04.15.2013 08:42 PM

In Tuesday’s Sun: Liberal bits and pieces

OTTAWA — Observations and glimpses from the Liberal Party of Canada’s leadership announcement:

  • New Brunswick Liberal MP Dominic Leblanc — who contemplated again running for the party leadership, but didn’t — looking simultaneously relieved and regretful, as he stood at the back of the Westin hotel’s convention hall. Regretful for what might have been; relieved for having avoided the humiliation experienced Sunday by Justin Trudeau’s leadership opponents.
  • Deflated and dejected expressions on the faces of those who supported the also-rans — Deborah Coyne, Karen McCrimmon and Martin Cauchon — who, in McCrimmon and Coyne’s case, received about 1% of the vote. They ran, but they shouldn’t have. Contrary to their expectations, their standing in the party was reduced by the outcome of the leadership race, not enhanced. For those seeking the leadership in coming years, the message was plain:Win a seat in the Commons first.
  • A huge number of unfamiliar young faces, outnumbering the old Liberal warhorses, many of whom looked plainly uncertain.  If it has done anything that is positive, Justin Trudeau’s candidacy has made many young Canadians more excited about democracy than they have been in a generation. Even if he fails in his political ambitions, Trudeau will have improved the country by making politics compelling to young Canadians. That’s a good thing.
  • On the periphery of the hot and overcrowded room, dozens of journalists could be seen perched on flimsy risers, impatient with delay. There seemed to be more media interest in the Liberal party’s unsurprising leadership result than there had been in the New Democrats’ just-concluded policy convention in Montreal.  Whether the Liberal party overtakes the New Democrats in the House of Commons remains to be seen — but it appears the parliamentary press gallery considers the Liberal party’s triumphant return to be a fait accompli. When one recalls that most of them have been writing the Liberal party’s obituary for the past year, this is significant.
  • When Justin Trudeau is finally declared leader and gives his too long, too windy acceptance speech, he declares an end to “hyphenated Liberals” and the Grit tribal wars of the past. There is much applause from the younger set, but not from the older Jean Chretien folks. “He wasn’t in Ottawa when they tore the party apart, and it shows,” says one. Evidence of this is found in the disproportionate number of former Martinites in Trudeau’s circle. They are back, possibly with a vengeance.
  • The Conservatives’ Fred DeLorey issues a release attacking Justin Trudeau’s lack of experience at the exact moment Trudeau — onstage, speaking — predicts they will start to attack him. Trudeau reasserts his pledge to never “go neg.” There is not a political veteran in the room who doesn’t see that as a big, big mistake. Somewhere, Stephen Harper is laughing.
  • Afterwards, in the bar, Jean Chretien salutes the many Grits lined up to meet him, or get his autograph. “We’re back, and we’re going to win,” he says. “It feels good to be a Liberal again.”

No one, on this day, disagrees.


  1. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Robin says:

    There are four promises made by federal politicians that signal they are naïve and most likely to lose:
    1. I intend to do politics differently; (politics must be done as it must be done)
    2. I intend to bring Quebec into the Constitution; (it’s done, move on)
    3. I intend to end Western alienation;(western alienation is an untreatable psychosis) and,
    4. I won’t go negative! (Bluntly telling the truth isn’t “negative”).

    There are two statements by federal politicians that signal they are winners:
    1. A good leader is a leader who wins!
    2. Just watch me!

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      Graham says:

      If young Trudeau took the time to examine the context in which his father used the “Just watch me” perhaps he wouldn’t have used it as such a glib response in a cute note to a fellow airline passanger.

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    Darwin O'Connor says:

    More media at the Liberal event may mean the media hasn’t got thier mind around the fact that the NDP is now the second place party and are not covering them enough.

    Or it could mean that they are willing to pay for airfair to Montreal.

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      Reality.Bites says:

      Or that no one is interested in policy conventions, regardless of whether it’s the government party, opposition or third party

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    smelter rat says:

    I just made my first ever donation to a political party. A small amount to the Liberals, even though I’m not a member of any party. I’ll donate a small amount every time the Reformacons launch an attack ad. It won’t change the world, but it feels good to do it.

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      Robin says:

      I like you! Real change begins one good person at a time.

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      Janine Menard says:

      We’re doing something similar over here. Every time we see/hear an Action Plan ad, we’re dumping a piece of change in a jar for Justin. Husband voted Conservative last time, me Liberal. We’re just annoyed as hell by the advertising, basically.

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      Kevin T. says:

      Same here, even joined the party with a small monthly contribution too. Wife as well.

