The Liberals: Smartest party in the universe -

The Liberals: Smartest party in the universe


“You trying to get me to spend money?” a senior official in the Liberal party said to me this afternoon.


“Your tweet. Cheeky.”

The fog cleared a bit. Ah. I had indeed written something on Twitter about how, weeks after the Conservatives had started running ads attacking Bob Rae’s record as Ontario premier, the NDP had managed to produce ads promoting their own leader, while the Liberals still hadn’t made a move.

So is that going to change?

“Ain’t gonna happen,” Senior Official in the Liberal Party said. 

The Liberals, then, will forego “spending money” to defend their leader, or to share their opinion of the Conservative Prime Minister. Thrifty! They saved money when Stéphane Dion was leader, and they saved money when Michael Ignatieff was leader, and they are going to go right on saving money. Let the Conservatives and NDP “spend money”; the Liberals will be content with 19% in the polls, and full wallets. Thrifty!

Other Liberals have explained their thinking. Bob Rae is, after all, the interim leader of the Liberals. The party can’t “spend money” defending him because the party hasn’t selected him as leader. Besides, why spend Liberal money today to defend what an NDP premier was doing in the early 1990s?

And as long as the Liberals pick another leader to lead them into the next election, then this will all have been devilishly clever of them, because the Conservatives will have spent a mint to discredit a guy who won’t even be around when the votes get cast. Of course nothing will stop the Conservatives from buying another wave of ads against whover the next leader is, but in the meantime? Clever.

Unless Rae does stick around to lead the Liberals into elections in three years. Making him the third Liberal leader in a row to take an airwave whupping, unanswered, will then look less clever.

The Liberals’ problem, of course, is that none of this is a choice, it’s a consequence of choices. Because they’ve decided to take a very long time to pick a leader; and they’ve selected an interim leader with considerable political baggage and uncertain plans for his own future; and because the question of his future plans is highly divisive among Liberals; the whole thing is a nest of tension that can’t be reconciled. Why on earth wouldn’t the Conservatives lob a stink bomb into the middle of that nest?

The Liberals remain a year away from being able to do what, say, Tom Mulcair can do any day at will. Or a shorter distance from rewriting the rules they made a show of writing right after last year’s elections. Meanwhile, they twist.

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The Liberals: Smartest party in the universe

  1. “Headdesk” hard to understand this thinking!

  2. Didn’t the LPC launch a fundraising drive around the time the ads started running with the express purpose of countering the Tory attacks? Isn’t it a tad disingenuous to just pocket the cash now?

    •  Yes, I sent money for that and it vanished.

      • Me too. I’m not too upset about it, I was going to donate anyways. But I guess it was a bit of a bait and switch.

        •  They’ll use it for return attack ads when they have a new leader….when it counts.

          • Wouldn’t it make more sense to run an ad to define the leader rather than an ad attacking Harper?

          •  They did ads like that with Iggy….in the first ones the media spent time wondering what park he was in.

            Followed up by stories about his kids and his first wife.

            In the batch about his parents etc, the media stood by while Cons went on a rampage distorting his past

            In the end, Canadians were left ignorant that Iggy was even born in Canada

          • Bob Rae is well defined in Ontario, he’s got a long stories history there. Trying to undo that would be a fools errand. The Liberals have had a long string of success branding Harper the Scary Guy With A Hidden Agenda, and there’s no reason at all why they should think that strategy isn’t working.

  3. Meh….why spend money on the temp?

    • In the eyes of Canadians, Harper is attacking the Liberal party, not the temp. The Liberals have to stand up and fight for themselves or let Harper define the party for them. Harper has a lot of weaknesses on the economy: 300,000 full-time jobs destroyed; record $50B trade deficits; high tar-sands dollar; “Dutch Disease”; manufacturing sector turning to a rust belt. A good strategy would be to pound Harper into the ground on his bungling of the economy (many right-leaning voters are fooled into believing Harper is a good economic manager.) 

      •  Its oil-sands not tar-sands

        •   It’s the La Brea Tarpits North.

          • Mordor runs on geothermal. It’s David Suzuki’s winter getaway.

        •  No!  Properly, it’s bituminous sands.

