Let the Liberal leadership race begin

Talking about Martha Hall Findlay's leadership candidacy, Mulcair's energy policy, and the Calgary Centre by-election

Message of the day

“Martha Hall Findlay is a credible challenger to Justin Trudeau.”

Hot Topics:

  1. Liberal leadership race
  2. Thomas Mulcair in Calgary
  3. Maxime Bernier on infrastructure
  4. Calgary Centre by-election

Questions not answered

  • Are the Conservatives in trouble in Calgary Centre?

Liberal leadership:

With the federal Liberal leadership now officially underway, Power & Politics heard from newly declared candidate Martha Hall Findlay, who said that those who can run should do so if they feel they can contribute, and that she learned a great deal in her 2006 leadership bid, and has learned a great deal more in the six years since. Hall Findlay said that she has the financial support lined up, and wants to debate with her fellow caucus members about her contrasting views about supply management – she favours abolition, when most Liberals support retaining it. Hall Findlay says that she supports the oil sands and development, but that she’s also an environmentalist, and that not doing the right things environmentally has an economic cost. She says that her experience as a lawyer and small business owner are what differentiates her from putative front-runner Justin Trudeau.

Hall Findlay was also on Power Play, where she added that she launched in Calgary because she has every intention of running a party that’s national – which it hasn’t been for a while – and because she’s an Executive Fellow at the University of Calgary right now. She added that her campaign manager, Stephen Carter, is not terribly partisan and has had campaign success with Naheed Nenshi and Alison Redford. She noted that she has had an unbelievably positive response from farmers on her supply management stance.

Don Martin then spoke with former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin on the nine-year anniversary of his becoming party leader. Martin said that he feels good about this race, and that it will give the party momentum. He said that the NDP has given no indication they’re willing to move toward the centre, and are demonstrating that they are still stuck in the tax-and-spend philosophy, while the Liberals eliminated the deficit, put in a national childcare program and engaged the aboriginal community.

P&P’s Power Panel gave their thoughts, where Jennifer Ditchburn said Hall Findlay’s touting her life experience was a coded way of saying she’s a heavyweight compared to Trudeau, and that her coming from the political right of the party is interesting as it has vanished from the limelight of late. Ian Capstick considered the race to be lacklustre, with nobody ready to take on Mulcair and Harper. Stephen Carter, who is Hall Findlay’s campaign strategist, said that Hall Findlay is jumping off where she left off the last time, and that she will stand for industry. Rob Silver said it was nice to have Carter in the party fold, and that Hall Findlay is a more impressive candidate now than she was in 2006.

Power Play’s journalist panel of Tim Harper and Laura Stone also weighed in, where Harper said that pretty much every Liberal in Ottawa is behind Trudeau, but clearly they want a race, which Hall Findlay brings. Stone said she will be interested in seeing what Stephen Carter can bring to her campaign, given his track record.

Thomas Mulcair:

Martin spoke with Thomas Mulcair from Calgary, where he said that he is talking about the need for full reviews of new projects, and that the Conservatives have been removing those processes. Mulcair said that if we continue ramping up to 5 million barrels of oil production per day, Canada won’t be anywhere near meeting greenhouse gas targets, so we should stay in the 3.5 million barrel range. Mulcair said that the government needs to take care of country’s energy security, which means bringing oil from west to east – subject to a full environmental review, of course. He also disputed that the NDP wants to institute a new infrastructure tax, but rather to redirect one cent of existing gas tax.

Maxime Bernier:

Maxime Bernier was on Power Play to claim that the NDP wants to raise taxes by one per cent to pay for infrastructure (as Mulcair already disputed), and said that the government is negotiating with provinces and municipalities toward a post-2014 infrastructure program.

Calgary Centre by-election:

P&P’s Power Panel weighed in on the by-election and the close polling numbers. Carter said the situation is the same as when Joe Clark won the seat from the Canadian Alliance, and that the voters want to send a signal to the government. Ditchburn said that central Canada has imperfect vision of Calgary Centre, while Capstick noted that Conservative candidate Joan Crockatt is not a sympathetic character. Silver put zero stock in the poll, but said that there are good local candidates, and that there are more similarities between downtown Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver than with rural seats. Carter predicted a Liberal win.

Worth Noting:

  • Israeli ambassador to Canada Miriam Ziv said that a targeted air strike that killed the Hamas military leader was justified because of number of rocket attacks launched against southern Israel recently, and that Hamas was planning on hitting Tel Aviv.
  • Former CIA officer Michael Scheuer said that General Petraeus had a lot of enemies in Washington, and that the security culture in the US in terms of respecting intelligence is crumbling at its very heart because of media and political culture.
  • CIBC Deputy Chief Economist Benjamin Tal said that the lack of succession planning by small business owners will become a macro-economic story within five years.
  • Carleton University professor Ian Lee suggested that Greece and Portugal exit the Euro in order to restore their economies in the longer term, while David Macdonald from the Centre for Policy Alternatives said that austerity can mean nobody spends in their economy, making it harder to hit deficit goals, resulting in a never-ending cycle.
  • Tim Harper said that as delicious as it is to see Stephen Harper being attacked from the right, he doesn’t think Harper has turned into a Liberal, but he does a problem with breaking campaign promises by not making his deficit targets.