04.27.2011 06:51 AM

KCCCC Day 33: things that bug me


  1. Derek Pearce says:

    Fine Warren you want a full merger full stop. Better get negotiating on how to (not) have reserved representation for unions etc. I’m serious, if there will be a united left to permanently keep neocons on the mat then you better figure out your compromises pronto, and hope further-left splitters don’t steal votes in future. It seems like a neverending cycle to me.

  2. Craig Chamberlain says:

    I understand your frustrations, WK — but you know where I stand on the merger issue — so blame me. At least I haven’t changed my tune. And as for re-building — the Liberals are running a good campaign. Good enough? — that is for Canadians to decide. We’re running into that trap of second-guessing ourselves. There is a lot of depth to the party. There is resilience.

  3. Paul R Martin says:

    The latest Nanos poll still points to a Conservative majority with a lot of new seats in Ontario. Will they take Etobicoke Lakeshore? The last 2 Liberal leaders came to politics from academia and led campaigns that did not excite the voters. The next leader had better be a populist. I agree that if the NDP finishes second, they would not want to merge with the Liberals. This would benefit the Conservatives for the rest of the decade. The NDP is not well organized in Quebec. One of their candidates even went on a previously scheduled vacation during the election. It will be unusual if she wins.

    • Scott Tribe says:

      Ekos and Angus-Reid do not show that majority.. and Nanos shows the first signs of that Orange Wave other pollsters have already detected. I’m going to predict that come election night, Harper will not get his coveted majority, and it will be the NDP that stops him.

    • Chris Pakkidis says:

      Sadly I have to agree with this – It appears we don’t want intellectuals that we can’t relate to, evidently we want people we want to have a beer with (remember how that worked out for the US? GWB). Everybody knows you campaign left/populist and being Tory light or NDP light won’t work during a campaign.

      Calling Frank Mckenna…..

      • 1) Frank McKenna rocks

        2) Liberals – stop searching for a messiah for crying out loud. It’s what’s brought you down this low.

        • Chris Pakkidis says:

          1. Agreed and 2. Agreed – The leader is not the sole problem. Liberals need to stop being lazy and wishing one person will do all heavy lifting for them.

      • The_Analyst says:

        “It appears we don?t want intellectuals that we can?t relate to, evidently we want people we want to have a beer with (remember how that worked out for the US? GWB). Everybody knows you campaign left/populist and being Tory light or NDP light won?t work during a campaign. ”

        It’s a bit ironic that Jack Layton himself was a University Professor once (albeit, he always had an “activist/populist” side as well).

        Part of me is really sceptical that these polls will turn out. Remember how Nick Clegg was set to replace Labour as the Official Opposition in the UK? I expect something more along the lines of the Dippers getting 45 seats or something, historic highs nipping close to the Liberals, but not “Opposition replacing”. One of the Quebec polls showing the NDP in the lead in that province, after all, had a Margin of Error of + or 1 7.1.

        It ain’t over ’till it’s over. I’d much rather prefer cross-party cooperation rather than merger, by the way.

    • JStanton says:

      of course gord, just like the Harper “party” is the political wing of the evangelical movement. And we’ll see who actually “goes to jail”, gord.


  4. ottawacon says:

    The ‘time to rebuild’ meme is probably the one most indicative of the implicit arrogance of the Rosedale/Westmount Liberal. The reality is that the Liberals are now headed toward a full decade without a majority Government, a longer ‘time to rebuild’ than they ever had in the 20th century if I recall correctly.

  5. James Curran says:

    As I said on The Bill Kelly Show yesterday. I don’t see it Warren.

    I’m pouring over riding figures (cause I’m retarded like that) from 08 and 06. I can’t see how the NDP leap Frogs anyone in the ridings they are irrelevant in. e.g. Burlington incumbent 28,000 votes. Liberal 20000 votes. NDP 6600 votes. I don’t give a shit about the polls. The numbers don’t equal seats in ridings such as that…Or Niagara Falls, or St. Catharines, or ADFW, or Oakville, or Halton, or Niagara West Glanbrook, etc. etc.

    So I guess what I’m saying is the Dippers better pull off a Dumont in Quebec or this will be the longest 4.5 years in the history of Canada with a Conservative Majority.

