Toronto Centre, land of selfless pundits -

Toronto Centre, land of selfless pundits

Journalists line up for the byelection nomination


Jennifer Hollett poses with former New Brunswick premier Bernard Lord (left) and former Manitoba premier Gary Doer (right) in Toronto on May 17, 2005. (Tobin Grimshaw/CP)

It’s getting to where if a journalist does no more than write a column for a living, he’s going to come off as a slacker. Say hello to Linda McQuaig, eternal pundit, serious shoe-leather reporter, serial best-selling author and apparently the latest member of the commentariat to line up for a party nomination in the Toronto Centre by-election. She joins — or rather will hope to run against — former Globe/Reuters/FT eminence Chrystia Freeland, who’s seeking the Liberal nomination, and Jennifer Hollett, who will be McQuaig’s direct competition for the NDP nomination.

Perhaps confusingly, there is at least one candidate for an opposition nomination in Toronto Centre who did not grow up telling people what she thinks about stuff. Best of luck to Diana Burke, who is contesting the Liberal nomination and faces a serious deficit of free-media exposure because she is merely what the Conservatives would call a “job creator.”  (UPDATE: There’s also this guy Todd Ross, who’s apparently spent much of his time doing things instead of writing about things. Confusing!)

I would not want to be Chrystia Freeland running against Linda McQuaig in Toronto Centre. McQuaig is older, better known (although journalism’s weird lens surely distorts the extent to which anyone has heard of either candidate). She was writing books on income inequality when Freeland was in short pants, they have always targeted Liberals and Conservatives more or less interchangeably, and they sell lots of copies. Expect her to portray Freeland as a late arriver, not to Canada, but to compassion. Toronto Centre is quite a safe Liberal seat, but less safe than it used to be: in 2011, the spread among Liberal, NDP and Conservative candidates was less than 12 points, roughly one-fourth the distance between first and third in 2004. I don’t think anyone can count on a sure outcome in Toronto Centre. (The Conservatives, characteristically, have given no hint about who their candidate might be.)

One other bit of by-election news, because apparently Toronto Centre is not the only riding in Canada: Justin Trudeau seems to have recruited the sitting Liberal MNA to give up his provincial seat and run to replace Denis Coderre in Bourassa. The provincial Liberals are a strong bet to replace the PQ in government in an election that could come within a year; the federal Liberals have lost lots of seats in every election since 2004. If Trudeau can persuade Emmanuel Dubourg to give up a bird in the hand, it will continue the young Liberal leader’s extended streak of confounding jaded expectations.


Toronto Centre, land of selfless pundits

  1. Reporters, book writers to run a multi-billion dollar government?

    • I really really really distrust career politicians. It’d be nice to get a horse of a different color into the electoral race every so often. Especially if it looks as if they might be able to add a little more political oversight to the contest, less the normal political pandering, than what you’d normally expect from their political opponents. It’d also be nice if people running for office could do so as an independent.

      • Like CTV News anchor Mike Duffy? Or CTV’s Pamela Wallin? How about Global TV’s Peter Kent?

        • To be fair, 2 of those 3 didn’t actually run in an election.

          • They’re still examples of why journalists make bad politicians.

          • Compared to who? What profession has done a bang up job of running things?

          • @McInally — Uh, Ralph Klein? René Lévesque?

          • Ralph Klein was a journalist before entering politics, and was an extraordinarily successful politician, both at the municipal and provincial level.

          • Ralph Klein says more about the low quality of Alberta voters than journalists as politicians.

          • Agreed, Albertans must regret seeing their province turned into such an economic and political powerhouse.

          • Oh I forgot, Alberta voters are inferior beings because GFMD says so. I keep forgetting that it’s a badge of progressiveness to hate Albertans. My bad.

          • not necessarily, but Klein was a doofus and albertans elected him handily (nobody’s perfect, Ontario is still living down Harris).

            While painting an entire province broadly could be construed as as an unfavourable practice, it should also be incumbent on that province to show us a little better. C’mon alta, we know you can up your game!

          • So if Albertans would change their errant ways and vote for parties that GFMD and other self-styled progressives approve of, maybe GFMD would quit calling Albertans stupid. Maybe GFMD would even pat them on the head approvingly. Take heart, ye benighted Albertans, GFMD has offered you a sliver of hope!

          • Hey, balls in yr court, prairie peeps!

          • Naw but GFMD would be eally peed if Alberta cut off the transfer payments

          • The Liberal conceived National Energy Program devastated Alberta’s oil sector thirty years ago, since that time they have voted in consecutive conservative governments. Thirty years ago Alberta complained about Ontario’s huge manufacturing sector and how it gave them all the political and economic power in Canada, isn’t it wonderful what consecutive Liberal and NDP governments in Ontario have accomplished since then. I highly doubt Alberta will “up its game” and vote Liberal.

