Quebec City reaction

by Aaron Wherry

Daniel LeBlanc considers Paul Dewar’s showing.

There was a strong feeling among people following the event that Ottawa MP Paul Dewar was the weakest performer in French. Mr. Dewar is working every day with a tutor, but he had problems expressing his thoughts, especially when he could not rely on his notes. Mr. Dewar frequently used short sentences, took a number of pauses and struggled to improvise when he was questioned by rival candidates.

Greg Fingas reviews the candidates. Libby Davies and Alexandre Boulerice laud their preferred candidate. Rabble threads here and here.

More from the Star, Sun and Postmedia. Joanna Smith notes one potential flashpoint.

Toronto MP Peggy Nash (Parkdale—High Park) was forced to walk a fine line between defending free and universal health coverage while respecting provincial jurisdiction — always a hot topic in this province — when Ottawa MP Paul Dewar asked her what she would do if the Quebec government wanted to charge hospital user fees. “We hope that we want our health care system to be public, but really it’s a provincial jurisdiction, so it’s the decision of Quebecers,” Nash said.

Dewar later told reporters he was surprised by this response to the question of user fees, for which the NDP went after former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff during the federal election last year. “We dealt with this question and Jack (Layton) was very strong on it, that we want to have the Canada Health Act enforced for everyone,” Dewar said. “It’s not fair that some people would have to pay user fees and others wouldn’t.”




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Quebec City reaction

  1. “…it seems to me that the biggest weakness of his co-operation plan is less the Libs’ progressive bona fides in government than their actions to keep the Cons in power while in opposition (raising issues about their trustworthiness in recognizing any “clear and present danger” from Stephen Harper or acting to address it), and I have to figure Cullen will face some largely unanswerable questions on that point before long”

    Fingas is entitled to his opinions but not his own facts. How did the ndp under jack do more to oppose Harper? Hell jack even helped put Harper there rather than give Martin another shot – what have the ndp got out of Harper that they wouldn’t have got out of Martin in spades? IMO that was the single biggest blunder of Jack’s turn at the helm of the ndp.
    As for progressive bonafides i would remind Mr Fingas that ALL of the progressive measures that have been implimented in federal politics have happened on the watch of Liberal or Progressive Conservative govts. Sure the ndp gets honourable mention in helping to push the agenda but nada for steering the ship.

    • You’re assuming that the entire country is sobbing along with you that Martin isn’t PM now.  He hasn’t been for six years. Get over it. Everyone else has. 

      • I’m assuming no such thing…i leave all the assuming to bright sparks like you who seem to live off them.

    • That passage refers to Ignatieff’s direct choice in 2009 whether to pursue a coalition government or leave Harper in power. He chose the latter, presumably based on the view that he and his party stood to gain more by trying to go it alone than allowing anybody else a role in government – and his party went along with the choice.

      Which means that even if the Libs show some more willingness to go along with Cullen’s plan than they have so far, there’s no way to count on their sticking to it through the 2015 election and beyond when they couldn’t muster a month and a half of determination to bring down Harper cooperatively the last time they had the opportunity.

      • There’s lots of ways.  And, like a whole lot of Canadians, Mr. Ignatieff was not keen on a Coalition after the fact.  But that’s okay, this is a coalition before the fact.  Entirely different ballgame.

        • The issue isn’t one of technicalities, but instead fundamental questions necessary to make a co-operation plan possible: do the Liberals see the threat of continued Harper government as justifying some compromises that they’re not entirely keen on? (To my recollection, the next positive response to Cullen’s proposal from their camp will be the first.) And even if they, say, signed onto an agreement committing to vote down Harper at the next opportunity, could they be counted on to follow through after reneging last time?

          As long as the answer to the first question is “no”, it doesn’t much matter what the NDP decides about Cullen’s proposal. And any uncertainty about the second strikes me as a serious red flag for NDP members to take into account in making their decision.

          • Oh.  I’m the financial agent for a Liberal EDA.  It doesn’t mean I speak for the entire executive of that EDA, but it does make me a Liberal!

            We have a lot of work to do before an agreement could be both iron-clad and, uh, signed, but not working towards it because we aren’t there yet is the kind of attitude that will never get anyone anywhere.

          • So, I am quite literally putting my money where my mouth is. This is a first in Canada.

            COOPERATE FOR CANADA
            Thursday February 16, 7 PM
            Waterloo Inn
            475 King Street North
            Waterloo, Ontario
            Exploring Why and How the Parties Should Work Together to Form a Government that Reflects a Shared Vision of the Majority, with a Commitment to Immediate Action on Proportional Representation
            Featuring:
            Liberal: John Deverell, Policy Director of the Pickering-Scarborough East federal Liberal Association
            NDP: Jamey Heath, Nathan Cullen Campaign Manager, former Research and Communications Director to Jack Layton,
            Green:: Katherine Acheson, Chair of the National Campaign Committee of the GPC
            Leadnow: Matthew Carroll, Director of the Campaign “Cooperate for Canada”
            Speakers to be followed by Q+A and town hall style discussion
            Free event, no registration, everyone welcome. More info: jenn@jenniferross.ca

          • Ahh yes, the myth of “progressive solidarity” lives on . . .

