was a commission for every special interest within the party, each with its own budget. The Liberals’ rotten internal culture meant that the power brokers would rather the party die than lose their little fiefdoms. The party thus left its leader helpless to defend himself. Too busy dividing what remained of fundraising dollars and the public subsidy between its fiefdoms and power brokers, the party was unable to save any for the response to the negative advertising that Ignatieff so desperately needed.

Gordon Gibson, who was a former senior aide to Pierre Trudeau as well as a former leader of the B.C. Liberals, put the essential problem most succinctly: “The Liberal party is in great danger of becoming an irrelevance. Alas, that assumes there is still something called the Liberal party. What used to be a genuine, large and co-operative organization of like-minded people has been turned into an empty shell by centralizing leaders, and is now populated largely by celebrity followers and power seekers.”

“It’s not that the money wasn’t there to fight the negative ads,” one of the senior Liberal strategists told me. “We had $23 million in the kitty but nobody could figure out how to get at it. The NDP can run a national party organization and win three times as many seats as we did, on a quarter of our budget. How many regional offices do the Conservatives have? Certainly not the 12 we do.

“Because every Liberal fiefdom demanded their dollars, we didn’t have access to the funds required to answer the Tory propaganda. Not because the party didn’t have money but because we were spending it on stupid things, like provincial and territorial associations and the Women’s Commission, and all these little party subdivisions that demanded their own budgets. Neither the Tories nor the NDP operate like that. Unlike the Conservative party, we’re not a single entity but a coalition of many different subdivisions, commissions, individual fiefdoms, and provincial associations within a federal structure. Everybody covets their budgets and it’s extraordinarily expensive. For example, we’ve had to hire 50 people to staff a simple nomination meeting. Why? Because we’re still yesterday’s party.”

Ignatieff, with his easier manners and his rolled-up shirtsleeves, simply could not meet enough people face to face to counter the relentless impression of the advertising. Liberal candidates reported from their doorstep tours that an inordinate number of people volunteered that they didn’t approve of Michael Ignatieff. When they were asked why, they would parrot the Harper attack ads, word for word. (“He’s not there for you . . . ”). When confronted about that parroting, they would be offended, and insist, “I wasn’t influenced by those ads.”

Guy Giorno, who had been Harper’s chief of staff and ran the Tory 2011 campaign, certainly had no doubts about their supreme significance in the election’s results. “Mr. Ignatieff has no one to blame but himself for not taking the time to respond to the ads,” he declared. “The issue was not the fact that he spent so much time living and teaching abroad. Rather, it was his failure to explain his reasons for returning to Canada. Ordinary Canadians said it looked like he came back just to run for prime minister. You can agree or disagree with the sentiment but that was a real-person reaction. His failure to define himself was his choice.”

There were dozens of stories that Ignatieff refused to rehearse for the English debate in the 2011 campaign because he had been an ace debater at university and didn’t need a refresher course.

In fact, he did rehearse, and quite diligently, with Glenn O’Farrell, a Canadian broadcast executive and former head of the Canadian Broadcasting Association. Not exactly a force of nature as a pretend interrogator. Dumping the ever-wise Rex Murphy, who was responsible for Dion’s unexpectedly good performance two years earlier, was a serious mistake, and might have contributed to Ignatieff’s lacklustre performance in the national televised debate. The Liberals’ own pollster, Michael Marzolini—the chairman and founder of Pollara, one of the best in Canada—was quoted in the Globe and Mail after the election was over, saying that Ignatieff’s dull showing in the leaders’ debates was the beginning of the end. The rise of Jack Layton and the NDP began with Layton so clearly speaking for and to ordinary Canadians during the debates, while Ignatieff just could not make the connection on TV. (Marzolini also complained in mid-campaign to a senior Liberal that the party was paying his fees but paying no attention to his results: “They’ve managed to do the opposite of everything I’ve advised.”)

