01.27.2011 05:26 PM

A Liberal on being liberal (updated twice, and moved up)

“A dream was instilled in me eight years ago. Today, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s constitutional “accord” threatens to destroy that dream.

I was a cocky 17-year-old on my way to Maple Leaf Gardens for the first time in my life. I wasn’t going to see the Maple Leafs or even Elton John. Along with thousands of others, I came to see and hear Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

I was spellbound.

Never before and never since have I been so moved by a speech. Unlike so many speeches, this one radiated from a central vision.

Trudeau’s vision of Canada was of a tolerant, multicultural polity where minority rights throughout the country would be protected and enhanced by a strong central government. It was of a mixed economy in which the critical components should be kept Canadian. And it was of a social system that would not allow the workings of the market to degrade human dignity.

Giant strides were taken toward achieving that vision. On the social front, progressive legislation was passed; economically, the Foreign Investment Review Agency and the National Energy Program were put in place to protect and enhance Canada’s position; and politically, the Constitution was patriated and an entrenched Bill of Rights produced.

All these fronts have been attacked and eroded by the Mulroney government – social programs have been cut in the name of reducing deficits, and the dream of a distinct Canadian economy is fading daily as the Tories pursue their “free” trade leap of faith.

But no action strikes a greater blow to the Trudeau vision than the present constitutional accord. As Deborah Coyne of the University of Toronto’s faculty of law points out, the accord represents a “disturbing abdication of federal power to the regions . . . at a time when we have more need than ever for strong national leadership in order to meet the unprecedented challenges that we face today.”

Who will speak for Canada?”

UPDATE: Now that we have hit about 100 comments on this one, I can reveal my ulterior motive: my interest isn’t what was said, so much, as who said it – and what you Conservatives out there would have to say about the points made therein.  Both are quite interesting, and quite helpful.  All will be revealed soon.

UPDATED TWO DAYS LATER: The author of those statements from May 1987, statements which are to the left of quite a few Liberals – eg., FIRA and NEP are good, free trade is bad – is none other than Rocco Rossi. Quite a few Conservative commenters, not knowing who I was quoting, heaped scorn on what Rossi wrote.  So what, you say?

Well, both things are worth noting because, at tonight’s Toronto mayoralty-candidate “harmony” fundraiser, Rocco Rossi is apparently going to be wheeled around by Conservative operatives as a convert to their cause.  The author of those far-centre-left statements, we’re to be told, is a Conservative, now.  From a Trudeau Liberal to a Randy Hillier cheerleader, just like that: kind of takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

He’s Benedict Baldy, someone said to me today.  It fits.

Partly, that makes me mad at myself – for trusting him, for believing him when he said he believes in the same things I do, and for devoting billable time (and vacation time with my kids, even) to following him in an erratic, bizarre campaign that ended in the single digits.  (Bocce balls: remember that?  He thought that, and the Conservatives who thought it up, were brilliant.) I wouldn’t have helped him, not for a moment, if I had known what Rocco is now seemingly capable of.

Partly, it makes me mad at him, of course.  When you read the words above, and you try to picture him as a Conservative, you wonder if Rocco believes in anything, other than his own ambition.  When you read the words of the Conservatives who commented on Rocco’s previous views – on NEP, free trade and so on – you also wonder how they will ever truly accept him as one of their own.  Rest assured: they won’t. The Conservatives I know, and like, have principles.

Either way, it doesn’t matter.  The Ipsos released last night makes clear that Rocco Rossi has just launched his second losing campaign.

This time, I’ll be laughing my ass off.

…not really.


  1. jon evan says:

    Yes, “Who will speak for Canada?” and tell us the truth…..?

    Like, I’m thinking: is there anything new under the sun? What is happening in Europe will surely happen here too if we don’t do things differently. The nanny state will collapse here too is my fear. Medicare is already a failure, the Charter gives more rights to criminals then victims of their crimes, and as in Germany multiculturalism too here will be/is a failure if only someone is brave enough to tell us the truth….

    Now, don’t tell me it will be Mr. Ignatieff!

    • Winston Higgs says:

      Ok, I am normally not one to comment on WK’s site about political stuff…well, mabye once…but usually, I come for the frivolity, but to quote the words of Samuel L. Jackson, Mr. Evan, “Are you finished? Well, allow me to retort!”

      Medicare a failure? Name one person who has lost their house because they couldn’t pay their medical bills. Name someone who has been refused medical care because they didn’t have insurance. You can’t! Tell us how it has failed us and be specific. No add water and stir answers, please.

      Give me one example (and please site jurisprudence and not some blogger’s opinion…WK excepted of course) that proves your second point…you can’t, you alarmist jackwagon!

      As for multi-culturalism, you racist jackwagon, IT BUILT THIS BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY! Chinese railway workers, Ukrainian farmers, Italian steelworkers just to name a few. Take your Tea Party wares and peddle them somewhere else.

      It’s gonna take at least 2 rye-and-cokes to get me calmed down tonight. Where’s my Anacin….

      • Are you asking to provide names of Canadians who went to other countries to get medical services not covered or offered in a timely manner that has caused financial hardship? Are you really going to suggest this has not taken place “ever”?

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gL5MrO00ci8 ( Michael Coren Show Interview)

        Shona Holmes was attacked for by the left for her speaking up and sharing her story last year. She received death threats as well according to news reports.

        • smelter rat says:

          Oh please. Are you sure you want to use that example?

          “The Toronto Star published a letter to the editor from another Waterdown resident, who had a true brain tumor. She described the care she received in the Canadian health care system as being of “exceptional quality”.[30] Her letter concluded with the comment: “I know our health care system works and if Holmes didn’t have a problem with her physician what exactly are her motives for taking part in this media spectacle?”

          • How does this refute her personal example and the question about Canadians leaving for medical treatment abroad?

            Apparently you are not aware of the term medical tourism industry.

            Your point has absolutely nothing to do with my reply of a specific name for Winston Higgs

            The attacks on Holmes reminds me of the attacks on Sara Palin for the Tucson murders.

            Best of luck smelter, Canadians are not seeking medical services outside Canada and paying $$$.

          • smelter rat says:

            CS, a perfect example of someone who refuses to veer off of the CPC talking points, regardless of how wrong they are. Nice doggie, here’s a treat.

