Let’s hang the Liberal leader!


That will accomplish…what, precisely?

  • The half-dozen most prominent Liberals will run up ruinous personal debts.
  • The party will spend a lot of money on things that have nothing, nothing, nothing to do with the business of Parliament or the nation.
  • Those abstentions on division that my colleague Chantal Hébert says are so embarrassing to the Liberals? I’m a little surprised this isn’t obvious: they will still have to abstain if they want to avoid an election, whether they’re looking for a new leader or keeping the one they already have.

Division, dissent, debt and delay among the Liberals are a primary strategic objective of the Conservatives. It’s in my book. It’s in Flanagan’s book. It’s in Harper’s interview in the Sun papers on Sunday, saying the loser of the next election would have to give up his party’s leadership. Do the Liberals really think that was any different from another fake Doug Finley Secret Memo?

The Liberals’ share of the popular vote is two points lower than in 2006. (UPDATE, 11:43 p.m.: three points lower. A significant difference, perhaps, because it’s lower than Turner’s 1984 result by a point.) It’s a wretched showing. It’s higher than most of the polls during this campaign said the Liberals would get.

Now the Liberals get to decide whether they’re going to do what Stephen Harper wants them to do. Again.


Let’s hang the Liberal leader!

  1. Indeed, the Tory game plan had been telegraphed to the Liberals before the opening kick-off, and the Liberals appear to be walking into the trap they can see in advance. Fascinating.

  2. Unless there is no leadership contest. Ignatieff and Rae go into a room and say – it can’t be us. It can’t be one of the dwarves – Hall Findlay, Dryden, Kennedy. Let’s go to Frank McKenna and say “for the good of the country – and by the way we’ll squash anyone who tries to run against you like a bug”

  3. I wholeheartedly support a knockdown, drag-’em-out brawl.

    Might even resign my Tory membership and buy a Liberal one just to take part in it.

  4. I expected much greater things from Dion and I don’t see him winning in future elections. This doesn’t necessarily mean the Grits should ditch him: if they made him a custodian leader to get the party in better shape, with the potential of him either growing on people or having a leadership election in 3 years, that would be fine, but I somehow doubt that the Liberal party would support it.

  5. Exactly.

  6. John Turner didn’t resign after being reduced to 40 seats in 1984. Why should Dion resign? And who exactly is waiting in the wings to take his place? Rae and Iggy were hardly stalwarts on the campaign trail this time around. Gerard Kennedy would be just has hopelessly overmatched as Dion has been. Unless either Mckenna or Manley decide to get back into politics (and I’m sure they’re missing it oh-so-much after watching this campaign), the Liberals will continue to compete for also-ran status with the NDP.

  7. Manley is damaged goods after the Afstan review. McKenna had a good run in Washington and avoided all the leadership bullcrap.

  8. Jane Taber is going to be very busy these next few weeks.

  9. Yes…Dion should be hung for being profoundly wrong about how to go green in Canada.

    The Green Shift was an assault by urban elites on Outer Canada. Dion taxed diesel, electricity from coal, and heating oil, and REFUSED to tax gasoline. He was taxing the carbon of people who didn’t vote Liberal, and NOT taxing the carbon of people who traditionally did.

    People in Outer Canada depend on carbon energy for their livelihood. People who vote Liberal depend on carbon energy to sit in urban traffic jams.

    A carbon tax in an ideal world is a good idea. A carbon tax as proposed in the Green Shift is NOT a practical way to go green in Canada. It taxed “less bad” carbon, and did not tax the “most bad” carbon.

    In the real world, all carbon is NOT equal. The policy Dion crafted exhibited a profound misundertanding of the nature of Canada.

  10. The bloc blocked and the liberals lost. Dion is gone because no matter what he says the backroom kids will go with another game plan. They would have dumped him two months after the leadership convention but that would have looked wrong. Now they have an excuse. Bye bye Dion.

  11. “John Turner didn’t resign after being reduced to 40 seats in 1984. Why should Dion resign? And who exactly is waiting in the wings to take his place? Rae and Iggy were hardly stalwarts on the campaign trail this time around.”

    Why Turner is a bad analogy:
    1. Trudeau lost the 1984 election as much as Turner lost it or Mulroney won it. Dion lost this election. He failed to rebuild the party. He failed to respond to Tory attack ads. He ran [off a bridge] on his issue of choice. He failed to build on the brief momentum he had in the campaign after the debates.
    2. Turner was a Liberal insider, with connections in the party. Dion was a party outsider, despite having been an MP for many years. You see that in his dismal first ballot leadership results. You see that in his dismal leadership race fundraising.
    3. Nobody wanted the Liberal leadership in 1984. Most of Trudeau’s big names were too old to slog through years of a Conservative majority, to campaign against what looked like a solid Conservative coalition. Dion will face sniping because as bad as the Liberals did, it is still plausible for them to win if they unite the left.