  6. Scott Tribe says:

    I’m curious Warren – do you think the NDP has a shot at winning enough seats to deny Harper his majority, as Ekos is predicting? (and as Angus-Reid seems to be saying?) Still 5 days ago and time for this Orange Wave to build.

  7. George says:

    Even Napoleon made it off Elba for one last campaign.

  8. Brad says:

    The conservatives were reduced to 1 or 2 seats after Mulroney, they aren’t doing not too badly now. Maybe the LPC can learn from them for a change.

    • JStanton says:

      … no it’s not gord. Real Conservatives were not welcomed into the Harper Party, but, once Mr. Harper self-destructs, they will be back to rescue their brand.

      But don’t worry gord, you can still fawn over him after he teams up with Ezra Levant for a dog and pony show.


  9. Dr.J says:

    If the Liberals become #3 they will become the NDP in a sense well without the budget. But that is a huge “IF” still!! I am sitting here today wondering what JC will say if he is asked “the merger” question by the media in Toronto with Iggy standing next to him. On a comical note, watching Mr.Beer & Popcorn last night on PP was quite funny as he is in full panic mode. Caption: Week 2…So this is what “cool” feels like…please this guy will never take off,how can he with this thing on his face….

  10. MississaugaPeter says:

    What is happening right now is exactly why I am against the Liberals and NDP uniting. It would give us 1 less choice.

    If it was Ignatieff vs. Harper vs. Duceppe vs. May, do you think that what the NDP have done in Quebec would happen? The answer is NO.

    Right now we have 4 reasonable choices in English Canada. If you take away 1, and since the Green Party is almost insignificant, you would have an “either or” situation. That friggin’ sucks.

    I have always disliked Layton more than Ignatieff, so I am grateful I can choose between the two. If I was given the choice of Layton vs. Harper, if Layton won the leadership of the new party (and trust me, that is more likely than a former Liberal in the new party, just look at how the extreme beat out the moderates on the right side), I and many others would probably vote Green.

    Many on the right side are pissed that they are faced with only 1 choice. I and many others do not want to faced with 1 choice on the centre-left.

    The problem is that in 2006 Liberals did not make Ignatieff leader because of too many bad narratives, he was prone to make errors, Iraq, centre-left on a few issues, mainly centre-right, etc. The problem is that the Liberals have the wrong leader. Who is the right leader? I do not know, but I do know that the reasons Ignatieff did not win in 2006 is why he is not winning today. Don’t get me wrong, Ignatieff has performed better than anyone thought he would, but it is the old narratives and what he believes in from Iraq/Afghanistan to his right wing policies on the Tar Sands are the reasons Liberals are losing support to Layton.

    Just like McGuinty does not need to unite with the NDP to get re-elected, a federal Liberal Party with a better leader does not need to unite with the NDP!

    Uniting with the NDP may just give us a crackpot on the left like the right’s Harper.

  11. Steve B says:

    There is a law in political science that I stumbled upon a while back – in a First-Past-The-Post system, over time, the country will eventually become a two-party state.

    From my point of view, it can’t come soon enough. I know you won’t agree, Warren, but the time for the Liberal Party to come to an end is long overdue. When an organization begins to believe it is infallible, and/or has a divine right to govern the nation by the very nature of its existence, then it’s in decline.

    I expect there will be a few hardcore supporters dragging the dead horse around, much like what has happened with the Social Credit Party in Alberta, but I think Election 2011 could be a political earthquake, leading towards an eventual merger between the Liberal Party and the NDP.

    Lastly, I need to ask: bitter, are we?

    • Neil says:

      “There is a law in political science that I stumbled upon a while back – in a First-Past-The-Post system, over time, the country will eventually become a two-party state.”

      Some “law”. Since the 1920s, we’ve never had fewer than three parties in the Commons.

      Nothing is inevitable in politics.

  12. AndrewOpala says:

    I know this is kinda stupid, but if the Cons win a minority, why don’t the Libs hook up with them for a 2 year coalition on common ground? Would anyone go for that?

    I’m kinda worried that Paul Szabo, the super conservative liberal will be defeated by a conservative light-weight with a blue sign that is not really parliamentarian stuff. But this is the way the system works. Not enough time to evaluate candidates, and then when you want to get the work out … the play-offs are on. Sheesh!

