06.21.2010 11:35 AM

Interesting strategy

Not super-duper sure it’ll work, though!


  1. James Smith says:

    Here’s a better strategy:


  2. Martin says:

    Me neither. I understand the sentiment, though.

  3. Ted says:

    According to the discussion in the comments section, Scott Ross’s interpretation of the context of that statement is not entirely accurate.

    It seems Ignatieff was making a distinction between attacking criticism which is unproductive – the constant negative nellies – because the majority of that part of the speech was in fact about getting Liberals to “speak up” and get involved and get their ideas in there and get active.

    It doesn’t seem to be about silencing criticism at all from what others who attended are saying. And got a loud round of applause.

    • Namesake says:

      @Ted: If you’re going to report on what the others said, do it accurately: the ones who said the “shut up” went over ok in Ontario & even drew a laugh & applause in Edmonton weren’t at the same session as the Scott fellow, which was on the West Coast, where it seemed, the potential dissenters are more thin-skinned. One would hope the leader would be sensitive to regional differences like that.

      The “communications professional” below seems to heartily endorse what he did, but couldn’t he have made the same point in a far more respectful, acceptable, and constructive way by saying, “If you have really fundamental disagreements with the way the Party or I am proceeding, by all means, let us know — here is the contact information for that — but please do not publicize it on websites authorized with the Liberal brand, because this jeopardizes our chances of defeating this destructive government, and regrettably, we would have to withdraw our authorization to be part of the LibLogs network…” This would smooth rather than ruffle feathers, put our rather than start fires, and prevent some defections and lost votes. As it is, it’s blown up in his face…. and some of you want to castigate the victim of the insult as being spiteful, rather than acknowledge that there was some clumsy messaging.

      • Brian Rice says:

        Actually, Namesake, I was in the room, so Ted was reporting on my comments accurately. Mr. Ignatieff’s comments did get a loud round of applause, with several people on their feet, in Vancouver. And I should also say that I never interpreted his comments as wanting to stifle constructive criticism, either public or private. Constructive Criticism is just that, given with the intent of helping the party. Mr. Ignatieff was speaking to those who are criticising him and the party to further their own personal ambitions.

        • Namesake says:

          No, actually, now it’s you who’s misrepresenting what was said in that thread,* Brian:

          I’ve just rechecked, and you didn’t say anything about applause or laughter in that discussion: you’re just saying / adding that now. (Kinda like the PCO back-dating their G20 invoices!)

          It was the Alberta delegate Kebian who said, “The “shut up” bit was greeted by laughter and clapping by the Liberals in Alberta,” and the Toronto delegate ChrisInKW who said, “Admittedly, he did come down a bit harsh when speaking to jokers like Kinsella and others… however, the rest of his speech was pretty good. Everyone in the room indicated as such with their applause.”


          • Brian Rice says:

            Well then, let me clarify my comments:

            I was in the same room as Scott, I loved what Mr. Ignatieff had to say, and when he made the comment in question, he received a large round of applause, had people on their feet, and was generally well received. I have no idea who Scott may have spoken to at the event who didn’t like the comment, but everyone I spoke to thought it was a point well made.

            There, nothing revisionist in that comment.

          • Warren says:

            Funny, I seem to recall lots of folks being appalled when Nancy Ruth told them to “shut up.”

            Wasn’t one of them…?

        • Namesake says:

          Oh, and about this “to further their own personal ambitions” line: that’s both a load and a 2-edged sword.

          If WK’s efforts on this front were truly primarily a function of “personal ambitions” rather than a genuine desire to save the country _and_ a strong centre left party, he would’ve stayed silent, sat back, & watched the fed. Lib’s take another pasting in the next election & self-destruct some more, & wait patiently for the inevitable call to help get them out of the basement, 4 years from now. As it is, he’s made himself a pariah & object of ridicule and cost himself maybe hundreds of thousands in future contracts.

          In contrast, as some have pointed out in other articles, it could be said that it is the local riding presidents and/or candidates like yourself who are more motivated by what’s best or most important to yourselves than what’s best for the country, in opposing any sort of alternative arrangement. After all, in a more rural riding like Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission, it would probably be a Green candidate who should be tapped to be strategically voted for, not a Lib or NDP’er, which may be why _you’re_ digging in your heels so much.

