Joe What? -

Joe What?


Well now, this is odd.

Liberals launch Canada at 150 consultations with International Trade Roundtable

OTTAWA – Liberal International Trade Critic Scott Brison today launched a series of pan-Canadian consultations being held in the lead-up to Canada at 150: Rising to the Challenge, a non-partisan conference to be held in Montreal in March 2010. Today’s roundtable, on the subject of international trade, draws on a variety of distinguished speakers and presenters including opening remarks by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and a keynote address by former Prime Minister Joe Clark…

Featuring an impressive list of distinguished speakers and presenters, this day-long conference will address the important trade relationships between Canada and the United States, China, and India as well as free trade negotiations with the European Union. Former Prime Minister Joe Clark and Canadian Council on Africa President Lucien Bradet will also co-host a special discussion on trade with Africa.

Joe Clark? Former prime minister, yes, but also two-time leader of the Progressive Conservatives Joe Clark? Keynoting at a Liberal event?

I know it says it’s a “non-partisan” conference, but nobody actually believes that, do they? It’s a nice fig-leaf for people who might want a platform for their ideas but don’t want to be seen as endorsing the Liberal party. Which is fine, for Prof. Whosit. But Joe Clark?

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Joe What?

  1. "I know it says it's a “non-partisan” conference, but nobody actually believes that, do they?"

    Shorter Andrew Coyne: 'My cynicism runs so deep that I can't comprehend elder statesmen leaving their defunct party affiliations at the door.'

    Seriously, Joe Clark is to the left of the "Conservative" Party of Canada simply by virtue of being in touch with reality and not beholden to today's faxed talking points from the PMO.

    • Joe Clark is to the left of the Conservative Party of Canada mostly because he's not very conservative.

      • Clark has been playing footsie with the LPC for quite some time. And, of course, he was, and continues to be, one of the most vocal and visible opponents to the Alliance-PC merger. Remember when he ran against Lee Richardson in Calgary Centre? As I recall, that was basically a big middle finger by Joe aimed at those who wanted to merge.

        • You'd think a National leader would have wanted to run in his home province.

      • "…because he's not very conservative, and unfortunate fondness for big government aside, they are, kind of. "

        Exactly. "They" are out of touch with reality and running on today's PMO talking points. The very definition of a modern conservative.

        • Joe Clark is not conservative or Conservative in any meaningful sense. This has nothing to do with "today's PMO talking points" or any other pointless cheap shots you care to make. You defend him now because he's harmless to you and a mild embarrassment to the other side; if he had values or espoused ideals that were objectively conservative without being in lockstep with the PMO, you'd find a whole new way to hate him, I'm sure.

          • "you'd find a whole new way to hate him, I'm sure."

            You speak with such clairvoyance and mentalism, that's my whole new way of being indifferent to what you think.

            Nonetheless you've obviously spent a great deal of time not following Joe Clarck so I won't take your word for it.

          • Joe Clark far left! You have obviously never lived anywhere where a real left leaning govt held power. By your yard stick just about evryone one in Mulroney's govt was left, including Mulroney. I prefer to think the CPoC has lurched right, abandoning it's progressive bretheren.

          • Yeah, he reminds me a bit of Flora MacDonald, who apparently now votes for the NDP. I sometimes wonder whether the old timers were purely motivated by a kind of tribalism in choosing their political affiliations …

          • I was just going to mention Flora MacDonald, and you beat me to it. She's still at 'er. She now votes NDP as you said, and supports some "global governance" movement that advocates for a fourth, international level of government with real taxation and legislative powers. Kind of like a UN on growth hormones. Wouldn't that be fun? This from Joe Clark's former External Affairs Minister.

      • which is a clear non-starter with the current government….uhm, never mind…

      • "unfortunate fondness for big government" kind of describes Coyne's so-called favourite flavour, Harper, doesn't it? At least the one we've been saddled with lo these two minorities…

  2. But where would Joe Clark run? Calgary Centre?

    • Where he's convincingly beaten right wing Reform-Alliance candidates in the past. Central urban Calgary is represented provincially by FIVE Liberal MLAs. Progressive Calgarians, the majority of those who actually live in downtown Calgfary as opposed to just working there, have held their noses and voted for Joe as an alternative to the right wing mouthbreathers of the Conservative Reform Alliance Party in the past and would probably do so again even if he called himself a Liberal.