The ebbs and flows of the campaign were meticulously tracked by other polling companies, of course, none more imaginatively than Angus Reid’s outfit, whose vice-president Mario Conseco provided me with a private briefing that included a minute-by-minute review of that pivotally significant English leaders’ debate. The most dramatic trend during the last two weeks of the campaign was a tectonic shift away from the Liberals. Their retention rate from the previous election was down to 57 per cent, compared to the Tories’ 82 per cent and the NDP’s 85 per cent. This meant that close to a half of the people who had voted Liberal in 2008, when Stéphane Dion was leader, abandoned their choice. “It became clear as the campaign went on that the Liberals would finish below the dreaded Mendoza line,” Conseco concluded (baseball player Mario Mendoza was known for his defensive skills as a shortstop but was a terrible hitter, often batting less than one hit for every five at-bats, excluding walks).

After the first week of the campaign, Ignatieff’s approval rating jumped from 19 to 25 per cent but NDP support moved up from 37 per cent to 43. Then came the English debate, and that was where Ignatieff’s stumble, Harper’s unbeatable lead and Layton’s rise had powerful effects. Harper dominated by the simple tactic of never moving his eyes away from the TV cameraman, which had him looking straight into the camera—directly into the audience’s eyes—while the other participants looked sidewise at one another when asking or answering questions.

Given that Ignatieff was a former professor in the area of international human rights, the expectation was that when debating Layton on Afghanistan, he would shine. Layton, who was not supposed to be a leader in foreign affairs, scored the highest of all with the simple wish: “Bring the troops home from Afghanistan.” Ignatieff’s comeback—“Help the Afghans defend themselves for three more years”—got the segment’s lowest level of approval.

In the final part of the debate, Ignatieff’s summarizing view that the choice on May 2 was “between a Harper government and a Liberal government” went off the bottom of the charts—south of the Mendoza line. (There must be a country and western song about that by now.)

Ignatieff knew he wasn’t going to win two weeks before voting day, including his own riding. The so-called National Liberal Team had assigned only a skeleton crew to Ignatieff’s constituency and did no polling. They paid virtually no attention to the key riding that could easily have been won.

He ended up hoping for 50 seats. And if he had won his own constituency, he would have stuck around until his succession was arranged, rather than exiting to see Bob Rae take over as interim leader. The party’s worst drubbing was in the Toronto area, once the Grits’s private preserve, which went largely Tory. Yet on election night, a few brave souls—or dreamers who refused to credit the nightmare unfolding on their TV sets—were already reorganizing area ridings, not ready to abandon what had been their fortress.

Excerpted from When the Gods Changed: The Death of Liberal Canada. Copyright © 2011 Dragonmaster Productions Ltd. Reproduced by arrangement with publisher Random House Canada. All rights reserved.


Why the Liberals are yesterday’s party

  1. Canadian politics have almost always offered a centrist alternative, at least since World War II, for those people who don’t want to vote for either ends of the spectrum, which turned out to be the majority, most of the time.  The disappearance of a centrist party, as desired as it might be by some, is not necessary a good thing.  Harper wants to destroy it which is in itself suspect.  Perhaps he thinks we have no need for equilibrium in politics, but as experience has taught us, equilibrium in politics is everything and we are not getting that with the calibre of current ministers who, among other things, cannot explain what ozone is.

    • Well that comment is certainly a game changer. No doubt it will contribute to a Liberal revival and a win in 2015. Do you seriously think this kind of thing is going to solve your problems and defeat Harper? Giver your head a shake.

      • Given that I am not a Liberal, I don’t really care.  I have never had a government that represented my political choices.  I was making an observation and you obviously want to put a pro-Harper spin on it.  Good luck with that.

  2. I think too much is being made out of what I will call the Conservative truth ads and their impact on Ignatieff’s leadership. If Ignatieff had firm convictions, did not flip flop from issue to issue, did not allow his party to turn the House of Commons and its committees into a circus trying to find or invent scandal and more particularly if the party had come out with some fresh policies the Libs may have stood a chance. However, every appearance of Ignatieff confirmed in peoples’ minds he was an elitist snob who came back for only one reason..to be prime minister. Coupled with policies that had been rejected by the electorate at least three times i.e. national daycare the electorate simply said the Liberal party was not capable of governing the country.

    However, the media feeling sorry for the inept Liberals  tried their best to bolster the Liberal party. They attacked the Conservatives and Harper with all that they had. Remember Bruce Carson. Hardly a mention of him since the election. Terry Mileski of the CBC getting booed because all he wanted to talk about was kids getting thrown out of rallies. The list goes on.