        •  Actually, it’s bitumen that is mined from the sands, whether they’re called oil sands or tar sands makes no difference, both are inaccurate.

      • Harper has been running the economy for almost 10 years. Canadians believe he is the one who is capable of managing it. All the polls show this. None of them suggest Rae or the Libs have that credibility. To do an ad campaign trying to convince Canadians that the Libs have a better plan for the economy particularly when it is being sold by a former failed NDP premier would be a waste of money.

  4. Yeah, no.  Defending Rae would be signalling the base he’s been anointed leader without our input.  And I trust we wouldn’t stand for that.  I know I wouldn’t.  The fundraising drive was specifically to introduce our leader/counter attacks once we have chosen him or her. 

    • And that’s why I wrote the paragraph beginning “And as long as the Liberals pick another leader…” 

      •  Well the Libs either pick someone other than Rae, or they die.

        Simple as that.

        • Leadership is not the problem. The fact is the federal Liberals are not sticking up for themselves. When they are bullied by Harper, Canadians don’t think Harper is a bully, they think he is right because the Liberals are saying nothing in response. 

          In social situations a person who doesn’t stand up to slights is generally seen as weak and pathetic. Federal politics is no different from social politics: it is the very same thing. The Liberals have to handle and outwit the bully if they want Canadians to have faith in them.

          BTW, Rae is a proven leader and knows how to play political chess. That’s a big positive. Ignatieff failed because he didn’t take advice about political strategy. The Liberals need a good team of strategists behind the leader to turn things around.

          • The problem isn’t just the leader. What in the hell do Liberals stand for these days. Can you point out one policy that would have broad appeal with the public. Saying you will reverse Harpers policies when everybody knows that the Libs cannot win the next election is a non starter. Suggesting they could win over 100 seats would be ludicrous.

          • Unlike Harper, the Liberals stand for Canada. What don’t you get about that? It’s perfectly clear.

          • You are living in a dream world. The Libs stand for one thing and one thing only….Power. They will say and do anything to obtain it and keep it. Problem is people have caught on and they ain’t being fooled anymore.

          • “The liberals stand for Canada”….  Huh??  Based on what?  Their policy consists of “We are not Harper and we are not like the US (formerly GWB, but he hasn’t been the US in 4 years).

            Beyond that there isn’t much for policy.

            “We don’t like Harper” Isn’t standing up for Canada. It isn’t providing vision for where you want to take the country….. It is just showing the intolerance that they accuse others of.

          • “The liberals stand for Canada”…. Huh?? Based on what? Their policy consists of “We are not Harper and we are not like the US (formerly GWB, but he hasn’t been the US in 4 years).

            Exactly! It’s crystal clear. You and hollinm should really learn to interpret sarcasm.

        • Or they pick someone other than Rae, and they still die. Who else is going to be their “savior” this time? Justin? Dalton?! Ha! 

          •  There are 6 others….and not Justin or Dalton….that are running….so don’t troll.

          • Haha! 6 other nameless faceless Liberals who nobodies ever heard of? Thanks for proving my point, troll.

          •  @Rick_Omen:disqus

            I told you not to bother trolling, as I don’t intend to do a back-and-forth with you.

          • I think that sums up your trolling perfectly. Adding nothing to the conversation, and the replying that you have no intention of replying. Sheer brilliance!

          • Who had heard of Harper when he ran for the leadership of CCRA?

          •  @Rick_Omen:disqus

            And you disappear the instant anyone rebuts you….so go away now and save us both some time

          • If only we were bright enough to disappear when you’ve been rebutted. How about *you* go away instead? 

          •  Yawn

          • Really? You go from not wanting to get into a back-and-forth, to “Yawn”? Is this one of those things where 5 year olds just have to have to have the last word?

          •  Is your spell check broken? 

          • Yes.

      • Yes, I know that.  My post was more to the other commenters than it was to you.  Shame we don’t have gobs of money to blow, though.  At least, I can see a few options for a series of ads. 

        Harper:  spends big money attacking the interim leader of the third place party, and doesn’t notice the Leader of the Official Opposition has changed.  Do we really want this man in charge of thwarting threats to our Sovereignty?

        Harper vs. Rae on the record–and then just basically show the points Coyne’s already covered in a side-by-side comparison.

