11.21.2011 12:56 PM

Dion on the way ahead

It’s to Dion’s credit that he has acknowledged the mistake he made, and which his successor made.

Problem: Stephen Harper knew we’d come to this conclusion. And he changed the election financing laws to ensure we couldn’t do anything about it.



  1. The Realist says:

    Your link goes to a generic front page that requires registration.

    What is this about? Is it Dion’s counter-proposal to cap the House at 308 members while redsitributing them a little bit?

    An idea worth considering because the Liberals have actually given actual numbers as to how they’d address underrepresentation.

    I don’t really mind if smaller provinces are overrepresented somewhat.

  2. Danny says:

    I think that link does something for you that the rest of us don’t see.

  3. Matt says:

    Isn’t that what the Grits did to Stockwell Day? Lets not pretend for a moment that PM Harper and the Conservative Party didn’t do anythign that the Liberals haven’t done before them.

    • The Realist says:

      What was done to Stockwell Day was mean and vicious. That being said, Nice Guy Day didn’t really do much to fight back. Nature doesn’t care much about the noble, beautiful losers. Nature gives it’s spoils to those who win by fighting dirty. Day took the high road and “turned the other cheek”. That’s why Warren says nice things about him now in hindsight.

      I pretty much enjoyed the liberal butthurt on their blogs the day after the 2008 elections. They could not believe that Harper so cruelly portrayed Dion (who they perceived as a nice man who was a competent technocrat) as a bumbling fool.

      Of course, that’s just home team mentality talking and everyone who reads this blog also has it.

      • Ted says:

        What was “mean and vicious”, let alone comparable? I mean that seriously.

        I remember one single pundit raising the issue one time. He may have done it in a mocking fashion and we can debate whether that was appropriate manner to do so or not. I recall quite clearly the chosen spokesperson/pundit for Stockwell Day on the same panel laughing at it, without any outrage or offence.

        And that was, I believe, because the substance of the comment – that the Leader of the Opposition and possible Prime Minister believes that humans and dinosaurs lived side by side and the world was only 6000 years old – was absolutely and completely legitimate political commentary.

        For one, it was a true fact. Stockwell Day actually believed those things. Restatement of facts cannot be vicious or mean. Mischaracterization, lies, fudging, taking out of context, etc. is mean and vicious. Stating opinion as though it was fact can be mean and vicious. Actually stating that someone had ulterior motives without any basis is mean and vicious. But letting someone know about a belief or view or policy that is true is not mean and vicious, just because it pretty much guarantees an electoral loss.

        Moreover, they were core beliefs of Day. His view that the Bible was literally true in every word was/is fundamental to his life. It wasn’t just that his values came from his religion, but that his views on science and objective facts and history and geography and biology, etc. were dictated by a book written up to 10,000 years ago. That is pretty important in my view. And since it was true, not mean and vicious.

        • steve says:

          Its the old Conservative tatitic, when they make us something, or use something out of context its fair game, when you repeat what they say, its vicious.

        • The Realist says:

          Do you think it was fair for the CTV showing footage of Dion being unable to answer a hypothetical question while struggling with English a fair thing to do to him?

          It’s the equivalent of the CBC hit piece, if you look at it honestly.

          • Ted says:

            But what was untrue about the Stockwell Day documentary? And how on earth does that make Harper’s unprecedented culture of attack and lies justifiable?

          • frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

            Hey, it paid off for erstwhile political commentator now Con Senator Mike “warm CRAP breeze” Duffy in spades……

      • pomojen says:

        What, the Barney the Dinosaur thing again? You guys are a one trick pony when it comes to the “Liberals did it too” stuff. I mean, we could go on for page after page of examples of character assassination re: dion and ignatieff. And all you’ve got for your “You did it too” argument is the dino thing? Please.

        • MJH says:

          “You did it too” is not unfair to people who can be turned into real hypocrites when attacking. Liberals continually attack Cons for things the Libs did or didnt do for 13 years. Example: Climate Change!

          • Pat says:

            That’s because the Cons said they would do a better job (for instance, on transparency, accountability and corruption). Unfortunately, they are proving to be even worse somehow…

          • Ted says:

            Conservatives continually attack everyone for holding them to a standard they promised us. Example: Climate Change! Still waiting for that “made-in-Canada” environmental solution.

            Since when does a prior government’s failures – for which we the people fired them – mean a subsequent government is allowed to be worse?

    • Ted says:

      Let’s not pretend that what Stephen Harper has done has been done by anyone else or to the same degree or with the same viciousness. The Liberals never launched a single ad about Stockwell Day’s belief that the world was only 6000 years old and humans and dinosaurs intermingled, for example. And all of that was during an election.