        • PETE says:

          Canadian nonsense=jackass.

          And you’re most probably on wlefare or some other benefit from the government.

          • Katie says:

            Disagreeing with CPC = being a welfare – that’s how it’s spelled, by the way – recipient? And nice touch, that you would consider that an insult.

      • PETE says:


      • jade says:

        You are on the mark. Sad and sick that what was once celebrated, for the reasons you name above, is now attacked and twisted beyond good sense and reality.

    • hugger says:

      You prefer the old US model of health care where 30% of the population didn’t have any?

      About those massive benefits; massive may be a correct choice of words, but benefits??

      Federal Govt Program Spending in billions
      Last Liberal budget 2005: $175.2
      Last Conservative budget 2010: $237.8 (35.7% increase, 7.1% a year)

      The first Conservative budget had $188.3 billion in spending, a 7.5% increase in spending from the previous Liberal spending.

      The Conservative’s 2008 budget spent $206.8 billion. A 18% increase over 3 years. All before any “stimulus” spending.

      And a 14% increase in the size of the civil service.

      I think Forrest Gump had more economic acumen than all the Reformers put together.

      • hugger says:

        You get back to me with some actual numbers for once. You know like I provided above. Much hand waving and alluding to is just more of the economic quackery you support as some form of magic libertarian solution.

        About those illegals in the US, the ones all the big AG companies and meat processing corps love to hate so much, yet employ by the thousands, what is the count on those people in respect to your equation? What is the actual count on them for any purpose?

        Overall, what the Reformatories have accomplished is? What they have built besides debt is what exactly? Besides selling off public assets while accumulating debt and expanding the civil service, the PMO and use of consultants what is their legacy?

        Did you hear Baird’s comments on the potential job losses at Air Canada related to the UAE debacle? How does anyone expect to be taken seriously when they talk such nonsense?

      • Paul says:

        That is the key: “Private provision, paid for with government funds”. No sane person wants “US-style” health care in Canada. However, the minute you mention the idea that maybe private industry could take some of the load off the system, the NDP and the unions start screaming about “privatizing health-care” and the sacred cow lives on.

        Of course, this is nothing more than code for “we don’t want anyone muscling in on our monopoly.”

        We could be reducing both wait times and costs by allowing more private provision of certain services, since such providers would not be required to employ expensive, public-sector union employees for every job from the guy mopping the puke off the floor on up. As a side effect Canadians could invest in the companies running the services and get a return to boot, as is the case with labs like CML which already provides services and is a private, dividend-paying corporation trading on the TSX.

      • mrburnsns says:

        Gord I would say that if you included the underinsured (people with insurance who would struggle financially with copays associated with a major illness) in the U.S. the number would be substantially greater than 30%. Even if you excluded illegal immigrants that’s still only about 3% of the U.S. population (10-12 million). Let’s also look at why you would choose not to buy coverage – it’s obscenely expensive if you do not have access to a group plan, even if you’re young and healthy. Couple that with the fact that many small businesses cannot get access to group plans and you have a situation where the cost of health care can overwhelm a family with income well above the levels where they would qualify for assistance (a group family plan runs about $15,000 – it would be substantially more if you purchased it yourself). When money is tight you prioritize. You need a roof over your head and food – and you run your chances on the rest because you don’t have a choice. Also your argument about Medicare and Medicaid is entirely false. Medicare is available only to those over 65. In order to qualify for Medicaid you pretty much need to have no assets and be living in your car. Even then you still may not qualify (I wish I was joking but I’m not).

        Frankly I would enjoy watching you try to get decent health care for a small to mid-size business in the U.S. Or better yet trying to get insurance for someone who’s had medical problems. Back when I owned a piece of a software company down here I ended up having to pay $5,500 a year (even though I was under 30 and had a “Cadillac” plan through my wife’s employer) just to keep from “breaking” our group and leaving our employees and their families without coverage.

        There is no question that medical coverage is a place for government to be involved. Government run plans in the U.S. are vastly more efficient than their private counterparts in terms of the ratio of administrative costs to claims.

        Beyond the issues of the un/underinsured it’s very clear to me (and I’ve seen the 20+%/yr premium increases that prove it) that the nearly-all-private provider system does nothing to control costs.

    • Nasty Bob says:

      The Charter gives more rights to criminals than victims??

      Which section(s) does that?? The accused rights found in the Charter are standard fare for western democracies- only in Canada they are weaker than in many other jurisdictions. In Canada, as compared to stateside, you can not take the 5th, you can not have a lawyer present during police questioning and when they do question you they don’t have to stop if you tell them you have noting to say. In fact, they can use tactics that stop just short of torture to eek out a confession.

      As well, even if your rights are violated it is still possible to get some or all of the evidence admitted at trial up here. In the US if there’s a breach of rights exclusion of evidence is automatic and absolute.

      Btw – if you want a system that’s designed to even things up between criminal and victim or that inflicts something approximating the pain/suffering/loss suffered by the victim onto the criminal then Sharia law is your answer!

    • Ted H. says:

      What kind of whacked statement is that, how is that for ad hominum, Canada’s healthcare is Stalinist? What the hell is that supposed to mean. We all pay a bit in taxes and in return we get public healthcare and spend less of GDP than the Americans. That’s not Stalinist, that is good business and wise use of a country’s resources. What is wrong in your exalted opinion with public healthcare, never mind, your answer will take too long to read. And what’s this “many will live a less comfortable retirement” as just a toss off statement, what kind of heartless person are you, well one answer, you are a Conservative. These are people, old people you just blow off, if a country gets wealthier by your standards, who should benefit if not the people. You know that bumper sticker, “There are two kinds of Conservatives, millionaires and suckers”

    • jon evan says:

      You misunderstand. I don’t believe in the nanny state – of course the Canadian nanny state will collapse!
      There is nothing free under the sun and Mr. Ignatieff isn’t telling the truth when he wants free day care!
      As far as health care! I’ve been working in it for 30+ years! It’s a joke when my dog can get a MRI today where
      I have to wait three months! It is Stalinist: shut up, stand in line and wait! Some health care system!
      I don’t want the US system or I would have gone there to work. I want a choice which I should have if we are a
      free society! Are we not!