        • Careful what you wish for. Rae had a lot of other warts. Not just those pointed out by Coyne.

      • LOL, clever Paul is always one step ahead of the game.

        • It’s a good day if I can find the game.

  5. The Liberals are currently living with the consequences from a lot of their prior choices.  Unfortunately, so are the rest of us.

    •  Con ‘prior choices’ were Manning, Day and Harper….and at least 60% of us don’t like like the offerings.

      • Approximately  60% of Canadians didn’t like the Liberals under Chretien in 3 elections. The result of all 3 was a Liberal majority.

        •  Yes, and the majority of people voted against free trade….it’s the vagaries of our first-past-the-post voting system that give us these results.

          However, Cons have no claim on the idea that most Canadians support them, or that Canada has ‘moved right’.

          • The obvious corollary being that someone else can claim that??

            80% voted against the Liberals last election, and 70% voted against the NDP….

            If the tories are ineligible to govern because 60% don’t support them…. please expand on why they should be replaced by one of the alternatives who even fewer canadians support….

          •  We have elections every few years….and the parties trade places on a regular basis

            No party can claim that all Canadians, or even a majority, support them…or that the country is moving ‘left or right’

            It’s simply the system we have.

            This is why voter suppression is such a big thing….the difference between being a majority, a minority or the opposition is very small.

            Like gold, silver and bronze at the Olympics.

          • Define voter suppression for me.

            Is it as simple as “don’t vote for the other guy??” People often accuse the tories of suppressing the vote when they run attack ads. (but oddly not when their own parties run attack ads)

            Is it the robocall scandal?  where  a couple hundred people out of several million people were told their polling station was changed by pierre poutine??  How many actually didn’t vote?  enough to overturn even a 10 vote lead?  I guess we’ll see in the investigation,  but don’t expect any results to be overturned without actual evidence that they should be.

            Is it the broader robocall scandal where people were annoyed with people phoning?? A travesty.  It’s wrong if people are misrepresenting themselves as others and being rude….  but that doesn’t seem to be many of the cases.

            Is it asking people to identify themselves at the polls so that we can prove they only vote once?

            Is it “not offering internet voting or sending elections officials to peoples homes to collect votes for people to lazy to go to a poll station?”

            Or just “something only the Tories do.”  as it is usually defined….lol

          • Interesting thing though, there was a survey done.. a while ago now. That didn’t just ask about who people would want to be the government, but who they *didn’t* want to be the government.

            The CPC topped that list with around 55% or so.

            I realize we don’t get to vote for who we’d least like, but it’s still an interesting little tidbit.

            (Side note: Would democracy be better served if we got to choose not only who we wanted to lead but who we didn’t want to lead, and every “do not want” vote cancelling out a “do want”?)

  6. Ironically Rae’s handling of government spending was better than Harper’s under similar circumstances and the Liberal party was responsible for all the strengths the Canadian economy had but choose to allow Harper to take credit in the last election.

    Andrew Coyne comparing Rae’s NDP record to Harper’s:

    “In fact, for all his notoriety, Rae’s record compares rather well with Harper’s.

    In his first two fiscal years, Rae increased spending from $42-billion to $49-billion, an increase of roughly 16%. Thereafter spending declined slightly: after four years in office, Rae left spending 15% higher than he found it — after inflation and population growth are factored in, just 2%. By comparison, in his first four years Harper increased spending almost 40%, from $175-billion to $245-billion. And while spending has since levelled off, it remains about 14% higher, after inflation and population growth, than it was in the Liberals’ last year.

    It’s true that Rae ran larger deficits than Harper has: 4.4% of GDP at peak, versus the 3.6% it reached in fiscal 2010. But it’s also true that Rae had to deal with a much worse recession than Harper did. From the fourth quarter of 1989 to the first quarter of 1991, Ontario’s economy contracted by nearly 8% — twice as deep and twice as long as the 2008-09 recession. Neither man can be blamed for the worldwide economic downturn each encountered, and though each tried to spend his way out of it, neither can claim much credit for the recovery that followed. But if the Conservatives want to fault Rae for trying, they are surely at least as vulnerable on the same count.”

