11.30.2011 08:27 AM

Raelians, take note

Yesterday’s post stirred various Raelians – all using false names and/or fake email accounts, and regurgitating suspiciously-similar talking points – into a spit-flecked fury.  Some of the more rational ones argued that Bob Rae should be permitted to break his written promise not to seek the permanent leadership because, well, we’re doing great in one poll.

As a rejoinder, a regular reader sent me this.  It’s hard to read, but it makes clear that not all is well, one poll notwithstanding.  As he put it: “Warren, this is really why we’re losing elections. Sitting MPs with zero members. What a joke. They wonder where their volunteers are.”


  1. michael hale says:

    wow. there are no words. no members, and no words.

  2. Dan says:

    Iggy scared a lot of active members into volunteering for the NDP.

    • Ted says:

      Give it a rest. And check your facts. Membership has been ultra low for a long time. It perked up during the 2006 leadership race but it has been a problem for a long time.

      • james curran says:

        Actually it peaked in 2003 Ted during the Martin bloodbath. You know, the one that saw sitting Liberal MPs running nominations against other sitting liberal MPs.

        • Ted says:

          And then it dropped and then, as I wrote, it “perked up during the 2006 leadership” and then it dropped. Not sure what is incorrect about that statement or how it conflicts with your statement.

      • Dan says:

        Just going off what I saw. Huge surges of boots on the ground since 2006, starting in his riding. Lots of them vowed to do everything to broadcast the message that Iggy shouldn’t be allowed near the PM’s office. The only Liberal activists left are people who want their turn at being an MP.

      • Ken says:

        Party memberships peak during leaderships and then fall off. Is this surprising?

  3. james curran says:

    The worst part is that there’ll be even less when they expire on Dec. 31.

    Not protecting sitting MPs in a nomination would fix some of the problems in held ridings. The MP would actually have to pay attention to their riding association once in a while.

    Why have a Summer BBQ with 2000 people attending if you have no plan to sign any of them up as members? Good grief!

  4. wannabeapiper says:

    OK, you’re killing me and my compulsion is to advise you, and I expect you know this, that “Raelians” is a cult comprised of Atheists who believe we have been put here by UFO’s etc.

    Are you saying Rae came from outerspace?

  5. sharonapple88 says:

    I just went to a meeting organized by the Mississauga East-Cooksville riding association last week. Very good organization. Sort of jealous since I’m sitting in one of the apparent inactive ridings…. Sigh….

    It would be interesting to compare NDP and Conservative membership numbers in the same ridings. So… anyone willing to leak those?

  6. Gpeter says:

    Personally, I believe in the old fashioned idea of keeping one’s word. I believe you can make an agreement and keep it if you shake on it.

    However, I know that we live in a world where message matters more than substance; evidence Federal election/PM Harper Majority.

    IF this poll isn’t an outlier, and IF the party is doing well under Bob Rae…it matters ALL THE MORE that he keep his word and step down as leader. Not just because as I’ve stated I believe one should keep their word (he put it in writing, I’m given to understand, and signed his name to that. Which means he put thought and consideration into the decision to do so. He’s a lawyer isn’t he? Do good lawyers usually sign things without fully considering what that signature means?) but because the Liberal party has become all about what the leader wants. It’s lost touch not just with what the party wants, which is obvious, but also with what Canadians want.

    Bob Rae is doing well, so he must necessarily become the permanent leader? Ambition against all logic is what has put the party into shambles. It’s not about what Bob Rae wants; it’s what the party needs. The party needs fresh blood and new ideas. The party needs to be seen as being approachable and fair minded.

    If the Tories were salivating at a Bob Rae leadership run during the Dion win…how will they react to this? They won’t even NEED to dip into their vault of why Bob Rae can’t be PM…all they’ll need is to stay on message (at which they’re fantastic.) “Bob Rae lied to become leader of the Liberal Party. He lied to the very people who donate money to keep the Liberals operating. If he will lie to the people who are paying his bills…do you think he won’t do the same to you?”