  2. WesternGrit says:

    Can’t wait for the Alberta wingnuts to start whining about the NEP… It’s funny what one industry can distort and twist in a “one-horse town”… Many regions of the land have been hit by various programs which cost economic hardship… It is only the ultimate “greedsters” of the greediest industry on earth that hold a grudge (against anyone) for this long. Hey, they start wars over this stuff, so why wouldn’t they act the way they still do?

    • james Smith says:

      Here’s at least 3 take you pick http://is.gd/mn91C5

    • Andrew says:

      The NEP was very bad policy. It basically shut down investment in the Canadian Oil Patch in the early 80’s. It resulted in a massive transfer of money out of Alberta to the rest of the country. It kept oil prices artificially low (relative to world oil prices) thereby discouraging energy conservation in Canada. The Canadian Taxpayer suffered over the long run for this misguided policy. It had a immediate negative impact on the Alberta economy. A booming economy was stopped dead in its tracks. It is a perfect example of government sticking its nose business that it should not be involved in. The Oil Industry has a consistent history of correcting itself (remember that thing called supply and demand?). Thank goodness the PC’s got rid of it and the more business friendly Liberals (JC and PM) didn’t even think about bringing it back.

      • hugger says:

        Who started development of the Tar sands project?

        What would Petro Canada be worth today if we still owned it?

        What makes you think the demand for Canada’s oil would be weak at this time if the NEP still existed?

        The availability of oil was different during the 80’s to what it is now; you might want to factor that.

        The oil and gas that wasn’t sold at a far lesser price in the 80’s was still there to be sold at a much higher price later on. Yes / No?

        Albertan’s are prima donnas

        • Andrew says:


          1) A private company, Sun Oil, had the first mining project (now the Suncor operation). A private company, Imperial Oil, started the first commercial in situ oil sands project. No (or very little) government money was involved.

          2) Value of PetroCanada (now part of Suncor) if “we” still owned it? I don’t know but I’m sure the value to Canadians is higher now as a private company. Every Canadian Equity Fund likely has it. Ask someone who actually might know rather than speculate.

          3) Shouldn’t the folks who take the risks to find and produce the oil get rewarded or do you think that you can drill a well and oil comes out magically. It doesn’t work that way.

          4) of course people will want our oil but if investors can make more money elsewhere, why would they spend their money in Canada?

          5) there was lots of oil in the 80’s and there is lots of oil now. The difference is that the oil around now is more expensive. I don’t understand your point.

          6) Ever hear of a concept called the time value of money?

          7) Albertan’s and the Canadians who have moved to Alberta are hard working prima donnas. They are extremely proud of what they have accomplished. I’m one of them.

          • hugger says:

            Interesting story here;

            Ottawa considers paying for stadiums with unspent $1-billion

            “Federal Conservatives are eyeing an unspent pot of more than $1-billion from the 2008 budget as a way of funding pro-sports venues without coughing up new cash.

            The only problem with tapping into the P3 Canada Fund ? managed by a Crown corporation and designed for projects with other governments and the private sector ? is that the rules specifically forbid spending the money on facilities ?primarily? used for pro sports.”


            Not necessarily socialist pinkos, but socialist pinkos if necessary.

          • hugger says:

            Sorry I meant for that last post to go at the end of this thread. I find this format a bit confusing at times. Eyesight isn’t so good either.

          • hugger says:

            !. Suncor; one of the two Canadian based oil companies that made more profit than the government of Alberta received in royalty revenue from all sources, all companies.

            2. “Value of PetroCanada (now part of Suncor) if “we” still owned it? I don’t know but I’m sure the value to Canadians is higher now as a private company. Every Canadian Equity Fund likely has it. Ask someone who actually might know rather than speculate.

            You should have stopped at “I don’t know”

            3. Yes of course they should be compensated according to fair returns based on risk, probability of return on investment and stability of the region being invested in.

            4. Because it is an investment that appears more secure than most others given the economic climate created by the deconstructionists and deregulation advocates. Republican / Texan / Texbertans.

            5. Cheaper oil was available from sources such as Venezuela and the Land of the Free hadn’t tapped their conventional reserves to the extent the are now.

            6. Ever heard of a concept called the University of Life?

            7. About those Prima donnas. Got your attention didn’t it? That said, you put up a valiant defense with some facts to substantiate your positions. Better than Tulk. The goal at the end of the day is to make it the best it can be. Trudeau was just a man like you and I, but I am willing to admit, a hell of a lot smarter than me. Perhaps not as experienced though.

            Everything he envisioned wasn’t perfect, but he was one of the few in Canadian History who will always stand out for standing up for his convictions. I respect that.

      • james Smith says:

        Not to go all “THE NEP WAS MISUNDERSTOOD” on you Dude, but I lived in Calgary at the time, lost my house, some friends who also lost houses lived in Denver, & Huston & Tulsa. The fricking bottom fell out of the industry. Just so you know, the NEP would have put a FLOOR as well as a CEILING on domestic prices for oil. Funny story, I guy by the name of Diefenbaker suggested the idea in the ’60’s.

    • V. Malaise says:

      To this day Alberta will not vote Liberal Federally because of the NEP. Tens of thousands of careers were destroyed. In 1979 none of graduating class in Earth Sciences could find work or had job offers rescinded. The NEP accomplished nothing but extracting tax revenue from Alberta.

  3. WesternGrit says:

    Oh… and great words, by the way. True Grit.

  4. bc says:

    “Trudeau’s vision of Canada was of a tolerant, multicultural polity where minority rights throughout the country would be protected and enhanced by a strong central government.”

    Yikes. Didn’t that ever go wrong.

  5. Kelmcc says:

    “social programs have been cut in the name of reducing deficits” wow, that must have been devastating when Chretien and Martin went even further than Mulroney.

  6. hugger says:

    “Efficient, interlocked markets are far better protectors of personal and economic freedom than centralized government”

    Circa Eddie Greenspan

    “Creative destruction is the way forward not just for commerce, but for societies as well. Government imposed multi-cult frustrates that process and harms us all in the process.”

    I see the Gorgon deconstructionists are back preaching their scorched earth philosophies. It was the deregulation crowd that overheated the economies of the world. Anyone with half a clue understands that. Great Union busting tool though.