    That said, there is one thing Dion can do to save his career. That is to bring the Green party [back] into the Liberal fold. Unfortunately for him, you can’t appoint May to the senate with 74 seats, but it seems clear to me that the Green Party has been a lead balloon for the left. That would likely be a kamikaze move for Dion, because he would lose any ensuing leadership race.

  12. Oh and want another leader who could use a hanging? Elizabeth May. May was given vastly more attention than any Green leader before her, came to lead her party (and entered the election) in the low double-digits in the polls, with a healthy bank account – bolstered by laws that prevented the big parties from spending more than 18 million dollars.

    Yes, May improved on the 2006 results, but barely, and considering all she had working in her favour, she was an utter failure as leader. Her debate performance was strong, but focused on attacking Harper, instead on giving her party a distinct raison d’etre. As leader, and distinctness the Green Party had was lost as she turned it into a sort of country club NDP alternative. She essentially told Canadians to vote against her own party a few days before the election.

    Frank de Jong for Green leader?

  13. You have the greatest job in the world. Who knows what you’ll say next!

  14. I keep seeing Andrew Coyne typing away in the background. Deadlines!

  15. Ooh, Michael Ignatieff says everything should be on the table for reforming the Liberal party…himself included! This is the first time he’s said something accurate since at least 2001.

  16. The other thing about May – she bet the farm on cozying up to Dion and alienating centre or right of centre voters by constantly attacking Harper.

    She’ll be radioactive amongst the Conservative gov’t, and since Dion basically adopted her Green Plan, no one will touch this within the Liberal Party for quite some time.

    Poorly played hand on her part – she was going for the short term (within her personal time frame)results, at the expense of the party’s longer term.

  17. Kennedy and Hall Findley are tainted becasue of their key support of Dion…the kingmakers…how they answer for that is another question.

    Iggy and Rae….they have to decide between the two of them and it will be only the two of them that run a serious campaign.

    I still say Harper shoudl offer Iggy the UN ambassadorship at the right time. If Iggy is having a bad day he might just take it, which means the next election is Harper vs Rae. Rae will be handed the leadership on a platter.

    Rae is actually a good opponent, they should have chose him last time. Most importantly Rae knows what its like to run a party, there is NO machinery, its all broken, rusty and missing parts…he knows what needs to be done.

    Iggy doesnt, some of his people might like Alf Apps. But the Liberals really have to ask themselves, even on their best days, how well can they do? Can they really ever get much past the Cons now with an ascendent NDP and Green rump?

    They have to fight back the NDP before they can beat the Cons. Normal Lib tactics took them riht to steal con vites. Harper is leaving the middle of the court….so they have to tack left to beat up the NDP.

    While they do that the Cons grow just a little more in Quebec and they are really done.

    Strategic Choice for Libs: Keep Dion and fight another election early, to get the loss done with and allow time for the campaign debyts to be repaid, then clean house.

    Or let Dion shuffle in for 2 years, then elect a leader and hope for an election after that. But see my earlier comment, it just isnt that easy for them.

    Harper and Flanagan may, over 10 years successfully snuff out the Liberal party….the equivalent of putting a pillow over a sleeping person.

  18. “Now the Liberals get to decide whether they’re going to do what Stephen Harper wants them to do. Again.”

    Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. I think they have to now because Dion is damaged goods. Dion does not have strong/wide support within his caucus or party and the electorate just delivered a glasgow kiss.

    It is interesting that neither Iggy or Rae have deep roots within the Libs either, though they have influential supporters, and they might struggle as leaders as well. I think Libs will continue to fight like cats in a sack for the foreseeable future.

  19. I’m sure the Liberal party, like the majority of electorate, isn’t able to think two steps ahead… I hope they prove me wrong.

  20. “Harper and Flanagan may, over 10 years successfully snuff out the Liberal party….the equivalent of putting a pillow over a sleeping person.”

    Pure fantasy…

    They’re going to dismantle all the provincial Liberal parties too? Like the Ontario Liberals?

    Good luck with that.

  21. I know it feels good to vent frustration but I’ll quote an NDP staffer :-

    “Never argue with people who own a ton of ink and the last word”

    But sometimes it just feels good.

  22. The Liberals are about to be cut out of any meaningful decision making. Look at the tie choice. Very shrewd Harper.

    Blue and Orange forever.