  3. Perhaps Joe Clark, in his capacity as chairman and founder of Clark Sustainable Resource Developments Ltd., just wants to talk about his experience with his pet project (the Ghana Project at Volta Lake).

    • Good for Joe.

    • Yeah I was going to mention that too. That venture's been quite a success I take it. Why not listen to what he has to say? If Andrew could check his cynicism at the door he might even learn something.

      • Ask the impossible and see what the magic 8-ball replies ("Fat Chance")

  4. Clark has spent a lot of the last several years focusing on Africa. Also, he's close to Brison from his days in the PC Party (Clark ran in Brison's riding when he needed a seat in 1999).

    • Indeed. There's nothing more to this than simply presenting to a group of people on the issue of trade with Africa.

      Because there were Liberals in the room is more an indictment of Conservative members' willful ignorance of the world and of any sort of policy ideas that go along with it.

      Clark has made the point on more than one occasion that this government has abrogated its responsibility to foreign affairs and DFAIT specifically. That's not a partisan issue, that's more a commentary on what he believes Canada could do globally. For him, we have tremendous assets that aren't being utilized to their full advantage, for both the sake of the world and Canada.

      Because Liberals are the only ones willing to listen to this argument is a disgrace to the proud PC tradition of international engagement.

  5. what makes you think Joe is not a Liberal?

  6. Bringing up Joe Clark makes me wax nostalgic for a time when I felt comfortable moving my vote from PC to Lib and back again and knowing there were progressive minds on both sides of the house.

    • Some choice that was. The fact that they were so interchangeable makes them, well… interchangeable.

      • They still are. Harper's running on Liberal policies, and Ignatieff would prefer PC policies of old. The only thing that's made them not so interchangable is this damned inferiority complex that Harper's party seems to have, where everything is the fault of the Liberals, even though it's them sitting on the governing side of the House.

        • Liberal policies, just meaner.

  7. PCs abandoning the Reformatories. Yeah. More to come, I'm sure.

    • Oh, look at that — somebody is using Warren Kinsella's nickname for the Tories.

      Anyway, if you're a Liberal or Dipper supporter and you're hoping for the CPC to implode, I wouldn't hold your breath if I were you. Instead of hoping for the Tories to implode, I suggest the opposition come up with an actual alternative plan for governing Canada. You know, like, umm, that policy stuff?

      • As a grit follower, I couldn't agree more. Policy please…

      • Now now.. no peeking early. If you want Harper to have policies, he's going to have to come up with his own this time.

    • Sinc Stevens might be next,….those Lucky Liberals.

      • I laughed at that one. A bit like getting the gift of Garth Turner . . .

    • Joe Clark endorsed Paul Martin,
      he never embrassed the new Conservative party, so he can hardly abandon them.
      But you knew that bcl

    • BCL, kissing Kinsella's @ass won't make you relevant. Kinsella was nothing more than Dingwall's coffee boy in any case.

  8. This might well be a newsworthy development if Clark hadn't already been backing the Libs over the Cons for upwards of five years. But since he has, I'm not sure why anybody should be surprised.

    • From the same 2004 story:

      "Clark said he was not interested in crossing the floor to run as a Liberal or in accepting a Senate appointment.

      "I am not a Liberal and I am very disappointed in what the Liberal Party has been doing," he said. "This party has become defined by the people it doesn't want with them," he said.

      • "I am not a Liberal"

        Even Liberals said that during the aftermath of sponsership.

      • And what part of the current story involves him "running as a Liberal or accepting a Senate appointment" rather than implicitly declaring at most that the Libs are closer to his views on a particular issue than the Cons are?

        • Or more to the point…

          To the extent Clark's stay in the Progressive Conservatives would have been expected to give rise to any loyalty to Harper's party, that horse left the barn five years ago.

          At most, there's some question as to whether he's now being more supportive of the Liberals than he has been for the entire time since. But that's a question of whether the horse has jumped a third or fourth fence off in the distance while travelling in a consistent direction – which hardly seems like reason to bring out the italics to express one's shock as to what the horse has become.