    • james Smith says:

      Are you quoting Milton Freidman W/O a sense of irony?

    • hugger says:

      You want to compare freedoms in China, India and korea? Even Japan for that matter with it’s horrendous debt ratios. Your arguments are silly.

      Your idea of freedom seems to revolve around and include making $40 a week or less, living in a state controlled environment where virtually everything is censored and one Party rule. Oh that’s right, we won’t recognize Canada when your economist prime minister who isn’t an economist, is through with it.

      Btw inflation in China is running at 5.1%, food costs are escalating rapidly and for approx one third of the population they are spending close to 50% of their meagre incomes on food alone. Now that presents a dilemma for the Tin Tiger, and there are a number of possible outcomes but I wouldn’t bother explaining that to someone who believes in quackery economics.

      I am still waiting for those numbers from above too. Put away the book of talking points and get cracking

  7. Steve T says:

    I’m not going to comment on the other aspects of PET’s speech, but I completely agree that the devolution of federal powers to the provinces was the beginning of a string of related problems that persist today. Provinces stick their hands out for federal transfer payments, and yet still blame all their problems on the federal government. Provinces also dig in their heels with myopic and protectionist rhetoric that is self-serving and ignores the greater good of the country overall. In turn, Canadians see themselves as much as residents of a particular province as they do citizens of a country. Quebec is obviously the worst example of this, but there are many others as well.

    • smelter rat says:


    • hugger says:

      Waiting with baited breath for Alberta to get HST.

    • hugger says:

      Appears to be a slow moment; goodie, that’s when I get to pretend I’m Wolf Man Jack. From Radio Hugger;

      The King


      Johnny Cash, God’s gonna cut you down


      Did anyone ever read the story of Elvis buying a Cadillac for a black lady who he met one day at a car lot?

      Whatever value anecdotal stories may have, I offer this.

      I read the offerings of Libertarian thought process, and I remember. I remember watching two Soldiers die before I was 9. I remember watching many more die by the time I was 21. When I was a boy, we were so strapped I never dreamed of asking my Mother for a 20 dollar bill. By the time I was 32 I had a full time job, owned an old working farm and a small business. Shortly thereafter my net worth was a quarter of a million dollars, and I earned ever penny through sacrifice and hard work. 16 hour days hard work. That was a long time ago so some real math is required to put it into perspective, and I never screwed over anyone to get there.

      There were lot’s of struggles and battles along the way. Some I should never have had to fight, but in the end, I emerged with a heart somewhat intact.

      Good is in all of us. Sometimes we just have try really hard to remember where we left it.

      Something different to think about. Something outside of the box. Like a just Society.

  8. Do you think PET was enamored with the China/Cuba “socialist” experiment?

    • PETE says:

      Therefore, in your logic, one of Harper’s pallbearers might be Putin, or maybe the ex Tunisian president.

    • smelter rat says:

      Gord, you are beyond being a joke.

    • hugger says:

      Using an ad hominem as a response indicates one of two things:

      You are too lazy to put forth a reasoned one or,

      You are not capable of putting forth a reasoned argument


    • Why do you think the younger generation in the left has difficulty with revisiting the close ties to China and Cuba under PET?

      It seems strange to deny he was against nationalizing large parts of the Canadian economy.


      Trudeau wanted Canada to be less dependent on the United States. He lobbied for increased Canadian ownership and protection of the country’s resources. Creating Petro-Canada in 1975 was part of that plan. The Crown-owned company would develop and control Canada’s presence in the energy sector.

  9. Anne Peterson says:

    The true ‘nanny states’ of northern Europe are doing just fine. They are way up there on the richness and successful economy scales and the happiness scale and the health scale and the education scale. See Forbes recent list and others. Conservatives have to stay in denial about this or their visions and dreams would seem as ridiculous to them as they do to those who really study the world and know the facts. They must endlessly lie and try desperately to convince the rest of us that their lies are true.

    If there is anything I want to preserve for my grand children it is our health care system. Also a quality public educations system. And since my grandchildren are products of at least 8 different nationalities including aboriginal, incidentally, I would be very careful about trashing the immigration system. If it is the cause of anything it is whatever success we have.

    • So in other words you want to vote NDP?

      Trudeau implemented policies from the NDP with Lewis to keep the confidence of his government. The Liberals ran an election two years later and took all the credit according the the NDP.

      If you look at specific periods of investments from the Liberals in Health or education it was because the NDP held their feet to the fire or do you believe it was just a coincidence Pearson-Trudeau had minorities at both times?

      • james Smith says:

        Dude, were you alive in the ’70s & ’80s? Did you have to refinance your house at 23% interest when you bought it @ 9.25%? Heck I think YOU might have been going “wah! wah! wah! make the rich pay!” back then as well. JImminy Crickets what do I know? Perhaps you have a trust fund.

        • Craig Chamberlain says:

          Keep your tax dollars coming! It’s time for another bonus! And by the way, suck it up, pinko!

        • I remember the period the 70-80’s. You did NOT address the political machinations..

          What governments created the “nanny state” entitlement programs? Which government cut them deeply in the 1990’s? Which government has begun to restore the principles of Universal Health care, a sound military, a understandable foreign policy?

          What happened to Jimmy Carter? Who lead the free world in the 80’s and helped cause the Berlin Wall to fall?

          During the recession and tech meltdown in 2000-2003 how did the Liberals react vs the Conservatives 2009-2010. Which government went after the middle class, the unemployed in order to balance their “federal” books?

          Compare the unemployment rates in the US vs Canada, 1980-2011. Which country is doing better today? Our Canadian dollar is no longer viewed as the Peso. Our sitting PM is co-chairing an international Fund of $ 40 billion to improve maternal health on the global stage.

      • PETE says:

        Canadian nonsense..and the current record deficit was borrowed by the cons from whom. Who demands big deficits every day? Why, the NDP of course.

        Who eliminated deficits in Canada in the 90’S…………the liberals of course.

        You conti ue to be the loser you sre on other blogs that make fun of your nonsense

        • Are you blaming the Lewis led NDP for cooperating with the Trudeau Liberals to create expand the nanny state of the 1970’s in his minority? Re-read some Canadian political history about the expansion of our Federal programs and the taxes needed to sustain them.