      The Conservatives keep reaching the bottom and continue digging:
      – pre-writ ad campaigns
      – personal attack ads. Not about the policies, or the party, but the personal characteristics of the leader. The Cons do this – on McGuinty (Not up to the job), the paralyzed face of Chretien – but not on this scale. They even admitted it in an interview with Maclean’s that the object was not to ridicule or attack Ignatieff’s ideas or even his leadership abilities, but to get people to dislike him as a person. That was really unprecedented.
      – not on this personal a level nor this relentlessly, with pre-writ ad spends in the millions and millions and millions of taxpayer dollars
      – the further abuse of tax dollars with self-promotion ad campaign last January where “suddenly” 6 or 7 departments all came out with major self-promotion, self-congratulatory ads for deeds already done and at the exact same time as the Cons own ad campaign. As they admitted later, it was a coordinated cohesive plan to use government and party resources to get re-elected.
      – the abuse of tax dollars with the unprecedented use of 10%ers for political attack purposes. They’ve always been used as self-promotion vehicles but not as attack ads and not nearly as abusively. The Cons wasted million and millions of taxpayer dollars with those lies.

      The Liberals problem is that we all recognize that this is a fact and act like just getting everyone else to realize it is enough.

      Harper has changed the game to a much more vicious, constant campaign of personal attack, like the US elections, and whining about it won’t win a single vote, but keep us on the sidelines.

      If the rules are changed, then play by the new rules instead of whining about the disappearance of the old rules.

      • The Realist says:

        The CBC never ran a hit piece on Day’s supposedly scary creationist beliefs.

        The Liberals never had someone appear on television making fun of Stockwell Day with a Barney doll.

        Right. The Liberals have halos and are perfect little angels fighting for their noble cause And the Conservatives are the Devil Incarnate(tm).

        • Ted says:

          You’re making stuff up to whine about now.

          I never said the Liberals were angels. But not being angels does not mean they were “mean and vicious” to Day for having once – one time – pointed out that this guy thinks the world is only 6000 years old.

          That was not a quotation out of context. It was not a misquote. It was not an outright fabrication. It was not opinion. So there is no comparison to the multi-million dollar non-election onslaught of lies and distortions by Harper. None whatsoever. The Day comments were true so they could not be mean and vicious as you whined about.

      • Matt says:

        The point isn’t about what was said and done it’s about defining the other guy before he gets a chance to do it himself.

        For example, Chretien called a snap election and took away the opportunity for Day to define himself before an election. He talked about dinosaurs and hidden agendas and which way rivers flowed. All valid things to point out.

        There wasn’t anything made up about what was said about dion or iggy. Dion felt it was difficult to make priorities (his own words). Dion didn’t get the job done (iggys words). Iggy was a defender of the right of the US to act unilaterally in Iraq and was a believer in the doctrine of first strike (iggys own words), iggy felt that there were circumstances where it would be ok to torture people (iggys words) etc etc etc.

        So Harper and the CPC had enough in the bank to exploit those words and define the opposition before they could define themselves. How is that in any way different than calling a snap election, talking about dinosaurs or firewalls or cultures of defeat or hidden agendas or BS abortion conspiracy theorys ad nauseum.

        Really all you can complain about is the amount to which the CPC did it and if you don’t think the Libs would have done the same with an equal sized war chest you’ve got another thing coming.

        • Matt says:

          I forgot to mention the best works that the Libs had in the soldiers in our streets with guns thing and the hand gun firing in the face of all canadians.

          That’s some high road you guys have taken in the past.

          • Ted says:

            Remind me how many times the so-called guns in our streets “ad” was aired by the Liberals? How many millions and millions did they pay the networks for those “ads”? What part of Harper’s person or personal integrity did they attack?


            Keep pissing in the wind.

          • sharonapple88 says:

            The ad was of Stephen Harper’s face. No gun in the ad.

            As for Ignatieff, I suppose the less said about the fake Ignatieff in Iraq pics by a guy working on the conservative the better.

            Interesting example here of how a quote from an anti-torture essay by Ignatieff was used to as “evidence” that he supported torture.

          • sharonapple88 says:

            So yeah, the Conservatives have literally made things up.

        • Ted says:

          Problem is, they didn’t. Harper did. He brought American-style attack ads to Canada and the Liberals didn’t adjust to the Harper politics of mean. They should have.

          Almost every single so-called quotation from Ignatieff was a distortion. Like on torture. Like on comparing the Canadian flag to a beer label. Like the whole campaign of “just visiting”.

          The bar has been forever lowered by Harper. The Liberals can adjust to that or learn to enjoy third party status.

