Take a position, lose a candidate

The Liberals have apparently lost a candidate in Quebec.

Liberal election readiness suffered one setback Monday – the resignation of a Quebec candidate over Ignatieff’s stance that Canada should stop exporting asbestos, the lifeblood of Quebec’s Thetford Mines district.

Ignatieff did not back down, saying a Liberal government would help the region develop other job creation possibilities.

More here (en francais).




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Take a position, lose a candidate

  1. D'you suppose if he gave the position away he could get the candidate back? No? Might as well keep the position then…

    • This is a good example of why reporters are slightly above lawyers on the respectability scale (in that recent ITQ-noted poll).

      Politician takes stand on morally indefensible issue (reporter makes snide remark on how it is easy for him to take position). Alternatively, if politician changes his position, reporter is free to characterize him as a waffler and indecisive. It's win-win for cynicism!

      • And today's gold medal for redding comprension goes to Dee.

      • Did you feel your hair move there Dee?

        That was Mr. Wells' point apparently flying right over your head.

        • I thought my "redding" comprehension was actually pretty good, Wells. Your comment could easily be construed as implying that Ignatieff's stand is opportunistic and not based on principle.

          • By implying Iggy would change his position if this resulted in Marc Giroux staying as a Quebec candidate.

  2. Another Liberal-Green coalition!!!!

  3. The Liberals managed to get their share of the vote up to a whopping 14% for the district last time out, up from around 10% in the prior election.

    Giroux must have agonized over this.

    • It's not just the riding itself that concerned the Liberals. Iggy initially waffled on this issue because he was concerned with Quebec public opinion generally (many Quebecers support continued asbestos exports).

      • I guess that leaves the Bloc and NDP as your best option if you're in favour of killing young labourers on the Indian subcontinent.

        • What pray tell is the CON party line on this issue? Can Chuck Strahl be trotted out to gain the sympathy vote while Harper hits that its an economic issue? Surprise, Wells doesn't care…

  4. I guess that's another reason why the Libs should stay mum on policy positions until just before the writ drops. Once the candidates have their names and faces on the campaig signs and paraphernalia, they're past the point of no return.

    • Why only wait until just before the writ drops?

      Seems to me that in the last election the Tories waited to produce their platform until after the first debate (at which the were mocked for not having a platform).

      Didn't seem to hurt the Tories much.

      • Stephen Harper is a blank slate in 2006, his track record? Winston Churchill, Chretien, Mike Harris, OBAMA did not hide their policies for fear of being destroyed by the opposition. They spent time building their organization, support with voters and they were not tagged as Hamlet or Waldo by the mainstream press. They also openly spoke against the policies of their rivals and did not prop up their rivals for 80 votes.

        The Liberals lost visible minorities, Roman Catholic vote in 2006 resulting in a victory for the CPC. In 2008 those gains increased. Selling the Liberal Party and its leader in six weeks makes sense, if you want to ensure the CPC majority.

        You need a groundswell to throw out Harper and you need them to vote for the Liberal Party leader.

        This is not 1984 punish PC, or 2006 punish the Liberal over Adscam. 'sentiment'.

        It looks like only the Liberals are having serious problems working as the official opposition with 77 seats. They believe their polling may boost their seat by 30 and allow for the NDP+Lib seats to outnumber the CPC party for a modified coalition agreement with the Bloc supporting them. ( No signing or NDP in cabinet perhaps)

        "The phrase that was whispered most often to me this past week in Liberal quarters was, "the Martinites are back." This sounded more like a political anathema than a political statement."

        "So, unity is a problem as well as the organization. "We don't have 130 ridings where we have a reasonable chance to win and there is no political narrative around our leader who, as someone said, seems to have been in a witness protection program for the whole summer," another Liberal insider told me last week."

        And it's not just the economy on which Liberals don't have a plan that differs from the one presented by the Conservatives. There is no distinct plan on energy, Afghanistan or parliamentary reform. Nonetheless, "they have decided to go to the polls in the fall," says the same source."
        http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/688125

        • If you're going to natter, please learn how to write. Barely literate ramblings don't help your point.

          • Andrew,

            What is more distressing the "quality" of writing or the questions regarding the motivation of opportunism from the leader of the Liberal Party?

            Would you prefer the Liberal Party not be held to the same level of scrutiny?

            Would you prefer we ignore the "machinations" of the Liberal Party?

  5. Ignatieff's position on asbestos production isn't exactly grounded in moral certitude. He's been pro-, anti-, pro-, then finally anti-asbestos. It depends which advisor whispered into his ear that day.