          I never voted for the Federal PC party. They don’t exist anymore either. Same with Reform and Alliance.

          The sad thing about Liberals is they believe they did the heavy lifting in balancing the federal books.

          I would argue the taxpayer paid and made the actual sacrifices.

    • Craig Chamberlain says:

      On the subject of our supposed nanny state, Mr. Tulk, I’m going to challenge you on something. Do you suppose if the Liberals were in power and were announcing the same consumer borrowing caps as what we saw this week from Mr. Flaherty, the cons would be suggesting that too was an example of the state telling people what was good for them? Be honest. Would you not be arguing that individuals are in fact the experts on how to best spend their money, and if some do it poorly, isn’t that what the market is about AS WELL? Afterall, since when in a free market economy we only had winners? I can imagine it now — “just because those leftist bums don’t know how to borrow responsibly, why should that impact me?” And on the subject of nanny state, I guess we can also talk about the fact businesses were bailed out with taxpayer dollars in this last recession. Seems as though there are two sets of rules and the world seems willing to let the little guy fail and have all the shame that goes hand in hand with that, while others, if they’re big enough, can’t lose. In fact, the people behind it get bonuses. So, if you want to talk about a nanny state, let’s talk about the biggest examples of it and let’s stop beating up on Joe Canadian.

  10. Anne Peterson says:

    The free market of Milton Friedman makes most people in the world freer to be slaves.

  11. PETE says:

    MARY……….yes he will!!!

  12. Ted says:

    ACtually Gord, you are very wrong in saying “Canada from the getgo was configured to be less centralized than PET wanted it to be.”

    Sir John A wanted a unitary state like Britain and only acceded to the concept of provinces to satisfy and protect Cartier (that is admittedly a simplification). He thought of provinces as municipalities that would fade away over time. He gave the federal government the right to veto provincial legislation regardless of s91/92 arguments over jurisdiction.

    Canada is the most decentralized nation in the world and is far more decentralized now than it was under Sir John and far more decentralized than he would have ever imagined.

    You can argue that that is a good thing. But you can’t argue that is what he had in mind. I would argue that on most fronts, it holds us back economically: don’t confuse “nanny state” with central government. The one doesn’t follow from the other.

    • james Smith says:

      You might like to add Ted that it was decisions made by the British Privy Council & the House of Lords that chipped away at MacDonald’s Canada.

    • Ted says:

      MacDonald had the power to veto provincial legislation. He had way more power than PET ever dreamed of having.

      Trudeau excercised federal powers: the taxing and spending powers. No province was forced to take that money. Canadians wanted it that way.

      The federal government is so weak in Canada that it doesn’t even excercise all of the powers available to it or that it has historically exercised.

      And this weak federal government is damaging us. The 13 different securities regulators being only the most obvious example.

      The whole is greater than the parts. A house so divided cannot stand. Head waiter to the provinces. Etc. Choose your cliche.

  13. jenjen says:

    The ‘so called’ debate between the left (those in favor of the welfare state) and the right (those opposed to the welfare state) is simply an illusion. It’s true that the right or self described small c conservatives talk about how much they love the free market but all you have to do is read the fine print of their policies to realize that all of this is false.

    The right are even bigger and more ambitious backers of the welfare state than Tommy Douglas ever was. Their ambitions for expanding government and the welfare state lie in other areas rather than directing policies at the poor and middle class. Would Douglas, David Lewis, Pearson or Trudeau have backed social programs for insolvent banks? What about expanding state supported monopolies in the Phamacare industry? Conservatives have also been supporting income redistribution policies over the past 25 years- however they support redirecting income from the poor and middle class to the wealthy. It all relates to the rise of the conservative nanny state.

    For a good analysis of this phenomenon see the following link to a book by renowned US economist Dean Baker:


    • Steve T says:

      While I would agree that bailing out banks is bad policy, it is no different than bailing out automakers, steel manufacturers, etc.. Either corporate welfare is desirable, or it isn’t. There are purported benefits of supporting certain industries that are in trouble (eg: job preservation; stability of capital markets; etc) – all of which are debatable, but should apply across the board.

      As for “income redistribution” from the poor to the wealthy, let’s not raise that issue until we have a flat tax rate. The “progressive” tax system (what an oxymoron that is) we have draws far more from the wealthy than the poor. Even with a flat (percentage-based) tax rate, the “wealthy” would still pay more on an absolute dollar basis. The red herring about “the wealthy paying no taxes” is complete bunk, in the vast majority of situations. Furthermore, what constitutes “wealthy” in Canada is a bit of a joke. In many provinces, the maximum marginal tax rate (fed + prov combined) kicks in at under $100k. Chart how many people are in the highest tax bracket in Canada, and you’ll see a pretty large demographic – much larger than the “one percent of the population holds (whatever) percent of the wealth” myth that the left love to perpetuate.

  14. Neil Compton says:

    Not a lot of comment on Quebec in all this. Does anyone think the majority of Quebec gives a rats ass about multiculturalism. Multicultural policy was put in place to fight the Quebec nationalists and nothing more. Sure has worked well. How many seats does the Bloc have in the House of Commons? Quebec loves a stong central government, how else can you explain 56% of all Federal transfer money going to Quebec. Its called the fear factor.

  15. allegra fortissima says:

    Europe’s political Far Right is an embarrassment and the political Right is pretty close of becoming one. Jimmies, Geerts, Renes, Thilos – is this what we want in Canada?


    Canada has always been a role model and Pierre Trudeau couldn’t have put it in better words:

    “We are fortunate people, we Canadians who live in this land. And our greatest good fortune, that which is becoming increasingly evident to others even if not always to ourselves, is not measured in terms of economic or political or military strength. It is more valuable than the sum of all these. It is the greatest of our natural resources. It is the tolerance towards one another which forms such a basic part of the character of Canadians.
    Tolerance and moderation are found in this country perhaps in larger measure than anywhere else; against them we can judge our stature as a country and as a people. Our institutions of government and our judiciary have long encouraged a climate of non-interference of Canadians towards Canadians. We are all richer for it. We here take for granted what many others seek and envy: relationships that by and large accept without question differences in colour or origin or language, and a common resolution to eliminate whatever intolerance does exist.” (Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Conversation With Canadians: A land for people)

    Let’s keep it this way!