  13. Marc L says:

    The one thing you do not address here Warren is why…why is the NDP vaulting ahead of the Liberals? I think that’s the question you have to ask. When I think of rebuilding, I’m not thinking of the Party’s infrastructure or its organisation, but its views. You have to give people a reason to vote for you…one other than “Harper is evil”. By constantly changing your focus from one crucial “life or death” issue to another, the LPC looks lost. In 2006 it was health care — vote LPC to save the cherished health care system the Harperites want to destroy. In 2008 it was the environment — gone the concerns over the destruction of heath care, although absolutely nothing had changed. Now, it was the environment, Kyoto, a carbon tax — all those things that were absolutely crucial to the future of our country. Now in 2011, no more talk about the environment. The campaign starts with stuff about democratic institutions and ends with…health care once the LPC realizes that it’s still a top issue for Canadians. On top of it, Iggy starts the campaign referring the LPC as being part of the “left” — and trying to sound like Jack Layton on corporate taxes, when the Liberals voted for the cuts in the first place — and is now telling people to forget the left and the right and to move to the Liberal centre. All of this spinning around and flipping and flopping makes the party appear confused and indecisive. It makes you look like you are ready to do and say anything to seize power — what you stand for appears irrelevant. Just hearing Ignatieff talk like a lefty looks stretched. OkK I may not be a political strategist, but I’m not alone in viewing the LPC’s problems in that light.

    The LPC needs to rebuild…like it did before 1993. Decide what you stand for and how you differ from the other parties. Frankly, the last thing I would want to see is a merger with the NDP. We need an economically conservative, socially progressive party like under the Chretien years. Merging with the NDP will not achieve that.

    • Marc L says:

      Yes, but I have trouble believing that. The LPC may not have the means now, but they are far from being a small organization — when there is a will, there is a way. As for time, if Harper gets a majority, they will have 4 years.
      In any event, if they don’t do something to rebuild, they might as well just throw in the towel…votes won’t just flow to them like magic. It’s crunch time.

  14. kyliep says:

    One could argue that the Liberals have needed to rebuild since Trudeau, and that the Chretien election in 1993 was less about the public aspiring for a Liberal government but wanting to (justly) punish the Mulroney Conservatives. Vote-splitting on the right enabled successive majorities with sometimes less than 40% of the vote and the Liberals governed competently from the centre for a number of years, helped by the fact that Chretien was very well liked by many Canadians and that Martin was well liked by those in the business community. They owned the centre and the NDP was largely marginalized. When the Martin camp took over, this all went to crap, of course, and the gradual loss of vote from all sides since then has been dramatic. I think there is a way to be pro-business, pro-environment and still very progessive on social issues and offer a compelling vision to voters so I think there’s a place for the Liberal party. They just aren’t articulating a positive message or signature issue about how they would run the country. I get that they aren’t Harper and they’ve made this case effectively but they haven’t really painted a picture of how they’d run the country. In 1993, they didn’t need to, because the PCs were so loathed, and only got about 17% of the vote. Today, with Harper’s floor at 35%, they’ve got to do more.
    Final note: it’s not over! The NDP is now polling at 2x their regular support. What comes up, surely must come down. Right?

  15. MontrealElite says:

    I’m glad coalition talk with NDP is off the table.

    The last thing this country needs is a lurch far left. Give me the center right LPC any day of the week. I like my economics fiscally conservative and my social policies progressive.

    Voting NDP is a rejection of the two party system but it ain’t gonna solve SFA.

    I’m waiting to see the NDP ground game in getting out the Qc. vote before I start writing obits.

    But yes, the killing of the vote subsidy under a majority is going to screw ABC.

    Oh well, to those who go down that road “You bought it, you own it.”

    • MattMcD says:

      Seems like a lot of people don’t want a center-right LPC though. If you’re going to vote for the right, why not go for the real thing and vote Con? Conversely, the NDP seems to be profiting from not just the disillusion that people have with the BQ, but with this drifting in no-mans land that the LPC is trying to occupy. Left leaning voters are voting for a party that’s actually left instead of a party that isn’t quite sure what it wants to be.

      I’d love a socially progressive society with a libertarian foreign policy, with a small-c conservative fiscal policy but that isn’t going to happen. Ever.