          • Brian Rice says:

            Sorry, do you think that there is some benefit to me in being the Liberal riding president in a riding like Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission? You think it’s fun to hold events and have less than 10 people show up? I do this because I believe in the Liberal cause, I believe in the Liberal Party, and I believe in Michael Ignatieff. The fact that you are so willing to attack dedicated volunteers who sacrifice their time and energy for absolutely no gain because we believe in this Party proves the point Mr. Ignatieff made so effectively in BC this weekend.

  4. Catherine says:

    The Harper party is controlling their message, like it or not, with discipline.

    We cannot out volume the likes of Baird, Powers, or Poilevre.

    So, at the very least, the LPC needs to learn that with maturity, also comes the need to guide our ship with direction.

    Loose lips sink ships.

    • Catherine says:

      Let me get this straight. You want Ignatieff to be more controlling and disciplined…..like Harper(I have to add Chretien here too because Jean demonstrated those excellent leadership qualities too)?

      I’m not sure I’d be meeting membership with that message when it should be the membership calling the shots, at least initially and not the other way around.

      When does the ground support get to tell their leader what’s on their mind?

      I could see Ignatieff saying something like that if the membership had been consulted but that one piece is still missing.

      You can’t do an end run around the Scott Ross’s. Well, you can but it’s not going to win friends.

      • Catherine says:

        You do not have my opinion straight.

        There certainly is a time to ‘tell their leader what’s on their mind.’

        And that would be when it does not work to the advantage of the Harper gov’t.

        Certainly my mom told me not to ‘air’ dirty laundry to the public.

        And my mom only gives sage advice.

        • Cath says:

          I guess I’m old fashioned that way. I believe that it’s the membership and the ground support that shapes the leader when that said leader is working his or her way up through the ranks of the party.

          The fact that the LPOC membership were first ignored in selecting their new leader and helping redefine and rebuild the party and now that leader tells them to shut up???

          Not the brightest move whatsoever.

          WK and other Catherine – note the slight variance in the name. Less confusing maybe.

  5. e says:

    Be constructive. That is Ignatieff’s message (said rather frankly).

    I’ve watched for five years as many Liberals whole-heartedly argued Mr. Harper’s case (or at the very least gave it the nod) and still claimed to be liberals. In truth, when you argue Mr. Harper’s cause you are a “Harper conservative”.

    Liberals, get this straight: Mr. Harper is not a liberal he is a libertarian (claimed Jefferson Liberal, which is code for libertarian); He believes democratic action is illegitimate economic-social action. He believes the point of government is to ensure society’s ability to do international combat and/or punish evil doers (full stop and nothing more). He does not believe we, as a community/country”, can make legitimate economic choices. He doesn’t believe in democratically achieved economic choices. He believes only in the individual against the rest of socieity with the protection and support of the police/military. That is it. That is all. That is his whole agenda.

    Without a doubt, the liberals need to relearn how to talk to canadians and how to stand up to bullies. But this “I’m a liberal” and give the nod to Mr. Harper , is nonsense.

    Cheers, eugene

  6. Josh says:

    Michael is right. People need to get onside and have some message discipline. More teamwork and less freelancers.

    • Ted says:

      I think his point was more: if you are going to criticize, get involved and help make it better, don’t just be negative.

      • Catherine says:

        Hi Ted, You wrote “if you are going to criticize, get involved and help make it better, don’t just be negative.” Then that’s exactly what he should have said. Needing
        translation of what he meant to say isn’t likely to score points with ordinary Canadians. Ignatieff has a tendency to vortex his words into the verbal equivalent of what Warren refers to in his book as “data smog”.

        • James Curran says:

          “People need to get onside and have some message discipline. “.

          Um. Wouldn’t that involve having a message in the first place. Alla translating it to all the provincial associations and then all your riding associations. Or, should we just find out all these “new found policy positions” in the MSM and media releases on Liberal.ca?

          “if you are going to criticize, get involved and help make it better, don?t just be negative”.

          How about if you’ve been involved for 33 years and have never seen anything like this ever in the history of the party?

  7. Michael Behiels says:

    Manning, Harper, Flanagan, etc etc, often told their rank and file members to ‘shut-the-F-Up’ because unthinking outbursts did their cause more harm than good.