          • Correction.
            Klein wasn’t a doofus. He was a drunk and a damn good drunk at that.

          • On his drunkest day he was still superior to McGinty sober

          • They did. Peter was awesome …and I was on Trudeau’s side of the argument – at the time.

          • Here’s a snippet from a letter to the editor at the Edmonton Sun which they actually printed, “nothing dumber than an Alberta voter.” Just because Albertans inherited an oil resource that made them rich, in spite of the tax grab by the Trudeau Liberals, doesn’t make them adept politically. I’ve worked the last five provincial elections here and nothing ever at all changes the political landscape. Oh wait! An NDP candidate was elected in Edmonton. What happened Alberta, were you asleep at the switch?

          • Good politician. Bad premier. Alberta is rich, but we could be a lot better off than we are if he hadn’t made some of the decisions he did. Besides, he is not responsible for putting the oil in the ground.

          • Well duh, obviously God put it in the ground.
            But why do you think he put it there?

        • They are all crooks – see my comment above.

    • A large number are satisfied with the current PM, who has even less qualifications.

    • AsH—s are running it now could it be any worse

  2. Even if the NDP do not win this byelection they will be served well by running a high profile candidate and building up their organization in the riding because in 2015 after the boundaries are redistributed the newly formed riding that comprises what is currently the southerly portion of TC will be ripe for picking up by the NDP.

  3. On a related note, there are now 3 LPC candidates running in Toronto-Centre. Can we quiet this nonsense about Justin Trudeau kiboshing his open nominations promise, as Ivison in the NP said a few weeks ago (as well as more then a few NDP supporters on Twitter), regardless of what George Smitherman implied/said/didn’t say?

    As for the NDP, that will be quite a battle to watch; I respect both Hollett and Mcquaig. And as for the journalists, I nominate David Akin to represent the Sunmedia chain.. er.. the CPC.. for Toronto Centre. Not sure who we could get from the NP – maybe Coyne could run as an independent libertarian?

    • I think Rex Murphy should take a shot at it.

      • For the CPC nomination, I presume?

        • No the Marxist Leninist Party.

          (Psst… TL;DR: Rex Murphy is f***in crazy).

    • Rebecca Eckler might sow up the Rosedale urbane vacuous, self-absorbed mommy vote.

  4. I’m a political junkie and I had never heard of either of them. Or rather I thought Linda McQuaig was a Cape Breton folk singer.

  5. Hmmm … Lord Connie B. and his faithful cohort are gonna
    have to rummage through the closets and dust off the ol’
    horsewhip, eh ?

    • Heeheehee ……. someone has a long memory ;-)

  6. Freeland and McQuaig, two members of the 1%, telling us middle class types how to solve our problems. Freeland is sort of selling the bankster line on middle class problems…i.e. that it isn’t the banksters fault, and that is is globalization and technology. McQuaig, at least knows who the bad guys are, but like all rich intellectual socialists, her solutions are all wrong.

    I think we would be better off electing middle class people to solve the problems of middle class people, rather than 1%’ers telling us how to fix our problems.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • Oh…do men have ‘cat fights’?

      • Man, when are you going to stop peddling your anti intellectualism? What you’re really selling is old fashioned class hatred, no matter how much middle class populist varnish you slap on it.
        People should be able to defend or promote their ideas regardless of their backgrounds or social status. You regularly push what amounts to a form of reverse snobbery and it never gets any more palatable.

        • LOL a Liberal accusing someone else of class hatred. Too funny!!!

          • You’re actually that thick aren’t you; you actually think you have a point and I don’t. Why don’t you at least provide an argument rather then trying to score points? Fat chance of that!

          • OK, try this on for size. Justin Trudeau’s favorite candidate in Toronto Center right now is an American journalist who became famous among socialists simply because she wrote a book about how the left should wage a class war.

            Same thing with Linda (Scrooge) McDuck for the NDP. Their entire reasons for existing are to wage class warfare. Yet you bristle when someone points out that these “saviors of the middle class” are actually just a bunch of millionaires who’ve never worked a blue collar job in their lives?

            You might not be clever enough to catch the irony in Trudeau claiming to understand the middle class while being born with a million dollar trust fund. But most Canadians are.

