05.17.2011 06:26 AM

In today’s Sun: dispatches from the Liberal front

When you consider the distant, third-place finish by the Liberal Party of Canada, it’s frankly amazing people are still writing about them.

Like, um, I am about to.

In my defence, I plead a legitimate excuse: I’m a Liberal.

For other members of the punditocracy, however — and particularly since the party’s devastating finish in the 2011 federal general election — my suspicion is they continue to write about the Liberal Party purely out of habit. They, too, remember the years when the Grits were the “Natural Governing Party,” and they can’t quite come to grips with what took place on the evening of May 2, 2011.

That, or — as the cliche goes — “if it bleeds, it leads.” The Liberal Party continues to bleed profusely, and reporters have settled in to chronicle the carnage.

Here, then, are some dispatches from the blood-stained Liberal front, and the names of the wounded and the fallen. Strap on your helmets, folks:



  1. Steve V says:

    I have to agree with the point about only having WHITE MALE options. People keep saying those are the three choices at hand, let’s just pick one and get on with it. I favour delaying for one year PRECISELY because I’m not comfortable with any of these choices, Liberals deserve the opportunity for more options, time possibly allows that fermentation to occur.

    • Lance says:

      You’re picking an interim leader, not a permanent one. If you want to waste time waiting for grapes while you wither away on a smaller, stunted vine, go ahead. But when something “ferments”, it means it has gone bad.

      Ay yay yay…….is this what the Liberal party has come to?

      • Steve V says:

        Ummm, isn’t the article talking about PERMANENT leaders. Sheesh, criticize if you want, but get your head out of you ass first 🙂

        • Lance says:

          Ummm, isn’t the article talking about PERMANENT leaders.

          Of course it is, but you don’t go from A to C without getting by B which is an interim leader.

          Sheesh, criticize if you want, but get your head out of you ass first.

          Sheesh, make fun of the way I criticize, but stop speaking out of your ass first before asking me to stop sticking my head in mine. 🙂

  2. James Calnan says:

    it took years for Sovietologists to adjust to the fact that the object of their study had just disappeared… I still say find me the reincarnation of Edward Blake and draft him.

  3. Lance says:

    Donations to the Liberal party weren’t exactly piling in; that was before this disaster. The bickering is just getting started, and you guys still have leadership debt back from 2006 with even less prospect of paying it off now, let alone after a new leadership race that will be…..whenever. Who wants to waste their money (or their vote) donating to the Liberal party under those circumstances? In addition, to compound that, the vote subsidy will be eliminated. As the third party, you’re influence will less than ever. The election proved that things are more spilt on your side of the aisle than ever. Harper has achieved his long sought after plan – he has replaced the Liberals with the NDP.

    You guys thought things were grim in 1984, and yes you came back, but things are different this time, and there won’t be any coming back from this one. You let things go to long, even after being told for years that there was a cancer growing from within. The Liberal party is a zombie – it doesn’t know that it is dead yet, but it is still walking.

    • Warren says:

      False. The party racked up big fundraising during the campaign.

      • Lance says:

        Oh, I know that, as campaigns are wont to do. But beforehand? Now we will see about after as the dust of this election settles. You knew it was a bad idea to have this election and your words were prophetic. If people were unwilling to donate before the writ was dropped when things were better, how apt are they to do so when things are so much worse?

      • MattMcD says:

        Well the way the campaign was run, you’d hope that that was the case.

        Because either they were skimping or they never had anything to skimp in the first place.

  4. The other George says:

    If there is something wrong with being WHITE, then that is racism. If there is something wrong with being MALE, then that is sexism.

    • Richard says:

      Get serious. It never ceases to amaze me that some white males are so fearful of their privileged position in society. There is nothing wrong with being white, a male, or both, or neither. But there is a problem with the potential Liberal leadership pool consisting exclusively of those things. Our society is a vast kaleidoscope and ideally the leadership contest would reflect that. It’s a shame that Sheila Copps had such a hatchet job done on her by the Martin people. It’s a shame that Ruby Dhalla and Martha Hall Findlay lost their seats. There are a number of very good people in the Liberal Party that reflect our society, but it is a touch absurd that the only people being floated about as leadership material are stodgy old white dudes.

      • The other George says:

        “that some white males so fearful of their privileged position in society”

        That’s a yesterday’s argument for a yesterday’s era. I could not, and I would assert that most Liberal Party members also could not give a rat’s behind as to the sex, race, age or partner preference of any potential leader, interim or otherwise. We want the best person for the job.

        With respect to looking at the kaleidoscope of society and presumably the Liberal Parties reflection of that kaleidoscope Richard, are you suggesting that we should look into the party and see if there is any disproportionate representation of any sex or group within the party. And if so, what do you propose we do about it?

        • Attack! says:

          “most Liberal Party members…” — maybe not, but:

          1) mightn’t that be part of the problem… esp. most of its members ARE older white males (are they? anyone got stats on the LPC’s demos)?

          2) shouldn’t at least one of the criteria the membership uses for selecting the enduring leader be… what the ELECTORATE might want to see as evidence of the party’s commitment to diversity?

        • Richard says:

          Of course we want the best person for the job. But I do believe that having a diverse field of candidates in the run-up to the selection of that person is equally important. As I noted earlier, there’s just a default setting that we’re currently in that has the same old also-rans that weren’t good enough in 2006 or 2008. Where is the fresh face, the young and energizing talent that will help breathe new life into the party? Could that person be a 30-something male? Sure. But it could equally be a late-20’s female, a 50-year old Sikh community leader, or other age & demographic. That person almost certainly exists within the Liberal Party, but will they have the opportunity to have their voice heard and be given a chance, or will it just be the good old boys that have led the Party to such success in the past 6 years?