  9. Was Joe Clark the architect of NAFTA?.

    • Not really no. The main drivers behind that (on the Canadian side) were Mulroney himself, the business community, and former Liberal Finance Minister Donald Macdonald whose Royal Commission report (commissioned by Trudeau) prompted Mulroney to get behind the idea.

      • That's a factthat's not widely known. The groundwork for free trade came out of the Trudeau era. Trudeau was not opposed to the idea himself.

        • True that. The MacDonald Commission was created in 1977 and did six long years of good research before finally reporting to Parliament in 1983. The Commission spanned three successive governments: Trudeau-Clark-Trudeau. In some ways, those really were the good old days. Imagine MPs on a committee studying actual policy, and coming up with ground-breaking, game-changing ideas. That sounds almost Utopian. Nowadays, "more money for healthcare" or a juicy new boutique tax credit passes for big thinking.

          • Amen. While i personally didn't like Mulroney he was along with Trudeau our last real statesman. Neither was afraid of big ideas,both had political courage to spare. Yes we are poorer for the passiing of that era [ many would argue literally poorer] Small thinking an small minds are de rigueur.

          • And you could argue that as the people, we're getting what we deserve. Mulroney was absolutely vilified for those policies which are now seen as courageous, visionary etc. He had, arguably, 3 bold ideas that he pushed: Free Trade, Meech Lake and GST/tax reform. Each one of them massively unpopular, he was practically ridden out of town covered in tar and feathers. And note that Chretien seemed to learn the lesson — no big, bold innovations under him.

          • Agreed. The GST was extremely bold. Imagine – a new tax, the whole purpose of which was to make an invisible tax on business a visible tax on consumption. It sounds almost suicidal… because it was. Yet it was unquestionably the right thing to do, and we are unquestionably better off for it.

          • Mulroney wasn't run out of town for his policies; he was runout of town for the sleaze and perceived pandering to Quebec and other special interests, that surrounded his time. This is partly what has come to define him – brown envelopes hasn't helped. Just as profligate spending has come to define Trudeau for those who dislike him. Neither man has suffered for offering up big ideas…quite the contrary.

          • I call bs on that. The sleaze stuff, brown envelopes, etc. — none of that was really known, especially to the great unwashed voting masses — in 1993. And the 1993 election was a sublimated public burning of Mulroney in absentia, with Kim Campbell as his unfortunate stand-in. People couldn't pummel Mulroney, he'd skipped town, so they pummelled Campbell instead.

            I agree that the perceived pandering to Quebec thing definitely hurt him out West. But Meech Lake (other than in Quebec) and GST were wildly unpopular at the time. Another factor was timing, the 1990-91 recession was quite severe, and the resulting unemployment was still very high at the time of the '93 election (double digits plus).

          • I have to call bs in return. By 1993 people were sick of Mulroney's scandal plagued govt – there were already rumblings over airbus for instance. I do agree with you on much of the rest. GST was unpopular and the recession was a tough one. Where i think you and i differ is on the lying…people had just simply stopped believing Brian by 93…fairly or not. Perhaps it's fair to say that Mulroney's job of selling free trade and GST was a tougher one than Trudeau's in selling the charter.

      • Then why does Ignatieff want his perspective on international trade? He doesn't seem to have anything significant to offer.

        • Donolo trying to lure the old PCers to the Libs.
          Libs can have him.

          • I agree with wilson. Ignatieff probably doesn't give a hoot about Joe Clark's ideas on trade.

            Indeed I don't recalll him having much of any views on trade even when he had the ExtAff portfolio. All ignatieff and Donolo care about is the faint hope Clark may influence a few old PC voters. I doubt if it will work since most squishy PC voters left to join the Liberals many years ago.

          • So it's like stunt casting – a tried and true method of boosting dismal ratings. Wonderful – next Ignatieff will either get a 13-year old sidekick or there'll be an adorable new Liberal baby.

          • It may be just wishful thinking but having old time PCers like Clark come over does send a message. Clark is still a symbol to many of a certain kind of progressive conservatism. Encouraging a perception, however passe it may be, that there is another home for disgruntled PCers can't hurt Ignatieff.

          • It could hurt him with disgruntled New Democrats. It could even discourage a few traditional Liberals who thought the party offered an alternative to the PCs.