  16. AndrewOpala says:

    See, I told you Iggy should have learned to play the piano: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUrOZSMUMlQ

  17. Ron says:

    Is this what people mean when they speak about “The Liberal Arrogance?”

    I don’t mean that as a shot at the party, I mean it as it’s inability to look in the mirror and truly define what ails it.

    Seriously, Broadbent and Chretien are not “stupid” individuals. They along with the people that Warren mentions saw the writing on the wall.

    The votes have not all been cast so it may be premature to speak of the demise of the Liberal brand.

    Let’s see where the seats are allocated and what the voting percentage per parties are…then the power brokers within the party will be able to decide on the route to take.

    As for the voting subsidies, (should it come to pass) then the Liberals will have to buckle down and develop a model to out hustle their opponents. The re-invention of the Liberal brand may actually be a good thing in the end.

  18. Chris Pakkidis says:

    Can we wait until after May 2nd to start the debate about the LPC’S future? – Even Chretien is helping Ignatieff fight until the bitter end. I’m planning to go to my first political rally tomorrow because of Chretien’s unwavering support and if he’s still willing to fight until the end there is no reason the rest of us can’t either. Stay positive weve run a very good campaign were in time period in which people are running to thier polarized poles on the far right and far left. By the time this is all said and done the Cons will bankrupt us on the right and NDP will bankrupt us on the left – they will give the Liberals the platform from which they will build up from.

    Staying Optimistic.

  19. hoser says:

    Perhaps I’m naive, but why would the merger opportunity be gone with the NDP as the opposition? Reform did to the PCs what the NDP is doing to the Liberals now, and then they merged with great success.

    • Lance says:

      Reform and PC just came back together after splitting apart after the PC’s 2 seat humiliation. The Liberals and the NDP are two totally different parties; that should be more than apparent by now.

      No, WK is right, the NDP will be saying “no thanks” to a Liberal proposal for a merger, at least at this point. I doubt even a coalition to get rid of Harper still interests them now, even assuming that it will be a minority, which it won’t be. They are going to want to digest the feast of Stornoway first while the Liberals sleep in the Sally Ann shelter.

      It is hard to believe that this could turnout much worse than John Turner’s debacle. If this plays out like it looks like it will, Ignatieff will be run out of Canada on a rail.

    • JStanton says:

      … wasn’t a merger, it was a take-over. And it wouldn’t have happened had the PCs a brighter and more seasoned leader. Mr. Mckay was easily outmaneuvered by Mr. Harper, who had no intention of leading the PCs. He simply stole a legitimizing vehicle for his own purposes, enabling him to hoodwink party operatives and the Canadian public.

      The LPC may not be as useful to Mr. Layton, although, the argument could be made that he could use the Liberal brand to soften the presumed NDP “socialist” label.

      But that’s a long game. I’m not sure that Mr. Layton is in it for that distance.


  20. bigcitylib says:

    Look on it as a character building experience.

  21. JStanton says:

    I agree that that Mr. Martin’s hired guns will finally exit once the LPC has been picked clean, but am confident that the Harper majority and subsequent subsidy elimination won’t happen. Expect Mr. Harper to become quiet on the issue if he fails to win the right to govern.

    As for being the “sole voice in the wilderness” regarding a coalition, I’m pretty sure that there were voices urging this at about Mr. Ignatieff’s one year mark, when it seemed clear that he was going to continue to wait and wait and wait for the “winning conditions” to magically materialize, despite the arithmetic impossibility of that occurring. And those voices were shunned, ridiculed and besmirched even then, you may remember, because somehow, it’s supposed to be disloyal to urge the party towards a strategy that can win government. Instead we are apparently required to simply watch, as the party’s hired guns drive it towards the train wreck that is clearly visible ahead. Fuck that and fuck them for giving us seven years of the same old incompetent, self serving crap. How can these guys spend 7 years losing, and still call themselves pro’s?

    Will Saint Jack allow Mr. Ignatieff to kiss his ring? Will Mr. Ignatieff approach him on bended knee? Or will Mr. Ignatieff simply exit stage right, immediately?

    One thing seems sure; we have our game-changer!


  22. kitt says:

    This is a ride the Jack wave…. that’s it. You don’t know Jack and I ‘pect this may be his last election ;p

  23. Brian Appel says:

    I guess it doesn’t matter anymore, but I’ve always supported a merger, Warren; always. I’ve been following you for a long time, and want to say that you are probably the last sane voice in the Liberal Party left.