      • The other George says:

        Sorry Gord, hit the wrong REPLY tab

      • Richard says:

        Let’s keep in mind that any official leadership race is likely a year away. There is still plenty of time for a strong candidate who is not a white male to emerge. It’s just interesting/somewhat typical that since we’re in these early nebulous stages we’re automatically defaulting to lining up a bunch of stodgy old white dudes as the favoured horses.

    • Ed says:

      There is nothing wrong with being white or male (I’m both!). The problem is when our party history has only had white males at the helm, or only white males run for the leadership, or more importantly, a party culture which makes it felt that only a white male can win a leadership race. We are currently the only party to never have had a female leader. In the 2006 race we had several women run for leadership, but they either dropped out early or have major leadership debts to this day. Therefore, it’s incredibly prohibitive to get into a leadership race. With all this talk of needing a strong leader to stand up to the Dark Prince, it seems to be that unless Xena Warrior Princess is a candidate, no woman will have a shot at leadership.

      My personal choice for leader as it stands is Dominic LeBlanc. However, if Martha Hall Finlay had won her seat, or if she announces a run for leadership, it would make my choice a lot tougher. We in the Liberal party have to grow up and see female candidates as a viable option to go up against any opponent. Politics is war by any other words, but that war is carried out by the likes of Warren and other war-room types. We saw what happened this election with a leader who thought he was a general. Yelling at people to rise up and telling papers that the CONs can go to hell makes partisans feel good, but makes the rest of the country turn away. Once we shift our POV from needing a “strong”(read: male) candidate to needing a “smart”(read: smart) candidate, women will stand a better chance and even if they don’t win, it will be based on merit, not on whats between their legs.

  5. Dr.J says:

    Good read today WK, also Dunn’s article was informative about the backroom dealings. After reading what he wrote why would anyone want to be leader of the Liberals, alot of scummy things happen behind closed doors there don’t they? I am not surprised that the media are still writing about the Liberals, as I stated earlier, the media are the Liberal party buddies and feel an obligation to do so. I know the friends of the Liberals like to do the “gossip” thing but without money this party dies, shouldn’t a way to raise money be the #1 priority of the party? Maybe the Liberals can have a “Belinda” comeback as she doesn’t have a job anymore with Magna, now that would be entertaining!

    • Lance says:

      Of course people are going still to watch what is happeing with the Liberal party. We’ve all driven by the scene of a wreck and slowed down to see what was going on, and kept our eyes on the rear view mirror as we drove past.

      • Attack! says:

        Maybe. But we don’t all stop and get out – like many of you hollow-hearted, have-no-life hecklers are STILL doing – and crowd around and peer into the ambulance, and say, a la Bart Simpson:

        “Hey, is he dead yet? Hey lady, guess that makes you a widow, eh? How you gonna pay for that big house, now, huh? Huh? Guess you’ll have to get a real job now, eh? Hah!”

  6. Lance says:

    And there are a lot of good people in the Liberal party. Here is to hoping that they keep driving past, as well.

  7. gretschfan says:

    Six or seven years from now, there’s a western Premier who might make a fantastic national leader. But she has a lot of work to do between now and then.

  8. Tiger says:

    A leadership is always worth having.

    If Canadians have learned nothing else from Prime Minister Harper’s career, they at least should have learnt this — it’s a platform to build from.

    So the leadership even of a Liberal Party in the wilderness is worth having. Never know what can be built from it. (Even if it turns out to be the Canadian Lib-Dems. On the other side, that turned out pretty well for MacKay…)

  9. Cath says:

    When the LPOC lets the grass root support base decide if you’re still the party of Pearson or not, perhaps it’s time for a female leader like a Christy Clark(who I know is otherwise occupied). The other two parties have had female federal party leaders why not the most “liberal” of parties?

    • The other George says:

      Christy Clark!?

      No pun intended but that situation is a train wreck in slow motion.

      • The Doctor says:

        I wouldn’t classify Christy Clark as a train wreck at all — it very much remains to be seen whether she ends up being a success or failure as Premier. It’s early days. She does have some huge challenges in front of her, no doubt — the biggest one being the HST, which is a big, stinking albatross around the neck of the BC Liberal Party.

        But I wouldn’t count Christy out, she has impeccable populist instincts, and could charm a cheetah off of a carcass.

        • The other George says:

          She has an albatross around her neck called “BC Rail”. She is not going very far very fast.

  10. Baba says:

    Warren, I think with the recent election the Dark Prince has become the Dark Lord.

    The veiling shadow that glowers in Ottawa takes shape. Harper will suffer no rival. From the summit of Sussex his eye watches ceaselessly.

  11. Nuna D. Above says:

    The Liberal party is in a tough spot. Leaders have alternated between anglophones and francophones-usually meaning millionaires, preferably lawyers, from Toronto or Montreal. Now some Liberals believe it is the turn of an allophone, a woman, an aboriginal or an immigrant. The last time parties went with non-white males as a strategy, the result was Kim Campbell and Audrey McLaughlin losing party status for their parties in the House.
    Warren’s column doesn’t mention Frank McKenna, John Manley, Brian Tobin or even Shawn Graham. Would a highly qualified candidate even want to spend years in a third place party, trying to rebuild?
    The Liberals can only hope that recession and scandal wear away at the Conservatives, as happened with Mulroney.

    • Mandos says:

      Poor Kim Campbell was a sacrificial lamb, the leadership of a failing party given over to a woman because the men wouldn’t take it knowing what would happen. Audrey McLaughlin got swept up in the Liberal dominance/Conservapocalypse of the era, ride of Reform, and so on and was just unlucky. When a woman takes over a party on the rise, we’ll see then. Perhaps, speaking science fictionally, in 10 years Ruth Ellen Brosseau will be ready for prime time in the NDP…

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