          • Someone's nose is always sure to be out of joint somewhere, that's a given. It always helps to have a common enemy…Mr H.

          • squishy = smart

          • I agree with wilson. Ignatieff probably doesn't give a hoot about Joe Clark's ideas on trade.

            Indeed I don't recalll him having much of any views on trade even when he had the ExtAff portfolio. All ignatieff and Donolo care about is the faint hope Clark may influence a few old PC voters. I doubt if it will work since most squishy PC voters left to join the Liberals many years ago.

  10. Perhaps you have forgotten Joe's endorsement of Paul Martin as "the devil you know" prior to the 2004 election.

    I know I haven't. Since then, tories like me are no longer required to pretend Joe's not a bonehead, his wife's not a b**** and his daughter's not a moron.

    Let freedom ring!!

    • "Liberal Anne McLellan has won Joe Clark's support in a close Edmonton Centre race that reflects the neck-and-neck national contest.

      "Of all the individual candidates in Alberta, Anne McLellan best represents the values which I have tried to bring to the House of Commons," Clark, a former Progressive Conservative prime minister, wrote in a letter received by McLellan's office Saturday." Edmonton Journal June '04

      I was wondering what Clark said about Martin and found this story as well. Clark certainly seems to have burned his bridges with the Cons.

    • There was a reason the reform party was founded – because too many in the PCs were not conservatice, and Clark was emblematic of that.

      • No, it had more to do with the compromises Mulroney chose to make particularly over Quebec. Reform was initially a western regional party. At least that's my recollection.

        • Of course it was regional at first. Every party starts somewhere, and it would make sense that the Reformers started exactly where there are the most conservatives. No party simultaneously rises up across the country at once. The Canadian Alliance had a quarter of the Ontario votes while the PCs were still around.

        • It was initially a western party. In fact, in 1988, they only ran in the West. The decision to run in the east in the '93 election was a major thing for them, and not done without considerable opposition from within the party.

      • "There was a reason the reform party was founded – because too many in the PCs were not conservative, and Clark was emblematic of that."
        And what conservatives are you talking about? Oh, the ones who use republican tricks and slanders to scorch-earth our democratic tradition, all the while plying us with wine, whiskey and song that we've all paid for. The new Harper conservative movement kind of reminds me more of a love-child between Bill Aberhart and William Magear Tweed, smiting us with their self-promotion and ignorance of parliamentary purpose. In what the lack in confidence for their own ideas they make up with their disinterest in taking responsibility of their actions.

    • "Let freedom ring!!"

      Let's see it ring inside Harper's tories. Aren't you still required to believe that Peter MacKay is truthful?

      • Peter McKay ripping up that idiotic deal with David Orchard is the best thing that McKay has ever done.

        • Funny, when the implication was made the McKay's a big old liar, the old Orchard thing didn't even pop in to my head.

          Stop living in the past Orson, there are so many fresher and more disturbing lies to choose from!

        • Indeed. Those who argue Clark was emblematic of everything wrong with the PCs are conveniently forgetting David Orchard. Now there's and emblem for you. Even Clark called him a tourist.

        • Liberals can have Clark and Orchard…

          • They already have Orchard. He ran for the Liberal nomination in a SA riding in the last election.

    • Lovely.

    • Joan I'm in agreement with you about Joe being a bonehead, and I'm an ex-PC party hack from the Mulroney-Campbell-Charest era. My main problem with Joe was his incredible stubbornness and pride, and thus his penchant for massive denial about certain things. That infamous quote of his from 1979 really said it all: "I will govern as though I have a majority." A perfectly boneheaded statement evidencing denial of reality. And he rightly got stomped by the Liberals as a result of it. Then he spent the 1990s claiming that merging the Reform and PC parties would never work and doing everything in his power to make sure that it would not happen. It's reasonable to conclude he was a Liberal Party double agent the whole time, he certainly did his utmost to try to ensure Liberal Party majorities into perpetuity. No wonder Liberals love the guy.

      • "My main problem with Joe was his incredible stubbornness and pride, and thus his penchant for massive denial about certain things."

        The exact same can be said about Stéphane Dion. They are two peas in a pod. I think with the Coalition nonsense that Dion actually has by-passed Clarke as the most inept Canadian federal politician of modern times.

