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Michael Ignatieff’s official response to last night’s results.

“I want to congratulate all of the winners in yesterday’s by-elections.

“I also want to thank Ken Beck Lee, Robert David, Marcel Catellier and Jim Burrows for carrying the Liberal banner.

“The by-election results last night show that we have a lot of work ahead of us. Canadians want an alternative to the Harper Conservatives. Our job in the months ahead is to earn the confidence and support of Canadians.”


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  1. Took you awhile to post today Wherry, where you up all last night crying or is it just that hard to type with all those tears in your eyes?

    • The personal attacks against Aaron are getting out of hand here.

      • Perhaps Aaron could do himself a favour by posting some of D’s emails? I suspect there are a few.

        • You'd be wrong.

          • Glad to hear it.

      • This pales in comparison to the attacks leveled at Steyn, Duffy, and other writers and figures from the right. This is the point where you explain how it is perfectly acceptable to launch insults at the right, because they are not on your own side.

        • Duffy is detestable and so is Steyn – or so many would argue. More importantly MS styles himself as an iconoclast – it comes with the territory.

          • QED. Mr. hypocrasy.

    • I always find it more than a little odd that numerous people who seem more than a tad bit resentful of Aaron continue to come and post on his blog. Is it some sort of variation of Stockholm sydrome?

      • I think you are mistaking resentful for something else, namely the willingness to disagree, debate, and point out flaws and bias in the analysis.

  2. The by-election results last night show that we have a lot of work ahead of us.

    Understatement of the Year Award?

    Ah, well, at least he's acknowledging that there's a problem. That's always the first step.

    • "Ah, well, at least he's acknowledging that there's a problem. That's always the first step. "

      Oh please.

      The biggest problem this country faces is the tendency to assign grandiose significance to relatively minor events why ignoring the larger ones altogether.

      I'm still waiting for the Harper Government to explain how it's going to eliminate the deficit. Although, I suspect they know they won't be around when that time comes. Just like every Conservative government in the recent past.

      • Although, I suspect they know they won't be around when that time comes.

        You don't think the Harper Government will win the next federal election? Seriously?

        • The deficits are expected to continue for the next five years at least.

          In any case, given that we can expect the next government to be formed on the strength of 20-25% of the eligible electorate, I don't think of those outcomes as "winning" anymore. But I digress…

          • Traditionally, the party that forms the Government is considered the "winner", regardless of turnout.

            Out of curiosity, what do you consider a "winning" mandate? 30% of the eligible electorate?

          • We have a Parliamentary system and cabinet government. We should all be winning every time we have an election. But apparently, only *some* Canadians are winning and everyone else is losing. Big time.

          • You didn't answer the question.

      • I'm still waiting for the Harper Government to explain how it's going to eliminate the deficit.

        Heck, I'm still waiting for Harper to explain what he meant by the "financial considerations" he offered to Cadman. Unlike our media, I'm rather curious as to whether our prime minister broke the law.

        [By the way, I'm posting this just to draw fire from the Con-bots, so that the rest of the sane community may post unmolested. That appears to be my function now. ;) ]

        • Indeed. By flailing a dead horse that passed away four years ago, you're performing a valuable public service. ;-)

          • Ah. a dead horse named ethics. It’s such a fleeting concept…for some.

          • We should be talking about the war of 1812.

          • Ah yes. I had forgotten how strict is the informal statute of limitations that the CPC imposes on all forms of political corruption performed by itself. My bad. Let us just move on then, shall we…

          • Stage 1: Deny it's news.
            Stage 2: Demand we wait until the facts are all out before we consider judging.
            Stage 3: Once all the facts are out, declare it old news, and not worth anybody's time.

            You seem to be proceeding apace, CR.

          • How long does a horse have to be dead before we can ignore it?

          • I suppose, if you actually think there will be an investigation into the Cadman affair, then it's fair game. I'm of the opinion that the authorities decided long ago that there was no evidence of wrongdoing, and thus this is one issue to be ignored forevermore.

          • The the Liberals are all truly forgiven.

        • I'm quite certain those purported "financial considerations" were not as explicitly illegal as those Mr. Gomery and the Quebec courts examined and passed judgement on. As an interesting aside, I'm curious as to how Mr. Harper can be accused of failing to plan on how to "eliminate the deficit" when he has only wasted, sorry invested, around half of what all the opposition paries say should be spent…I guess their plan is to let inflation fix the problem?

          • "But Mooommm! They were gonna do it too!"

            I gather you feel your employees can screw up all they want, so long as they can declare someone else would have screwed it up worse?