          • The Doctor says:

            “He brought American-style attack ads to Canada and the Liberals didn’t adjust to the Harper politics of mean.”

            Ted, come on. Pare back on the hyperbole just a bit. Harper didn’t invent attack ads in Canada. We had attack ads in Canada long before Harper came along.

          • Ted says:

            American-style attack ads”.

            Read more slowly next time Doctor.

            ad·jec·tive (jk-tv)
            n. Abbr. a. or adj.
            1. The part of speech that modifies a noun or other substantive by limiting, qualifying, or specifying and distinguished in English morphologically by one of several suffixes, such as -able, -ous, -er, and -est, or syntactically by position directly preceding a noun or nominal phrase.

          • The Doctor says:

            So Ted, what’s the difference between an “American-style” attack ad, and a non-American style attack ad? Please enlighten me.

          • The Doctor says:

            Yes, apparently I’m a Liberal voter that’s more obtuse than a regular Conservative. Fancy that.

          • Ted says:

            Doc, I don’t think you are being genuine when you say there is no difference or that you aren’t aware of them, in part because they’ve been repeated up above, but for the record:

            – the constant advertising campaign outside of elections is what you see in the US and now, because of Harper, Canada

            – the deliberate focus on character and the personal attacks is what you see in the US and now, because of Harper, Canada. For example, Harris’ “Not up to the job” ad campaign against McGuinty was certainly negative, but it went directly to his abilities as a leader so not personal in the same way. The “hidden agenda” ads went directly to what Harper planned and not about whether or not he was a good person. But “in it for himself”, he’s just going to go back to the US, etc. were personal in an altogether new way, where anything goes. Especially as they made stuff up to make the argument.

            – the blanketting of airwaves with their constant ad campaign. Parties have taken the occasional just-before-an-election ads, but none have blanketted the airwaves like Harper so you couldn’t avoid it and well well well before any election campaign. This is what you see in the US and now, because of Harper, Canada.

            Those are just some of the obvious ones.

          • The Doctor says:

            Ok Ted, I appreciate your answering my question. I guess to sum up, what you see as distinctive and “US-style” is:

            1. outside the writ period; and

            2. purely or predominantly personal in nature.

          • Ted says:

            That is the most distinguishing part of it, but not the only thing.

  4. Ted says:


    Not checkmate.

  5. steve says:

    Should the “branding” not be illegal. If its all a fight about context, we will get the content we have now.

  6. Mike Foulds says:

    Totally different subject:
    The Ontario Federation of Labour unanimously voted to adjourn the biennial conference and march to St. James park to support the occupy Toronto encampment….discuss

  7. CuriosityCat says:

    Dion and the Party’s current meme about protecting the Leader is sound, but also self-defeating self-delusion. Both Dion and Ignatieff were poor leaders, who did little to inspire ordinary Liberals to vote for them and whose policies were botched in assembly and in delivery.

    To pretend otherwise is to help perpetuate the semi-myth that the reason these two men were walloped by Stephen Harper was simply because the Tory TV ads were so successful.

    Neither of these two men managed to win over Liberals, apart from a few. Ever since Mr Dithers was very understandly turfed out (partly because of the scandal but also because he gave such a poor impression of a leader who knew what he was doing), the Liberal Party has had bad luck with its leaders.

    To pretend otherwise is to delude ourselves.

    And that is one very good reason why the proposed primary election route with a much wider range of voters being qualified to choose the next leader makes so much sense. The choice by internal cliques in the past decade and a half has been disasterous.

    Having voters who no or limited stake in internal cliques makes much more sense – there is less taining of the method of selection, and much wiser consideration of the real merits of the individuals running for election.

    • Dan says:

      This is right.

      Dion tried for the green shift. Something honorable in principle, but poorly explained, with huge question marks in execution. Making this country carbon neutral is challenging. Dion isn’t talented enough to sell that idea. There’s honor in trying.

      Ignatieff was just a piss poor leader. When he was parachuted into his riding in 2006, there was a surge of volunteers and support for the NDP campaign. There was a huge number of progressive people who were simply not going to support a guy who’s biggest contribution to being a “human rights” professor was “empire lite” and “the lesser evil”.


      The man had dozens of quotes that were not just anti-human rights, but anti-canada. In activist circles, Ignatieff galvanized more people than Harper. We’d been organizing against him online and in universities for 4 years.

      The comedy is after shaking hands with Steven Harper on Afghanistan, he suddenly decided to pitch a progressive platform, and told us to “RISE UP!”

      So we did. Bye Iggy.

      The conservative attack machine secured them all of 1% more votes. Iggy lost votes to his left, not his right.

      • Roger says:

        To give the Canadian public some credit, it’s not like they were blind to how flawed Dion’s “green shift” truly was.