        Joe Clark is now a lost political soul, time having passed him by. He's a sad case. The Liberals really don't do themselves any favours having poltiical has-beens as keynote speakers.

        Where are all the young Liberal up and comers that Colby was alluding to on his blog this morning?

        • "…his incredible stubbornness and pride, and thus his penchant for massive denial about certain things. That infamous quote of his from 1979 really said it all: "I will govern as though I have a majority."
          The exact same thing could be said about Stephen Harper; only this time, the couple of people who control the media in Canada are so strapped for cash they'd cozy up with Hugo Chavez if it improved their bottom line…

          • So the media is keeping Harper in power. Sure they are.

      • Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the six Creditistes from Quebec abstain from voting on the Budget, thereby ensuring Clark's downfall? That being the case, it truly does highlight Joe's incompetence, at least in Parliamentary matters. All he had to do was throw a bone or two to the dying fringe party, and he'd have survived to govern.

        • Exactly.

    • Alternatively… Unleash the Tintor!

    • You mean freedom to be a thick-skulled anti-accountability loving Harpocrite? Just thinking of all Harper's double-flips, lies and ethical gamesmanship moves makes me wax poetically for the lost-luggage days of ol' Joe. At least he wasn't trying to gas us in our sleep with con passages like "we can get rid of Canada's biggest deficit by "wishful thinking and less questions, please."

      • Perhaps you should go see somebody about this foaming-at-the-mouth hostility you have for one S. Harper. It seems just a tad over-the-top. Did he poison your dog or something?

  11. Apologies, folks. I neglected to include my de rigeur, shameful disclosure that I voted for Joe for leader in '98.

    • To me, one of the interesting political what-ifs is what would have happened had Hugh Segal won that leadership race. I always thought Segal was the best person in that race, but Clark for some wacko reason had all kinds of support in (what was left of) the party, and Orchard had done this aggressive insurgency thing (signing up masses of Orchardite insta-Tories). So Segal was a distant third, if I recall correctly. Anyway under Clark version 2.0 the PC party went exactly where I expected it to under Clark version 2.0, i.e., nowhere.

      • Segal finished a very distant second in '98. Orchard was a close third.

        First Ballot
        CLARK, Charles Joseph (Joe) 14,592 points (48.48%)
        SEGAL, Hugh 5,689 points (18.90%)
        ORCHARD, David 4,916 points (16.33%)
        PALLISTER, Brian 3,676 points (12.21%)
        FORTIER, Michael 1,227 points (4.08%)
        Total points 30100
        Fortier drops off. Segal and Pallister withdraw. All endorse Clark.

        • RR, thanks for the (corrected) memories. I think I may have recalled Orchard doing better because I was in B.C. at the time, manning a polling booth, and Orchard's insurgents did particularly well in places where the party was especially weak — and it was really weak in B.C. then. I seem to recall that Orchard won some riding areas by upwards of 80% simply because there was virtually no PC party left in some areas of B.C. at the time.

          • I think you may recall Orchard doing better because, IIRC, Segal sensed defeat and dropped out after the first round but Orchard refused to. So Orchard's second-place status was really only a technical achievement, because Segal surely would have done better than he had he stayed in. But nothing would have really changed.

    • I voted for Chretien, and that's even worse Joan.

      • On the bright side, it appears you're judgement of character is at least consistent.

    • That's OK. When I was a kid, I liked John Turner. Had I not been just 14 years old in 1984, I'd have voted for him. I also cheered him on in his drubbing of Mulroney in the 1988 Free Trade debates. It's good to open up about these things. It helps deal with the shame.

  12. It is a well known fact that throughout his entire career whenever faced by an important decision Joe Clark invariably made the wrong choice. Invariably.

  13. I'll give Clark credit for one thing; he opposed the Charter and argued against it like a champion (albeit a losing champion, if there is such a thing). His defense of Canada's British tradition of Parliamentary Supremacy and English common law are as insightful and relevant now as they were then.

    • By filibustering effectively Clark prevented Trudeau from unilateraly imposing the charter, and arguably helping to give confidence to the Premiers to later insist on a notwithstanding clause over Trudeau's objections…which now seems like sensible Canadian compromise.Why do we always define political effectiveness solely in terms of winners and losers…it doesn't give due credit,and it isn't an accurate reflection of events as actually occured.