    PM Harper has maintained a united caucus and Party by instilling a great degree of discipline among the rank and file, the party apparatchiks and the caucus. A party needs discipline and the leader is the only one that can instill the discipline. Has Harper gone too far. Yes, on several occasions he has but the results are there for every one to see.

    The ability to discipline a party and its members depends on the credibility and perceived ability of its leader to win. When Harper was not in power and his rank and file were unruly he had great difficulty in enforcing discipline. Once Harper was in power and had all kinds of perks at his disposal to keep his people in line, then it became more necessary but also easier to implement effective discipline.

    Ignatieff, not holding the reigns of office, has very few perks to offer his rank and file. He also lacks the respect of his troops because he is perceived by many Liberals to be weak and ineffective as an opposition leader. Harper ensured this was the case by his highly negative attack ads against Ignatieff. The Liberals failed to respond quickly enough as in the case of Dion.

    Could this perception change if Ignatieff was PM? Maybe, but I doubt it. Ignatieff has neither the personality nor the drive – the fire in the belly – to play the role of a tough-minded leader. He is too liberal, too tolerant. This is why his call for Liberals who critique him and the party to shut up does not resonate very well. It is largely out of character. Lester B. Pearson had the same problem and his inability to impose tight discipline on his caucus and party caused him and his government a great many problems.

  8. Sandra says:

    Almost sounds like Chretien advice to me.

    Also, Scott Ross is playing right into the right wing hands – he’s terribly naive.

    Hey, it works for Harper

  9. Michael Bussiere says:

    So much griping about polls, so little talk about all the policy work that has been going on for ages now. Contrast zero-policy hyper-control the spin Harper. I just hope that substance and ideas count for something these days. If not, we’d better all shut up.

  10. Paul R. Martin says:

    He sounds a lot like Senator Nancy Ruth.

  11. William says:

    I’d call that a bit of leadership, a touch of backbone, a soupçon of humour and a whole lot of what I have wanted to say (and been saying inside the Party) for the past four years. Spot on!

  12. Lizzy says:

    Don’t normally post on these things but seriously I have had it with all the chatter.

    People we need to give our heads a shake, we cannot continue to have the negative bitching about Ignatieff. We keep shooting ourselves in the foot. I am 100% behind what Ignatieff has said and it really has to stop. I see blogs as part of the problem. Everyone thinks they are a critic or a commentator because they have a blog, or they are jonesing to show there stuff so they can get on some commentary panel as an expert – but with this comes responsibility especially if you are going to label yourself as a liberal supporter. The nature of blogs and how they can go viral in no time is dangerous and people need to decide am I on the Liberal Team or not. You cannot be half way in public. Get yourself a tub of ice cream and call up someone who cares and have a bitch session but stop bitching about it publicly.

    I ve been working in communications for many years and yes there comes a time when you need to tell people to button it if your not going to act as a unified voice. Loose canons are looose cannons!

    WK I like you (don”t really know you) but I respect a lot of what you say, just don”t let ego get in the way sometimes. I am ok with people discussing people, parties, issues and policy but sometimes comments come off as just sour grapes (see Scott Ross) People need to stop the bitching, get in the game and do something positive. If not button it!

    The past is the past and we need to move forward before the government completely changes Canada. People are freaked and we just need to show them an alternative and continue to tell them not to believe the hype that the cons put out about Ignatieff. It makes me sad to see that even some Liberals are now buying into this hype machine…

    • Namesake says:

      “Get yourself a tub of ice cream…stop bitching…button it”
      … “I ve been working in communications for many years…”

      – for Feschuk Reid, evidently!

      • Namesake says:

        but seriously, I can understand the importance of party discipline and all that, but not only is this attitude to the grassroots you’ve just displayed here (a la, “Leave it to the professionals! children should be seen and not heard!”) elitist and, well, regressive, but it also misses the point.

        A lot of people like me (who’s not a party member, BTW: just one of the, oh, one-third of Canadian voters who vote Liberal federally and NDP provincially to try to get the right
        social & fiscal balance) have been piping up on this & other fora once we learned that Father does Not know best — in fact he didn’t have a clue — when he issued or authorized the message to the Liberal faithful WK told us about last month, that they weren’t interested in any type of coalition
        either pre- or post-election (cuz, darn it, we’re gonna win this thing on our own…)

    • James Curran says:

      I suggest you need to work a lot harder on your communication. You see, some of us told MI there were “issues” internally that had to be addressed as early as ??????February 2006. Four years later, the grassroots have decided they’ve had enough and need to be heard. Instead the leader’s communication sounds like a giant F U grassroots. As the Dixie Chicks would say “shut up and sing”.