    So we now have the Conservatives with a majority government and once again the media is on the attack. The poor opposition parties they are not getting a chance to debate bills that have been debated ad nauseum for the last five years. Poor babies. That mean-spirited Mr. Harper (sarcasm intended).

    • I agree re: the impact of the “attack” ads on Ignatieff.

      During the last days of the campaign I happened to be watching the TV news on two separate occasions, with two separate groups of friends. In both instances, when Ignatieff came on to pontificate about some issue someone said…”what an a**hole!”

      Note that this happened on two separate occasions and the same unsolicited opinion was given by two different women who both paid virtually no attention to politics or Canadian news, so they were unlikely to have been influenced by Conservative ads. In fact, in both cases, neither of the women even knew who Ignatieff was or what party he belonged to.

      I think ads had less of an effect on people’s negative impressions about Ignatieff than people’s negative impressions about Ignatieff period.

  3. Who cares?  Only those who cling to the liberal flag, which really no longer has much meaning to anyone else.  The “glorious” liberal history is fast fading from the minds of Canadians and being replaced by the “legend” of Layton and the reality of Harper.  And Harper happens to be doing a pretty good job unless you’re viewing him through the “fog” of being a diehard liberal or ndp. 

    So if the liberals are to be relevent again, which is unlikely, they need to somehow hitch themselves to the ndp and form a new combine.  But what to call it? With this combine the liberal name will never be alone again so we’ll see if the “liberals” are really concerned about social policies or just the name, historic only to themselves.  I know what I’m betting on. 

    • Kindly tell me how Harper is “doing a pretty good job”.
      Serious question, I really want to know how people justify their support of him given his initial performance with Fortier, fixed elections, and use of proroguation and his current performance of omnibus bills, ignoring government accounting procedure, and invoking closure on absolutely everything.

      What is it that enables you to look beyond all that?

      • What is it that does not enable you to look beyond ‘process’?
        That Ottawa bubble is so disconnected to the national interest.

        Flaherty voted International Finance Minister of the Year,
        BoC’s Carney appointed to international banking oversite body,
        PMSH gambled on Libya stand, stayed firm when other countries started to wobble, Harper won his first war, jury still out on Chretien/Martins Afghan war.
        Since being elected in 2006 Harper govt has initiated dozens of trade agreements with other countries in process or have been signed, ignored by the opps and media is his vision thing, that is just now proving invaluable.
        Stay tuned.  Once the decks are cleared of the election promises, there will be lots to debate.

        Why are the Opps trying to stall the passage of bills that PMSH has campaigned on since 2004?
        Yet they can’t even be bothered to sit in the House and ‘listen’ to the debates.

        Opps should let the Harper govt fullfill his promises,
        keep their powder dry for ‘new’ govt initiatives the people have yet to give mandate to.

        • Flaherty was voted Finance Minister of the year because he hadn’t managed to cock up our banking system before the crash of ’08 hit, and because he keeps making noises toward a national securities legislator.  Not for anything he’s actually done.  Please correct me if I’m wrong.

          BoC’s Carney was appointed, yes. Who brought Carney into the BoC again? Oh yes.. Goodale, where he helped set up the income trust taxation that the CPC said they’d never do… until they did.

          I’m not entirely sure I’d call Libya a “war” for Canada. I don’t believe there was anybody attacking us yes? But you’re right, credit is deserved for his resolve in finally sticking to something he said he’d do.  Hopefully this begins a pattern opposite of his previous one.

          Dozens of trade agreements? Really? Well that should be pretty easy for you to cite. After all, I wouldn’t like to think that you’re lying, wilson.  So kindly inform me of these dozens.

          Incidentally, Mr. Harper has had plenty of chances to pass most of these. He chose to prorogue instead.

          There’s absolutely nothing the opposition can do to prevent Mr. Harper from fulfilling his promises. What they *can* do, however, if debate was allowed and actually encouraged, would be to point out bad flaws in the legislation, like those which would make a kid into an organized criminal for passing a joint while in a university dorm.  Or they could examine such things such as in the new copyright act how simply having a piece of tape over the opening of a CD case makes it illegal to create a backup copy for your own personal use, or even to transfer the music to an MP3 player or your computer.

          Now, I’ll agree, the opposition deserves some blame here as well as the things they bring up rarely relate to legislation in process, but why on earth do we want to limit the opportunity for these things to be fixed *before* we give the police the duties of enforcing them?