  23. The Liberals need a timetable. They need to reckon on how long the recession will last. If it’s two years, they need to ditch Dion now and give the new leader 18 months to get cozy before they pull the plug. (Assuming they can, but let’s say they’ll be able to when the time comes.) If the recession lasts three years, however, they should keep Dion in there for a while, hopefully stripping him of power, while they raise money and wait for the right timetable. I think anything over 18 months might be overexposure for the new leader. But – who should the new leader be? I keep coming back to something Mr. Wells said at the Munk Centre a few weeks ago: they need a non-urban, non-latte, non-Green, non-Quebecker non-wonk. Maybe they could do a “Liberal idol”-type thing to find that person.

  24. I don’t think Layton wants the stink of Harper on him or the NDP, after ‘harping’ on the Liberals for propping up the Conservative government.

  25. If you listen closely that sound you hear is Brian Tobin smiling.

  26. 1. Liberal leader steps down.

    2. Interim leaderleads caucus to vote strategically against the more divisive elements of the Tory crapola.

    3. New Liberal leader elected (from caucus).

    4. Opposition unites to defeat Tories.

    5. Liberals, NDP and Bloc meet with GG to offer a coalition alternative to another pointless election.

    6. Canadians get the minority government they want based on compromises and consensus building.

  27. Andrew,

    Yah. But. If Harper gives Layton some big concessions on the environment, and lets the NDP take credit for them, he weakens the Liberals, and has a second chance to make the modest reforms his first term should have focused on.

    It would be electoral suicide for Layton to play this result off as the same as 2006. This is their chance to prove their viability.

    They may cease to exist If they want to be the party that waits for a perfect storm whereby they prop up a Liberal minority.

    If this parliament works, it will be because of the NDP.

    The Orange Tie doesn’t lie.

  28. You folks do realize the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, right?

    We’ve just elected a parliament with essentially the same makeup as last time. Conservatives then Liberal then Bloc then NDP.

    So what’s the change that will make this parliament work? Will the Liberals be more willing to run their bankrupt party through yet another election in the face of Harper’s confidence votes? Will the votes of the Bloc or NDP matter one whit more without the Liberals backing them up? Will Harper suddenly realize, “Oh hey, maybe I need to actually be accountable and transparent like I said I would be and compromise with the 60 percent or so of people who preferred a different party.”

    Get real people. We’ve elected what we had, we’re going to get what we had. Government deficits. Unaccountable unelected cabinet ministers being appointed to senate. Further deregulation in food and safety. Further support of the death penalty abroad and perhaps at home. Further ridicule on the world stage.

  29. I hope Keith Boag is wrong; I want no part in a Liberal party that would treat its leader, a kind and decent man, in the manner he described.

    Liberals might do well to remember the many reasons why Rae and Ignatieff did not win the leadership.

  30. Geez, I was drunk and posting (semi-seriously) about Harper’s tie choice, but now I’m in a bad mood and it looks like we’ll all have to pitch in for some GED math books for Thwim.

    We can start right here, though.


    Does the sum of one of those equations equal more than 155? If so, are there any parliamentary implications, or does it mean: “153” is the the same as “180”.

  31. Hey, I know! Why don’t Dion and May just trade jobs? Isn’t it time that the Liberals finally had a female leader?

    My pick…

  32. “5. Liberals, NDP and Bloc meet with GG to offer a coalition alternative to another pointless election.”

    The Bloc will not defeat Harper because they can’t do worse than they are doing presently. They have about as many seats as they can win and a minority government led by a Prime Minister that once waxed enthusiastic about Belgium. Why sell all the goods at once by joining a coalition, when you can play the left and right off against each other?

    Secondly, for the Liberals, working with the Bloc would be toxic. There are three parts of the country that didn’t give the Liberals the finger – one of those was Montreal. No, 2008 was not a fight about unity (perhaps because there was no Paul Martin around to try and make it one), but Anglo Montrealers are still very concerned about that issue. The Montreal Gazette endorsed federalist candidates most likely to win in particular ridings for a reason. Frankly, I don’t think such a coalition would go over well elsewhere in the country either. AND if things went badly (who would want to govern now, anyhow), the Bloc would suffer because it would have to defend its record for once.

  33. Alex: Try this one on for size:

    144 > 37+49

    Harper doesn’t need to cooperate for a damned thing so long as the Liberals don’t participate, so what on earth makes you think that he will?

  34. Right, because the Bloc will be abstaining, or supporting the government(who’s gift kept them from falling to about 35 seats) on legislation.

