06.21.2010 08:53 AM


This and this.



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    bigcitylib says:

    They are yin and yang. The Globe piece is an interesting discussion of political party financing in Canada, with several suggestions as to can be improved. Coyne’s piece is crap, a load of summertime blithering in lieu of real news to report.

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      Joseph says:

      Has Coyne ever reported on anything?

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    Catherine says:

    Always respect your vantage point, Mr. Kinsella.

    But, as sometimes happens in life, you are stuck on a formed opinion.

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    JStanton says:

    … lets neutralize the hand-wringing and awfulizing. The end of the LPC, should it happen, (and it won’t anytime soon), is NOT the end of centre-left politics in Canada. The LPC is simply a vehicle used to advance these political ideas, rather than the ideas themselves.

    Just like an older, hitherto reliable car, when the cost of refurbishment is higher than alternative methods of transportation that get you to your destination faster, and with less overhead, its more prudent to simply walk away from the old dear, and speed off in a new, shiny model, without all of that old baggage.

    A new “Liberal Democrat” party would serve us well, to remain progressive in this new century. If even conservatives can see the value in, and reap the benefits of a renewal, what does it say about Liberals that they are still grasping at old ideas and methods that are dragging the party down further into irrelevance?

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    keyrocks says:

    Andrew Coyne presents an interesting perspective core Liberals ought to keep in mind. No comment on the other.

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    Namesake says:

    Hmm, I can see why you want them discussed together, WK, because in your mind, you came to save Caesar (or at least Rome), not to bury it, by disclosing & urging a coalition/merger in order to head off the calamitous loss of the voting subsidy, but I really think these two items should be discussed separately:

    1) Is Coyne right: is the Liberal Party a dead man walking, now (and should you be burned in effigy for giving it AIDS, as it were)?; and

    2) Will the loss of the voting subsidy be fatal in & of itself; and what, if any, system should be proposed to modify or replace it?

    But to have an intelligent discussion on 2, it would really help to know how much it costs to run a viable party b/w elections & a credible campaign, and how much it costs & how efficient it is to fundraise …before folks like me weigh in on how divisive it is to the country, and unseemly, and somewhat hypocritical (given the taxpayer subsidy anyway on the write-off), and harmful to the competing bona fide charities, etc. etc., for political parties (incl. the one constituting the Gov’t of Canada) to be cranking out sky-is-falling fundraising letters & emails each week replete with polarizing talking points to put the fear of G-d into everyone simply in order to keep paying their own salaries (and of course to represent the interests of the country, blah blah).

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    William M says:

    Andrew Coyne sure likes to call the end of things, doesn’t he?

    I recall this gem from early 2009

    “The end of Canadian conservatism
    How Harper sold out to save himself
    by Andrew Coyne on Thursday, January 29, 2009”


    Pundits are very much like economists, they rarely get it right and there’s little accountability if they’re wrong.

    If you must forecast, forecast often!

    Pretty sure weather people fit in there too.

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      Cam says:

      Excellent input William.

      Economists mostly get the trending right and they do it by looking backward in order to forecast the future. They have little room in their models to accommodate complete shifts in thinking and behaviour,sort of like Mr. Coyne’s view.

      Yes, I think the current funding model is broken and creates a dependency which is bad news for some parties. Hint – I will gladly donate $ to the party that provides clear, crisp Canadian policy alternatives.

      *I don’t want to know how bad the other guy is, instead tell me what you’re going to do for us.*

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    e says:

    plaingly silly, Mr. Angry has not warmed to the public. If anything Mr. Angry is less trusted than ever before. The libs need to relearn how to talk to the public and stand up to bullies… but that is not the same as being dead, and Mr. Coyne suggests. Mr. Coyne’ the article is just a drive-by-thuggery – way beneath his skill level.

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    Sandra says:

    Well, all it is is “opinion”. Do you not think for yourself? Opinion, opinion is all we get today and very little journalism.

    I get opinions from my neighbours, friends, etc., etc.

    Take it for what it is – JUST opinion. Imagine, they get paid for opinions.

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    e says:

    The editorial is simply like saying to a person who is not married, “When will you stop beating your wife?”

    It’s nonsense and silly to accept its premise(s). It’s a drive by smear and nothing more.

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    Michael Behiels says:

    This issues are intimately linked. Coyne’s rash prediction of the demise of the LIberal Party and Harper government’s musing about ending electing financing for all political parties.
    The national Liberal Party is in a deep, deep crisis! It is a crisis of leadership and a crisis of policy – same old, same old stuff. Leading Liberals are caught between a rock and a hard place. How can the Party replace Ignatieff with another leader at this late stage without inflaming the internal civil war? And who might this alternative leader be? The informal, private discussions regards coalition, or even a merger, by very important and well-placed Liberals and New Democrats were leaked to the press and resulted in the derailment of the process.
    These dual crises are being aided and abetted by the crisis facing the Jean Charest Liberal government and Quebec Liberal Party. If the Charest government falls and is replaced by a Pauline Marois PQ government then all bets are off. Canadians will face a third referendum on secession.
    Harper is well aware of what is going on within the opposition parties, especially the Liberal caucus and Liberal Party, as well as the developing situation in Quebec. Harper will exploit all the opportunities that are presenting themselves to him on a silver platter.
    Harper will exploit the Liberal Party’s weaknesses by calling a snap election in late Fall or mid-Winter. He will accomplish the defeat of his government by reintroducing the cancellation of election financing for all political parties. Harper will provoke a national election before the $47 Billion budget deficit of 2009-2010 turns into a second massive budget deficit of $40-$50 Billion for 2010-2011, both of which will add another $100 Billion to the national debt. The budget for 2011-2012 will contain painful cuts in program spending across the board.
    During this period, Harper will also be able exploit the re-emergence of the secessionist movement in Quebec by taking a hard-line approach to secessionist PQ government. In doing so, Harper expects to get his majority.
    Warren might have added one more element to his calculation. The creation by Péladeau of a Fox-style news network to preach the Conservative gospel 24/7 will assist greatly PM Harper’s determination to change Canadian politics and political culture in ways that will ensure his Conservative Party’s dominance for quite a long time. One might ask what is in this for the Péladeau clan? After all it will cost him a minimum of $20 million a year. One might also ask what will Harper have to pay the Péladeau clan for its unconditional support for the Conservative Party and government? Will Harper have to grant special constitutional status for Quebec?