          As for why I’m concerned about process, it’s because there’s a direct correlation between the amount of corruption in government and the crappiness of the country. And in fact it’s a correlation that’s stronger than any other factor. Process is what keeps us from that. From decisions being completely arbitrary and subjective.  And corruption doesn’t very often happen because someone *wants* to be corrupt. It happens because they have the best of intentions but get impatient with the process so try to short-cut it.  The process is there for a reason. It’s to prevent the best of intentions playing out with very bad effects.

          I’m also concerned with process because I don’t believe the excuse of “You guys were fine with it when your party was in power” is a valid one, but every time I see one of you jackasses attempting to sweep it under the rug, the temptation to use that excuse once the CPC is no longer in office becomes stronger.

          • You’re living in the past bud.  There is no difference between what a conservative and a liberal government will do in the 21st century.  They are limited by political reality, the country’s demographics and a lack of money for any new programs.  Your rants are like people following a sports team.  You’re rooting for the red jersey and instead of a blind Maple Leafs fan, you’re a blind liberal fan.  Wake up.  Give it up and stop spewing this hogwash.   Most Canadians are so tired of this crap whether it be from the media, the politicians or University professors blasting it all while they suck the teat.  Stretching the process argument to the extreme you do just makes you look foolish.  Focus your energy on something constructive.   

          • Oh christ. One of *you* guys. “If you’re not for Harper, you must be a blind Liberal fan.” Hate to be the one who has to point this out to you (no, really, I do, because I expect it’s probably just wasting my time anyway) but the world is more than Black and White, or Red and Blue since that happens to be your particular color blindness.

            And I am trying to be constructive. I’m trying to find out what causes people to ignore a politican lying directly to your face. To say, “I will not appoint an unelected senator” and then do so on the first day in office. Or to say, “I will not tax income trusts” and then do exactly that. Or to say “We will prevent prime ministers from calling elections only when it suits them” and then do exactly that, or to say “We will ensure this government is accountable for what it spends and does,” and then completely ignore the processes that are in place to assure that accountability.

            I’m sorry, I just don’t understand why a populace would simply ignore all that and I’m trying to figure it out. I mean, if you can’t trust the guy on things like that, most of which are so easy to do because they involve not doing certain things, why on earth do you place your trust in him for anything else?

            If someone came up to you and said, “Look, if you give me a ride to work, I promise I won’t piss in your car”, and then does, why on earth would you give the guy a ride home after work?

            And just so we can get past your blinders, I really don’t give a crap about who else you might choose to vote for, it could be the Christian Heritage Party or the Communists for all I care, I’m just wondering why someone would vote for this guy again.

          • Props to Thwim for that last response. Nailed it!

            Sorry, Mark; there are those of us who knew it was time for a change back when the CPC won their first minority, and really hoped he’d follow through on his promises – only to see him do the exact opposite of much that he promised.

            The Liberals are out of office for many good reasons – but that doesn’t mean we have to accept the crap the CPC is handing out.

            I’ve personally started voting Green out of protest over the state of the CPC and Liberal parties (I can’t lean left enough to bring myself to vote NDP).

      • All those things you mention are important to leftists but NOT to the average Joe Canadian.  Proroguation?  Voted upon during the last election.  It was a non issue.  Fixed elections?  Voted on two elections ago… again a NON issue.  Fortier, two elections ago… NON issue.  

        On the current performance, the opposition cries about how Harper is invoking closure but Ivisson writes this AM that he went for the the final Question Period and debate before the budget bill (which both the NDP and Liberals have decried as being “rushed” through parliament and 38 (THIRTY EIGHT) MP’s were in the House of Commons – NONE of them paying any attention to the budget bill… just Jr Turdo playing his little stunt about the definition of Ozone.

        You leftists rant and rave but you don’t walk the walk or follow your talk.  Canadians are tired of listening to it and you have NO new ideas about how the country could be credibly run so we vote in Harper with his majority.  Get some policies that Canadians actually believe in (such as perhaps Dion’s latest brainchild on the seat redistribution) and perhaps Canadian’s will start to listen to you.  Til then… whine away.  Nobody is paying ANY attention to you except other leftists and the lamestream media which most Canadian’s have learned to ignore.