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    MCBellecourt says:

    Our own Rodger Cuzner (my favourite MP) gives us a new bit of prose in this clip.


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    Kitty O'Shea says:

    a) don’t care about past winners or present losers – that’s ancient history. Stay focused, tighten things up, there’s a whole shit storm headed your way.

    b) it’s actually really pissing me off how recalcitrant and resistant your readership and Team Trudeau is to the notion of fighting back effectively and vigorously against attack ads.

    I defy anyone to watch this video and not a) understand the inner workings of attack ads and b) actually get angry enough to fight back. If you don’t well, maybe you are all Tinkerbelles with fairy dust writing.


    p.s. tomorrow after practicing a and b, we learn c and d.

    Good night children.

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    Ted H says:

    The Conservatives indulge in the same kind of facebook bullying that lead to the death of Rehtaeh Parsons. That’s the juvenile mentality running this country folks.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Ted B says:

      Oh please.

      No one wants to get rid of Harper more than me, but that is just such an offensive comparison.

      Putting up a negative ad is not bullying and needs to be responded to in kind.

      What happened with Parsons is tragic and should not be made into a partisan rallying cry. Don’t use Parsons as a political tool to attack Harper. Lord knows, we have enough to attack him with without stooping to such idiocy.

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        Luke says:

        Thank you Ted B.

        I might argue that the CPC’s ways are bullying of a sort, but more in the ‘kids misbehaving’ sense Harper articulated the other day, and nothing even close to warranting a comparison to deeply tragic events surrounding Rehtaeh’s death. I am certain the Parsons family does not need to witness their personal tragedy being converted into a political tool.

        Ted H, you are being disgusting and juvenile. I don’t believe most Liberals would dare compare being the subject of attack ads to being the victims of rape and torment. There is no way to make tis comparison that doesn’t diminish the seriousness of the tragedy. The height of crass, tasteless, and callous partisanship.

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      Vankleek Hill says:

      You need a hyperbole check Ted.

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        Ted H says:

        Van and Ted, don’t get all bent out of shape. It’s not hyperbole, it’s not partisan. Simply put, it’s online, a YouTube video, it’s juvenile, eg. shirt removal, once it was pooping puffins, it’s not substantive, it’s disrespectful of colleagues who were elected by a constituency, just like the Conservatives, and it’s a bully pulpit, the Cons have money, they do it because they can. They have lowered the bar of political discourse and if you compare Parliament Hill to a High School, probably a more apt comparison than we would like it to be, the Conservatives are acting like the kids who indulge in the social media bullying. You guys need a sense of humour.

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          Luke says:

          Yeah, it’s obnoxious and disrespectful and a real drag for Liberals and Canada’s politics, but there is no comparison to rape leading to suicide to be made here. Think about other people before you post whatever first comes to mind. Your commentary far outdoes these annoying attack ads in the disrespect department.

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            Ted H says:

            Get real Luke, Facebook bullying happens all of the time, it involves rape and suicide probably .00001% of the time and the kids who indulge don’t intend it to have tragic consequences, just humiliation of the intended subject. In the same way, the Cons don’t anticipate JT will commit suicide, but they do intend to humiliate him, therefore, they exhibit the same mentality as the juvenile social media bullies. The Parsons case is top of mind, so an easy comparison with regard to social media bullying. To his credit, PM Harper made some admirable and sensible comments with regard to that tragic set of circumstances and I commend him for that. However, that doesn’t stop his propaganda machine from indulging in attack ads that exhibit the same spirit though perhaps not the same degree, as the Facebook bullying that goes on all of the time and we only hear about when it leads to newsworthy tragedy. You compare my commentary to the attack ads? My friend you exhibit a lot of misguided indignation and I am afraid not much nuance in your understanding of things.

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            Luke says:

            I pretty well agree with your views on the validity of comparing the Conservatives’ approach to that of more mundane examples of cyber-bullying (or schoolyard bullying for that matter). My indignation comes from your specific reference to the Parsons case. Had you not mentioned that, I would have had no such reaction. Looking back at your wording, you did say the kind of behaviour ‘that led to’ that tragedy, which is not to say you meant to draw an equivalence between the rape and suicide themselves. So perhaps I read the wrong meaning in your words. Still, I would argue bringing up such an extreme case poisoned your point and allowed me and other to infer you were drawing the comparison as we interpreted it.

            My comparison of your commentary (through the my initial interpretation of your words) was not to suggest any similarity between the two in terms of style or any other measure, other than that I thought bringing up Rehtaeh’s example was wildly inappropriate and disrespectful. But I get your meaning now anyway.