      • Why do we always define political effectiveness solely in terms of winners and losers…it doesn't give due credit,and it isn't an accurate reflection of events as actually occured.

        That's precisely why I give Clark credit for his efforts at that time. If he was "conservative" in any sense, it was in his inherent reluctance to bringing in Constitutional changes that would fundamentally alter the country. For that I admire him. It is also notable that Mulroney, considered well to the right of Clark on most issues, attacked the Notwithstanding Clause as rendering the Charter "not worth the paper it was written on." An absolutely fallacious argument that makes it clear Clark had a far better understanding of Constitutional issues than did Mulroney. Perhaps that explains Mulroney's later fumbling of the same file, with Joe Clark conveniently in place as his fall guy.

        • "…Mulroney… attacked the Notwithstanding Clause as rendering the Charter "not worth the paper it was written on."
          Oddly enough i think that was Trudeau's initial response too…although i think he came to moderate it later

          Ah…when it comes to Mulroney and his relationship to Trudeau you have to take one of two views. Either M hated T, and would do or say pretty much anything in his power to one up him; or T was determined to make sure that M never got to accomplish what T had failed to do.
          Personally after looking at what's known of the character of both men i favour T. Not that i'm saying Trudeau didn't do everything he could from the sidelines to help Brian fail. I just think jealousy and spite were primary character flaws of M. In a way it's a great pity, but perhaps inevitable given the egos of the two men. Canada was fortunate to have had them back to back…and that's not something i could have written ten years ago.

  14. "In a sense, people are so enraged at the Liberal government, that they're giving Stephen Harper and his government a bye. They should take a look at what he proposes."

    – Former Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark, April 26th 2004, accusing Conservative Leader Stephen Harper of harbouring a "hidden" agenda. Reported in the Globe and Mail.

  15. Joe is an opposition guy….although he was a very capable minister….but his natural inclination is to find things to oppose that he isnt apart of.

    Just his makeup it seems

  16. Hey Andrew, any comments about the actual content of Brison's conference? Or did you want to take a shot at Clark?

  17. The progressive wing of what used to be the progressive conservatives have no home in Stephen Harpers' government. The actual Conservative party is made up mostly of doctrinaire neocons and of some opportunists (Mackay, Duffy, Wallon et al) who have no principles. There is no home for progressives in Harper's party and only the willfully blind who refuse to see this remain.

  18. Can we use the conference as a convention, and replace Ignatieff with Clark?


  19. Anything But Fascist

  20. Have we come so low, living in the past, that a committee can't get together on an "issue" and it not be political.

    If you keep living in the past you can't move forward.

  21. Joe who?

    'Nuff said,

  22. Any event where there is "thinking" or "discussion" or "debate must, naturally, be a "Liberal" event…god knows this government doesn't have time for it.

    Joe comes from an era that actually believed government could be a force for good. Gone are those days. Now, it's just a a convenient dupe to throw under the bus any time something embarrassing happens.

    Joe's presentation focused on issues relating to investment in Africa. Because this government doesn't seem to care about Africa at all, where else would you expect him to speak, Coyne?

  23. Yeah, come to think of it, I guess I'd have to transport back in time, or read some newspapers from the time, to get a feel for the sleaze factor and how prominent it was. I do remember that those who hated him called him Lyin Brian & all that. As for prominent scandals, I remember Tunagate, but that was long over by '93. Airbus was definitely in its infancy at that time. Then when I think of all the stuff in Stevie Cameron's book, the thing that strikes me is #1 90+% of the wrongdoing emanated from Quebec or the Maritimes (proof of Mulroney's Quebec-Maritime roots, the sleaze of Quebec-Maritime politics, or both?), and #2 most of that stuff was not known to the general public. So I'm scratching my head trying to think of prominent scandals that actually did significant political damage to Mulroney prior to the '93 election.

  24. This post is just further evidence that Coyne is a parasitical partisan who is trying to change the channel on the detainee issue. An apologist for Harpo & Co., Coyne has no real interest in the merits of any of the ideas Mr. Clark may bring to the table at the conference. His sole goal is to disparage Clark in the hopes it will deflect attention away from the more pressing issues faced by Harpo & Co.!