05.25.2010 07:58 AM

Chrétien-related bits and pieces

  • Stephen Harper has “grit”? Barf me with a spoon.  Chrétien won – over and over – because the people liked him (and majority-less Harper, mostly, they don’t).  He won because people trusted him (Harper, mostly, they don’t).  He won because he knew Canadian values (Harper – on issues like invading Iraq, abortion, accountability, environment, culture, democracy,  and stuff like prorogation – doesn’t).  He won because he loved Canada, and average Canadians, too (Harper, the tired Tim Hortons pretence to the contrary, can’t even say he loves Canada).  And so on.
  • Alberta Libs have the Big Mo. They do, they do.  And my former editor Gillian – who was one of the best bosses I ever had (most were women, too) – is wrong.  With the right-wing fracturing in two, my home province’s Grits can take advantage of that, just like Chrétien did in 1993.  I’m not necessarily saying they’ll win – but I am saying (and said at their convention, last week) that they can hugely benefit from the right-wing split.
  • Liberal leadership: I think Harris’ story is overstated.  He contacted me last week, and asked me what I thought Michael Ignatieff would think about that Ekos poll.  I said:  “I don’t think it will make him very happy.”  (I state the obvious.  Guilty as charged.) I have also told whomever would listen that Opposition – for Chrétien, for McGuinty, for Harper – completely, totally sucked. All three had unhappy times on the Opposition benches, and all three were written off by the media as well as elements within their own parties.  But all three ended up doing okay, didn’t they?
  • Chrétien and Harper! As critical as I have been of Stephen Harper – and, frankly, that’s kind of predictable as long as I am obliged to sue him and his party for libel (and as predictable as it is that I’m going to win) – it is very nice of him to participate in the aforementioned hanging of Jean Chrétien.  (And I’ll go out on a limb, and bet he jokes about that!)  See you this afternoon in Ottawa.


  1. Michael Harkov says:

    A divided right probably contributed absolutley nothing to Chretien’s electoral successes.

    • wes werkman says:

      Ofcourse not Michael. Don’t be obtuse. Had nothing to do with it. And did you see what he said about the Alberta Liberals? Albertans would rather vote NDP than Liberal.

  2. Winnipegger says:

    The portrait is a well deserved honour. Three cheers for Mr. Chretien!

  3. Patagonia says:

    The most telling *insider* appraisal in Harris Macleod’s article is in reference to Leblanc: “seen as not having enough of a national profile”. This assessment demonstrates what is wrong with the Liberal Party’s thinking today. So focused have the Libs been on the ?national profile?, they have forgotten the key word in looking at the issue of LEADERship. National profile in and of itself cannot carry an election victory.

    By necessity, a LEADER needs to have followers. You can?t expect the electorate to follow when the work hasn?t been done to rebuild within the Party. Party infrastructure starting with database building from the core. Until the so-called lower levels within the Liberal Party (members, candidates, riding associations) are put back in the equation, the top brass will be out of touch with what it takes to win an election. National profile can be built – by followers who are inspired by the leader and what he or she stands for. Chretien did it this way. (Sad to admit, Harper did it this way too.)

    As for national profile, surely, Ignatieff has one by now. How?s that working out for us?

  4. Herman Thind says:

    It may be over-simplified, but our success formula has always been to “run from the left”, and then govern according to circumstance.

    We need another Red Book. We need new policy initiatives that captivate progressive Canadians – forget about trying to win the Alberta oil vote (there are enough Albertans who will support us on progressive ideas alone), and continue to support the smaller, non-Conservative (usually) farmers… Focus on a “liberal” core/base. We’re seeing some of this happening recently… Can’t wait to see the new “Red Book”…

  5. Marc L says:

    Please stop equating “Canadian values” with the values of the Liberal Party. I agree with some of the Liberal party’s values, but not necessarily all of them. That doesn’t make me any less Canadian than you. This is similar to what the PQ and the BQ do in Quebec — equating “Quebec values” with their political agenda, including support for sovereignty. Unless you support them, you are not a true Quebecer. People are allowed to have views different that yours (and many many Canadians do ) with you branding them as non-Canadians.

    • Warren says:

      No, I won’t.