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    bluegreenblogger says:

    I sense a little ambivalence in that column. Well, now the die is cast, let us see if Trudeau cannot re-build the foundations. Attack ads or no attack ads, when he hits the road on his re-building the EDA’s tour, he ought to be able to find a hundred or so new members for any given EDA once or twice per week. I hope they re-invent the supporter category immediately, it is a proven tactic for building contact lists and support. I am also quite curious to see what Trudeau has in mind for the Caucus members, and all those Liberal luminaries not in caucus. A united and sustained effort to build up supporter and membership lists would be the most promising thing I could think of.

  8. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Graham says:

    This whole claim Justin is drawing young Canadians to the Liberals in unprecedented numbers is media spin.

    His campaign signed up 171,000 people. You know how many were 25 and under? Just 8%. On the other hand, over 60% were 50 and over. Aging baby boomers looking to relive the days of PET through Justin.

    Heck, the Liberals posted a video of a 10 year old practically worshiping Justin. Sorry Liberals, you gotta wait 8 years for her vote.

  9. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Graham says:

    Serious question Mr. Kinsella:

    Have the Liberals, or do you know if the Liberals will be releasing a tally of votes cast for leader riding by riding?

    We know that rougnly 90,000 of the registered voters came from Ontario, Quebec, and BC. I suspect the overwhelming majority of them were in and around Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver in ridings already held by the Liberals.

    There is a report this morning most of the Quebec ridings had fewer than 100 votes cast.

    The Liberals won’t be winning any elections anytime soon if their support is concentrated in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

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      Moe Lavigne says:

      It will be interesting to see how the LPC does in the upcoming Labrador by-election which is not part of either Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver. It does however include the metropolises of Black Tickle, Charlottetown, Capstan Island, Cartwright, Domino, Forteau, L’Anse Amour, L’Anse au Clair, L’Anse au Loup, Lodge Bay, Mary’s Harbour, Norman Bay, Paradise River, Pinsent’s Arm, Pinware, Port Hope Simpson, Red Bay, St. Lewis, West St. Modeste and William’s Harbour.

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        Graham says:

        I fully expect the Liberals to win back the seat, and although the Liberals and media will spin it to being all because of Justin, it really won’t. Remember, we just had three by elections when everyone knew Trudeau would be the next leader and the Liberals went 0 for 3.

        The seat was Liberal for a very long time before 2011. The Conservatives won it by only 79 votes. The Conservatives rep Penashuae (I know i butchered the spelling) was pretty weak in the HOC.

        Of course if the Conservatives hold it, I would expect them to spin it’s because of Trudeau. 🙂

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          Moe Lavigne says:

          So their weak outside of Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver except where they’re not. You may be onto something there!

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      Luke says:


      See https://www.vote2013leadership.ca/results/?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1 for the riding-by-riding tallies.

      They are not in convenient spreadsheet format, but you can see the results for whatever riding you like.

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    AP says:

    Warren just a thought here:

    There’s a lot of tea-leaf-reading about what the polls mean and what the Tory ad means. My initial sense of things is that people in the main just seem to like Justin Trudeau. Much like people really liked Jack Layton. I also find that many people haven’t warmed up to Mulcair for whatever reason. I guess what I’m saying is that these polls are more reflective of personality politics vs party identification. Even my 75 year old mother was saying how nice Justin looked and was impressed watching him with his wife and kids. Telling for me is that not once did she mention Pierre Trudeau. She’s also alternated voting between the Liberals and the NDP over the years. It may be that getting too cute and aggressive with Justin Trudeau may backfire when many voters not only like the guy but feel oddly protective about him.

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    Cath says:

    This is an interesting piece from the Windsor Star because it touches on the issue of expectations that I believe you raised here several times WK.

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    MCBellecourt says:

    Just read bits and pieces of the National Post website. It looks like that stupid attack ad backfired, all right. The National Post itself slammed it, as did others, and some posters, who I recognized as Conservative voters from other sites like the Globe, slammed it, too. Then there was another poll that showed that Trudeau would have an advantage of 43% to the Con’s 30% if a snap election were called.

    If Trudeau can keep it up with a good sense of humour he just might pull it off…his dad had a sharp wit and hopefully, Justin carries that with him.

    Hmm…Jean Chretien has a sharp wit too. I smile when I think of the times he blindsided his detractors with a good one-liner now and then.

    Oh, yeah, and another Conservative MP has gone public with his dissatisfaction with the Harper muzzle factory, too, according to the Winnepeg Free Press. That makes 9 of them now.

    This is going to be fun. Har dee har har!!!! 😀

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