      NOT a good strategy when talking to the converted. (and I don’t have your vast communication skill Lizzy, but I’m just assuming).

      You see, we had these huge investigations of oneself recently. They were called the Red Ribbon Report, the Change Commission, The Renewal Commission, The Axworthy Report, The Liberal 308. Apparently all of these groups should have just shut up too. For if one criticizes one’s own, they are traders.

      • Catherine says:

        Perhaps you mean ‘traitors?’

        And that is a stretch of credibility.

        The old ‘blood is thicker than water’ message might be more applicable.

        Sure families have differing voices, but they walk tall together in familiarity.

        Something that is lost if every differing opinion is aired in public.

        • Namesake says:

          Traitors, for speaking out? Lemme guess: you like to put the ‘rank’ and ‘file’ in different columns (and if that’s the case, from the plebes’ pt. of view, _you_ rank!). And, given the atrocities that can go on behind closed doors in some families, I’ve really gotta wonder about your mom’s “sage advice” from a less enlightened era (above). And even if it’s just toxic and dysfunctional rather than outright abuse, some families are better off coming clean & breaking apart rather than putting on the brave face & united front.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with what he’s said – and I can’t even begin to imagine what went on behind the scenes when Chretien was leader.
    This is nothing more than undermining Ignatieff – and it could backfire – those tactics often do. What is the point in spreading crap like this around?

    The blogger was spiteful, it sounds like, to me – judging from the after-discussion. The biggest problem Ignatieff has is jealous, self-centred members of the Liberal party. That’s what’s going to bring it down.

    I have often said that I’d never forgive Chretien and Martin for the mess they made of the country, due solely to their own selfishness, power-hunger, and outright fighting. They paved the way for Harper. I’m saying it again – and I mean it even more, because the meanness and spitefulness of people in the Liberal party is even more apparent than ever. I support Ignatieff, but I can’t stand Liberals.

    • James Curran says:

      “The biggest problem Ignatieff has is jealous, self-centred members of the Liberal party. That?s what?s going to bring it down. ”

      “I have often said that I?d never forgive Chretien and Martin for the mess they made of the country, due solely to their own selfishness, power-hunger, and outright fighting. They paved the way for Harper. I?m saying it again ? and I mean it even more, because the meanness and spitefulness of people in the Liberal party is even more apparent than ever. I support Ignatieff, but I can?t stand Libera

      Surely you jest? After the way this leader seized power? Oh my.

      The blogger can’t be spiteful. Nobody pays $450 plus costs to go and be spiteful. Not even me. I don’t think he’s spreading “crap” . I think he’s a guy that is offended. And, by many accounts, he wasn’t alone.

  14. scott ross says:

    To Ted and everyone else, Ignatieff never even implied constructive criticism was allowed. I fairly put Ignatieff’s comments in context, not criticizing other possible comments he made. I even praised most of his speech. Ignatieff out of the blue made the comment I quoted, he did not qualify it, he did not add to it, and he said nothing of the kind that would possibly lead one to believe he would be okay with constructive criticism.

    • Namesake says:

      OMG, how embarrassing: you’re not supposed to be here while we diss you & assassinate your character! A “Boy, if life were? only like this” moment (the Marshall McLuhan setting the blowhard straight scene in “Annie Hall”:

    • Brian Rice says:

      I disagree Scott. Mr. Ignatieff very clearly said that if what you had to say would help the party, then scream it from the mountaintops. Constructive criticism helps the party. He wasn’t talking about dissent on issues. He wasn’t talking about the active policy debates that rage across this country every day. He was talking to those who publicly call for his resignation on a daily basis. He was talking to those who would have us merge our party with the likes of Jack Layton. I’m sorry that you don’t understand the distinction, Scott, but it was quite clearly made.

      • Warren says:

        Sorry, I just want to be clear: you are saying he was telling me and others to shut up? Is that right?