    The Economist: The Goldilocks recovery”Much of the country’s resilience stems from policies—such as bank regulation and sound public finances—which predate Mr Harper.”

    • And that’s exactly what they should have used, immediately, in response. If they didn’t mind a little tongue-in-cheek self-referencing, they could have shown each of Rae’s “faults” followed by Harper doing the same, and used any number of scathing closing taglines. “Monkey see, monkey do” for example may not flatter Rae but would definitely make Harper see red…

      Maybe track down clips of Harper planning to Americanize the banking system, followed by his praising it, then close with: “Harper: he may hate Liberals, but he sure tries hard to take credit for our accomplishments.”

      • Or the Liberals could have realized years ago that accepting Rae into their party wasn’t worth the effort of defending his record. Seriously, what is so great about him that you would want to bother defending his record so you could have him in a seat any Liberal could win?

        • Rae’s record is at least as defensible as Harper’s.  People in glass houses and all that.

          • So you got nothing good to say about Rae, eh?

          • LOL

      • What’s sad is that kind of thing could be even pulled further along. First they run the “monkey see, monkey do” adverts — and run them fairly heavily, then the leadership convention happens, and when Rae gives up the leadership, any negative advert you run about Harper ends with the lines “It’s time to stop monkeying around. You wanted change. We listened.”

        This callout works to suggest the message that anything Harper says the other parties have done, he’s done worse, because of the tie-in. At the same time, it shows the party as adapting and listening to criticism. Tied with the right kind of negative advert that Harper’s supplied so much material for.. this could seem to be a stark contrast.

        • Yeah, that oughta work.

    •  Yes, the NDP govt of Rae and company did do a much better job of handling a world-wide recession and downturn in comparison to Harper and ConCompany. In fact, the NDP Finance  Minister Floyd Laughren
       actually steered the financial ship and in the last year had a balanced budget and put policies in place in which the Harris cons reaped the benefits from. Too bad the posting above couldn’t write the Rae NDP govt.
      Which explains why the liberals didn’t defend the Rae NDP govt – because it would boost the NDP indirectly because everyone knows the leader of a party and govt does not run govt on its own. It’s too bad about that social contract though – needed to remember who brought you to the dance.

      • After showing some restraint in 1993 or 1994, Laughren’s election year budget was another disaster. You confuse Laughren’s projections with actuals, or frankly, anything mildly rational. Actual for 1995-6 was headed for $17B before the Harris mini-budget started curbing the damage.

        The NDP gov’t of Rae did one of the worst jobs of handling a recession:
        it was mild in most places, and terrible in Ontario, in part because he
        raised taxes and spent new money in the least stimulative way. Ontario underperformed its Great Lakes peers for exactly the 20 quarters of the NDP gov’t, while it became the world’s largest non-sovereign debtor.  Debt skyrocketed from 13% to 30% of GDP, and deficits were 33% of revenues!

        That anyone defends Rae’s fiscal record today is a testament to the longevity of self-deception.

    • Coyne ignores some of the critical differences between the two situations:

      1) Rae’s budgets included large deficits AND tax increases, which is toxic compared to largish deficits created in part by tax cuts (Harper)

      2) Rae’s expansion was extraordinarily large for a majority gov’t.  Harper’s expansion was under the average for post-war minority gov’ts.

      3) The feds have built-in escalators (e.g. Health  6%) that predate the
      Harper gov’t and explain more than half of the real per-capita increase in federal spending since 2005. Crediting all of that to Harper is naive. With a majority, Harper is starting to rein them in.  In contrast, the Rae gov’t put a heavy foot on the gas pedal by itself.

      4) Much of Harper’s fiscal expansion in 2009-11 came in the form of stimulus which never gets completely unwound, especially the tax cuts. Does Harper get a pass for stimulus spending in a credit crisis, or not? If the opposition forced the stimulus, who gets credit or blame for it?  The 90s recession was a bad one for Ontario, but it was garden variety in nature, and gov’ts have a poor track record with timing stimulus with normal recessions, no matter how severe.

      5) Ontario is not sovereign, so running 4% deficits, more or less, is much more potentially harmful, and much less prudent, than it would be for Canada. Rae made Ontario the world’s largest non-sovereign debtor, and through his nuke missteps, Ontario Hydro the 2nd largest. Rae’s record got better in the last few years, but only because it was that or quick acceleration toward bankruptcy.