    • What was the level of support for separatism during the tenure of the Liberals? It appears Quebecers are more likely to want to break up Canada when Liberals are in charge of Ottawa.

      • Namesake says:

        If the separatists have reduced their discontent of late, maybe it’s because Harper acted on Ignatieff’s proposal to have House of Commons grant the recognize that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada, in 2006… which gave them much of what they wanted, in symbolic terms.


        Ironically, this same proposal is one of the things the CPC is criticizing Ignatieff for in the one of the new French language attack ads, which quotes Justin Trudeau (prematurely) saying it showed he lacked political judgement (without indicating the context or the fact that Harper himself acted on and benefitted from that supposedly bad judgment).

        • Namesake says:

          oops: shouldn’t try multi-tasking while copyediting; that intermediate bit should’ve read:

          it’s because Harper acted on Ignatieff’s proposal to have the House of Commons recognize that…

          • I give credit to the Liberals for the hundred votes of confidence in the Conservative government. Ignatieff has been more supportive or pliant than Dion.

            The CPC are continuing the tax reduction for business to help bring investment that was initiated by Chretien-Martin during the 1990’s.

            The provinces are on board for a combined 25% corporate tax rate.

            It is a shame the Liberals are repeating the fake GST repeal via the Corporate rates.

            Tacking left and stealing the NDP platform is unlikely to work with Ignatieff at the helm. He is not viewed as credible, his leadership is behind Layton.

  16. james Smith says:

    No, that is what the elites & the monopolies wanted & still want today. Weak regulations means monopolies rule. Just look to the what the Present PM’s CRTC is going to allow the Telcos to do next – gouge us even more for their lack of service. The result of this parochial action over the decades is we have at least 13 or 14 of almost everything. Why, pray tell, do we need 13 ministries of education? France has one, is math any different in France than in say New Brunswick? Is it yet again different in Alberta? For the number of cars of California do we need 13 MoT’s & 13 different rules of the Road? Need I go on?

    Ontario’s former failed finance minister, now employed to work his same magic for the present PM at least got the memo, & wanted a single financial regulator – heavens to Betsy no! Says all a provincial pooh-bahs.

    Finally even given your PoV you have to admit that PET had the courage of his convictions, and said where he wanted to take the country – and Canadians sayed “yes please” time in & time out. (FYi at first he even had MP’s from Alberta). The present PM does not have the same courage. The present PM – by his past writings & present actions, wants to take the country in a different direction. To a place Jeff Simpson calls “little Canada”. However; the present PM does not have the balls to put his vision of small Canada on the table, a Canada with a “Firewall around Alberta”, no, this man wants to do it by stealth, & deceit & flimflam.

    At least Mr Clark had the sand, at least Muldoon had the gum. This PM can only sneak around in the dark, turn his back on his so-called convictions & play his Tea-Party like games.

    I put it to you, given the choice for a Big Canada and a little canada CANADIANS will choose the Big one, you may to be one of those people that agrees, but I hazard to guess the vast majority would part ways with your PoV.

  17. yoou says:

    Rather than waste all money of billion dollars spend it for inside country and more happiness and less crime
    rather than cut deficit from inside country and spend it for war toys jet buying cost save way for primary people is first and out of country help is secondary
    may be this is not too realistic but it can work
    Divide people as follows for better economic solution:
    Welfare system
    People lose their job, or become disable, marriage problems single mom or dad , youth teens with no family supported, old people, retired people, mentally ill people
    Each need different department to listen to their grow and help them separately
    Give them money for rent any amount they pay rent not say x amount for your rent out of blue
    Pay them healthy food amount
    Pay them free ticket in entertainment places in some days is not busy day
    Pay them food for winter and summer cloth per year
    Pay them buss monthly fees or pay them minimum gas and car insurance
    Pay them medical health
    Give them nurse if person is mentally ill or has small child for free daycare not led them to addiction sleep in street
    Pay them free colleges courses up to two years to learn skills
    Allow them to gain $5/month cash or below labour work for extra money to spend to get volunteer work to learn skills in places
    No loan gives to them by bank
    Next group is low labour group
    Keep same as above
    Only college payment by learn more skills in their job they are working
    And allow them to gain loan in minimum payment
    At least $10/hr they got welfare and they got work money they come one level higher than welfare but do not cut their welfare as long as they got minimum wage in work
    Compensation money can collected for their old age too
    More benefit to encourage people finds good job no stay on welfare
    One level higher than welfare
    They will pay no tax… but they pay their minimum life cost guarantee this is reduce abused the big company can put them low labour under pressure to cut their wage or fire them out of company on other hand is win win for rich and government to use the tax rather than give tax cut or reduce from rich they government manage the labour worker in country this is safe to make sure limited rich and balance both group rich cannot work without depend of low labour so as in reverse too then big gap rich verses low income labour is negotiation by government body here
    Next level is student going to university
    They need to will get what welfare get as grant
    Plus they are allow to gain more loan than two above group
    They life style must be better than low labour work
    Because they are smart and they are working indirectly by put time
    Is like kind of working too and they are future run big in each country
    They gain more respected bonus and etc to feel they are higher level
    Their tax payment is interest over money they are borrowing when they graduate indirectly
    Next group are people in mid class for high skills university students and high technical experts and doctors and engineer
    They are working indecently of all three groups
    They will pay tax 2% out of their income and they will gain loan of 2% fixed too low level
    Next level is rich people
    They will pay tax or 5 to 7% and they will gain 2 to 5% variable rate
    Non profit organization
    Are not tax free from rich people only can be used from
    Other group tax free

  18. Leon Brule says:

    Pierre Elliot Trudeau was the best Prime Minister this country ever had. And to many of the Anti-Trudeau folks – with utmost warmth, I Trudeau salute you.

  19. michael hale says:

    There’s a lot of vitriol and angst in this string, so presumably Iggy’s speech woke up both sides to what was possible.

    As far as decentralization being a problem, look no further than the approach taken by Paul Martin in his short time to see how tempting it is to offer everything up to the provinces and how futile it is, electorally.

    • Namesake says:

      The vitriol’s mostly from the hurtin’ Albertans with their 10-Gallon Grudge Hats which gush boiling oil whenever the name of Trudeau comes up.