    Campaign over.

    You know the worst part of that message? It’s not even spin. From the facts as I understand them at least the part of the leadership is true.

    IF its true and Bob Rae has reversed the fortunes of the Liberals (and I think most would agree that its less about him raising the fortunes of the Liberals and more the NDP’s loss of Jack Layton whose charisma won’t ever be replaced) he needs to keep raising the profile of the party, keep marching it in the right direction, and hand it off to the next leader.

    The party is on the brink, in my view. What the Liberals need is a leader that thinks more about his party than about himself. There’s only one way Bob Rae can prove he’s that leader; by passing the torch.

  7. AmandaM says:

    I’m uncertain of what I am looking at. WK, could you explain it a bit please?

  8. Bob Rae may be a secret isRaelian. He could be a smartpad such as the iRael. He could be a long-lost relative of Louis Rael. Has he ever lived in MontRael? Will Bob Rae promise Canadians a better Via Rael? Will Via Rael serve GingeR ael? Bad jokes.

  9. Ken says:

    I don’t see the zeros on the chart.

  10. Ken says:

    I’m looking at that chart again. Nine ridings have higher memberships in September 2011 than in July 2010. Eight of the others saw growth between July 2011 and September 2011, even if they are down since 2010. Two others were unchanged for the quarter.

    Thirteen ridings have higher Victory Fund memberships in September 2011 than in July 2010. Most of the rest are relatively stable.

    The numbers could, and should be a lot higher. For unhelds — as most of them are — I’m half-surprised the numbers are as high as they are, though.

    I’d like to see suggestions for three things everyone can do to improve those numbers.

    Still don’t see the zeros.

  11. jack says:

    Clearly, MP’s need to do more. As far as Rae goes, if he does break his word, then THAT will be the end of the Liberal Party. Only because the Cons will make mincemeat of his promise broken and also of his record when he led the NDP in Ontario. Plus, how will anyone trust him? He is a great guy, a great politician and he is a wise and learned guy, BUT he does need to realize that his ambition to be PM as leader of the Liberals should not and cannot happen. The sooner he realizes that and states it publicly again, the sooner he can get on to better things. It is a sad story but part of great leadership is also realizing the right thing to do at any moment. he needs to do that.

  12. Tiger says:

    If Rae breaks his word, he’ll do no more than what other leaders have done before.

    The issue is, well, he’ll be 67 when the next election rolls around. Is that the age of a leader for a new generation? Harper, by contrast, will be 56.

    So that’s the problem with Rae.

    On the other hand, will the Liberals seriously contend for the next election? Or is heading back to official opposition, as did the Liberals in Ontario in 1977, the best that they can hope for? If that’s so, then Rae might be the guy.

    Still, who knows. 69 yr-old Ronald Reagan beat 55 yr-old Jimmy Carter and governed for eight years. So never say never.

    And those CPC “Will you let Bob Rae do to the country what he did to Ontario” ads have been in the can for five years — we might as well see what they were like…

  13. Lord Kitchener says:

    does the LPC pay its field workers, especially during non-election years? Aside from some hired gun Campaign Managers, is there a paid army of Kommissars across the country that the LPC has to organise its field work, such as volunteer recruitment and retention? The field workers must collaborate with incumbents and Riding Associations to make sure they have all the tools needed for their war chest, and volunteer brigade.

    Create some incentive for someone to do the job of mobilizing the party locally, find a good person to do it, and I bet they could get the faithful mobilized and bring back those who went rogue over to the Dippers.

    This can start even without a Leader at the top —

    • Dan says:

      A lot of it is just doing things that activists can be excited about. Supporting the Iraq war ain’t it. (Unless you want to excite them against you.)

      There are a ton of people who want to do something about this country, but feel completely powerless and ignored. You don’t mobilize people by bossing them around like you’re smarter than them. You ask them what issue they would want to mobilize for, and make your campaign about that.