      • Under the average for “post-war minority governments”?  How many is that? 2?
        Not exactly a metric to be used for anything other than smoke-and-mirrors.

  7. The Conservatives should double down and make ads saying they make a time machine to go back in time and kill Bob Rae because obviously without Bob Rae there would have been no worldwide recession in the early 90s. 

    • The pathetic thing is that nobody ever calls Harper on his hypocrisy. So he keeps on indulging in it. You’d think someone out there would have the brains to handle this fool.

      • people call him out on it all the time. the press treats it like a game and the public shrug it off. we’re the problem.

  8. There is another reason not to pay for ads to respond to nasty attack ads by opposing parties…it is a negative offensive trend in Canadian politics. It appeals to bully boys. It is degrading to play that tit for tat stuff.
    Have you thought about that, Mr Wells?

    • Media like this one live from subscription and newstand sales,  but advertising revenue is a huge portion of what pays these people’s salaries. And in the case of this organization, subsidies as well.  Government spending on advertising, for example, has gone up by more than 300 % under the Conservatives.  The parties’ ability to raise money from citizens, no matter the tactics, is touted as a great quality and for a reason : the media will be the biggest recipient of this manna, funded 50 to 75% through taxpayer’s money via the tax system.   

      • Oh yeah, definitely a media plot.

    • Nowhere does Paul suggest the Liberal response should be negative. He’s simply suggesting that some sort of response is appropriate. His tweet mentions the NDP ads of Mulcair, which simply help define the NDP and its leader.

      Besides, the Liberals already declared they will be responding, in a recent fundraising letter. Your suggestion that the Liberals are above all that is contradicted by the Liberal fundraising letter.

    • There’s no need for ads to be negative. “Hi. I’m Bob Rae. Here’s two things a government should do that this one will never do.” Then fill in blank, if there actually is a reason for a Liberal government.

      But you know what? Everything Liberals ever say about the Harper government is a miniature negative ad that does them no good. Watch QP. It’s “scandal” and “menace” and “resign!” and “hidden agenda.” Which is fine, if they believe it. They just don’t have the energy (or the money, which is the only thing about this drama that is more Dion’s fault than Ignatieff’s, and more Ignatieff’s than Rae’s)  to bundle their criticism together and put it where people might notice it. The Liberals are relentlessly, but ineffectually, negative. 

      And if eschewing the negative is a virtue, it’d be nice if it were consistently applied. Since 2006, the Liberals have been very vocal about the virtue of foregoing negative ads — right up until two weeks before they lose another 30 seats in an election. Then they hit as hard as they can, but it’s too late. If your next campaign is going to end the way the last one did — with ads like this, and yet another wipeout …

      …maybe don’t bother with the high horse.

      • It is amusing to watch Liberal bloggers and commenters go negative on the Conservatives. You first notice it when they quote the old statistic that only 40% of Canadians voted for Harper, conveniently forgetting that Pearson, Trudeau, and Chretien, seldom had more than 40% of the vote.

        There is still a pathetic arrogance to the Liberal Party. They cannot believe that voters have sent them back to Ottawa in the past 5 elections with fewer seats every time.This causes such a bitterness in their souls that they cannot help but lash out at Harper with an increasingly silly series of outlandish phony scandals.

        • You consider the robo-call voter-suppression fraud that affected 200 ridings across the country to be an “increasingly silly outlandish phony scandal”? Canada’s chief electoral officer has a very different opinion. He testified before a parliamentary committee claiming the scandal is “absolutely outrageous” and “totally unacceptable in a modern democracy.” 

          Here’s a very vocal opponent of fake 40% majorities you might be familiar with: Stephen Harper. While in opposition he said they produced a “benign dictatorship.” He was even elected leader of the Conservative party via the Proportional Representation voting system. His opposition to PR now is clearly hypocritical and opportunistic. Hmm… maybe it’s not “arrogance” which motivates people to be critical of the Harper Government…  

          BTW, almost all developed countries ensure a majority of the electorate is represented in government. It is the literal interpretation of democracy, as opposed to our ironic version.

          • Uh, wait a minute…didn’t the Liberals admit to doing some questionable robocalling?

