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Op-ed: Dion should run in Alberta? Maybe not so wacky as it sounds.

No, Stephen Taylor didnt write this article; it was Rudyard Griffiths of the Dominion Institute in the Toronto Star who opines that Dion should run in Alberta in the next federal election. Some of his reasoning behind even what he calls an “off-the-wall” idea is this:

Liberals have to demonstrate to Canadians that their once scandal-ridden party is more than just a pragmatic political machine that will cozy up to any group, region, or policy that can provide a whiff of electoral success. To succeed in the Herculean task of rebranding the Liberals in time for an election that could come as early as March, Dion needs to make a grand gesture, a signature move that shows he has remade himself and the Liberal party in a completely new mould… Dion’s credentials as an earnest, if still somewhat unproven, advocate for the environment would stand him in good stead with the growing numbers of Albertans concerned about the damage being done to their province’s pristine wilderness by the aggressive exploitation of its natural resources.

Griffiths points out a majority of Albertans – 54%, which is more then in Ontario – would support climate control policies such as a carbon tax on fossil fuels (which ironically Dion rejects). Griffiths also says there is a growing progressive movement in Edmonton (which most of us I think knew), and Calgary (which was a bit of a surprise.. maybe people really do like Dan Arnold more then even I thought) that are being reinforced by “new” Albertans coming from other parts of the country.

Finally, Griffiths believes this move would capture the public’s imagination and harness Liberal fortunes to a vision of the country that unites the dynamic urban West with Eastern Canada around a new common cause: building a more environmentally sustainable economy”.

As to where Dion should run, Griffiths suggests Anne McLellan’s old riding, Edmonton Centre – a seat the Liberals lost by only 3,000 votes in 2006.

I gotta admit, when I first saw the title, I thought it must have been Hugh Segal writing the article, but the idea and arguments behind it certainly do have an odd sort of appeal to me. It certainly would catch the headlines as Griffiths says, and it might be the sort of gesture that would show Dion is prepared to work with Alberta, not against it.

I’ll be interested to hear what others think on here and around the blogosphere about this “off-the-wall” but still intriguing idea.

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32 comments to Op-ed: Dion should run in Alberta? Maybe not so wacky as it sounds.

  • Assuming I’m ‘Joseph?’ This is my second go round at the MA; twice the coursework with humility to spare, something which presumably your own grad work somehow didn’t inculcate. What books were you planning to recommend, assuming you planned to back that up? I’d be delighted to hear your insights about Vichy politics, if you weren’t completely talking out of your ass.

    If we’re swapping reading lists based on our mutual good impressions, here’s a suggestion for you: Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.

  • Scott says: “What are you going to do – send your legions of fans over there and troll the site? Scary.”

    No, although apparently I’m good at that.

    “You can visit other sites if I’ve hurt your feelings.”

    Not very charitable of you. I’m very, umm, human in the sense that when people say mean things about me, my feelings tend to be hurt as a result. It’s a luxury I have as someone who writes comments on the internet rather than running for public office.

    I do, however, enjoy reading about what an extreme site ThePolitic is. Wherever someone takes on the arduous task of digging up that extremism, the results are something less than flattering…for the person doing the digging. Some silly person came over from StageLeft today and made a valiant effort to do exactly that.

    Jason says:

    “Terminology like ‘far-’ and ‘extreme right’ have different meanings in different contexts.”

    Yes, they mean different things in learned and non-learned contexts.

    “In doing some ‘academic writing’ this morning I was at a loss for what, precisely, to call certain non-fascist arch-conservatives in Vichy France for example.”

    Apparently you need to read more. Shall I recommend some books?

    “If you’re going to make angry little speeches about your moral and intellectual superiority, you might want to do it where it won’t lead to snickering.”

    How cute. Joseph: Some advice. The commencement of the MA truly is the height of the academic ego. Don’t get too high, ’cause then you won’t fall as far.

  • the trips to the intellectual woodshed

    You flatter yourself. ‘Academic literature?’ Terminology like ‘far-‘ and ‘extreme right’ have different meanings in different contexts. In doing some ‘academic writing’ this morning I was at a loss for what, precisely, to call certain non-fascist arch-conservatives in Vichy France for example. Besides which, he was clearly supplying a synonym for ‘wingnut.’ (A downright charitable characterization of your colleagues at SDA and the Standard – perhaps you don’t care to be listed with such?)

    If you’re going to make angry little speeches about your moral and intellectual superiority, you might want to do it where it won’t lead to snickering. At SDA, if you’d like bonus points for irony.