          • No, but I'm not looking for virgins in the brothel either. There are many shades of grey between black and white. To compare the Cadman situation (crusader who suffered personaly from injustice at the federal dept of "Just Us" and dedicated his life to looking after his family) and the institutional corruption of the fed libs in PQ, as agonizingly detailed by Gomery, is pretty weak and lame.

          • Nice attempt to retcon history. It wasn't "institutional" corruption, it was corruption of a few individuals, near the bottom of the party structure, with most even not part of the Liberal party, and for which an inquiry was started by the party in question to find otu the fact.. The Cadman situation is alleged to be a bribe attempt that was condoned (or at least, not condemned) by none other than the leader of the party, and for which the party has gone to court to prevent any facts from coming out.

            Tell me.. where's the corruption again?

          • Peter, if the Conservatives were principled, they would have pulled a Joe Clark and refused to bankrupt the future on their watch. Future bankruptcy for staying-in-power sake is inexcusable, so don't you dare try a "they made us do it!" line.

      • A federalist party winning a seat held by separatists for 16 years,
        is not a minor event.

        And even this Conbot would be cheering a Liberal or Dipper win,
        if the loser was the BLOC.

  3. Canadians want an alternative to the Harper Conservatives.

    If the BE's were a litmus test apparently half are happy with Conservatives while none favor the Libs. Clearly the alternative Canadians seek is not the face looking back at Iggy from the mirror in the morning…perhaps (based on the small sample of 4 by elections) the alternative we seek is Conservative majority led by Prime Minister Harper.

    • "Clearly the alternative Canadians seek is not the face looking back at Iggy from the mirror in the morning."

      Clear to you, but it looks pretty muddy to me. The Liberal never had a chance in these ridings. I don't see how this tells us anything different than yesterday. If the elections had been held in Alberta and Ignatieff lost, would you be claiming that 'this proves what Candians as a whole are thinking' too?

      • And The CPC is noted for its strength in Eastern Quebec? Nothing to see here citizen, move along…I'm thinking the Iggster is daydreaming alot about the "ivory tower" days

  4. Makes it that much easier to tell the inadvertent fools from the willful blue badge of honour ones.

  5. "If the BE's were a litmus test…"

    Hooray for science!

  6. Ignatieff clearly didn't get the message.

    Canadians apparently do NOT want an alternative to the Harper Conservatives.

    The time for an alternative may come, of course, but for the time being Iggy had better listen harder to what Canadians are telling him. Is he deaf?

    • The time for an alternative may come, of course, but for the time being Iggy had better listen harder to what Canadians are telling him.

      Which Canadians? Guys like you TwoYen?

      • It reminds me of Paul Martin and his "Canadian values" campaign.

        Not all Canadians think like Liberals. Some of us realize that "Canadians" come in many shapes and colours. The problem with the Liberals is that they keep thinking that only people who think like them are real Canadians.

        • Er…taliban Jack, just visiting, soft on crime, in it for himself, a tax on everything …fine examples of Conservative inclusiveness.

          • kcm,

            I didnt suggest all Canadians think like Tories; I suggested not all Canadians think like Liberals. Liberals want everybody to think alike. I don't. I'm perfectly comfortable with people that don't agree with me. I just want them to realize I don't have to be told by my leaders that I am supposed to think a certain way. It's a traditional small "l" liberal value that the big "L" Liberals don't believe in any more.

      • Perhaps listening to guys like Two Yen would be a good start.

    • Surely, in the interest of democracy, we can all agree that having a viable alternative is generally a good thing!

      • Having an alternative is indeed a good thing and I fully expect that the Canadian electorate will want to turf the Tories one day. My point was that I don't get the sense that that time is now.

  7. And which of these ridings has ever really been in play for the Liberals?

    • Maybe none. But in the cumulative popular vote yesterday the Liberals lost 2.9% compared to the last vote in these 4 ridings. The Conservatives and the NDP picked up over 3% each. The momentum is clearly heading the wrong way for the Count, especially given that we are in a vicious recession.

      • According to one report, the Liberals have won only ONE of these four ridings in 32 contests. Given that they were never in play in the first place, how is this anything but a "status quo ante" result for Iggy?

        Clearly, there's not any good news out of these results for the Liberals (except that the stimulus for votes scheme didn't seem to work for Harper everywhere and most of the country was unaware that any election was going on), but the suggestion that the by-election results portend disaster for Iggy seems to deny an electoral history for these ridings that states otherwise.