          • When I said make an argument I at least though you’d get basic facts right. If the candidate is the one I’m thinking of you’d know she’s from Peace River AB or somewhere close. Other than that I don’t know much about her. But she’s written a book and lived in the US or UK so that automatically excludes her in your book. I doubt very much she’s a millionaire. In fact she’s someone who won a Rhodes scholarship if I remember correctly; but that’s bad too in your provincial little world isn’t it. If she has nothing original to say I’m sure that’ll come out in due time.
            As for JT, you’d know if you’d bothered to follow the LPC leadership race that he did a good job of insulating himself against rich elitist jabs from the likes of MHF, merely by admitting that yes he’s led a privileged life but that hardly excludes him from trying to pay back in public service. It’s an old fashioned idea, one that the likes of you and WSSYW distain. Look it up. That’s just another form of class war the both of you are peddling. Class hatred cuts both up and down, I should know. There isn’t much you can teach a Brit about the class system.
            Points at least for trying.

          • I should add I’d bet the family farm you haven’t and never will read the book in question.

  7. I don’t really see how you can be a credible journalist and without bias and then throw in with a political party. Never mind you are supposed to be holding the politicians to account, not become one of them.

    • The idea of being a “journalist without bias” is an untenable ideal. Now people just try and manage it by becoming aware of what their biases are, and recusing themselves from certain stories. (Academia takes the same approach).

      For the most part, partisan bias isn’t journalism’s main threat. Particularly in Canada, where the idea of “fair journalism as a means to affect social change” is a centuries old tradition (remember that Heritage Minute about Étienne Parent?) Some of Canada’s finest politicians – including pioneers such as Joseph Howe, George Brown, and D’Arcy McGee – were involved in journalism, and they did a damn good job uncovering corruption and collusion of all stripes!

      So long as “truth” remains the ultimate goal, our journalists can retain their high quality work while having political views. Commercial bias – represented by devoting mountains of news coverage to the birth of Royal Baby – is a far bigger danger to fair coverage in Canadian journalism.

      Tying into the problem of commercial bias: The record of journalistic integrity among politically motivated journos only extends to our print journalism culture. Broadcast and New Media journalism has a far more checkered history.

  8. Could you imagine what the Toronto Star (represented by McQuaig) and The Globe and Mail/Thompson (represented by Freeland) would write if rich white people presumed to tell some visible minority or disadvantaged group how to solve their problems? Or to purport to represent that visible minority’s interests.

    Yet it is perfectly okay apparently for rich white people to tell and increasingly multicultural middle class how to solve their problems.

    But neither the Toronto Star, nor the Globe and Mail have the guts to run their candidates in the 905. In Toronto Centre, it is rich white people telling other rich people how they would solve the problems of middle class people, none of whom are wealthy enough to live in the increasing Manhattanized Toronto Centre.

    • The Globe has stopped endorsing the Conservatives?

      I must have missed that. Have you got a reference?
      I’m not sure how rich McQuaig has gotten writing books in Canada, but I’m pretty sure that if she has, it was in those books that she wrote about those same problems and solutions, you know, before she was “rich”.

      So, was it those books becoming bestellers that then invalidated the ideas presented in them?

    • I’m confused. Are you suggesting rich white people force others to buy their newspapers, or vote for them?

  9. People wanted Justin Trudeau to encourage candidates with knowledge of the economy to run for office, and it looks like he has done that. It’s good to see that there is more than one woman who comes from an economic background running for the nomination so that the Liberal Party can start getting some more economic credentials again. It looks like a good start.

    • Freeland is a financial journalist, NOT an economist.

      Her book whitewashes Wall Street’s predominant role in the hollowing out of the middle class in the United States, which is not surprising, since all her “friends” are banksters.

      i.e. she is a bankster talking head. She regurgitates Wall Street spin on the death of the middle class.

      • So why didn`t the Cons nab her?

        • Because she’s a Limousine Liberal?

          • The tragic tale of an Alberta farm girl who goes to Harvard and becomes a – gasp – LIMOUSINE LIBERAL!!!

        • The Liberals are an easier party for Wall Street to infiltrate.

          The NDP and Conservatives in Canada are still more grassroots and main street parties. The Conservatives are an upper middle class party. The Liberals represent the elites, the establishment, the 1%, and the financial class.

          Wall Street’s success at creating fake progessives is exemplified by Obama. Freeland is another one of these faux progressives, and it is probably easier for the real Canadian left (i.e. someone like McQuaig) to expose her.

          • People _like_ faux progressives.

            They get to feel good about voting to the left and not get their stuff nationalized, either.

            But a Freeland-McQuaig race is a good one to watch for that reason — if the former wins, status quo in Canadian politics; if the latter wins, then the NDP can continue its pushing aside of the Liberal Party.

            As someone on the classical liberal right, I suppose I should cheer for Freeland in this showdown…

          • The Cons are hillbillies and crackers.

          • Your Ma and Pa were conservatives

          • LOL not even close.