  35. Well, at least now I know why you think it makes a difference. You simply don’t have a clue.

    Even if all 37 NDP and 49 Bloc vote no on something, the 144 Confidence Conservatives know that it doesn’t mean a damned thing so long as the Liberals play no-show. Harper knows this works, and what’s more, he knows it can work without a significant penalty from the electorate either.

    For some reason you seem to be of the impression that Harper will give up a winning strategy so that he can compromise with The Mustache even though the situation for him is exactly the same. You must be some sort of idealistic dreamer divorced from reality if you don’t think the sweater-vest stayed on a second past the close of polls in BC.

    Harper can now safely ignore the NDP and Bloc entirely. So hey.. congratulations on the total irrelevancy of having gained a few seats.

  36. The Liberals will be doing themselves a favour if they fall on their swords first good reason and take the next 4 years off.

    unless this is about 70 jobs and not the people.

  37. This election has been a devastating blow to the Liberals. And for all the media’s rambling about how disappointed Harper must be, I’d say give your head a shake. He’s popping the lid on loads of Big Macs and celebrating like its 1999!

    First, the Liberal party is going to be crushed by debt. Their annual (vote based) stipend is going down and that means staff reductions. And no amount of front-bench-celebs will make up for the people who actually do the work.

    Second, this election didn’t just see the Liberal A-team stay home, but it saw the complete collapse of what little local machinery they had left. And again, no amount of front-bench-celebs is going to change the need to fund raise one person at a time. It’s going to be tough for them to pay off this election; they can’t pay for a leadership convention; and they face a huge hurdle in being ready for another national campaign in 2 ½ years.

    And third, this is an excellent outcome for Harper. He will be able to govern virtually as a majority (with most parties abstaining on key votes); his far right constituencies will continue to be contained by the fear of losing power; and a fund raising machine that will continue to allow them to bash whomever replaces Dion.

    And one more thing on Harper, while he indeed has many flaws, one of his greatest strengths is his ability to learn and adapt. From Reform to Alliance to Merger to Minorities, he consistently moves forward, adjusts and then moves forward again. Yes, sometimes he makes mistakes, but afterwards he course corrects and continues his forward trajectory.

    The real story here is the collapse of the Liberals and how their failings help everyone else.

  38. whyshouldisellyourwheat:
    “The Green Shift was an assault by urban elites on Outer Canada. Dion taxed diesel, electricity from coal, and heating oil, and REFUSED to tax gasoline”

    This is the stupidest thing I’ve heard on these comment boards. A higher gasoline carbon tax would have gotten Dion elected? They got spanked in the GTA suburbs this time, and they’d have gotten worse if they had put that kind of proposal forward.

  39. In case any Liberals are listening:

    When you have a leadership campaign PLEASE do not do it over 9 months.

  40. stephen
    “Harper is leaving the middle of the court….so they have to tack left to beat up the NDP. ”

    Uh, I believe they tacked VERY left in this election, and failed miserably. Dion isn’t the only reason for the Libs result, it’s the Green Shift. Not only is it the Green Shift, it’s the fact that the Shift would have given much more tax breaks and credits to low income goobers, geezers, and students than the middle class which it actually would have hurt.

    A Green Shift could even have had right wing “libertarian” type voices behind it if it actually had been composed of real, easy to understand, income tax cuts, instead of a motley of tax credits, grants, and other stupidity.

  41. Even when the Libs had a majority, they didn’t exactly ignore the opposition, in fact they often adopted Reform/Alliance/Tory policies (as well as NDP ones). Some say it was because the Libs had no original ideas, but it was also because it’s not just about seat count, there is also concern about various regions and other considerations.
    In other words, Harper is conscious of the NDP and particularly the Bloc, because he’ll want those seats.

  42. Andrew,

    re the provincial Liberal parties…who cares. For an example see hat the Progressive Conservative party still exists at the provincial level.

    Who cares.

  43. “Division, dissent, debt and delay among the Liberals are a primary strategic objective of the Conservatives.”

    So why not get it out of the way quickly and early? And why bother with the typical convention to do so? There must be myriad ways to elect a leader in a cheaper, quicker fashion. And doing so would be a small but poignent way to say to the electorate, times are tough, we get that, we’re even scaling back our party functions accordingly, a taste of what we’d bring to government perhaps?

    Look, two things became evident to me during this campaign. First, Dion is not a leader (great now I’m quoting Cons). He may be a terrific wing man on issues, but he’s not going to inspire the traditional Liberal vote, let alone others. Second, making the environment the central policy of a platform, indeed in some ways the only policy, is a foolish game to play. That whole Green Shift was ill timed and far too easily manipulated by the opposition to use as your sole weight-bearing pillar of a platform. So sticking with this plan or bringing May into the fold or a million other things will get them nowhere. The Liberals need to return to what won majorities and that is battling for the centre, where the Conservatives have desperately, though not convincingly, been bullying their way in. Leave the left to the NDP and Greens and Bloc to fight over. It’s not an area that makes for governing parties anyway. You’d think someone in the Liberal party might have mentioned this to Dion!