  • Gayle

    To get back to the topic at hand, the Edmonton Journal reprinted this as an editorial this morning.

    By tomorrow the tiny tories will be out in full force writing letters to the editor mocking the whole idea…

  • Gee Aaron.. you trying to scare me? 😉

    What are you going to do – send your legions of fans over there and troll the site? Scary.With all due respect, I feel you and your site (and SDA and The Western Standard) are “wingnuts” (which as defined is hardly the most derogatory remark out there).

    If you dont like that characterization- tough. You can visit other sites if I’ve hurt your feelings. (I would be perfectly fine to be called a “moonbat” if it makes you feel better, however).

    And if you think you’re taking me to the woodshed.. keep thinking it if it helps keep you happy, because I’ve seen you do nothing of the sort.

  • See, this is your problem, Scott.

    A distinction is made in the academic literature between “extreme right” and “far right.” The far right is a rare label applied to parties like those of Jean-Marie Le Pen. The extreme right is even more rare, applied to anti-regime parties like skinhead groupings. In light of that, would you care to re-think your designation of my site as “extreme right”?

    Of course not. You’re now a born-again Liberal. Which naturally means that you have no taste and less civility. Are you aspiring to the intellectual standards of Elinor Caplan with comments such as these? Some of us are not, which is why we decline to use terms like “Wingnut” or “Moonbat.” It is also why we generally do not compare our partisan opponents to neo-nazis.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is: Post all the superficial “analysis” of polls that you want to and I’ll tolerate it with the same sort of bemusement I typically bring to this site. But don’t fuck with thepolitic.com because, to be honest, the trips to the intellectual woodshed that result are simply embarrassing for both of us.

  • Spare me the mock outrage Aaron. You get on here on a regular basis and leave comments that are at times mocking of many a person and their views on here, and at times borderline. Now the favour gets slightly returned, and now you’re insulted? If people like Jon want to come on here and act silly, unless it’s really crossing the line, I won’t censor, but don’t expect me to hem and haw in return and not give back a brusque response.

    If you prefer “extreme right-wing” to use as a description of said sites in place of “wingnut”, I’ll substitute that in its place if it hurts your feelings, because that’s my view of said sites.

  • “Jon, I’d advise you read something else besides the Western Standard, ThePolitic, and Small Dead Animals, (which is apparently all you read – judging from your ranting, it looks very similar to what comes out of those wingnut sites)…”

    What’s with the insult?

    Or am I being too civil when I comment here? Please advise.

  • Another SDA reader – fantastic.

    I dont expect the Liberals to win in rural Alberta.. I’ll gladly take a seat or 2 in Edmonton though. Heck, I’ll be glad to see an NDP win against Jaffer.

  • wilson61

    Any Liberal running in northern Alberta will be hearing these Dion quotes, over and over…
    file under : Easy Money, Milk Cow

    “We need to be a bit like Norway,” Dion scolded. Then he tore a strip off young guys heading for the oilsands.

    “All these workers living too fast for the *easy money* in the north,” the prime minister-wannabe blasted as Liberal-appointed senators Tommy Banks and Grant Mitchell looked on. “It’s not good for the economy.”

    milk cow found here:
    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/005328.html

  • I would LOVE to see Dion run in Edmonton Centre. That would definitely up voter participation, as pretty much everyone in the riding would get off the couch to vote…against him.

    Jason Townsend: “the Conservative stronghold itself is of two minds about whether to continue foot-dragging or to move on effective environmental regulation.”

    Compare Ontario to AB for recycling stats, for example. We are recycling things Ontario still throws in the trash.

    Speaking of trash, we don’t ship our garbage anywhere. We capture the natural gas from it. Even from the manure.

    And we’re all over C02 sequestriation

    The only footdragging on environmental issues in Alberta, IMHO, is in the eastern media’s inability to report on them.

    Suncor’s record on emission reduction (production increase since 1990 170%, emissions increased 101%)

    Syncrude‘s
    PetroCanada‘s

  • Gayle

    [quote comment=”716″]So the Liberals will win votes in Center in order to win the seat, but lose votes in Transcona in order to allow the ND candidate to win. Quite the feat of strategic voting. Do you Edmonton Liberals have a big ‘ol mind meld before voting?[/quote]

    You are assuming I am a member of the liberal party. You are wrong. I am just a voter who, like many voters, considers who has a better chance of defeating the conservative candidate in my riding.

