03.09.2010 07:47 AM

Whither thou goest, Dippers, in thy shiny orange bicycle at night?

Sorry, I was in the mood to quote Kerouac. So shoot me.

Anyway. With the morning papers comes news that the New Democrats’ Peter Stoffer, one of the most-liked-ever MPs, is a considering running for mayor of Halifax. This follows a discussion of anti-tobacco politicians yesterday at the Daisy GroupOntario Liberals, send in your CVs! – and how another top-notch NDP MP, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, is thinking about running for mayor of Winnipeg (that’s my former student Bartley’s byline, BTW – go, Bartley!).

What does it all mean, Virginia? Well, let’s see: two experienced, much-liked, much-admired New Democratic Members of Parliament are jumping ship before the next election. Sound like a ringing endorsement of Jack Layton’s prop-up-Harper-at-all-costs strategy to you? Um, me neither.

Peter and Judy, if I were in either Halifax or Winnipeg, I’d vote for you – as mayoralty candidates. As members of a once-proud political force that has completely and utterly lost its way, and is comically attempting to pimp itself as stern tax-fighters? Not so much.

Good luck and God bless, etc.



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    smelter rat says:

    I hope Judy runs for mayor. Winnipeg desperately needs an enema.

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    Winnipegger says:

    Judy doesn’t stand a chance if she does run for mayor here. She has no appeal in the suburbs; her territory in north west Winnipeg has one of the lowest voter turnouts… particularly so for civic elections; and it looks like we’re going to have another two or three way split of credible centre-left mayoral candidates yet again (as well as an additional handful of left-wing fringe candidates). It is also important to note that only two incumbent mayors have ever been defeated for re-election in all of Winnipeg’s history, and barring a major scandal between now and October, Sam Katz certainly isn’t unpopular enough to be defeated.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see Sam Katz defeated. But it isn’t going to happen. Besides, people don’t pay close enough attention to local politics here to realize how poor a job our mayor had done.

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    Cow says:

    @Winnipegger: “She has no appeal in the suburbs” — your suburbanites vote for mayor of the city? That seems…odd.

    And re the original post: I have to say, much as I have liked Ignatieff so far, he seems to be propping Harper up at all costs as well. The non-vote on the budget is one I don’t understand and reeks of the series of abstain votes under Dion, a period I think all of us recent Liberal converts hope to not see repeated (and is likely to cost him what support he’s gained over the last two months if it continues).

    I’d still vote for him if I could, but I don’t see the option to do so coming anytime soon.

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      Winnipegger says:

      Suburbanites are much more inclined to show up to vote than inner-city residents.

      When I mention Winnipeg’s suburbs, I’m referring to suburban neighbourhoods within the city, or else they couldn’t vote obviously. Suburbs as in a lower density, middle to upper average household income and education obtained, and mostly single family stand-alone homes as opposed to apartment buildings and condo towers. Most of Winnipeg’s city councilors represent suburban ridings in our city hall.

      In short, suburbs as in a type of neighbourhood… suburbs does not imply being in an outside civic municipality.

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    Disinterested Observer says:

    @ Cow: Winnipeg is an amalgamated city, and the suburban types actually vote.

    @ Winnipegger, Judy stands a good chance, and she should run, although I wish it were someone else carrying the anti-Katz flag. Your math is a little strange, since those suburban votes have swung NDP over and over again in provincial elections and by-elections. Why would Judy have a hard time drawing water from the same well?

    @ Kinsella, and to think I believed your firm was more than just a liberal front. 😉

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      Winnipegger says:

      My thinking is because our provincial NDP is so sprawled out over the map, they appeal to suburban voters. One could argue that our provincial NDP is conservative in many ways. Overlay a federal map, and most of the areas that are blue federally are orange provincially.

      Judy, on the other hand, is ideologically left in every way. It wouldn’t take much for Sam’s campaign people to roll out a few selected quotes of her’s from the past for that suburban vote to be totally turned off of Judy.

      Besides, Sammy has always been a mayor for the suburbs, pandering about potholes and the tax freeze. No real vision for the core of the city or revitalization.

