06.28.2010 08:26 AM

From this morning’s Hill Times: coalitions and CSIS

KINSELLA: I always get nervous when Tim says nice things about me.

Look, I told CBC’s Wendy Mesley what no less than David Herle and Jean Lapierre also said: various important NDP and Liberal folks had been talking about cooperation/coalition/ merger. Some of these people included Jean Chrétien, Ed Broadbent, Roy Romanow and so on. You may have heard of them.

Personally—and I was speaking only for myself—I favour political realignment for five reasons. One, it reflects what is taking place internationally—most notably and recently (and rather smoothly, too) in Britain. Two, Stephen Harper did it, and it seemed to work out quite well for him. Three, this time—unlike last time—the separatists aren’t involved. Four, if you pursue a coalition/merger right after the next election, you might be giving Harper another golden opportunity to say you are attempting to overturn the election result (presuming the Reformatories win, of course). Five, there is a lot more that unites progressives than divides us.

Anyway, it took three election losses—in 1993, 1997 and 2000— before the Reformers/Alliancers/ Conservatives realized that they would benefit from cooperation/ coalition/merger. It’ll take three election cycles for reluctant Liberals and New Democrats to come to the same conclusion (by then, the election subsidy will be gone, however, but that’s a disaster we can discuss in another Wiseguys column).

Richard Fadden? The guy who said that “there are several municipal politicians in British Columbia and in at least two provinces there are ministers of the Crown who [CSIS thinks] are under at least the general influence of a foreign government.” That guy?

Fire him.

This genius identified China as the enemy nation. China! Days before Chinese President Hu Jintao was about to make an important visit to Canada, this seems epic dumb, no?

But that’s not all, of course. What about the “several municipal politicians in British Columbia” whom Mr. Fadden called traitors? Would not one or some of them now want to sue, to have their names cleared? The effect of Mr. Fadden’s words have been to smear all Chinese-Canadian municipal politicians in B.C. There is now a cloud over the reputations of all of them—until such time as we know who Fadden was talking about, and who he wasn’t, all are suspect.

Fire him. And, on the cooperation/coalition/merger thing, let’s talk after the next election. I suspect it won’t seem so unpalatable then.


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    Ted says:

    Beg to differ slightly on item #1. Coalition or cooperation are the essence of Parliamentary democracy so, if there are talks, go for it. But merger is the third rail for many and there is no comparison with the Mulroney/Harper Conservatives. There is no shared history with the NDP, very different historical origins and traditions. They are not one party divided and coming back together again.

    With time, the Manning/Harper Reform split looks more and more like an internal regional power struggle between an Eastern old guard political elite and an Ontario-Alberta new guard political elite. Everything Harper has done in government would fit very well in the Mulroney government. There is nothing of the Stephen Harper 1989-2005 left anymore. Some see that as a triumph of the far right or ideological right; I think it just shows that one regional power base won out over another inside the party.

    The splits in the Liberals were about policy direction and personalities not regional power bases and not hardcore ideology (though some of that was there). To go the distance and merge with the Dippers just because they share some “progressive” policies and views, will forever damage the “centrist coalition” that is or was and should be the Liberal brand, something we inherited from Laurier and King and St. Laurent all the way through Chretien and Martin.

    The party that proudly marches in anti-“Israel Apartheid” demonstrations, whose deputy leader calls the Israeli government an “occupier”, whose leader challenged the Clarity Act and wants to nationalize more businesses… all democratically represent the views of a certain element of Canadians, so they should be in Parliament, but that does not mean they should be a part of the Liberal Party of Canada.

    The Liberals have worked with them before and should work with their MPs again, but that’s the limit of it.

    As for Fadden, why is he still there? The whole thing is weird and smells of an internal frustration and fight gone public, but you can’t hold that job and impugn so many so cavalierly, twice.

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    Michael Behiels says:

    I agree that Mr. Richard Fadden must resign as head of CSIS. His manner of communicating his security concerns with the Canadian public was inappropriate and unprofessional. He should be allowed to inform the Canadian public of his general concerns – as he did with the G 20 – but he should not make reference to any specific case or cases. He also has a right to tell the public that he has made the government aware of his general concerns.
    I doubt that Fadden will resign. And, I also doubt that the Harper government will fire him because he is his top security advisor. I am convinced that Harper knew all-too-well what Mr. Fadden was going to say to the CBC, not once, but twice. Harper plays the denial game but we all know that it is a game. The PM, via PCO, is appraised of all security matters on a regular basis as is required under the mandates of all security institutions and PCO’s role as the Prime Minister’s department.
    Once contacted by the PMO, Mr. Fadden had to deny informing PCO about his specific security concerns, security concerns that he had responsibility to inform the government about. Fadden, of course, complied immediately with this PMO request in order to save his job and to provide PM Harper and his government with the cover that they needed.