  10. They should know the most, that all politicians are crooks –

    second, that there is no reason to vote in Canada, since nothing will ever change for the better.

    • Amazing….one of the top-rated countries in the world, and way ahead of the US.

      Politicians m’lad, are your friends and neighbours….not some alien species forced on us.

  11. all I can say for sure is if we vote NDP we will get the government we deserve, Conservative regessors

  12. McQuaig is a sellout to Canada on the FATCA issues. She has been personally warned that would be brought up.

  13. Linda McQuaig supports turning the CRA and/or Canadian banks and other financial institutions into extensions of the US’ IRS at the expense of Canada’s sovereignty. The mechanism that would do this is FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) – US originated legislation that the US is forcing countries to adopt in order to help it combat its problem of tax evasion.

    Unfortunately, FATCA is seriously flawed for a number of reasons:

    – It requires “partner” countries, like Canada, to identify US citizens and other “US Persons” regardless of the fact that they may be Canadian citizens or permanent residents and pass on their financial information to the IRS. According to Peter Hogg, a leading authority on Canadian constitutional law, this is likely a violation of section 15(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as it is discrimination on the basis of national origin. Think about it, Canada must look for the approximately 1 million US citizens who are resident in Canada and may be Canadian citizens, and tell the US about the financial vitals of these people. This is despite the fact that such people are almost certainly paying their fair share of taxes to Canada, just like other residents of Canada.

    – It is not being pursued as a genuine negotiation between sovereign countries but as a take-it-or-else proposition. Any country that does not implement FATCA will see its financial institutions penalized with an unconditional 30% withholding tax on US source income. FATCA is an example of economic imperialism.

    – FATCA will be expensive to implement and provides limited, if any, gain to Canada. Basically, “partner” countries are being asked to pay to solve the US’ problem at their own expense.

    – “Partner” countries should not expect true reciprocity as Congress will almost certainly not authorize the required legislation. This will be partly due to the fact that the US has some of the world’s biggest tax havens in Nevada, Delaware and other states. Indeed, countries are expected to sign up for and implement FATCA before the US even begins to give any serious thought to reciprocity.

    Although fighting tax evasion is a worthy goal, FATCA is the wrong tool as it goes against the Charter, privacy rights, and Canadian sovereignty. As such, I find it very difficult to see how anyone that considers herself a nationalist could support the example of US overreach that is FATCA.

  14. NO! The teaching unions ensure
    that workers are represented in a greedy capitalist society. If it
    weren’t for unions, we teachers would be working for less than $2 a day.

    dumb conspiracy theorist. For anyone reading these posts which are
    slandering Martingrove Collegiate Vice Principal V ivian M avrou I hope
    that you
    realize these statements are not true and are posted by individuals for a
    reason unknown. I have worked with V ivian for a number of years and
    find her to be a great administrator. Now think, if any of these
    statements about her doing oral sex on a student in her car were true could TDSB really hide this from teachers, parents,
    students, the media or the police – absolutely not. I shudder to think
    what the purpose of these constant posts are. The posters sound mentally
    disturbed and I am afraid that they would not get psychiatric help for
    their mental retardation. Names of students have been posted – you as
    teachers must agree that this is horrible – imagine when these students
    and families Google their names and see that they have been pulled into a
    slanderous campaign, very sad for the students and those employees of
    TDSB that would stoop so low for their own advancement !

    Gowans lost her teaching job because of online trolls who smeared her
    name.. Think- the male student made lies about Mary Gowans because Mary
    Gowans was already married and loved her husband she wouldn’t even let
    the student have an all nighter with her. And that was why the student
    made malicious accusations against Mary Gowans and sent 1,000 spam text
    messages which were stored in the phone company’s

  15. Anyone know if Mcquaig is the same anonymous lefty journo who once told the story of being approached by a certain well known politician at a party and upon finding out that she was the author of an alleged anti- American screed, had given her to understand that if it were up to him it never would have got published? No prizes for sussing out who that great democrat was and still is.
    Or am I mixing my gossiping Toronto journos up?

    • It’s actually kind of hard to tell.

      • Hard to tell what? One gossiping Toronto journo from another. Whether the story is actually true or merely apocryphal ; or who the politician was/is?
        Surely Toronto journos are above making stuff up about conservative politicians :)

  16. Why is Lindy running for the NDP did she get fired by ” The Moonbeam Party.”

  17. If the 1/2 comment on this Bourassa story describing visible minorities there as “des microbes” is a clue, I’m not sure it’s that surprising Ottawa appeals to this gentleman at the mo. It’s as tough to be a minority politician in Quebec today as ever it’s been… but for fed politics (Bloc included), the ugliest of hard nationalists do seem to mostly sit-out.