      I think that if Russ Wyatt ran, as the lone credible centre-left candidate, he might have a chance. He has been more visible in local issues and opposing Sammy than Judy has ever been. He also has said all the right things regarding short-term crime prevention, unlike Judy who has always just focused on the long-term social revitalization (labeled as the ‘hug a thug’ mentality). Wyatt has been clear on the need for more officers walking the beat. Judy’s vision, while important, would take generations to see realized… and people are worried about street violence today (a common concern in the city regardless of if you live on Selkirk Ave or in Sage Creek).

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        Winnipegger says:

        I should add that while Sammy also shouts “tough on crime” throughout his campaigning, he has now been around for long enough, and could be vulnerable on this issue. A helicopter that isn’t going to do much in terms of curbing crime, and a lackluster pilot project to install closed-circuit cameras in downtown ‘hot spots’ that are not actively monitored. Yeah, real tough there, Sammy. Additionally, phone our 911 service in an emergency and wait on hold for up to fifteen minutes, there has been no improvements in wait times to speak with a 911 operator or for emergency response as a whole during Sammy’s tenure. Meanwhile, we remain Canada’s Murder Capital, and that along with other violent crimes such as muggings are still on the rise in the city.

        In short, Sam Katz has a lousy track record on ‘tough on crime.’ Wyatt is the only one who has credibility to attack Katz’s record… as it would only backfire on Judy if she tried.

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          Disinterested Observer says:

          I agree with you on most of that, WpGr. Which is why I also think anti-Katz campaign from whatever corner could deliver a knockout if Judy or some other candidate sticks to holding up Katz talk and comparing it to Katz action.

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    Nick says:

    Sorry Warren but all parties play these games. Jack Layton propping Harper up. Um, last time I checked it was the Ignatieff Liberals that were not voting against the budget. Good to see the long promised thinkers conference coming up. This is what Iggy should have done the instant he became leader.
    FYI, when he was in opposition, Darrell Dexter supported a Tory tax cut that the NS provincial liberals opposed. Some stalwart NDP supporters were appalled at the way the Dexter NDP actively sought a place in the middle of the spectrum on some issues. Well, he is now the first Premier in more than a decade in NS to enjoy a majority government. Though I do admit that the NDP supports HST in Nova Scotia and it will likely be increased to deal with budgetary issues. THe reason why many people do not like the HST is that it is not progressive. All are taxed at the same rate. Even liberals used to favour progressive taxes back in the Pearson, Trudeau days. WHy can’t we raise taxes on the super rich who are not doing so badly in the midst of the worst recession since the 30’s? I hope the liberals remember the “Just Society”, otherwise they will lose one more person to the NDP.

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    Michael says:

    Brilliant use of the Jack Kerouac quote!
    I have the distinct impression that a great many Dippers are sick to their stomach. Why? They now realize somewhat belatedly the consequences of Layton’s egocentric leadership, a leadership driven by the delusional belief that it was time for the Dippers to kill off the Liberal Party.
    What Layton’s self-serving, delusional gang accomplished by defeating the Martin government was to open the door wide to Harper’s ‘values’ conservatives and all their financial backers in Canada’s increasingly Americanized corporate community. It is easy to understand why Duceppe’s secessionists wanted Harper in power. They wanted to widen the gap between Quebec and the Rest of Canada and Duceppe’s strategy worked. But, it never made any sense at all why the Layton gang wanted Harper in power!! It was a huge gamble and it backfired big time! The social democrats will never recover!! And this is a real tragedy for Canadian politics.
    Let’s hope more Dippers, especially in south-western Ontario, see the light and begin to abandon Layton’s catastrophic delusion of power! Harper played both Layton and Duceppe like two finely honed fiddles and walked away with the big prize – the Prime Ministerial office and control over the national political agenda!! Harper is well on his way to remaking Canada in the image of himself and his Conservative Party.
    It is now up to all Liberals to put their cash where it is badly needed – in the coffers of the Liberal Party of Canada – so that the Liberal Party can get back into what has become a very serious political game. It is time for Liberals to get off their butts and get back into the trenches and prepare for the coming election, an election that will come sooner than later.

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    Derek Lipman says:


    How about your NDP cadres supporting the killing of the gun registry?