          •    No.

            They all do robocalling….it’s suppressing the vote that’s the problem. Sending people away from polling stations.

      • I don’t think the Liberals’ criticisms of the Harper government are in the same league as the Con propaganda claiming Ignatieff was “just in it for himself” or portraying a laughing Bob Rae as the premier of welfare-ville (population 1,200,000.) One is fulfilling the role of an opposition party, the other is sleaze and slander that specifically attempts to manipulate people’s emotions to incite anger and disgust against a political opponent.

        No doubt, the high road position is lame and the federal Liberals have followed it inconsistently and ineffectively. Andrea Horwath took the high road consistently in the last ON election, but she just threw away a great opportunity to make a big breakthrough and significantly affect legislation. McGuinty had no compunctions wielded the sleaze as amply as Harper. He turned around a big Hudak lead and beat Horwath back to get a near majority. (Ironically federal Liberal supporters were Ok with that…)

        Politics is war. If you want to change the rules you have to win the war first and legislate them after.

        • Another Liberal ad idea that doesn’t require specifically defending Rae: put up clips of Harper making promises he has clearly broken – esp those to do with integrity – then but a big red “x” through it. Tag line:” How many strikes does this guy get? Your CPC government: Hypocrisy at work.”

        • However, the Libs would never change the rules. Those rules have worked in their favour for many years.

      • Yeah, here I agree.  I was furious.

      • “The Liberals are relentlessly, but ineffectually, negative.”


        Plus the Liberals seem to think that they’ll break out in a fatal rash or something if they actually gave us some real idea of what they’d do if they got elected.  So it’s all Harper Sucks, all the time.

        • Except they were the only ones that had a platform costed out using something other than mystical projections of future revenues to justify their planned spending activities.  They *did* give a real idea of what they’d do if they got elected.

          The problem was, they did it as an actual platform, not just meaningless platitudes that could be spit across the TeeVee in a 5 second tagline between acts in American Idol.

          • I’m talking about now, not last election campaign.

            BTW, what is the Liberal Party’s position on the GST?  Are they in favour of keeping it at 5%?  Or are they in favour of raising it?

          • Platforms are so passe; it’s meaningless platitudes and relentless negativity, gutterball tactics matched with smart marketing funded by ginned up partisans that win the field today – even Donnolo hinted as much in Newman’s book on the death of Liberal Canada. The difficulty is as PW ponts out the liberals believe they are the keepers of some sacred flame of virtue to which they only have access; but they’re not prepared to don the brass knuckles to defend themselves. 
            One day i pray they will realise in this post rationale era that Obama is probably right – you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. That said this has little or nothing to do with good governance or public moral leadership and is very dispiriting.

          • I think a lot of the Liberal inaction on this front is also reflective of the fact that the party is very deeply divided on which way to go, policy-wise.  The one thing Liberal tub-thumping partisans can heartily agree on is that Harper is Evil.  Actually, it’s the only thing.  So they focus on that, all the time.  They don’t want to talk about their own policies or solutions so much because once they start doing that, the considerable divisions between the party’s left and right wings quickly become apparent.  Hell, you mention the name “John Manley” to certain left-wing Liberals these days, and they practically foam at the mouth.

          • OB

            I think there’s a lot of truth in what you say about a schism within the party. They’ve always been able to paper over those cracks [chasms] while in power and under strong leaders like Trudeau and Chretien; but they seem lost in opposition. If they hope to survive they are going to have to learn some new tricks. Being relentlessly negative on Harper may be good fun and even largely true, but if it isn’t working, what then?
            I’ve been saying the same things to the party for what seems like forever – let’s talk about what we are going to do differently or better, and if we aren’t entirely sure let’s do what the LPC has always done, bring in new blood and ideas.
            To be fair if you followed the recent convention some progress was made on this issue – the new prez Crawly seems to grasp this well enough – no more resting on laurels, old glories, ancient victories, patting themselves on the back till they turn blue on what a bunch of exclusively vituous and high minded psuedo saints they all are…basking in the glories and achievements of other, better men and women, many of them.But are the party pooh pahs listening? Are they merely content to wallow in moral victories while Harper governs…badly imo?
            To quote Morgan Freeman’s great line from the Shawshank redemption…better get busy living or better get busy dying – LPC.      