    • Warren says:

      Then we’re both in trouble, brother!

    • Neil says:

      Fear not. Another merger opportunity (contra Warren) wil arise on the night of May 2. The NDP’s surge will be revealed as a mirage once saner heads prevail in the voting booth. That’s not to say that the NDP won’t see a historic-best result, but there will be still a lot of disappointed (orange) faces on election night.

      The LPC should immediately seize this opportunity because, let’s face it, the party is in a long-term slide that even a fantastic leader would have a hard time stopping. And I say that as someone who thinks that Iggy ran a decent campaign.

  24. Supernaut says:

    308’s latest are out – an interesting piece of analysis.


  25. billg says:

    Never could understand not merging after the right merged. Majority govts, left and right with the Bloc being absolutely useless. All you need now is Joe Clarke to say its a bad idea and bad for Canadians then you’ll know its the right thing to do.

  26. Lance says:

    According to 308, Ignatieff is only ahead 8.9 points in his own riding.

    What a disgrace.


  27. dave says:

    Maybe the First Past the Post system is at the basis of all this anxiety about having only two political parties in this country.
    In the 18th Century, when maybe 3% of the population in England could vote, and there were only the two parties, FPTP would always give one candidate a majority.
    FPTP made sense back then.
    But time has passed, and many more people are voting, and there is a a wider variety of interests, experience and ideas that our legislatures can reflect and draw upon. Clinging to the FPTP system forces us to think in terms of only two parties. (Even the seating in the House of Commons still assumes only two parties – the ‘ins’ and the ‘outs.’)
    With a partial proportional representation – our legislature could more adequately reflect, and include more possibilities.
    But the electoral system is in the clutches of the party, or two main parties, that use it to look after themselves.So they cling to the FPTP.
    Once our legislators are elected, we find our legislature is controlled by the unelected characters who make up the Prime Minister’s Office.
    And the PMO, and PMO in waiting run party discipline, which sets up the rancour and obstruction that happens in the House of Commons and in committees.

    I would like to see a party that is successful leave behind its self interest long enough to take a few more steps in making our institutions a tad more inclusive, a bit more democratic, a little more accountable.
    We voters could vote for our interests and ideas; and the existence of a political party would take the back seat to more accurate representation of all of us people.

  28. FlyingSquirrel says:

    I am a non-Canadian observer in all this, but if (a) the NDP becomes the second-largest party, and (b) the NDP + the Liberals outnumber the Tories, would the NDP really forgo a coalition with the Liberals if it meant they could form the government? Or would they be able to negotiate some sort of “confidence & supply”-ish agreement with the Liberals and/or the Bloc and form government on their own?

  29. Inge says:

    Damn right, you will never see PR in this country, unless there is some catastrophe (separation of Quebec, for example?) to shake everybody up. Where I come from, the catastrophe that paved the way towards coalitions (wildly successful, together with the country itself) and encouraged people to try something new was WWII…

  30. Stuart says:

    The alternative to a merger would be for the Liberal party to face up to the reality that the large Liberal base in Quebec is lost and stop pissing on Alberta and the West in order to win votes there. Stop sacrificing the 70 (and growing soon) seats west of Ontario in order to try to get ones you used to have but never will.

    It is possible to campaign here and win, but you have to try. And no, engaging the West doesn’t mean pushing policies further to the right it means increasing brand awareness and actually giving a crap about the people who live there. The Liberal party isn’t shut-out of Alberta because of its policies, it’s shut-out because of its attitude.

    Ignatieff’s election tour completely skipping over a city of almost a million people is a disgrace.

  31. W.B. says:

    Lawrence Martin has sure written a devastating comprehensive examination of Stephen Harper’s destructive impact on Canadian democracy.


  32. jeff says:

    As a Conservative I have always thought a Liberal-Conservative coalition would make a lot more sense than a Liberal-NDP one. Take a left of center Liberal party and combine with a right of center conservative party and the result is probably much in line with a vast majority of Canadians. I’m sure most Liberals and Conservative have similar ideas on probably 80-90% of the issues.

    • JStanton says:

      … perhaps, but anything that includes Mr. Harper and his inner cabal is a deal-breaker.