    • And, out of curiousity, what is the Conservatives position on Canada selling asbestos to emerging economies (that have minimal safety precautions, as noted in a recent Melissa Fung report on CBC)?

    • Ignatieff made it clear that in addition to being a moral question, it is a scientific question as well – with some claiming that one form of chrysotile asbestos is not as harmful and others disputing this.

      It was obvious when Ignatieff first spoke that he was not speaking from a position of any significiant and detailed knowledge and openly said so. He said he had to learn more and wanted Harper to release the government study on chrysotile asbestos. Later he came out against it. Throughout this entire time, Ignatieff maintained “No country, certainly not Canada should export materials that are known to be harmful. Nor should we produce them.” That is a quote during what you refer to as his pro-asbestos period.

      So, I wonder exactly what your problem is with this, CR. Ignatieff on asbestos is a huge improvement over Harper on asbestos – which Harper treats like access to abortion, gay marriage, evolution, death penalty and a whole slew of topics where he doesn't want whatever his position is to interfere with getting votes.

      • How dare he stick to his guns like that. There's no talking points for this!!

        Argggghhhhhh!!!

      • “No country, certainly not Canada should export materials that are known to be harmful. Nor should we produce them.”

        Is this really a direct Ignatieff quote? Because Canada exports (and produces) lots of materials that are known to be harmful. This quote will only lead to questions about what other industries Ignatieff is willing to shut down.

    • The LPC internal polling must have told him, he can't win the riding. His advisors also must have told him that most recent flip flop wont hurt the Anglophone ridings on MTL island . So Liberal Anglo-Quebec is stable at 14 seats+1 NDP.

      His advisors probably also have numbers that "Banning unsafe exports" can boost his "enviro" credentials in some ON/BC seats.

      It should help diffuse attacks from the Green Party on the Liberals "Oil Sands" Unity Card.

  6. On the bright side for the Libs, there are only so many candidates that will get cold feet based on the party position on asbestos, indeed that dude Giroux will probably be the only one, unlike last year's Green Shift which made many Liberals candidates nauseous.

    That ill-fated policy proposal caused the Liberals no end of grief and allowed the Tories to establish a beachhead in Prince Edward Island

  7. As far as I have seen Ignatieff has been quoted as supporting a ban. He is also kinda quoted here
    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Health/Canada+duping
    stating that Canada had a obligation to warn other countries about the dangers of asbestos. As far as I can tell this second article is the one that got Wherry talking about backtracking, but the two positions are clearly not exclusive.

    Indeed the citizen/Winnipeg Sun story is largely about a motion introduced by Pat Martin. In a minority parliament likely the best that could be hoped for would be a reversal of Canada's support for Iran and Russia in blocking the addition of chrysotile asbestos to the Rotterdam Convention.

    Instead it is interesting to review our current position. We provide a quarter million dollars (that is your taxes conservative out there) and provide a nice address for the Chrysotile Institute. This "institute" throws out results largely akin to the research on smoking supported by the Tobacco industry in days gone past. Indeed this is just one of the subsidies that we push to keep the 400 jobs associated with this toxic industry.

  8. Tightly bound chrysolite, amphibole and tremolite fibres are completely safe and their manufacture and export strictly controlled, in theory, under the Hazardous Products and Environmental Protection Acts. No scientific evidence has been uncovered directly linking any fiber inhalation to any disease or cancer, and pending contrary evidence remains only suspected of contributing, disproportionately depending on study author, framework and conflict of interest, to mesothelioma, lung, chest and intestinal cancers. The anti-asbestos campaign was mounted by epidemiologists who exaggerated with no supporting data to build a lucrative career out of their crusade, who were attacked by equally exaggerating asbestos mine owners. Tremolite, for one, natural occurs in serpentine rock formations. The real topic of importance is Ignatieff. The only job of the Opposition is to bring down the government. Ignatieff, grandson of a Tsarist Russia education minister, son of a Russian-born Russian-Canadian career diplomat of Russian monarchist parents, lots of Russia here. Flip flopper on torture by a human rights scholar of all things, has repeatedly shied away from attacking the government, has supported every single Harper proposal as if a card carrying Conservative deputy PM, before disappearing over the summer with hardly an issued comment. Which Megantic-L'Erable, Que. voter would even ponder supporting the candidate of a do-nothing, no-show, Harper-sympathizing party head, neck deep in Russian oligarchic mentality and tradition, who wants to erase their number one source of income? No one, not even the candidate.