  44. I’m reminded of the situation a couple of months ago within the Democratic Party, when Clinton was clearly going to lose the race, yet she hung on. Supposedly, she was bargaining behind the scenes to have some of her campaign debts absorbed by the Obama camp.

    We have a similar situation now with Dion. Dion surely will want some kind of reassurance from the Party that his outstanding leadership debts shouldn’t be entirely his responsibility, seeing as he is not a wealthy man, etc. There will surely be bargaining behind the scenes between Dion and the LPC.

    Anyway, another difficulty for the LPC, will be who to appoint as interim leader until delegates elect their next eader. Clearly, the interim leader cannot be someone who will run for the leadership. I know the Libs talk about their strong bench, but I just don’t see anyone on there who is remotely close to the experienced, bilingual, classy, respected Bill Graham.

  45. Another reason to get it done F-A-S-T.
    Is Goodale bilingual? Probably not I guess.

  46. The Liberal Party has serious problems and I don’t think they’ll ever really fix them because they blame everything bad on the leader and think that a new leader can solve everything. Keeping Dion on for at least a year and trying to really renew the party would do wonders, but we all know that won’t happen.

  47. I don’t know, Toby. In my mind it all depends on who would run in a leadership election. I sense that all the heavyweights that everyone expected to run last time but didn’t, knew full well that the party was almost destined for a few years in the “wilderness”. Perhaps the downfall wasn’t as dramatic as they anticipated and thus were trying to avoid, but it was a downfall nonetheless. 39 seats in Ontario is rather shocking for a party that quite recently swept the province. So I think some of those heavyweights might be ready to take the reigns this time around. And I’m guessing they might have the clout to renew or shake up the party as well. Oddly enough…..do what Harper has done with the Conservatives in a way.

  48. Dion is finished. He’ll step down before Parliament sits.

    I don’t buy that CTV decided on their own to run the infamous ATV interview. I’d bet dollars to donuts that someone in the upper echelons of Liberal HQ ASKED CTV to run that ATV interview clip with the express purpose of fatally wounding Dion. That kind of thing just doesn’t happen in our media otherwise.

  49. stephen,

    The federal and ontario Liberals are the same electoral machine in many respects. Do you think that that machine will be dedicated to helping anyone but the Liberals? It won’t help the NDP and it won’t help the COnservatives. That is a huge electoral army that isn’t going away and isn’t supporting anyone but a federal Liberal party.

    You just can’t kill the federal Liberal party. Impossible.

  50. Calgary Junkie has it right. If the party wants Dion to go quickly they’ll have to help him pay off his debts.

  51. I thought his debt was largely paid off?

  52. Andrew keep telling yourself that. They have seperate finances and they do operate seperately…witness all the Trudeau years when they worked for the Ont PC’s provincially and Fed Liberals…or the Quebec party that is totally independent.

    Battleship Liberal is a big thing, don’t get me wrong, but if the Liberals dont wake up to the fact that there base is being eroded, they have no resources, are pinned inside toronto and Montreal, with an Atlantic pimple, then we may not even get a twitch from the body as it expires, mistaking unconciousness for sleep.

    They are in deep toruble, the leadership contenders carry heavyy debts, the party carries a heavy debt, the machinery is broken, the money prevents the resources being applied to quickly rebuild itself.

    The liberal party wont be gone tomorrow, but the NDP will be the official opposition either next election or the one after. Once that happens the trip down the drain will be very very fast.

    Sad to say, the Liberals best hope is regicide and a coronation of Rae or Iggy, probably Rae because he understands what it takes to run a party better. A little bit of the Liberal Party dies every day Dion stays leader.

    I say this with sadness because once the NDP becomes opposition it is only a matter of time before they form a government, and that is truely a frightening thought.

  53. that’s another reason why a leadership contest under current rules would be a catastrophe for the Libs – it costs too much and this is not a time to be tapping donors – especially when this is still a minority Parliament.

  54. Flashback to an exchange between Harper and Duceppe in the House, before the spring 2007 budget.

    Essentially, Duceppe asked Harper to deal with the fiscal imbalance by transferring tax points instead of cash. Harper’s answer was (approximately), “There are many ways to deal with the fiscal imbalance. Transferring tax points is one of them. But for now, I will be transferrring cash. However, if the BLOC leader wishes to discuss other options, then I will be happy to listen”.