          • Good post kcm2.

            I think a related problem is that the LPC is currently playing by its standard old “when in opposition” playbook.  Which states that when in opposition, you mercilessly and relentlessly dump on the government all the time.  There is no such thing as excessive hyperbole.  That’s all you have to do, and eventually everyone will end up agreeing with you that the government is horrible, and they’ll vote for you instead.

            And of course, that’s exactly what the LPC did the last time they were in opposition, i.e., from 1984 to 1993.  Cue the Rat Pack etc.  It worked then, so naturally it will work again.

            Now I’ll do my own pop cult quote, from The Wire:  “The thing about the old days is, they’s the old days.”

            The problem is, back in the 80s you didn’t have:

            1. the NDP holding over 100 seats;

            2. the Liberals in 3rd place;

            3. the Liberals without any significant base in Quebec;

            4. parties able to form a majority without winning large numbers of seats in Quebec,

            and so on.

            And the LPC’s congenital blindness to the significance of these changes helps explain why they spend so little time going after the NDP — I still don’t think the LPC has accepted the fact that they’re in a battle against the NDP.  It’s denial, plain and simple.

  9. I keep wondering why Libs have failed to respond to Con ads for Dion, Iggy and now Rae. Assumed Libs brain trust were dullards – which can still be an option – but maybe Libs know there is no reason to run ads because they waste of money.

    Dion wasn’t a leader, Iggy was in it for himself and Rae has economic record in Ont that people over age 40/45 yrs old well remember. Con ads only effective because they true, struck chord with public. If Cons would have run ads claiming Iggy was fifth columnist or somesuch, they would have been ignored and dismissed, but claiming Iggy was self centred rung true with Canadians. 

    Liberals don’t seem like serious party to me anymore – I think it is sign of enormous weakness that only Rae – a failed socialist premier widely hated by many – is seen as only candidate capable of leading Libs. No ambitious Liberal thinks their party is worth saving, leading? If Libs don’t particularly like their own party, why should electorate take them seriously?

  10. Bottom line is that unless Liberals rally around NDP leader Mulcair, then Harper reigns supreme for a long time to come. Most progressive Canadians, who definitely form a majority, want Harper’s conservatives removed from power and they don’t care if its by the NDP or the Liberals or a combination of both.  But splitting the vote again and again to allow Harper to continue punishing the majority while catering to the elite minority is going to make voting at all a largely useless exercise. Whole different story if we had some kind of proportional representation system. 

    Liberals have had they day in the sun,  They have been in power a lot over the last 60 years.  The NDP now has the momentum.  They have a new leader who is arguably on the right side of the traditional NDP position.  They embrace business success, job creation and above all economic fairness. Liberals should not have a big argument with that. They need to ask themselves a very simple question.  Would you prefer the continuation of the regressive Harper conservatives or the launching of a new progressive NDP government.  If you choose the former then you are not really a Liberal at all.  You are a conservative in liberal clothing. 

    • “The NDP…embrace business success”???

      Huh, when did that happen?  Their constitution says businesses should be forced to pursue social objectives, not profit.

      • Better bring yourself up to speed Canuckistan.  Social objectives are always important and necessary but so is a vibrant business environment.  People need things that businesses provide – not the least of which are jobs – a pretty important aspect of any social system.  Social responsibility and strong business performance are not mutually exclusive despite what right wing propaganda, fueled by unmitigated greed and pure self interest, suggests.  I have worked in private business for over 40 years.  I have enthusiastically helped the companies I’ve worked for increase profits and gain market share.  I have supported the NDP the entire time because I care about others and moving society forward for everyone, not just myself.  Fairness and balance is what the NDP is all about. 

      • Since when did profit come to encompass the be-all and end-all of success?

        Remember, there is no natural right for a corporation to exist. All the legal protections and advantages we give to corporations are granted by us, and were originally granted specifically so that corporations could work to benefit society.

        Benefiting society means a hell of a lot more than turning a profit.