          • @865444ea1a3aec1b5f1890dd40359673:disqus  Without question, adding up Liberal, NDP and Green votes of the past does not equal a cooperating candidate’s vote of the future.    I expect it will be much bigger :)

          • While I am not in favour of a merger, cooperation or whatever else might result I do salute your initiative.  We must certainly not silence debate and discussion.

            I am all for working to gain the support of Greens and lucid Dippers but as liberal I really don’t want anything to do the NDP apparatchiks and party apparatus.

          • @Farandwide:disqus  I thank you for your comment.  I know we are not NDPers for good reason, but then again, I know NDPers are not Liberals for (what they believe to be) good reason, too.  A merger is what we are trying to avoid with this!

          • Full credit for putting the talk into action. There are separate issues about the effectiveness of pre-electoral cooperation that I won’t get into for now, but we can do far more to talk about how best to reach shared values if grassroots members from all parties can agree on what we’re trying to accomplish.

          • Hey Jenn!  Why no mention of the one who really did all the work?  Well, Jenn, because I don’t know that she wants her name plastered all over the Macleans blogs.  Still Jenn, you could at least mention you didn’t do this all by yourself.  You are right, Jenn, especially when I did the lesser amount.

            Thanks partner, sorry for making that sound like it was all me.

          • Did Jack and the NDP see the prospect of a Harper Conservative government as enough of a threat to keep the Martin government in power?

            Now they can get up everyday in the House and sanctimoniously wail about no National Childcare Strategy, no movement on Aboriginal issues, no action on climate change.

            And yet, and yet, and yet, there was an agreement signed with all the provinces and territories with the monies allocated for a National Childcare system.  The Kelowna Accord might not have prevented an Attawapiskat (we’ll never know) but it would certainly have advanced Aboriginal affairs far beyond where they are now.

            As for Climate Change, Ralph Goodale tabled the greenest budget ever in 2005 and the initatives (finally) started then would have continued apace.  Instead we have chintzy moves like the cancelling of the ecoEnergy Retrofit programme.

            I contend that Jack’s focus was always on power – not advancing “progressive” issues and policies.  Any deal he made or offered up was intended to get him closer to power.

            The famous tapped phone conference had Jack stating how he had started to work with the Bloc long before the Fiscal Update.

            We live in a democracy and we must accept the results of an election (whether it’s admitting that coalitions are legitamate, not crying about how the voters didn’t understand your message, or constantly bemoaning that the policies you just voted down are not being implemented by the new government).

          • You can contend what you like, and I won’t bother correcting all the revisionism. But Layton chose not to work with Harper and Duceppe to replace Martin after the 2004 election; his reward was to be told by Martin that the Libs weren’t interested in listening to the NDP’s progressive ideas (which only apparently changed at the exact moment PMPM was in immediate danger of losing power). And Layton had the opportunity to kick the Libs while they were down in 2008, but he instead worked on the coalition which Ignatieff scrapped.

            Of course, he also recognized that power is necessary as a means of implementing principles. But every time he had the option between a more progressive government or one that was less so (but might have produced greater political rewards), he chose the former – and that’s more than any Ignatieff Lib can say.

      • We could argue over the coalition and whether it amounted to a failure of nerve on the part of the libs or something worse – i believe Ignatieff’s excuse was that it would split the country; to be honest, a westerner myself, i agreed with him at the time, now i’m not so sure but hidsight’s 20/20 – I think you’re missing the larger point; what if the ndp doesn’t gain enough strengh to pull Harper down?
        I support Nathan’s goal of a temporary alliance/cooperation if necessary to oust Harper and change the electoral system[ provided of course the country wants it too?]. At which point the libs /ndp would resume their separate paths toward a more progressive, fairer country. As I tell fellow libs all the time, are you willing to risk Harper winning a couple more elctions and changing this country irrevocably just because you don’t think dippers can be trusted? There are Libs with long memories too Greg; it’s isn’t easy convincing long time, hard core libs that the dippers wont sneak in and cut their throats in any kind of deal that offers them a leg up on the liberals or missing an oppportunity to give the libs a push into their graves.
        So i think a merger wont work but Nathan’s idea or a version of it might if it is needed. By all means keep the ndp growing, libs will claw their way back too, but at some point i’m convinced we will see the wisdom of putting both our shoulders to the wheel if only for a short while.

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