    My suggestion to Harper:
    reduce the GST by another 1 %
    assume for the sake of arguement, that costs the federal treasure $6 billion per year
    cut $6 billion from all the toucy-feely culture crap in the federal budget.
    Say to ALL provinces, go ahead and fund that crap yourelves. I just gave you 1 % of sales tax room.

    Then stand back and watch the Quebec Liberals, ADQ, and PQ fight over how to deal with that funding “crisis”. As the federal Liberals struggle for a response, as they watch Harper’s poll numbers go up in BC and Ontario, his western base solidifies.

    What an entertaining way to kill off the special interest groups. Make them go begging to their respecitve provincial premiers.

  55. Stephen,

    The Federal party is certainly in a rough spot. After the 2006 defeat, many insiders thought that nothing was fundamentally wrong and that they would soon be returned to power. The 2008 defeat will dash those beliefs. The party will lay down its sword in the HoC and spend the next few years renewing the party. They know that they have to build a fund raising machine. To do that, they have to engage the grassroots. To do that, they need to undergo meaningful change in their organization (become less of a federation, give more power to members).

    In the mean time, the CPC will have scandals pile up as governments inevitably do. Either the right of the party will become disillusioned with how Harper is governing (and stay home/keep their donations), or the left will be truly motivated to oust him. The Liberals will be the beneficiary in either case.

    The NDP, would have to undergo some radical change to be palatable to a large enough group. Their pro-union and anti-capitalist bullshit doesn’t sit well with enough Canadians. Do you really expect the NDP to do a lot better with no better a leader than Layton and no worse a Liberal than Dion?

  56. Paul is right. We will now witness the LPC do what it does best: eat its young and descend into civil war hell.

    Harper may not have won his coveted majority but he’ll be getting the next best thing and that is to watch the party he hates so much self-destruct all on its own.

    In losing Dion’s leadership, Canadians also lost the one opportunity to right its wrongs on climate change. Gary Mason said it best today. It will be a mighty long time before any politician dares to make the environment the central plank of a campaign again. With a stronger mandate, Canada will continue to lag the rest of the world (even the U.S. come November) in addressing climate change.

    The moment Dion gets the boot, I’ll be tearing up my LPC membership card.

  57. With a stronger mandate *for Harper*

  58. “his western base solidifies”

    What, 65% of popular vote in Alberta not strong enough? Oh wait….the NDP is gaining a foothold in Edmonton!

  59. Any bets on whether Harper will continue to stymie climate change meetings even when the US administration is on board?

  60. Don’t forget what’s resurfacing in the next few months. To name a few…

    – Cadman Affair
    – In and Out scandal
    – Mulroney bribes

    It would be a shame if the Liberals had no leader during all this.

  61. Andrew, Harper will do exactly that as he now has no fear of consequences. Even if the LPC were able to ditch Dion for a “stronger” leader, they will be bankrupt by the time the next election is called. In fact, Harper might just pull a Chretien and dissolve Parliament soon after the new and “stronger” leader is put in place.

    If the LPC thinks it is suffering now, it will be far worse if they make the mistake of ditching Dion now.

  62. AH! What a wonderful day to be a Conservative. My boy Stevie still in the drivers seat (thank god), gains throughout the country where we didn’t have seats before (becoming the only real national party at this time), we held on in Quebec and the Lib’s as Boudica so accurately put it will be going into eat their young mode – well what can you say except that all is right in the universe. The best part is the frustrated left wing nuts who start spinning away rationalizing to themselves that somehow this is a victory for them because we didn’t get a majority = you really should get yourselves into therapy if you believe that becauase as of now for all intent purpose we do have a majority else the next sound you hear will be a cascade of confidence motions from the house.

  63. Jack has got the NDP to its current level, probably maxxed out. He needs to do another image change and become a little less yappy and more thoughtful.

    I tell you, Duceppe would win votes outside of Quebec if people could vote for him. Thats because in ROC he comes across as thoughtful, whcich comes from his experiecne and his observer as opposed to participant status in ROC. But Layton could take a lesson from Duceppe and try to become crticial without thiking he has to sound like he is perpetually in the Union Hall playing to the crowd.

    Organizationally, the NDP is miles ahead of 2006. They need to tweak their product a little and they can be a real serious threat.

    I dont know if the Liberals get it. The situation is the same as it was in 2006. I am stil hearing the crap about Natural Governing Party. If I were a Liberal leader I would ban the word and fine anybody caught uttering it in emails or conversations $50 an incident…$500 if you were an MP or a senior party person.