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    Cynic says:

    Coyne is auditioning for a spot on the new Tory/Fox North channel. His comments even on CBC are so moronic & predictable.

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    Michael Watkins says:

    Nice photo of Mr. Ignatieff. Would have been better if they could have nabbed that same image while he was eating a banana, losing his luggage at the airport, choking on a pretzel, fumbling a football and slipping off the stage, but nice image just the same.

    I believe Coyne nails it here in his article:

    When a former prime minister lets it be known that he has given up on the party he led to three majorities, and wants to merge it with another party, that is not something that can be dismissed, or forgotten.

    Jean Chretien isn’t the 2010 version of Paul Hellyer but instead is a sane, wise, respected and proven leader. We ought not be hearing about any coalition / merger / third way talks unless certain folks, Chretien included, believed the situation was either dire or intractable or both.

    The funding discussion is both a catalyst driving some to take such extraordinary measures, and is a symptom of the party’s problems. Funding is easier when people believe in their leader and party’s chances. As Conservatives raised nearly 2X the funds Liberals did in 2009, and approached 4X what Liberals did in Q1 2010, one could conclude that the membership are not in the “I believe” camp and no sing-song is going to change that.

    If the Conservatives are prepared to put the elimination of the federal subsidy in their policy book, it’s gone, and there will be no blow-back on them next time.

    Maybe I’m close minded but I cannot conceive of an argument the opposition can make to keep the subsidies that seems anything but self-serving. What’ll probably happen is the NDP will side with the Conservatives in a “Subsidies? We don’t need no stinkin’ subsidies” moment, leaving only the Liberals and the Greens clamouring for financial support. Good luck trying to argue that one.

    The result, post election? Probably for the Liberals it will mean record debt for the party due to election costs, maybe stunning levels of debt if the powers that be do something foolish in a last ditch attempt to regain power. Such things have happened before during elections, where accountability seems to go out the window. Add to a crushing debt problem the bleak future where suddenly parties will be forced to work with 1/2 (or less) of the on-going operational funding, month in, month out. Take every single opposition activity and reduce funding by 1/2, immediately. Just ask Jim Prentice, Treasurer of the party for part of the 90’s, how much fun it was to fund-raise after the PC Party wipeout. Almost as much if not more than any other factor, what killed the PC Party is the debt the party carried through the years.

    (The Greens will have an even harder time, although it is interesting that their fundraising capability has been improving.)

    Is Coyne being overly dramatic in his assessment for future Liberal prospects? I don’t think so.

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    Malcolm Barry says:

    I recall a former Finance Minister in the Federal Govt. remark about his Budget when citizens were complaining about the amount. He replied” whats a million dollars?”. I guess there are people who now say, WHATS A BILLION DOLLARS. The amount is not comprehensible to many.

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    Wascally Wabbit says:

    Funny that the scions of the Liberal party are not herding the troops to the keyboards with the talking points – something along the lines of – it’s mischief – Coyne (Kinsella0 doesn’t know what he is talking about – and that most cutting of all – no-one has my authority to discuss these matters.
    That’s about what you received when you threw the pebble into the pond – isn’t it Warren?
    At last count though – Coyne had 125 comments and counting – and he certainly got the CONBOTS into a feeding frenzy!
    The Globe editorial is more troubling. Rocco Rossi’s replacement doesn’t seem to be a barnburner (heck – I can’t even remember his name) – and they don’t seem to have gotten their arms around Obama type dialogue / fundraising – even though they have owned the rights for some time.
    So those facts – on top of the lack of policy / message / and political smarts must worry anyone who remembers a Better generation of Liberal party!

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    ktron says:

    Both of these articles should stand to remind us that Democracy has been in flux since its inception. Each article reminds us that our current system is nowhere near optimal. You could interpret low voter turnout to mean people are generally happy with electoral outcomes (regardless of the party in power), or that voters are lethargic, or simply clueless. If we see the one-vote-per-person system as being the ideal, then we should be looking hard for the reasons for such low engagement and finding solutions more viable than funnelling money to non-accountable party organizations or “electing” leaders through those same organizations. If we are all honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that the biggest problems are first, the lack of open non-agenda-driven communication and second, a total lack of accountability. Time and again even the tiniest promises for electoral reform are de-railed for short term political advantage: repeatedly partisanship trumps all.

    The Globe piece deals with the partisanship issue, while the Coyne piece illustrates the total disconnect between party politics and fundamental democratic principles. Do we consider a democratic system to be one that rests on elected officials representing their electorate and being chosen by individuals voting? If so, then any apparatus that intrudes between the electorate and its representatives is by definition, un-democratic. Over the last thirty years parties have completely traded sides constantly, even on issues as big as Free Trade, GST, or fiscal restraint, simply to gain partisan advantage. The results are invariably counter-productive. The logical response to both of these articles is that democracy needs to develop beyond the party system toward an approach where people are placed in official positions according to their strengths, based on the will of the electorate, not partisan politicking. When a system is run by a government elected by 30% of the people, its clear that the system is broken: do we want to fix it and build a democracy, or do we want to play politics?

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