Saturday, September 30, 2006

Ooooh... flashy.

And I thought I'd be able to stay away from the computer this weekend... not! Thanks to the leadership results ticker over at Liberal.ca., and I must echo the kudos on this great effort.

I've found a middle ground though (read as: way to get sleep), I've downloaded the resident version, and I'll leave it up for the weekend and just check it occasionally (hourly?). democtracticSPACE also has some analysis going on... less flashy, but pretty thorough. I like receiving the email update, thanks.

Engaging as it all is though, I'm not going to get too worked up over how things look (unlike some) it aint over til it's over, and it's still early yet. I vote tomorrow.

Bob Rae in the post today: Canada's missing voice.


How about this story eh? Ah, makes me nostalgic for the good old days back in the cold war (kidding). Speaking of rumors of wars... the Post also had a piece on the continuing possibility of the U.S. attacking Iran because of "mounting tensions over Iran's nuclear program." Unfortunately, it's behind a subscriber-wall. I hope this blows over, because that level of conflict could make things pretty tough for our troops over in Afghanistan.

I was going on about the "leaked memos" the other day, and I thought I'd like to add that I think it's very unlikely that anyone over at Ignatieff's campaign had anything to do with them. I know my joke might have come across that way, but that wasn't what was intended. A move like that would be political suicide if it ever got out. From the CPC? Maybe... but I doubt their veracity.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Oh wait! It get's better!

Now there's a memo from the CPC about being careful not to leak memos! How smart of them to create this one in .pdf format... very handy for posting!

Ok, I still think this is a big load of b.s., but should we find out one day down the road that this was in fact legit (snort!), then it will only prove that the CPC does not deserve to govern.

Super weekend

It's here at last, and not a moment too soon; another couple of weeks and things might have gotten nasty.

Speaking of which, I was surprised at what I read in the National Post piece on Michael Ignatieff. I caught this yesterday (care of Bourque), but left a quick comment over at Cerberus' post of the article today before I rushed out the door from work. What surprised me was not his candid remarks to the effect that he was confident he was going to win, but rather the positive, nay... glowing remarks that he had for another candidate:

"I'm going to win this [leadership] race and Bob Rae is going to be a very, very important part of a future Liberal government because Bob Rae is a very able man," he [Michael Ignatieff] said in an interview at the Chateau Laurier Hotel yesterday.

Quite the strikingly confident moment of candor, especially so close to super-weekend; being able to actually highlight the abilities of one of your closest rivals is a bold move. To be clear, I'm not being sarcastic, or trying to imply that he was being insincere. I do think this may have been a calculated move.

My guess is that it could have been to plant the seed that should Rae's campaign lose confidence in their ability to reach the goal in the future, then they would be a welcome part of Ignatieff's team. This might also serve to stake out that possibility before other candidates get around to doing the same.

Timed nicely with a "leaked memo?" ;-)


Have a Super weekend.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Is this the kiss of death?

Suffice to say that I don't think it should be, but we'll have to see how this plays out.

I find it a little strange that this memo would be leaked so easily (I wonder what Doug Finley has to say about that). If the CPC were really worried about Ignatieff, would they allow this kind of thing to leak? That would almost guarantee his victory, wouldn't it? Especially when he appears to be losing ground to a momentum-building Rae campaign... I declare shenanigans.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

'Ding-dong'

Hmmm... the bullshit detector is going off again.

More of the usual partisan sniping going on again, of the leadership race variety.

Ah well, let them bluster. I didn't join the party to fight Liberals, and I didn't choose to back my choice for leadership of the party because I want to be somebody's shill.

I do support Bob Rae because I think he's got the know-how and experience.

I'm pretty sure I know what he means when he says that the leadership race isn't about picking the leader with the best ideas. There's going to be input into policy from more than just the next "great leader;" you know, like from the public. That said, the candidates have to be able to show they know a decent policy when they hear one, and put forward a few ideas of their own.

Back when there was the possibility of an election occurring before the next leader of the party was chosen, I had a brief idea that such a scenario could possibly work for the party, because we'd have a bunch of leaders, with their wide range of appeal, working the hustings across the country. Then reality came back into view and I remembered that the candidates will be too busy attacking each other and putting forth competing platforms.

Yes, we're all in the same party, but that big tent holds a lot of ideas. Hashing out which ones become part of the party's overall platform will be one of the tasks that the next leader will have to help with.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Canadians for Kelowna...?

I was over at the Steel City Grit's site, and after giving my 2 cents on the brouhaha over Bob Rae's past political contributions, I noticed the link to the Canadians for Kelowna site. I'd seen it before, I think on a few other sites, but hadn't visited yet so I decided to have a look.