    • I can only assume that as a seemingly principled, progressive person your investment portfolio only consists of unionized companies. And most certainly it is chock full of wind and solar ventures.To be invested in…say…Wal-Mart, Caterpillar, CIBC, Suncor and the like would be personally unacceptable to you…unless you’re a hypocrite..
      So tell me…how IS that socially responsible and principled portfolio performing for you?

  11. ““You trying to get me to spend money?” a senior official in the Liberal party said ….. “Ain’t gonna happen,” Senior Official in the Liberal Party said.” 

    CBC ~ Federal Sponsorship Scandal:
    But it wasn’t clear how the money was handed out: there were no application forms for this fund that was supposed to help pay the costs of social and cultural events and programs. There were rumours that the money was little more than a vehicle to reward loyal Liberal supporters.

    By the early spring of 2002, then prime minister Jean Chrétien was forced to address the issue. The Globe and Mail – under the Access to Information Act – tried to find out why the government paid $550,000 to advertising firm Groupaction Marketing for a report that could not be found. No one at Public Works or the company could explain it.

    Milton Friedman ~ There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. 

    Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get.

    • Again, I’ll point out that all this latter quote shows is that Milton Friedman is a cheap-skate and an ass. When I buy presents, I worry more about the content than the cost because I’m not a cheap-skate, and I want the person to be happy with the present — otherwise, why bother?  And when I spend somebody else’s money, I try to make sure to spend as little of it as I can get away with.. because it’s not my money and I’m not an ass.

      • Bully for you. But your choices don’t scale up.

        • They do just fine.. if you’re not a cheap-skate and an ass.

  12. All the advertising money in the world couldn’t buy the wall-to-wall coverage of the harper government’s shenanigans for the past few months.  The seventy-or-so percent of Canadians who don’t follow politics likely don’t even get why the NDP and conservatives advertise between elections.

  13. One must wonder what the Liberals are spending their money on. Are they hoarding the remnants of the per-vote-subsidy under the assumption that’s all they’ll have to run in the next election with? Are they investing it in coming up with a realistic and modern fundraising machine? Are they just writing checks to “strategists” like Warren Kinsella to produce YouTube GritGirl fluff? Investing heavily in Twitter hashtags? Buying friends on Facebook? 

    In killing the per-vote-subsidy, Harper was actually kind enough to phase it out slowly over time, giving the other parties time to modernize and adapt. The Liberals seem to be squandering that opportunity (I suppose squandering opportunities has been one of the few things they’ve been good at in recent years). Does the party brass really believe that it can simply take 2 years off between elections, and then magically spring back to life just before the next campaign? Or has their recent string of calamities got their base so dejected that nobody cares anymore?

    I like to see the Liberals get knocked around as much as the next guy, but I also think they do serve a purpose in our democracy. And right now, it looks like they’re headed for the exists completely after the next election, which would be bad for Canada. The last thing our politics needs is to become a 2-party system like in the US. And if the Liberals implode in the next election, as they appear to be on course for, then we’ll be there. This should be especially frightening to Dippers who’ll have a sudden shock to the system when large swaths of former Liberal voters start voting CPC.

    Really, do they have any kind of strategy right now? Aside from showboating for the cameras, is Rae providing any kind of strategic leadership?

  14. Disqus wandered off again

  15. The Liberal party is a dead man walking. There is nobody within the caucus who has the leadership capabilities and political savy to become leader. Marc Garneau? Please. They have no broad based coalition supporting the party. Quebec non. The West? You got to be kidding. They tried to bring somebody in from the outside and that failed miserably, Rae is the best on hand. However, he has an albatross around his neck that will sink him and the party in the next election if the rules are changed and he decides to run. You will certainly have an old white guy (almost 70) trumpeting left wing policies similar to the NDP. The government and the NDP will be reminding Canadians at every turn what his record was as the failed NDP premier of Ontario back in the 90’s.

  16. The Liberals have no real leader, no ideas, probably no money, and just about no relevance.  All they do is those stupid drive-by smear attempts, which Canadian voters heartily rejected about 8 years ago, but somehow the Liberal brain trust missed that memo. 
    In the meantime, the NDP are leaving the Liberals in their dust. 
    For crying out loud, Liberals, get your act together.  Get rid of Rae, get a leader, and get working to win back the trust of Canadian voters. before you reach the point of no return, which sadly, is just around the corner.