      • George says:

        Good, this elitism ensures the Conservatives will stay in power. Also, make sure Iggy continues to refer to himself in the third person – it’s totally something normal people do.

        Warren, you’ve lived in the Beach for too long – it’s not the rest of Canada.

      • parnel says:

        Neither will I

      • Kursk says:

        ‘Canadian values’ are slowly but surely becoming conservative values, election after election.

        Canada’s political landscape has changed.You may not trust Harper, but when it comes to leadership, he’s ahead by a mile.

        • Ted says:

          What conservative value is becoming or has become more Canadian because of anything Harper has done as PM? How specifically has he changed the conservative-liberal landscape? or as some like to say, how has he shifted the centre to the right?

          I don’t see how he has done that in any way at all.

          I think, if he stepped down now or lost the next election, conservative historians would rate him as an utter failure as a PM.

          If anything, he has confirmed the Liberal position as the centre of Canadian policies and values. He has rejected numerous fundamental conservative principles and adopted (or co-opted) many fundamental principles liberals apply to government: government spending powers for the good of the country and the economy, regulation of important businesses and industries, corporate subsidies in vulnerable segments of the economy, regional economic development, etc. etc.

    • Elizabeth says:

      What about “family values”?
      I get pretty tired of hearing that one, and it’s a right-wing chant that implies that if you’re not from a standard, conventional, Conservative, and probably Christian home; then you don’t have a “real” family, or you’re a marginal. Or somehow suspect, like a Pagan, or a Buddhist, or a Liberal.

      I haven’t even heard “Canadian values” anywhere, and certainly not from the Liberal party. I may have missed it, but it’s a new one to me.

      I’d like to see “values” replaced with “ethics” anyway. There’s ethical, and there is unethical, period – with no ‘family’, or ‘Canadian’, or any other category attached to it.
      “Values” seems to be more prone to bias than “ethics”.

      Ethics – good or bad; is universal, like humanity.

      I’m glad for M. Chretien, he’s had quite a life. The portrait looks very good from what I could see, I suppose we’ll get a better photo later.
      I wonder where they’re going to hang the portrait, since the last I heard about portraits in Ottawa was that S. Harper removed all portraits except his own in the portrait gallery, didn’t he?

      • Marc L says:

        “I haven?t even heard ?Canadian values? anywhere, and certainly not from the Liberal party. I may have missed it, but it?s a new one to me.”

        Just go back and read Warren’s post. That’s what I was commenting on.
        And, I`m not a member or supporter of any party, so please do not associate me with the Conservatives.

  6. Sandra says:

    Well, “yesterday’s man” proved he wasn’t once he became PM. My hubby and I were talking and remembered how much more peace there was when Chretien, Martin were handling things. Yup, had to take some touch measures – but they saved our country when we were on the verge of becoming like Greece.

    Was I scared for my country then? No. Was I scared for my future then? No.

    There has been nothing but games and turmoil since Harper’s been PM – and it’s just too tiring.

    People forget that Harper polled between April to June, 2004 at 14% down to 10% and 25% in 2005.

    Oh to have that peace and quiet now.

  7. jenjen says:

    The liberal leadership ‘worries’ expressed by anonymous backbenchers and insiders shows that some of the past problems with the liberal party remain. Individuals anonymously firing shots at each other trying to jockey for position within the party.

    When will people learn?

    We really cant afford to have opportunists continuously jockeying for position (future cabinet and senate appointments) at the expense of the best interests of the country.

    • Ted says:

      The interesting thing is, despite being so low in the polls and to have a constant barrage of attacks from the media classes, that there actually is not a lot of “anonymous backbencher and insider” leaks, if any, which shows that some of the past problems with the Liberal Party – backstabbing, constant leadership campaigning and infighting – is behind them.

      I think the party seems quite aware of its internal problems and the seriousness of the problems created by Harper that they are anxious but focused, questioning but united.

  8. Neil says:


  9. Catherine says:

    Enjoy you day.

    Wishing Aline, Jean and family, a well-deserved occasion to remember!

  10. Travis says:

    I hope any Liberal insider who believes it is a smart strategy to have five different leaders in the span of roughly four years think twice about their current occupation.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Didn’t anyone make any jokes about a hung Parliament?

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