The site isn't faring to well... looks like it needs an html edit; the link for the petition is floating in one of the final paragraphs.

When I signed the petition, I was dismayed by being only the 6th signature... is that correct? I'm thinking it can't be, or at least I hope it isn't.
(I'm hoping that it's rather a case of the petition being restarted after achieving maximum size).

I've added the button on my sidebar.

Do you think we can muster up any more support for this?

btw... In case you're interested in Bob Rae's view on this worthy topic.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Drawbacks to the big tent...

...more room to squabble.

I'm not surprised by the nonsense and wingnuts coming out of the wood work now that the end of the leadership campaign is in sight.

So Bob Rae made some political donations to some former NDP colleagues; he also made a donation to Liberal John Godfrey (as noted here by Red Tory). And as Werner Patels has pointed out, Bob Rae was non-aligned at the time, and allowed to support whoever he wanted. Considering that some of that support also went to a Liberal, there really isn't much to bitch about... but that isn't stopping some people.

Yeah, I worked in the last election too. I went door-to-door, I manned phones, I gave time; you know what? I still support Bob Rae. Maybe more so.

The fact that he straddles that divide on the left is only a good thing, IMHO.

But then again, the leadership campaign isn't over, so those who feel their candidate of choice is lagging behind or threatened have no choice but to keep up the good fight, and I don't blame them for that.

I just can't wait until this leadership thing is over so we can all go back to attacking Tories.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Bob Rae - Leadership Questionnaire

Thanks to Bob Rae, who has submitted his response to my leadership questionnaire

1. Why do you think the Liberal party is in the position it is now, having lost a majority, and then minority government?

Harper won the office of Prime Minister because Canadians wanted to take power away from Liberals. He is not there because Canadians believe in Harper's values or the priorities of the Conservative Party. They are closer to the values of the Liberals than anyone else.


2. How do you envision being able to bring Canadians back to the Liberal party, and in doing so creating a greater grassroots support base for the party?

I can't think of a time recently when the choice has been clearer for Canadians but we have to put that choice very directly, emphatically to Canadians. We are dealing with the Republican Conservative Party - it is not the Progressive Conservative Party.

We have to be just as determined as they are in presenting a case to the Canadian people that is positive about what we want to do as Liberals. And we have to be tough about what the implications of a Harper victory/majority will mean.

Right now, the party is actually seeing a lot of activity at the grassroots, at the events I am attending, with other candidates, and through that, activity on the blogs, and other means, the party is doing what needs to be done to mobilize. We just have to keep it up. I have faced the Conservatives before and they are tough and will play hardball.


3. What is your greatest strength as a leader? What would your leadership style be? (i.e., in dealing with the press)

I believe I have a record of experience that I can offer to Canadians in dealing with some of the toughest questions - on softwood and trade; on health care and education; on Quebec and federalism. I have also run in eight elections, I know what the burdens of being a leader entail, be it in dealing with the press or in running an election or in terms of making the tough decisions.

I have also faced the Conservatives. I know what they are about and we have to be as determined as they are. In short, I feel I am job-ready, and we may be in an election very soon.

Most important I know this country, I love this country, and I want to ensure that we get back ontrack with a national government that is concerned about core Canadian values.

In terms of my leadership style, I suppose in dealing, with the press, or with voters, my approach has always been to be honest and straight up in all my answers. Anybody who knows me knows that when I get a question, I answer it. That is what Canadians want - they want politicians that answer the question. People may not like all the answers but people deserve more than just spin, which is what they are getting from Stephen Harper.


4. What are your thoughts or ideas on how the federal government should address regionalism in Canada? (i.e., Western alienation, Quebec separatism)

I am a proponent of federalism, at home or abroad. I have worked at the First Ministers table as an honest broker with Quebecers and I have worked overseas in Iraq and Sri Lanka. I served as chair of the Forum of the Federations through that time.

I believe that if we take federalism seriously, if we hold true to a belief in cooperation, treating each region with respect and real dialogue and understanding, federalism will continue to serve all regions and provinces well and continue to ensure that Canada is united and the success story it is today.

What will not help at all is the Stephen Harper approach to federalism, which seeks to hollow out the federal government's national role and purpose, turn it into a cheque clearing service for the provinces, and build "firewalls" (his words) between Alberta and other provinces.


5. What do you think Canada's ideal role is in the international community?

Foreign policy has become an important issue of the summer for the candidates and the government. I believe we have got to find our voice again in foreign policy - an independent voice that respects the distinctive role Canada has played as a peacekeeper, honest broker, and a trusted, respected contributor to foreign aid and development. We have to live up to the spirit of Lester B. Pearson, who used Canada's influence to defuse international conflict and crises through the UN.