        The good news seems to have been split between Harper and Layton. Harper held a long-time Con redoubt (which was also never in play) and managed to buy the loyalty of one rural Quebec riding (where have we heard that one before?). Layton held an NDP riding with an "invisible, not available for interview or debate" Con candidate. No surprise there, either.

        As with most by-elections, they really don't indicate much of anything on a national score.

        • In 2004 the Liberals received 27.4% of the vote in New West-Coquitlam. That was about 5% away from the winning Tory. Last night they received 10.3%. That's 39% behind the winner. The trend in a suburban riding with a large ethnic mix is not good for the Liberals who used to dream of making inroads in that type of BC riding. They aren't really going in the right direction even under Mr. Ignatieff are they?

          • No doubt. but you omit the very important fact that in 2004 the Liberals were in Government, not opposition.

          • They were also the government in 2006. The trend, however, has been progressively downhill for them – in a riding that was one that they used to think would be a bridgehead out of their Vancouver enclaves. The numbers they are now getting are as bad as those the Tories get in Montreal.

        • While the Liberals troubles, and last night's results are unrelated, it's good too see that regardless of where the wisdom came from, the Libs seem to be indicated they've got some work ahead of them.

  8. "33,608 Canadians voted Tory in these by-elections, which was 35.72 per cent of the total vote cast.

    22,783 Canadians voted New Democrat, 24.22 per cent of the total.

    19,709 Canadians (perhaps we should say, Quebeckers) voted Bloc, 20.95 per cent of the total.

    And 13,914 Canadians voted Liberal, 14.79 per cent of the total." Globe and Mail Nov 10 '09

    I don't think "Canadians want an alternative to the Harper Conservatives" means what you think it means, Iggy. For a supposedly smart guy, Iggy gets stuck on stupid an awful lot.

    • I think you're trying to squeeze way too much meaning out of some by-elections! Other than the Con win over the Bloc, these are pretty slim pickins' for thoughtful analyses.

      • Liberal momentum heading the wrong way perhaps. Minus 2.9% popular support across the 4 ridings from the last vote. A last vote where Stephane Dion led the Liberals to an historic low in popular support not seen since 1867. At the tail of the worst recession since, perhaps, the 1930's. With a popular new leader and the correct policy platform set against this backdrop the Liberal momentum should be heading the other way.

  9. Well, the 50-65% of Canadians who do not now like the Conservatives in government will find themselves an alternative to Harper, eventually.

    Maybe it'll be the Ignatieff Liberals. Maybe it'll involve destroying the Liberals and pushing a stronger NDP. Maybe it'll involve forces we simply cannot foresee.

    And maybe that combination will repulse other Canadians who now think about voting Liberal, as it did last year when the Tories zoomed up to near 50% in the polls when the coalition was pitched.

    Who knows?

    What's clear is:
    1. The Tories will not govern forever; and
    2. The Liberals would be fools not to position themselves as the most logical alternative.

    Nothing is set in stone — surely we all can remember when the Liberals were at 56% in the polls when Paul Martin was about to take over, in fall 2003?

    • Memo to file: Probably just a coincidence that the formal process of "uniting the right" was begun in the fall of 03. It is hard to believe the Libs have bled more support than they now have in just six short years….almost spooky.

      • Yeah, even Chretien's third majority in 2000 wasn't enough — it took the prospect of the Martin juggernaut to force it, along with opposition parties polling in the teens.

        For what it's worth (nil), my prediction during last year's campaign was that the Tories would get their majority, and another in 2012 before the Canadian centre-left decided that it was sick of losing to him and it was time to build a united alternative that could (and would) beat the Tories.

        But then the markets crashed and the majority slipped through their hands.

    • And that Harper first came to power with a WEAKER minority mandate than Paul Martin had.

      Stuff changes in politics.

  10. Quebec was a good win for the Conservatives. I won't argue that.

  11. What was important in the bi-elections was not the individual outcomes per capita of party vote or any analyis but the consequences to the parties – the LPT fundraising machine has now gone into free-fall = can you imagine charging a any bucks for a dinner and speaking enagagement right now? the only takers would be a few media types who would promptly demand a receipt for tax purposes. It is so funny to read the posters from people who are so obviously liberal than it drips off the page. CBC web forum has dozens of posts where people are talking about the NDP becoming the official opposition and I have never seen so many agreements – in all my years I have never seen anything like it = what a HOOT! who would havr thought a short while back that this could occure .. my fave though is the cartoon in hte chronicle herald right now ROFL!

  12. Would that all press releases be so to-the-point and devoid of spin.