        • Brian Rice says:

          Well, Warren, I can?t say who he was thinking of specifically when he made those comments. But I do know he asked Liberals to ensure, before we speak publicly, that we say something that will help this party defeat Stephen Harper and win government, not hurt it. Despite what Scott keeps claiming, this was the context for the shut-up comment.

          So I ask you this: do you think you?ve been helping the Liberal party win the next election?

  15. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Does anyone care to draw the line?! Dissent is a fundamental right in a democracy; disciplined dissent is an essential part of party renewal; blind obedience is a big contributor to intellectual rot and involuntary party decline.

    Fun being a party leader, isn’t it…

  16. Catherine says:

    I have decided to work with earnest in my riding.

    There is much to be done, and we are few in number, but we fear for the loss of a progressive Canada.

    Our leader, currrently, is Mr. Ignatieff. Our riding candidate is enthused and on the ground attending every summer church supper that is possible.

    While we work along with her to build the parties.

    Too busy to diss the leader. Rather, we find much of what is said petty and immature.

    However, their ‘right to speak’ is diluting our hard work.

  17. Namesake says:

    On a less fractious note, in an article featured prominently
    on the http://canadanewsdesk.com/ news aggregator, WK’s particular brand of treason (see other thread) is credited w. “Reuniting the federal Grits” (albeit “inadvertently”).

  18. Anne Peterson says:

    Keep chewing on your own foot, you Liberals, and you know who is going to win the next election. It’s not like I admire the kind of control Stephen Harper exerts, but you can’t keep infighting out loud in front of the whole country and expect to win an election. Either get rid of the man or support him.

    • Namesake says:

      Maybe not (not that removing him is an option, anyway, since Martinites notwithstanding, the Party has no mechanism for regicide apart from the periodic party conventions, and besides, the ex-communicated lot still frequenting this blog are hardly in a position to do anything within the Party even if there were one)…

      …maybe its time to turn that conventional wisdom on its ear.

      After all, the public has: Ignatieff’s leadership has been polling in the negative for the better part of the year — well before the current mutineering merger discussions started erupting
      — and yet a goodly portion of the electorate is clearly still prepared to vote for the Liberal Party, anyway.

      In fact, some of us may secretly prefer it this way: to be a refreshing alternative to both the current PM & some aspects of the earlier Boss, to trust the democratically elected caucus enough to let them do some work and come up with reasonable solutions on their own and reverse the leader, when nec.

      So maybe it’s time for MI to make a virtue of necessity and own this: to speak honestly & directly to Canadians and say,

      “Yes, I am still finding my sea legs, and I have made and will make mistakes. But I have a good, experienced team around me who let me know, and I am not an ideologue: I do listen and learn, and I am prepared to correct these decisions and policies where that is in the best interests of the country, because I do believe in a consensus rather than an autocratic model of government. I have already demonstrated with this with my own party on number of occasions, and unlike the current PM, my party and I will be able to work with the other parties in a constructive way, as well on more than just a piecemeal, last-minute, crisis-driven way…”

  19. Namesake says:

    @ Brian: “A hit, a very palpable hit” ( http://www.shakespeare-literature.com/Hamlet/20.html )

    See: that’s the thing about 2-edged swords: those who are too quick to wield them can be cut by them just as easily.

    So, rather than imputing unseemly personal motivations to those who would publicly criticize the leadership of the party, as above http://warrenkinsella.com/2010/06/interesting-strategy/#comment-5225 — can’t you just explain why you disagree with their tactics?

    If, so, you could dialogue with some of the participants here who have explained here or elsewhere, how they tried to be patient, & tried to change things internally, but it was clear that nothing was changing, and regrettably sometimes whistleblowing or letting cats out of the bag is the only way to effect reform.

    And, no, I don’t want to denigrate party volunteers — esp. after reading this http://accidentaldeliberations.blogspot.com/2010/06/some-political-perspective.html the other day — but if you read my response more carefully, you’ll see I didn’t actually do so, I just said that one _could_ turn a charge of personal motivations back onto you (but I’m not about to try to explain psychological egoism to you, to argue why that might be the case: how you might actually be getting some perverse satisfaction of being a martyr to the cause, e.g.).

    BTW, there’s a typo in your embedded blog address: it ends in .ca, not .com

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