    I am not an expert, and do not hold myself out as one. I am merely making predictions on the basis of past voting patters. Everyone I know in Edmonton Strathcona votes for the party they think has the best chance of defeating the conservatives. That is why during every election campaign there is much jockying done by the liberals and NDP, trying to claim their canadidate has the best chance of beating Jaffer. I expect that during the next election the liberal camp will again claim they have the best shot at ousting Jaffer. I just do not think it will work this time because now everyone in this riding knows how strong the NDP candidate was last time. This riding is held by the NDP in the provincial legislature, so it is not a big leap to think the same will happen federally.

    Anne McLellan was actually quite popular (relatively speaking), and she was endorsed by both newspapers until Adscam (which, by the way Jon, is the reason Martin lost all the ground the liberals made in Alberta after he was elected leader of the party). There is no doubt, however, that there was a bit of strategic voting going on there too, with people who would normally vote NDP voting liberal in order to defeat the conservative candidate. They went back to the NDP last election, but they may come back to the liberals next time around. I actually think Kennedy would be a good candidate, but I agree he will probably run in Toronto anyway.

  • Sorry Scott, I think it’s exactly as wacky as it sounds. But as mentioned, Gerard does have actual legitimate Edmonton links, having run the foodbank there, so in addition to being the bold gesture, and having a shot to win, it would actually make some sense. Still, Gerard will be running in a Toronto area.

  • Jon, I’d advise you read something else besides the Western Standard, ThePolitic, and Small Dead Animals, (which is apparently all you read – judging from your ranting, it looks very similar to what comes out of those wingnut sites) to broaden your horizons a bit.

    Every pundit out there worth his salt says that with Dion leading the Liberal Party, the Conservatives can no longer use Gomery or anything else from that era against Dion, who is considered squeaky clean. Your party was only giving half-hearted attempts at the start of his leadership and that’s disappeared pretty quickly.. perhaps you should get the hint from them.
    (It might also be because the Conservatives aren’t so clean themselves, trying to rush their own appointments through before the Accountability Act takes effect).

    As for out west, take a look at the latest poll from Environics: Conservative support has been dropping like a rock in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (due no doubt to the Tories attempts to kill the Wheat Board) , and the Liberals have made large gains in BC (probably due to the Environmental issues)
    I think you’d better re-assess your prediction Jon.. else you might have a shock on election day when you see Conservatives falling all over the place.

  • Jon

    Thanks for giving me permission, Scott, it eases my mind ever so much. Fyi, with or without your permission I will probably also use Gliberal, Lieberal, and perhaps even Librano, I hope you dont mind. If ever your party stops fibbing, lying, using glib sloganeering and generally acting like an organized crime family I will consider altering my descriptors.

    Gayle, I think Paul Martin was a far more attractive candidate for Albertans than Dion is, and he got shut out. I simply cannot see Dion gaining your party anything out west. You will continue to be shut out in Alberta, and will probably lose seats in the rest of the west to both us, (Conservatives), and the Dippers. I would offer condolences but it would be insincere.

  • I agree with having Kennedy run – because he was the number-one Liberal star in all of Alberta during the leadership race.

    I have been writing and spreading the word about Albertans’ high level of acceptance of a carbon tax or similar measures for a long time. Interesting how long it takes the MSM to catch on…

  • [quote comment=”714″]””Oh, I think you are wrong there. Speaking as an Edmontonian, I think the liberals have a good shot at winning Edmonton Centre back. Dion is getting good press here.

    I live in Jaffer’s riding, and believe that the NDP candidate has a good shot at taking this riding next time around. Jaffer always gets fewer votes than the combination of liberal and NDP, and most people here are like me and vote strategically. The NDP candidate made an impressive showing last time election, and I suspect the liberals will lose votes to her in the next election.[/quote]

    So the Liberals will win votes in Center in order to win the seat, but lose votes in Transcona in order to allow the ND candidate to win. Quite the feat of strategic voting. Do you Edmonton Liberals have a big ‘ol mind meld before voting?

  • Gayle

    “Not even Redmonton is going to elect any Fiberals in the foreseeable future. Please, though, give it the old college try, please do. We need the laugh.”

    Oh, I think you are wrong there. Speaking as an Edmontonian, I think the liberals have a good shot at winning Edmonton Centre back. Dion is getting good press here.

    I live in Jaffer’s riding, and believe that the NDP candidate has a good shot at taking this riding next time around. Jaffer always gets fewer votes than the combination of liberal and NDP, and most people here are like me and vote strategically. The NDP candidate made an impressive showing last time election, and I suspect the liberals will lose votes to her in the next election.