    • What pray tell is the CON party line on this issue? Can Chuck Strahl be trotted out to gain the sympathy vote while Harper hits that its an economic issue? Surprise

      • Identical to the Liberal candidate that resigned and the vast majority of Quebecors in the affected region.

  9. Russian oligarchic mentality?

    Seriously?

    That's your point?

    Oh, and using "Russia" in a sentence 5 times is just stylistically lazy. See, you used "Tsarist" in the same sentence, so i know you have the ability.

    Grade C: Not working up to potential. Has yet to master the use of the paragraph.

    • C? talk about grade inflation.

    • Surely you're not ignorant of the Russian Oligarchic Mentalist conspiracy to…uh…conspire…against, um, asbestos and…other stuff too, like eyebrow wax…

  10. I must say that Iggy surprised me on this one. I didn't think he had it in him.

  11. :"Iggy initially waffled on this issue because he was concerned with Quebec public opinion generally (many Quebecers support continued asbestos exports)."

    Is there a poll that supports this? I know that the folks in the affected region still believe in asbestos but I didn't know that the rest of the province felt the same. Is that a fact?

    • It is an interesting question as to whether CR's statement about Quebec public opinion is based on reality.

      The first part of his statement is not factual. Ignatieff initially expressed his own personal opinion that he thought asbestos was harmful and Canada should not be exporting it. However, he declined to state this opinion as fixed Liberal policy until he checked out why some were arguing that chrysotile asbestos was not as harmful, while repeating his opinion that if it is as harmful as he thought, it should not be exported. CR thinks this is waffling – implying that he prefers politicians to make up policy on the fly on incomplete information and/or to emulate Harper and simply have no policy or statement on this.

      • It is an interesting question as to whether CR's statement about Quebec public opinion is based on reality

        I've read enough articles on the subject in La Presse to know that there are many Quebecers on both sides of this debate. I haven't seen any polls on the issue, though.

        The irony is that Ignatieff was initially accused of waffling on this issue by the Tyee and by asbestos opponents. It's a question of perspective. Waffling can always be defended as principled decision-making, depending on one's level of cynicism.

        By the way, I don't have a problem with Iggy's final decision on the subject. The long-term health risks for workers in developing countries justify a ban on Canadian asbestos exports, even though such a ban would probably not make a difference because Russia would simply step up production.

  12. Perhaps a documentary a few months ago about the effects on the folks in India – would change anyone's mind.

  13. M_A_N, failing to capitalize the letter 'i' isn't helping your quest for an A+ , as if this is a term paper exercise. Can you provide an argument to refute the notion that Ignatieff is of the same cloth as his Romanov Dynasty lineage?

    Are you unable to recognize that, by vowing to shut down Thetford Mines and Asbestos, Quebec, Michael Ignatieff is handing the constituency to the incumbent Conservative on a silver platter?

    Why would he do this, besides the entire aim as Harper's secret weapon across the floor?

    What has Ignatieff done to solidify any deserving repute as Opposition leader?

    All Ignatieff has done since leaving Harvard is sabotage, destabilize, embarrass and humiliate the Liberal Party at every opportunity. Not as if the Liberals don't deserve the abuse or there being any worthy alternative.

    The point is that Ignatieff is not a Liberal, but a Harperite Conservative, with Harper being a neo-liberal. Hope this is not confusing you. Both politicians are ardent supporters of unregulated industry, bailing out Canadian chartered bank Ponzi schemes at taxpayer expense, decommissioning the CFIA, Transport Canada, scientific research and more.

    The best way to protect a precarious minority, other than an ineffective bumbling opposition leader, is a pro-government opposition leader. Where Ignatieff and his Romanov roots come in, and why he returned to Canada and has done nothing since but endorse every single Harper initiative while alienating voters from his alleged party by opportune destabilizing intervention to red-face Liberal candidates across the land, beginning with his own parachuted constituency.

    • All Emil Schuffhauzen has done since leaving medical school is practice modulated CONbotism, an extreme form of botulism that involves taking simple CON talking points and adding a few elitist words, peppered with a lot of acronyms.

      • dan, you should read his post again. He's hardly a Conservative sympathizer.

  14. If they pushed for a regional security summit of Middle Eastern States to address initiatives for peace, economic and regional security. This would include a strengthening of bilateral trade relationships between Canada and countries in the Middle East, with trade being used as an incentive to increase cooperation in the peace process; and would have had a good impact on that transition but they never listen

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