      I’m pretty sure that conservatives will need to re-brand, to make any headway in future.


      • Michael Reintjes says:

        Thank you…I’m endlessly sctratching my head over this one.The Liberal Party and Conservative Party have far more in common than both have with the NDP.

        • jeff says:

          Yeah, I agree 100% You cut out the hard right conservatives, let the truely left Liberals join the NDP, merge whats left from both parties and there you have your natural governing party.

  33. Cath says:

    Hi Warren – Mississauga Peter’s comment above “Just like McGuinty does not need to unite with the NDP to get re-elected, a federal Liberal Party with a better leader does not need to unite with the NDP!” makes a very good case for the LPOC getting a leader who has the backing of the grass root base AND who has the skills necessary to inspire and move the party. I happen to think that what’s gotten Ignatieff this far is still some faint hope LPOC brand that may or may not have kept up with the times. Under the right leader it’s salvageable.

    The party needs to allow its base some ownership in rebuilding and in fact in the whole merger debate. As I just posted on another thread here what you need is time and inclination to go through it all from the ground-up. I see you as having what it takes to be one of the architects of rebuilding because it’s going to take straight talk and some courage to get rid of what(and who) isn’t working for your party any more and save what has always worked and will continue to do so.

    I say this as a CPC supporter now federally because I sat out of too many elections because the old guard PCs just had nothing in common with me, my values or my vision. I waited things out and outreached during the merger talks between the PCs and Reform which made me feel that at the very least they thought about including me(and many others).

    Pretty basic stuff really but, ignoring your base by doing an end run around them has worked out badly this time.

  34. Cath says:

    photo caption “Got Milk Jack?”

  35. Supernaut says:

    Just occurred to me: In the plausible scenario of a conservative minority, official NDP opposition (coupled with a collapse of the bloc), and Liberals as 3rd party, who holds the balance of power in a polarized parliament? Why, the center-ist Liberals. Worked well for Jack ;o)

  36. Bitter says:

    The Liberals and the Greens should merge to become a shamelessly urban, big city party. At least there, with the Greens on the other side of the table, you can count on the Liberals will have a negotiating advantage.

    The party name will stay as “Liberal,” but lose the red for teal instead.

    • Chris Pakkidis says:

      Seriously speaking I have felt that the Liberals should shore up thier left/environmental flank by merging with the Green Party. They need progressive conservatives (what’s left of them) to leave the conservative party and shore up thier right flank as well.

    • ghoris says:

      “Bloc Torontois” has a nice ring to it.

  37. gretschfan says:

    Brother, you are definitely on your “A” game when you’re bitter. I mean that as a compliment.

  38. Neil Singh says:

    The LPC need to go back and find charismatic leaders and build leaders instead of picking between the old establishment like they did back in the chretian and trudeau days also the lpc gotta go back into the ethnic communities it was their strength

  39. Eric says:

    I think that Canada is safe from the Orange Crush. The only Canadian to serve as PM with facial hair was Sir Mackenzie Bowell, 1894-6. He had the full-beard-monty, not just a furry upper lip 😉

  40. Phil in London says:

    Hi Warren as a card carrying Liberal in the John Turner days who has left the party for the suppossedly neo-con party I thought I might add what bugs me if you will permit my short rant.
    What bugs the hell out of me is the Liberal move to the left. Just when did the party braintrust (and I use that word with great reservation and very little respect) decide the Liberal brand stood for so many things in the NDP domain? I viewed the Liberal party as middle of the road and if anything slightly right of center (all those Paul Martin deficit fighting budgets not the one he needed the Dippers to support). As a now outsider I look with absolute amazement how your Saint Jean (got my vote first time) could govern from the right but recruit the lefties to the Liberals (Rae and Dusanjh).
    You can’t drag the NDP into the mainstream especially not now with this surge you are right to say they won’t be as keen to negotiate away their new found power. However I view this surge as very legitimate. it is more than a protest vote and the downside is there really are only TWO choices the ORANGE door and the BLUE door. The red door is locked and no longer repreents middle ground but is a rump party like the Bloc or the old Reform with a base in cities and the beacheads are narrowing.
    I just feel that in a merger you have no right to expect more then half the Liberals would follow the leader to the new team. Some may follow the David Emmerson trail with or without the cabinet post.

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