I also believe we have got to reach the target set by Pearson of setting 0.7 % of GDP towards foreign aid. I recognize too that Canada has to carry its share of tough burdens, where action is backed by multilateral alliances, and due regard is given to supporting peace and reconstruction in the aftermath of conflict.

Mr. Harper, who would have taken us into the Iraq war and is flirting with a risky adventurism that is contrary to our values, and our traditions of independence in foreign policy. He shows a lack of understanding of how Canada best contributes, as well as a lack of respect for Canadians right to an informed debate about military commitments.


6. Anything you'd like to add?

Simply that the campaign is going well and that the party is going through a very positive and exciting discussion. I am in New Brunswick today and Nova Scotia tomorrow and in Montreal on Friday. Based on what I am hearing, I think Liberals are looking for both leadership and also a serious discussion of the issues.

The core of my vision of Canada sees us striving for prosperity with a purpose. I have outlined an economic policy plan that seeks to build upon Canada's strengths and make Canada's economy innovative, productive, sustainable and ensure it delivers opportunity for more Canadians to participate in the economy. At the same time what unites us and motivates us as Liberals is the need to stop Stephen Harper.

We have got to be focused about this and focused on what will be expected of the leader that must confront that challenge, and all that comes with it: leading a Caucus, Parliamentary tactics, addressing the media, building understanding between regional, linguistic divides. Leadership presents difficult challenges, but I know what it takes to lead and how to win. I have brought down two conservative governments and I look forward to doing so again.

Aside from all that I encourage people to visit my site, www.bobrae.ca, get to know me, consider the issues and the choices. They can learn more about me, donate on-line and I hope they get out and, and vote on Super Weekend (Sept. 29 to October 1).

If they are interested in going to Montreal they must file their forms to become a delegate ideally well in advance of the Sept. 15 deadline, and those forms are also available on my site.

All the best and thanks again for the opportunity.

Warmest regards,

Bob

Friday, September 01, 2006

Does this have to be difficult?

Red Tory seems a little peeved at the constant attacks being leveled at his candidate, and I can see what he's saying. I thought the noise over the "hypothetical" plans for the future was just that. Is this just a symptom of a long slow campaign? Are leadership races always this bitter?

In that sense, I guess I'm still a bit of an outsider to the process (as some might also say is evident in my choice of candidate).

For what it's worth, let me share my perspective.

I've been voting Liberal, federal and provincial, since the early 90's, so while I may not have been an official member in good standing, I've been supporting for over a decade.

I never really felt the desire to get involved until things started going south for the party. Actually, my first involvement was during the provincial election where the Libs replaced the PCs gov't in Ontario; like most people, I'd had enough and wanted to help drive the stake into that beast.

With the 2005/2006 federal election looking as close as it was, I thought I'd do what I could to help out. Things haven't gone so well, but I'm still here to do what little I can until the Harper regime is replaced.

I believe in the Liberal party and what it stands for.

But I'm new to this involvement in party politics thing, and I think I can see why most of the population doesn't bother. While we all have our opinions and preferences when it comes to government, it's not always rewarding to publicly display those preferences.

It's a little embarrassing to help "wear the egg" and "eat the crow," but you take the bad with the good and keep on. In for a penny, in for a pound(ing). Think of me a one of the multitude of canaries in the mine that is the Canadian political landscape; when I give up, its bad news.

I understand to some degree that there is a lot on the table; the party is full of impassioned people who have put a lot into it, and want the best for it, and are more and more convinced that means their candidate as leader, and theirs alone.

We all see the weaknesses of the other candidates, and the reaction is that those weaknesses will become the party's should they become leader. If they make mistakes then it's seen as evidence that they are not going to cut it. Is that realistic? Not really.

I work with a lot of 'change management' and when all of that change is complete, we hold a pilot, or a live test of the processes that were just changed. This is done partly to see if the new processes work, and partly to see how people will deal with the problems that arise.

In that sense, I guess the pile-on that occurs after every gaffe just helps the live testing that's going on for each of the leadership candidates that have to prove their ability.

And so it goes, and everyone will support their candidate until it becomes apparent that they won't win. Then they'll find the next best choice, etc, until it gets to the point where its down to a few remaining choices, and then people will be deciding who they want to win, or who they don't want to win.

When the dust settles, a leader is chosen with hopefully enough consensus to help the party put the divisiveness of the leadership struggle behind them. I gather this is precisely what didn't happen after the last Liberal leadership struggle.

Hopefully this time what everyone will remember after this whole process of trying to choose the best leader is that the real strength of the party comes from it's supporters.