  20. If Harper gets His majority, I’ll be advocating for the devolution of powers to the provinces. I will make supporters of the Bloc Quebecois look like federalists.

    • Namesake says:

      actually, Harper’s way ahead of you on that:

      “In a 1994 speech to the NCC, at a time when Quebec separatism was a serious threat, Harper said the need for national unity was secondary to the need for small governments.

      ‘Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion,’ said Harper, who was at the time constitutional affairs critic for Reform. ‘What matters and should matter to politicians and people who believe in the kind of values that I believe the National Citizens’ Coalition share and the Reform Party share is not whether the Canadian state prospers, but whether the Canadian people and the land we call Canada prosper.'”


      • Namesake says:

        “Hear, Hear!?” — more like…flashforward 20 years:

        Here, here, there… Here, Four Canadas!

        Which’d have likely a trade, defense, & currency alignment a la the EU to be: The Canadian Union.

        And when these Reform & Resource & BQ driven region-states cut immigration, they’d be:

        The Closed-Shop Canadian Union.

        (i.e., careful what you wish for, Gord: it might be your worst nightmare)

        • Namesake says:

          no, the most salient point is, Harper doesn’t love the country of Canada nearly as much as the new flag-waving ads let on, if he’d rather see it break into many minimal states (or U.S. States, even?) rather than have it maintained as it was circa 1994 when he said that (after 6 years of Conservative rule, no less).

  21. yoou says:

    Easy balance sheet
    pay to following cost:
    $5 billion to Qubec as they wish for
    $5 billion to welfar and low income and old age and diablity and pension and creat job in Ontario
    $5 billion to West of Canada Alberta
    $1 billion to aboriginal Manitoba

    and then cut $16 billion buying jet war cost

    $6 billion help worker union and labor and creat more export marketing cost

    then cut $6 billion dollar tax payer
    I do not mean import of drugs to Canada market i mean real business

    give out side of country to develop all land in ontario and Quebec and West and reduce their buying cheap land cost if they built more
    company out of crowded area and develop land in Canada in return

    it can work now

    You do not need to take so many accounting courses to become Minister of finance

  22. Rocky says:

    ….wow…how can you be mad at him? maybe at yourself/your team just a little? I’m floored.

  23. michael hale says:

    what???? He led fundraising for the party? WTF?

    Needless to say, the Con voters won’t buy he’s one of them, and that will cost them votes/turnout. Just ask Arlen Spector.

  24. Dave Ross says:

    Perhaps the man lost his heart.

    “If you’re young and not a liberal,you have no heart; if you’re old and not a conservative, you have no brain.”
    ? Winston Churchill

    • The Doctor says:

      Actually, if you want to get picky, the quotation or sentiment is often mistakenly attributed to Churchill:

      “The phrase originated with Francois Guisot (1787-1874): “Not to be a
      republican at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is
      proof of want of head.” It was revived by French Premier Georges
      Clemenceau (1841-1929): “Not to be a socialist at twenty is proof of
      want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head.”

  25. Namesake says:

    Sorry to hear that. Another log on the annus horribilis that was your 2010. And it explains your last tweet. My sympathies. It sucks to be manipulated into helping someone like that.

  26. The Doctor says:

    Looking at the timing and content of that speech by Rossi (May 1987), I’m not sure that his transformation is all THAT unusual or drastic. First of all, that was 24 years ago and, as others have pointed out here, it’s not terribly unusual for people to become more conservative as they age. But specifically, consider what he said re: the NEP and FIRA. Even many card-carrying Liberals these days have revisionist views about those two programs. I mean, it’s not like you run across many Liberals these days advocating that we bring back the NEP or FIRA (at least not in the form that they had under Trudeau).

    Another thing that’s important to remember is that the politics of Meech and Charlottetown were actually somewhat complex, as far as not breaking down all that cleanly along partisan lines. There were a lot of “conservative” people who had big problems with Meech and Charlottetown, especially the latter. I was living in BC at the time of Charlottetown, and the coalition that got together to lead the opposition to it had lots of red-meat conservative types.

    • The Doctor says:

      . . . and bear in mind also that Rossi is joining the Harper conservatives, not the old Progressive Conservatives. There’s a reason that you call the Harper Conservatives REFORMAtories, Warren. My point is, the Reform Party OPPOSED Meech Lake, just like Trudeau. Remember?

  27. jon evan says:

    Warren, even you can/will become conservative or don’t you believe in evolution?

  28. Leon Brule says:

    WOW!!! I’ld have absolutely no problem working against Rossi being elected. NONE. The man is dishonest! And I don’t give a shit he did a “pilgrimage” in Spain. How much time does he actually spend helping the poor in Toronto? Obviously none while he was walking around Spain.

  29. jStanton says:

    I. fucking.warned.you

  30. Eric says:

    Is this news too fresh to be on the street yet? I couldn’t find any other references in the MSM, blogging tories or liblogs.

    I guess it might not be too surprising in some respects, weren’t some of Rocco’s key campaign staff “Conservative operatives”? I understand that municipal politics ideally lends itself to odd bed-fellows but I heard that some of Rocco’s staff are super-tight with both the politicians and the puppet-masters in the federal and provincial conservative parties. Wasn’t one the president of the youth wing in the Harris days and later a candidate against Ignatieff in the 06 election?

  31. Middleclassfamily says:

    Those adds and this man are a scar on the face of the Italian culture in Canada If this is true he turned his back on the party and people who actually reached out and created a tolerant society for immigrants (his parents) and first generation Canadians (him) that enabled them too flourish in Canadian culture.

    I hope this opportunistic SOB is never taken seriously again.

  32. James Curran says:


    You think it’s easy being right all the time. One of these days I’m confident you’ll prove me wrong. LOL.

    I never ever, ever understood how this guy came to be with us in the first place. F@ck. Sorry buddy.

  33. Liz says:

    Gotta say, I’m a bit gobsmacked about this one. Maybe I shouldn’t be. During the mayoral race someone told me that Rossi was only out for his own notoriety and that he was no Liberal. I didn’t quite understand it then but that comment makes a lot more sense now.