  • [quote comment=”711″]Not even Redmonton is going to elect any Fiberals in the foreseeable future. Please, though, give it the old college try, please do. We need the laugh.[/quote]

    Note to Jon: please do try to keep using the “Fiberal” line in the next election. That’s so 2004 – 2005 😉

  • I’m wondering: Do ANY Liberals not see the danger of Dion’s almost exclusive focus on the environment issue?

    You’re underestimating the intelligence of Dion and the Liberal Party, to answer simply. The environment is certainly a vital policy issue, but its political heft has varied. It will likely be an important election issue, but noone is blithely going along assuming it will be ‘electorally decisive.’ It is no secret that it’s the sort of issue that has traditionally been secondary in the anonymous silence of the voter’s booth.

    But right now, Harper has signally failed to meet voters’ expectations on the environment. He’s had to more or less hang one of his prominent ministers pour encourager les autres. As the article mentioned, the Conservative stronghold itself is of two minds about whether to continue foot-dragging or to move on effective environmental regulation. Conservatives in the world at large are facing awkward decisions as they are forced to abandoned their ‘climate-change skepticism.’ Do they get serious about good environmental policy, or simply move directly from denial into fatalistic inaction justified by allegations that it’s too expensive?

    Nationally, this is the most prominent issue on which to portray the Conservatives as flip-flopping, ideologically blinkered dilettantes not ready for prime time. Harder and harder to keep warning Canadians about Harper’s real agenda? Then why not highlight a bumbling government that inaugurated its reign by tearing down and trampling on nascent environmental initiatives, confident that they were ‘not a priority for Canadians?” It is both good politics and good policy for the Liberal Party to keep beating the CPC on the environment.

    And if an anciliary benefit is to magnify Jack Layton’s electoral dilemmas, I’m sure my fellow Liberals will join me in crying bitter, bitter tears about that.

  • Jon

    Quell hubris! Please send both Dion and Kennedy here to their doom. Send any other fools you want to lose as well. May I suggest that the spawn of Trudeau be included in your ill-fated foray into the heart of the new west. Or maybe he could run in Salmon Arm, where they still remember his Fathers one-finger salute to Western Canada.

    Not even Redmonton is going to elect any Fiberals in the foreseeable future. Please, though, give it the old college try, please do. We need the laugh.

  • Excellent idea! *snicker* And I think Harper should run in a downtown Toronto riding.

  • Not a good idea and it ain’t gonna happen. Dion already has a seat in Quebec, where the party needs help too so there’s no real point in parachuting him into a province he has no connection too and where he might lose.

  • The article was an endorement of such a move, and it appeared in the Toronto Star. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Rudyard to have published his article in an Albertan newspaper? Perhaps he submitted it to Albertan papers but it was hysterically rejected by the editorial boards. The TorStar editorial board, on the other hand, is always ready to preach on what’s good and right for Albertans.

    I’m wondering: Do ANY Liberals not see the danger of Dion’s almost exclusive focus on the environment issue?

  • IslandLiberal

    If he wasn’t already in the House, maybe (the Francophone thing also weighs against him).

    Kennedy, though, should run there.

  • Aaron wrote:
    [quote comment=”703″]God forbid than an endorsement for such a move would have come out a newspaper that’s not, you know, from Toronto. Maybe even a newspaper from Alberta?[/quote]

    Well, technically, the Star didn’t endorse it. It was a guest op-ed from the head of The Dominion Institute, so really not the same thing.

  • God forbid than an endorsement for such a move would have come out a newspaper that’s not, you know, from Toronto. Maybe even a newspaper from Alberta?

  • Westmount:

    I presume you dont like the idea… but I’d assert Kennedy and/or Dion would have a lot better shot in those Edmonton ridings of winning then Harper would in ANY Quebec riding.

    (Heh.. what if Kennedy and Dion BOTH ran in Edmonton ridings.. now THAT would cause a commotion :em19: )

  • WestmountLiberal

    And perhaps Harper should run in Repentigny since Cabinet Minister / Senator Michel Fortier refused. This would show that he is serious about his concerns for Quebec.

    btw> in the recent by-election, Bloc candidate, Cure Gravel, won this riding with almost 70% of the vote.

  • Ditto on Kennedy.

  • I could almost see it if Dion weren’t a) francophone, and b) already in Parliament, but…no.

    If I were a Liberal, though, I’d be hoping Kennedy will run in Edmonton-Centre.

  • […] On the heels of Dion’s triumphant Albertan tour comes the latest rendition of Liberal/Toronto Star chest-thumping: Dion should run in an Albertan seat in the next election. h/t […]

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