    It reflects an attitude, only by not being a Liberal do you see how it limits the Liberal Party, even if it is unsaid it is conveyed and thats a barrier for them. The Liberals strength, history etc is now its lodestone.

    You need to break down your party, rethink it and rebuild…the Liberal party should actually have wished for a COn majority, they would have been more likely to have been in a challenger position after that process.

    Ther eis a role for a moderate centre left party, but until the Liberal Party comes up with an answer that doesnt include gaining power, usually worded as being an alternative government, then you wont get it. You may not like Harper or the apparent vision for Canada, but he and that party have one…I cant say the Liberal Party does, other than what might get them back to the Comfy Fur.

    There need to be some real gadfly’s that come out in the Liberal’s. If not then the party will split with maybe 30% heading to the Cons and the rest amongst the NDP and Greens.

    Dont say you havent been warned.

  64. Liberal egos will be liberal egos. The race is on. The last runner left standing will win!

    Hey didn’t Danny do his province a big favour?

  65. Hazzard, Harper knows very well the mistake of taking your base for granted. Never mind the 65 % vote. What about the donations from his base ? Donations will go down if Harper keeps pandering to Quebec. Also, expect grumbling if the gun registry and Wheat Board issues aren’t resolved.

    There is always the threat of a new Reform party rising up. Harper lived through all that, so knows very well the mistakes Mulroney made in balancing western/Quebec interests.

  66. Me Dere Robert,

    If the Liberals waste there time on these they deserve their fate. There is always a place for scandal, but honestly some of these are either overdone or have nothing to do with the government. Essentially you’ll be missing the point.

    Solutions, policy and holding the government to account on things that nmatter are what the Liberals need to do. The fact that they wont makes me laugh. Its like my son skipping his meal so he can eat ice cream, it might be fun but it is terrible for your long run health.

    Why do you think buffons like Thibault lost? People dont really care about that stuff, they care about their homes, their kids, their parents, their community, themselves.

    For the Cons sake I hope the Liberals follow your advice down the rabbit hole.

  67. I cannot see Dion being a leader or a good representative for Canada if he was elected. I would like to see Michael Ignatieff go for a run at it and I would totally support the Liberals. I would be pretty embarrassed to have Dion as Prime Minister of Canada.

  68. Calgary Junkie…..in my decade or so in Alberta, I’ve seen nothing that gives me even a hint of belief that Albertans will turn their backs on the Conservatives vote-wise or money-wise. The past 4 years have proven that in my mind as Harper has done his best immitation of Liberal governing imaginable. I’d wager Harper couldn’t turn them away even if he purposely tried!

  69. Ethan, for every person like you that would vote for the Ignatieff Liberals there will be 5 that move over to Jack Layton.

  70. The PM is the junior model of the most unlikable President in American history that can’t buy a majority. The Conservative Party was hijacked by the Canadian Alliance and ‘the Calgary School’ runs it. The Liberal Party needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. And, we become a country further divided all in the face of a global economic crisis. As a life-long Conservative…I hope and pray that Frank McKenna comes out of political retirement and ‘for the good of the country’, runs for the leadership of the Liberal Party and forms a Parliament that Canadians can get behind. We can’t move forward with these divisions, when no one votes, when fewer care. Canada needs Frank McKenna.

  71. “If the Liberals waste there time on these they deserve their fate. There is always a place for scandal, but honestly some of these are either overdone or have nothing to do with the government. Essentially you’ll be missing the point.”


    I’m not advocating wasting their time on these issues. They should rebuild, prepare and let it all unfold. These “scandals” will hurt the Tories on it’s own.

  72. “Any bets on whether Harper will continue to stymie climate change meetings even when the US administration is on board?”

    The big irony in the whole climate change saga is that it is becoming mre likely that Harper will be in power when tougher legislation (a price on carbon) is brought in by virtue of simply being the guy in charge when the US brings in their legislation.

    If this were to happen, the Conservatives would have been responsible for passing the primary legislation that dealt with the three major environmental issues of the last 30 years (climate change, acid rain, and ozone depletion). In a couple of decades, those poor environmentalists may have to debate whether Harper or Mulroney was our greenest PM.

  73. Instead of having an expensive, divisive leadership race, the Liberals should simply allow Dion to be a caretaker leader for a year or two, then get a new leader the British way – a vote within caucus. That method of leadership selection is cheap, efficient, and will not leave the contenders saddled with debts. It will also allow the Liberals to focus on rebuilding the party and its fund-raising capacity from the ground up. Leadership races seem to do the opposite – creating factional rivalries and internecine warfare that go on weakening the party from within long after the convention is over. Whatever post-convention boost a party gets in the polls, it is NEVER worth the expense. Scrap the convention, pick a leader from caucus, and rebuild the teetering structure of the party. Of course they are Liberals, so they’ll never do this.