        I suppose their voting reflected this?

        • Dan says:

          As someone with a mildly anti-oil, pro-environment streak… I’d tell you the green shift was a hard sell to begin with. Anyone who says “let’s completely overhaul the tax code” is gonna raise a lot of eyebrows, even if the cause is supposedly a good one. This country has been too well-managed for 60+ years for us to be attracted to big revolutionary changes. Even Steven Harper had to campaign on promising to fund public health care into the foreseeable future.

          It takes a revolutionary man to sell a revolutionary idea. And Dion just wasn’t the guy. That’s before you get into the specifics of the policy. We do need to “put a price on negative economic externalities” for the economy to function properly in the long run. But the Liberal party went about it all wrong.

          No negative ads necessary.

  8. AP says:

    Puffin shitting on him; “Not a Leader;” YouTube address to the nation made on cell phone. Yeah we Liberals had good times.

  9. james curran says:

    Actually, the Liberal Party has not seen the light. They, whomever “they” are, decided that a lengthy period of time before leadership was the right course of action. Some (read me) would have preferred a nice, early leadership to allow the maximum amount of time to define our next leader on our own terms. But that’s not to be. By the time we select the next leader we’ll be a measely 18 months out from an election campaign and will not be able to get to speed. There’s nothing to stop Stephen Harper from calling an early election and “taking it to the electorate” on some bullshit crisis that he’ll make up if he feels late 2014 is a good time to grab another majority. Certainly not his already broken fixed election date law. That’s checkmate.

    • JenS says:

      Yeah. That.

    • Dan says:

      You have a leader. It’s Bob Rae. He’s a great one and very well defined.

      The smartest thing the Liberal party could do is really do some soul searching and figure out why they even exist. Otherwise you get stupid ideas, like four guys anointing the next leader, or assuming there are only two parties in this country.

      • james curran says:

        He’s not my leader. And, in a contested leadership, Bob will not win. Even with his massive advantage of interim leader. Which means he won’t be Prime minister anytime soon.

  10. frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

    I agree with your first statement Mr. Tulk (will miracles never cease!), but feel that M. Dion is correct when he talks about sustainable development……

    FYI, your party and your Alberta oil-patch masters may try and ram Enbridge down British Columbians throats, but I can tell you will have a fight on your hands…….

    • Woody says:

      Doesn’t matter. I agree with the commenter in Warren’s piece on Harper and China that said the US will be back for the oil.

    • Dan says:

      Funny how quickly conservatives become in favor of the federal government stomping all over the provinces as long as it’s for oil.

      Hypocrisy seems to be the only universal conservative value.

    • frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

      Enjoy dealing with the 50 odd First Nations bands whose territory the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline must cross….Bon Apetit!…….

    • The Doctor says:

      Dan, I think you’re giving a rather distorted picture of the political situation in BC. It’s not like the province is united in opposition to the Gateway project. Very far from it. Yes, there are many First Nations and environmentalists opposed to it. There are also one helluva lot of people in favour of it. And our Premier and provincial government are in favour of it. So I don’t see where you’re getting this “trampling over the rights of the province” narrative from. It would quite a different thing if the provincial government were opposed to it.

  11. Steve T says:

    Two alternatives, both of which point back to the voter:

    l) If specious attack ads truly are the main influence on voters, then voters are stupid and only have themselves to blame.
    2) If attack ads are NOT the main influence, but voters still (allegedly) vote for the “wrong” party, then voters are stupid and only have themselves to blame.

    Bottom line, we live in a democracy. We get the government we deserve, period. All advertising, whether “attack” or not, is simply something that voters should digest, analyze for accuracy, and then voters should seek out additional information on the issues that matter to them.

    eg: If people believed that Dion’s carbon tax was truly a “tax on everything”, but it really wasn’t, then it was the voter’s laziness in failing to seek out the full story. The green shift program was right there on the LPC website, for anyone to read if they cared to.

    • The Doctor says:

      Actually, Steve, it’s like this: if the party you cheer for wins, then the voters aren’t stupid. If the party you dislike wins, then the voters are stupid.

      This is what I have gleaned from reading online posts by various political partisans over the years.

    • Dan says:

      Spoken like a true Liberal. You believe the country is stupid.

      Keep treating the voters like that. Tell me how that works out for you.

    • pomojen says:

      Blaming everything on “stupid” is wrong. People are made of more than reason – there is hope, fear, passion. Emotion. And these qualities, as political parties well know, can be more powerful than reason. Make people scared and they will want the things you promise will make their fear go away. We don’t think well when we are scared or angry. Smart people can be manipulated when you make them fearful. It doesn’t make them stupid.

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