    Again, as I said before, any real and effective discussions pertaining to a reconfiguration of progressive political forces in national politics will have to await the outcome of the next election. In other words, Canadians will have to be patient and endure Harper’s dominance of Canadian politics for some time.

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    Tim from Alberta says:

    Talking to people from BC,indicates that Fadden only said what is obvious to most people living in the lower mainland.Politics starting from School boards and going all the way up to the federal level are being won and taken over by visible ethnic groups and then used for personal advantage.Claims that money is being sent “home’ to the old country(for whatever reason; is made every day.
    The person(or party) who comes up with the “political solution”for this country deserves considertaion for the nobel peace prize…..or at the very least,the Order of Canada!!!!!
    p.s I wonder if France has “deep cell support” in Quebec??????????

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      Ted says:

      Ethnic residents pushing their agenda is a very different thing than foreign governments pushing their agenda.

      The former is as old as Canada and the Orange Order and attempts to Anglicize Quebecers: problematic and troubling, perhaps, but not an issue for CSIS.

      The latter is very troubling if true but not for Fadden to be telling us in public when he disparages every minister of the crown and many other politicians, as well as a foreign nation.

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      allegra fortissima says:

      Tim, that was back in the Sixties: “Vive le Quebec libre” ~ General Charles de Gaulle in Montreal on July 24, 1967.

      Or are you trying to tell us that Carla Bruni will sing “You belong to Me” in Quebec this summer?

      Who knows…

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    Brian says:

    I’ll put the same question to you that I put to Reformers and Tories when they talked endlessly about merging: what’s your shared vision? What three goals are you able to rally behind? If that’s a powerful enough message, than a merger won’t be a simple matter of cynical math. And it shouldn’t be.

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    WesternGrit says:

    Tim from Alberta… Lol… Another Alberta “expert” on BC. In a typically veiled racist statement about ethnic minorities in the Lower Mainland you continue to perpetuate myths about people who are just “different” from you. Your distrust, fear, and ignorance about your other fellow Canadian citizens is just so much a symbol of the typical redneck that I don’t even have to explain it in detail.

    Having worked in campaigns in Sask, AB, and BC, I can tell you it ain’t any different out here. You may think that people speaking their own language and hanging out with politicos from their homelands is insideous, but in reality these local politicians are simply trying to show the voters from their own community how influential they are. No different than an Alberta politician getting friendly with church groups, or the NRA, or big foreign oil companies. You befriend the people your voters look up to. That doesn’t mean they sell out to them at all. Not at all. They do play a vital role in strengthening our ties, however, to the most important nations in the World for the next few decades (India, China).

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      Tim from Alberta says:

      Without prejudice…..your name says it all.
      I never said or pretended to be an expert on anything.
      I am only repeating what people(who live in the lower mainland)have told me.It may or may not be true.I simply posed a question regarding France and quebec.

      Typical redneck?Your prejudice is certainly showing,here.
      Insideous?When/where did I say it was that?

      NRA?My MP does not own an gun and has never met Charlton Heston.

      Your name would indicate that you have cmapaigned (unsuccessfully) for the liberal party.Your attitude and tone verifies it.

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    Pat Heron says:

    Re Itime #1, isn’t there a place for the Green Party in the co-operation/coalition/merger exploration talks?

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    G.J.W. says:

    I am relieved to know, BC is under scrutiny. BC people know first hand, Campbell is selling our province, to China and the USA. Campbell caused the BC mill workers, 30.000 jobs. We saw our mills, sent to China, and our raw logs going to the same place. Campbell, is fighting for, China’s dirty oil tankers, to come into the Inlet of Kitimat. There is a pipeline, being built to bring the dirty crude to Kitimat. Pipelines leak, and the First Nations People, object the pipeline, crossing their rivers. They do not want, the dirty tankers, in their sea waters. Fadden, only said, what the BC citizens already knew. It’s in our face obvious. The piggies that squealed the loudest, must be guilty. No-one in BC was surprised, at Fadden’s comments, they fit.

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