  74. Why not look at provincial Libs for some inspiration? Dalton McGuinty was a (to be blunt) failed leader for many years and elections but he hung on. And look at him now…a strong, confident leader with a MAJORITY government.

    This is how the party can regain control of government:

    1. Either stick to Dion completely or ditch him fast and find a leader the party is truly faithful to.
    2. Stitch up their wounds and sharpen their swords, no matter how painful it is. Patiently await the next battle.
    3. Take over Parliament with a majority.

    Like I said, take a few hints from McGuinty. Ontario Libs and federal Libs may not be best friends, but they’re still Liberals in the end.

  75. If Dion is allowed to stay at the helm of the Liberals for another 6 months, that would give him
    plenty of time to aggravate all those who live on
    the very planet he wants to save.He LOVES Canada, but Canada doesn’t love the professor. Stephane is
    all theories that just don’t work in the real world, muche like his cherished Clarity Act.

  76. “Instead of having an expensive, divisive leadership race, the Liberals should simply allow Dion to be a caretaker leader for a year or two, then get a new leader the British way – a vote within caucus.”

    Terrible idea. That system of leadership selection is okay in Britain, but we live in a Canada of Canada’s, with many distinct regions. The Liberals have no seats in many parts of the country, meaning a caucus vote would ignore them. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver would have all the say – instead of the parts of the country the Liberals need to win back. Not to mention how unrepresentative Liberal MP’s are in terms of gender and income.

    Secondly, it would seriously weaken the legitimacy of the leader. Michel Gauthier was elected in a similar fashion, and it crippled him as leader of the Bloc (yes, there was a Bloc leader between Bouchard and Duceppe). The British have a tradition of caucus selection – but they are moving towards our system.

    Thirdly, it would benefit current MP’s, who know other MP’s, thus disadvantaging quality candidates from outside Ottawa… like Frank McKenna or Brian Tobin.

    Fourthly, it would mean none of the blanket coverage (and excitement – come on, where is your inner political junkie) conventions generate. Harper will run negative ads to define the next Liberal leader. The Liberals can’t afford to counter those, but they can use the convention to showcase their next one. They would also miss out on campaign coverage, that helps the party.

    So how about the Liberals learn how to raise money and stick with a May convention.

  77. Solution: Amalgamate with the Greens with Elizabeth May as leader. Keep the “Liberal” brand, but change the party colour to green.

    One united left. One kick-butt leader (in need of remedial French).

    I have spoken.

  78. Only the third time that the 2nd-place party didn’t win a majority of the opposition seats. The other times were 1993 and 1997, when the political right was fractured. Now it’s the left.

    I can’t see any way that Dion can hold on, knowing how the LPC operates.

  79. What the Liberal Party needs in order to win the next election is someone who can step up to Harper, both in terms of policy and in terms of character. In other words, the Liberals need a Hawk that they can all gather around and support. They need a gutless leader. Dion was a very principled man but it didn’t seem to resinate with people. I think someone on this forum mentioned Frank McKenna and thats exactly who I am thinking about. He has no skeltons in his closet, he’s not tainted with any sort of baggage or anything like that. He was an ambassador and his dilomatic skills are good. Domestically if he kept certain good candidates around him at all times, Kennedy included, I think that he would do a lot to revive a party that has been slowly going downhill for a number of years now.

  80. No one quite eats their own young like the Liberals. You’d think they could all go off on a bender for at least a few days. I mean really, is keeping your mouth shut for 20 minutes that much to ask?

  81. Excellent article. As a first time volunteer and door to door liberal campaigner in the riding of the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, I found it easy to convince almost everyone of about 100 voters that the green shift is the best solution, just be referring to the precise numbers that concern each and every group, i.e. working people, families, students, seniors, the poor.
    Dion is recognized as the most honest and intelligent leader. He managed to convince the whole world, except some heads of state that are either gone already or have less than a month left, to follow him in the Kyoto path, where no man has gone before. Not bad for a guy with no real power to force anybody to follow.
    Some high ranking self proclaimed leaders and some journalists managed to convince many Canadians that Harper is the man of the day. The very near future will prove their mistake, even if Mr. Harper tries to follow the Dion plan to face the immediate crisis. Today this can be corrected as soon as a majority realizes their mistake. If however Mr. Dion is forced to quit and especially if his successor is one of the people that forced him to do it directly or indirectly, just think.

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