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      Nick says:

      Yeah I was pretty upset about that. I thought Chretien showed leadership on that issue. At the same time I was dissapointed that the liberals did not run a campaign for the registry. (Some conservative MP sent a bunch of offensive flyers using the old rural vs. urban divide and I hoped the liberal supporters of gun control would fight back.) Neither Layton not Iggy showed much leadership on this issue.

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    Greg says:

    “Jack Layton’s prop-up-Harper-at-all-costs strategy to you?”

    I thought Ignetieff was voting for the government’s new budget. Sounds like it is the libs who are propping up the government. In fact, other than last fall, isn’t this what they have done since Martin lost?

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    Avavatar for Warren says:

    Dear Iggy,

    Warren is correct. Time to defecate, flatulate or get off the throne.

    Time to vote non confidence and spring an election. With all our acustations of war criminals in our Armed Forces, the Liberal Party of Canada has a perfect election platform.

    go now Iggy, go now.

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      MCBellecourt says:

      I agree with you A. for W. For me, it’s the Contempt Of Parliament issue on top of it all. That, under no circumstances, cannot be tolerated if Canada is to hold onto its democracy. If not an election, I hope that the Liberal leader will permit Derek Lee to go ahead with his motion very soon. As I understand it, Parliament is supreme over the PMO or any other MP, and the evidence is piling up into the stratosphere.

      Iaccobucci is not a sitting judge, he is retired, walking civvie street. All MPs in the HofC have the needed security clearance to see the documents in-camera, and Ignatieff really needs to get on this. Canada cannot afford to dither on this issue any more.

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    A reader says:

    Always a good sign when Liberals like Warren take potshots at the Dippers. Shows when they’re scared of us.

    Oh and btw: we like Layton just fine. Thanks for asking. Your campaign to discredit him is working so well that his numbers are going up. Iggy’s not so much. If there’s a “a once-proud political force that has completely and utterly lost its way”, it might be the federal Liberal Party.

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    Elizabeth says:

    Yes, I have to say – there are quite a few NDP MPs that I really like, and respect; and while I don’t vote NDP, like Americans and Vermont – I respect them.

    But Jack Layton – he doesn’t seem to see the danger bearing down on Canada in the form of this Conservative Party and Stephen Harper. He thinks he can play games, but he’s chosen the wrong decade in which to play games, because at this time the most important thing is the country – not whether or not he can outsmart the Liberals. Meanwhile – he doesn’t get it that Harper couldn’t care less about him, and would kick him to the curb as fast as look at him.

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    Brian says:

    It also could be that these MPs have already been in office since 1997 and are looking for a good exit like all successful long serving MPs of every party eventually plan to do.

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    Andy says:

    “Well, let’s see: two experienced, much-liked, much-admired New Democratic Members of Parliament are jumping ship before the next election.”

    Probably means about the same thing as Smitherman and Watson leaving the Ontario Liberal caucus before the next election.

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    Elizabeth says:

    Whatever it means – I can’t stand Stephen Harper, but I absolutely despise Jack Layton.

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    A reader says:

    By the way, as you’ve gathered, this new comment redesign does not work terribly well for IE 6.x. I realize the standard response is “well, upgrade then”, but that’s not always within the user’s prerogative. The left-hand side of this comment box is cut off from view, and when the comment box gets indented, as for a reply, you literally cannot see the right-most 2 inches of copy, which is what caused me to enter the ugly carriage returns above. Thought you’d appreciate the feedback (even if it came from a godforsaken dipper).

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    Elizabeth says:

    I have trouble with the code box sometimes. Otherwise, I prefer it to the last comment system.

    I’ve had this awful thought lately – what if this hiding Afghan documents is a ruse on Harper’s part? What if there is actually nothing for him to hide, but he’s pretending there is, while drawing out all involvement that the Liberals have had since 01? And at the same time keeping Ignatieff focused on the documents while something worse is going on. ?? I hope the Liberals know what they’re doing; that they know there’s more to this than meets the eye, and Harper isn’t just successfully playing games. Hiding things that don’t need to be hidden. But – Colvin didn’t come forward for nothing.
    I don’t even trust the Cons to be honest about their dishonesty.

    Yes, I am paranoid. Harper is ruining the country and dampening and greying everyone’s lives. I’ve never before worried about the government having my phone number, but I do now.

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