      • Ken says:

        You also get ’em or keep ’em angry. There’s a lot of red meat to be throwing non-Tory-inclined voters these days, just as they have thrown red meat to their supporters and potential supporters for years.

      • Lord Kitchener says:

        that is something Liberals do well — taking the high road — thanks for explaining democracy 101

  14. Lawrence Stuart says:

    Neither Liberals nor NDP seem capable of producing a leader, or more importantly, a demographic, able to unseat Harper.

    So alright, already. Unite the left. Enlist Naheed Nenshi. Kick Harper’s ass. Easy peasy.


  15. Cromwell says:

    There is no federal Liberal party, it was always a mirage. Power was the only thing that ever motivated membership, and now that there is no prospect of that, the party is dead, dead, dead.

  16. Shawn says:

    I think the Liberals have to look at who has had success recently and who hasn’t.

    The most obvious success stories in Canadian politics of late?

    Stephen Harper… a young and relatively unknown leader who got a long term commitment from his party to rebuild the base and build credibility with the Canadian population over several elections. He lost his first, won minorities in his next two and finally was able to push it over the top into a majority. Canadians got to know him and despite a large section that don’t like his ideology, the on the fence conservative voters got comfortable with him. He got time to build his profile, shrug off the initial attacks and ride that to victory against a Liberal party that had 3 different leaders over that same span.

    Jack Layton… a relatively young and unknown (nationally) leader who got a long term commitment from his party to rebuild the base and build credibility with the Canaidan poluation over several elections. People wrote him off as likeable but never having a chance… and yet he was maybe two more weeks of campaign momentum from really having a chance to win that last election and if he had lived might have had a real shot at winning the next one. People grew comfortable with him to the point that there was a massive outpouring of affection for a guy most Canadians never voted for. He became like the friendly guy next store you’d have a beer and watch the game with over years of getting to know and respect him.

    Did either guy present ideas that the average Canadian liked better than what the Liberals were presenting in the last election? I somehow doubt it. The platform was full of stuff Canadians would traditionally like. They just didn’t trust the leader. Another new leader attacked and torn down in a party that seemed incredibly unstable with all the in fighting and changes at the top. They didn’t have time to get to know and trust Dion. They didn’t have time to get to know and trust Ignatieff. It was all short term panic trying desperately to find the guy who right this second can jump in and save the party.

    How about provincially? Dalton McGuinty was a young politician with history in the party but not a huge profile. He failed in his first election and struggled with attacks from the opposition. Given the recent history of the federal party they would have dumped him and tried another new leader. Instead McGuinty worked hard, got better, built trust and comfort with the population of the province and won three consecutive mandates. Even in this last election when polls said he was finished his experience and Ontario’s comfort with what they knew prevailed over an overly aggressively and ambitious new leader going on the attack.

    We are moderate people. We like people we know and trust. Especially in times of economic uncertainty. The Liberals would do well to pick a leader with a long term plan in mind. Someone who can lead this party for a generation not one election. Bob Rae no matter how talented he may be is too old to be that person and has promised not to. He’s doing a great job now but the Liberals need to look to the future not a faint hope at a better result in 2015.

    • Warren says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

    • The Doctor says:

      Good post, and good analysis. I agree that a lot of LPC members and supporters were awfully impatient as regards Dion and Iggy. Part of that stems from the fact that Liberals were in a bit of a state of shock, I think — just a couple of years before Dion, there was talk of permanent Liberal Party hegemony and all that. There was this feeling that being in opposition was this foul and unnatural state, and that surely there was some quickie parlour trick that would end that bad dream. Not so.

  17. Stacey says:

    When Bob Rae was in Vancouver I asked him point blank if he would put his name forward as a leadership contender. He would not say no. Here is a video link to him answering my question, it is at the 3:00 point of the video.

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