        • That’s nice. I asked what Harper did that’s good. Not how the other parties suck. Kindly learn to read before replying.

          • And your question was answered, but I guess you didn’t like the answer.

          • The only answer was that he maintained his resolve in Libya.
            That’s it? That’s all it takes for you guys to ignore everything else?

            Wow. So how does that justify 2008?

        • Wow. When they were passing the Kool-Aid, you swallowed the pitcher & all.

          Thwim asked the right question earlier: why doesn’t the electorate care that Harper lies to their faces and openly scorns them? That he has no respect for Parliament?

          One can only assume that the populace as a whole pays zero attention to politics, other than the attack ads. Which is one of the main takeaways from the article.

          • Take your Harper-Hating blinders off.
            People do not see the appointment of Fortier, the end of income trusts, the election date issue, etc. as serious issues.
            Only Harper-Haters like you and Thwim see that.
            And there is not enough of you guys.
            Good luck with Liz May.

          • How about taking money from border security to build gazebos? Is that a serious issue? No, no.. I guess not that got voted on after all.

            Attempting to bribe sitting MPs? No.. that got voted on as well, didn’t it?

            I mean I seem to remember these types of things were certainly serious issues when the CPC was in opposition, but don’t you feel even a twinge of guilt for the hypocrisy?

      • Fixed elections? Really.

        Your comment mattered until those two words appeared in it, now it is just useless ramblings.

        • You’ve perhaps heard of the fixed election act? You know, the one that supposedly fixed the date?


  4. “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”

    Mark Twain

    Same thing goes for the Liberal Party

    Mr Newman is just promoting a book.

  5. You don’t think that no matter what the so-called attack ads said, that Mr.MI came across as an elitist?

    I think he tried to adopt the so-called common touch a little too handily, and the veneer between that in public and his truer elitist type crust was a little too easy to perceive. He tried to wear an irreversible jacket that highlighted his canonical academic education on one side while sporting some thread bare resemblance to dirt under the nails farmer boy roots on the other. But in the end, the manicurist won and people did not need attack ads to tell them the difference.

    Maybe that’s where the attack ads really hit hard. Not in the minds of the populace but in the mind of the leader him self, who is to say?

    People are fickle about politicians. It’s true in a way that you cannot learn to wear the culture of your country on your sleeve by being away from it and learning it like an ex-pat would. It is not something that is painted on and left to dry. It a process that is adopted inwardly and shines from the inside out.

    Its an osmosis affair. Sure, you can claim fuddle sticks all you like and say inner turmoil and management created the demise but most people sensed the leadership “crisis” the moment poor Paul Martin left (poor Paul, outed by a woman who then wanted to be Mayor of Winnipeg-,..what blind ambition) and that shakiness never left even as MI entered to fill the so-called leadership vacuum.

    If there is a key difference in politics over the next few years differentiating politics in Canada from previous years  as we are lead like a democratic horse up to the water trough of the next general election, what may turn out to be more important is absence of public sympathy for Canadian policies no matter whom they affect ; regardless of who is in charge at the Hill.

    Lack of public awareness on issues, a general sense of forgetfulness, a relegation of vigilance to all media or to Facebook or your knowing neighbors may all contribute further to a Liberal party existential type angst that simply runs neck and neck with a general sense of voter apathy.

    And by no stretch of Conservative imagination is this a good thing for all of Canada.

  6. Love the picture!!

    Just for the record, Rex Murphy stated in the NP that Newman is misinformed on this:

    “Dumping the ever-wise Rex Murphy, who was responsible for Dion’s unexpectedly good performance two years earlier, was a serious mistake, and might have contributed to Ignatieff’s lacklustre performance in the national televised debate”

  7. 172——2000

    Numbers don`t lie. These are the results for the Liberals in the past 5 elections. That would make a pretty sorry looking graph if you were holding Liberal stock. You should have sold long ago–might have been a buying opportunity with another Party.

    • Liberal interpretation of numbers:  Harper is bad.  Harper is evil.  Harper is bringing American-style attack ads to Canada.  Harper hates Canada.  Blah blah blah

      • Exhibit A proving your point:

        When the conservatives don’t do what lefties like, then they’re evil. Gardner is the uber-liberal, incapable of coherent thought.  Conservatives have been invoking closure and refusing to bend the house rules for the two rump parties in the house, and Gardner’s conclusion is that they’re evil, when all they’re doing is invoking standard parliamentary rules.