  34. PETE says:

    So, the guy who got 7% in the polls b/f dropping out is becoming a Tory. Good on him and I hope he runs in TO. He will get gobsmacked and still be out of a job unless Harpercrite is going to move him to the senate as a holding pattern.

  35. It might be useful to remember: in her early days as a pundit, Arriana Huffington was considered “right-wing,” which is why Bill Maher often introduced her as “beautiful but evil.”

    If Warren would like to keep kicking himself, one question he could ask is this:

    If Mr. Rossi was considered good enough to help with the federal Liberals’ fundraising apparatus (which is how he achieved his greatest fame, pre-Toronto election), then what did the Liberals do / *not* do to keep him onside? Loyalty is never a one-way street.

  36. Darren K says:

    Slightly on topic, and slightly on topic. Do you remember when we first shook Trudeau’s hand?

    We were 8 at O.L.O.L., and the schools took us to the Kingston Airport to greet the plane of Mr. Trudeau. You and I were among the first kids to be in line as he walked down the line shaking hands with the kids, and adults that went by. In fact, after he shook our hands, we ran to the end of the line so we could do it again. I’m pretty sure that was when I decided I was Liberal.

    Decades later, I met and had a brief conversation in the Pearson Airport Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge with an as yet not elected Prime Minister Chretien. I told him to Kick Mulroney’s Ass.

    Turns out you guys did.

    (Publish if you want. I thought you might like the memory)

  37. allegra fortissima says:

    Il meglio della Commedia all’Italiana: I due capitani … Sordi

  38. K says:

    To be honest, this 180 from Rossi does not come as a surprise, sadly. You can learn much about someone by observing their behaviour and how they communicate – the words they choose to communicate with and the methods they choose to deliver their messages. As a casual observer of Rossi, his public statements and behaviour throughout his various careers, I’ve always felt that what he was doing, regardless of how noble the cause, was somehow self-interested. I guess this just illustrates it so plainly that it’s impossible not to see that his prime motivation in any situation is what he believes will benefit him most.

  39. Steven says:

    I met with RR at a Liberal /Ignatieff fudnraiser not long before before he bailed from his LPC position.

    Much like adultery, we are as faithful as our options…….

    In politics, virgins need not apply.

  40. Iris Mclean says:

    Anyone who would shake the hand of that low-life (on the right) has sunk to the deepest depths possible.
    Makes my skin crawl.

  41. Gord, please , take a depth breath, visualize world peace and chant Om. There. Now, language is everything, and those of us who frame the meaning of words shape the outcome of the debates.

    So you appear to be dedicated to re-branding Canada’s social safety net as “The Nanny State”. OK. I am not going to wrangle with you about the implicit illogic of your re-branding. But you hereby have surrendered all your credibility when you object to me and others on this blog referring to the massive open-pit oil extractions around Fort McMurray as “The Tar Sands”. I know you would prefer “Oil Sands” and I would prefer “Social Safety Net”. But you aren’t going to give in. Guess what? If you get “Nanny State” I can have “Tar Sands”. Deal?

  42. Rossi will build a tunnel from Toronto to Ottawa with his bare hands. Under Harper’s leadership, Rossi will then be directed to build a tunnel to hell.

  43. alex c says:

    Rocco was abandoned by the party who backed Smitherman. Smitherman was never going to be anything other than 2nd place, even if Ford did not run. There was no way the “burbs’ were ever going to elect Smitherman. So the party knowingly backed a candidate that was a sure 2nd place. Rocco needed the party backing in the first 2 or 3 months in order to carry the momentum that started with his speech at the Empire Club. Without that backing I think he lost his momentum. Ford simply became an emotional vote for a very pissed off electorate.

    Rocco has always been on the moderate side of Liberal politics and even now he is more of a centrist than what the Liberal party has become. In Toronto, the left side of the Party dominates. So maybe with Rocco being Toronto born and bred, he simply could not identify with the left wing of the party anymore. I think outside of Toronto, Rocco would have been a great Liberal success story. Unfortunately, the cocoon that is Toronto is unable to adapt to changing times and circumstances – pity.

  44. Bill Gordon says:

    Rocco Rosi is like many other politicians who will do anything to get elected. Winston Churchill changed sides as did many others…from one side or another and all in order to get attention. I don’t disagree with anything that you say other than you are an interesting guy, well educated, but even you have worked the “other side” when it was convenient. Keep up the good work. Oh, by the way, I also liked and voted for PET even though I am most often a conservative.

  45. Cory says:

    There was a certain future PM who was once such a Trudeau fan that he was a member of the Young Liberal. Hint: His last name is Harper.

  46. Mulletaur says:

    Canadian politics is very moderate, all things considered. But one things Canadians don’t like is traitors. If you have one party affiliation and then switch to another, nobody can trust you, ever. Rossi is only the latest example.

  47. Craig Chamberlain says:

    Would we not also cheer a higher profile conservative seeing the light and crossing the proverbial floor to be a Liberal? (Especially federally now that we no longer have the PCs?)

    Warren, perhaps you were right about RR — perhaps he’s just wrong about himself. People search for their identity all the time. And maybe more should have been done to keep him in the fold.

    I didn’t follow RR that closely, but I’ll say the people picked up on the projected authenticity (real or not) of Ford, a storyline that was reinforced, not weakened by his shortcomings, whereas the other candidates were too polished to be trusted. People wanted change, and Ford’s challengers did not show they understood just how much of a break voters wanted from the status quo or that they would be prepared to do it. Voters wanted a wholesale change in direction, not tinkering.

    Ford’s secret sauce was that he was about the taxpayer, not himself — so, in light of RR’s conversion, I guess they were right at least about him.

  48. Tim Lemieux says:

    Someone above mentioned Churchill. Didn’t he also say that if you aren’t a socialist when you’re young you don’t have a heart. If you’re not a Conservative when you get older you don’t have a brain? Maybe with Rocco we could substitute “Liberal” for “socialist”?

  49. Andrew says:

    Warren, you know what they say…

    “If you’re not a Socialist before 30 you have no heart, if you’re still a Socialist after 30 you have no brain”

    This seems to be the case that proves the rule.


    • Warren says:

      And then there the cases, like Rossi, who have neither.

      Does this mean that the harebrained tunnel scheme he and assorted Cons cooked up is still alive?

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