  8. “Liberal candidates reported from their doorstep tours that an inordinate number of people volunteered that they didn’t approve of Michael Ignatieff. When they were asked why, they would parrot the Harper attack ads, word for word. (“He’s not there for you . . . ”). When confronted about that parroting, they would be offended, and insist, “I wasn’t influenced by those ads.”Could it be that the ads were truthful and voters noticed that. Ignatieff did come back to Canada to become Prime Minister after a 30 year absence. There’s nothing wrong with being abroad, but you don’t come back to lead the country you haven’t lived in for the past 3 decades. That is very presumptuous and arrogant. And that is what the voters felt. So it’s time the Liberals accept that.

    • That is EXACTLY it.   The Liberals refuse to admit or accept what a MISTAKE it was to put Iggy in the leader’s chair.  Instead, they continue to delude themselves that it was Harper, or the “attack ads”, or whatever – anything except the truth:  That Iggy WAS the problem.  While aparently very accomplished in other circles, Iggy was like a fish out of water in retail politics.

      • that was said perfectly!

  9. Canadians took a long time but they finally clued in. Liberals stand for nothing other than a, now hopeless, desire to control the purse strings of power. We know (sort of) what to expect from the two ideologically-based parties. It’s the big nanny state vs. smaller decentralized government.  

    • And the CPC is different from the Liberals…  how? “…smaller decentralized government” my ass!

      Let’s head off the usual “adscam” comment now with “in & out” (guilt admitted by the party) and GazeboGate. Tony may have skated on that last one, but it is nothing short of shameless porkbarrelling – and the fact that he was found to have broken no rule or laws just means our laws favour corrupt politicians (one of the things the CPC promised to crack down on).

      Like the Liberals before them, the CPC smply wants power for the sake of power. Principles were abandoned long ago.

      There’s not a party in the country worth voting for.

  10. I think Coyne’s analysis was better. The problem with the Liberal party runs a lot deeper than some attack ads and a poorly chosen leader.  Rather it is a story of a party that lost all sense of principle decades ago, began to play various parts of the country off against each other, and was about power as its only raison d’etre.   The “Liberals’ rotten internal culture” was a consequence of this, not a cause. It takes a certain kind of character actively to support a party of that stripe.

    Most Canadians are better than that, and finally it showed. My concern at this point is that the Conservatives are not immune to the same siren-song, and being the new power-brokers they will draw the same less-desirable types into their ranks. Power corrupts, and no facet of the political spectrum is immune from its influence.

    • Newman’s theories tie into that. They lost all sense of principle because the various power brokers and fifedoms within would not give an inch for the betterment of the whole. 

    • Too late; the CPC is already there.

  11. Love the photo of Iggy – it just about says it all…” I left Harvard for this?  what the he!! was I thinking?”

  12. One could also write a column (or a paragraph) entitled “Why Peter Newman is yesterday’s writer”. I don’t think that one can seriously believe that Iggy failed because of attack ads.

  13. …every federal-provincial association demanded their own office budgets and staff, plus there was a commission for every special interest within the party, each with its own budget.
    John Manley said that they Liberals just expected the voters would see the errors in their ways and return them to a majority government. This expectation within Liberal circles was just as pervasive in 2011 as it was in 2008 and 2006. 

  14. It is possible that Ignatieff was placed to lose and to take the Liberal Party down, either with his complicity or not.There appears to be  conspiracy to move Canada to the Right, using the ageing population, more susceptible to fear-mongering, and advertising practises used in the US to get the Republicans elected. As in the US the two centre-right parties are used to give the illusion of choice and are supported mostly by the same people. The charade is played out in parliament and around, and meanwhile the agenda are relentlessly pursued: more control, less democracy, more wealth, less money, more dogma, less science, more schooling, less education.

    • What does paranoia feel like?

  15. What leftists do when CPC does something they don’t like:

    1) Cover ears and pretend not to hear the truth, what is really happening.
    2) Cover eyes and pretend not to see any evidence
    3) Scream false accusations of corruption and complain about the election system until they get what they want.

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