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On not being afraid to stand up for principle.

Some of the Prog Blog affiliates of the NDP-supporting persuasion are predictably having a bit of fun at Jason’s expense this AM, including here, but I do want to address his comment (he also isn’t the only Liberal blog stating it either).

One by-election loss does not translate into necessarily the same results elsewhere in a general election. If Jason is suggesting the Liberals should just roll over and allow the Conservatives to lay out whatever type of policy they want this fall (as they did when Martin resigned and Graham was the interim leader) for an undetermined amount of time, I’m not prepared to accept that. If anything, we should be showing we aren’t scared of bringing the government down.

I’ll grant that it still may be hard to do so – since the Bloc also took a bit of a beating last night and may not be any more inclined to want a fall election then the Liberals, but I’m just saying we shouldn’t be turtling in our shells and allowing Harper and the Cons to put forth policies that are (in our opinions) not in the best interest of Canada.

If Harper puts forth something in the Fall which is (in my words) loathsome, it should be voted against. Harper wasn’t afraid to state publicly that he would bring the Martin government down on principle, even as media pundits were ragging on him and his supposed failing qualities, and how he would have no chance in a general election, which shows how much pundits know. The Liberal Party and Dion shouldn’t be afraid to do so either – showing you’re willing to take a stand based on your principles might actually aid the cause of the Liberals.


16 comments to On not being afraid to stand up for principle.

  • I can relate to that opinion Townsend

  • Jason Townsend

    In the United States the progressive bloggers have an overwhelmingly predominance in their own brand of blogging, while conservatives remain a less-important and  self-segregated community of a different sort; this has been much remarked on of late.  Certainly the same thing is not true of our own blogosphere; places like Calgary Grit and Cherniak are 'home' to an aggressive conservative peanut gallery, almost to the point of being 'hostile territory.' 

    I'm not criticizing other people for reflective blogging and not toeing the line enough; I'm merely explaining why I personally tend to be (at least in broad brushstrokes) a partisan liberal – because otherwise, the ubiquitous conservatives, who riddle the 'discussion' in ways they don't on DailyKos, will turn self-criticism and intra-party debate into handy morale-destroying ammunition. 

    This is purely my opinion.

  • Well… aside from everything else, Jason, blogs and bloggers have served as an important nerve center for grassroots challenges of Democratic conventional wisdom. Just look at Markos Moulitsas, Jerome Armstrong, Duncan Black, and all the rest of the bloggers that actually have quite a voice in the Democratic party. Part of that does come from bloggers discussing and, yes, even criticizing "their own".  Dean almost certainly wouldn't be DNC chairman were it not for the blogging community, and the slavish adherence to "triangulation" has diminished because DNC apparatchiks know that they'll catch hell from the bloggers.

    Maybe that's something that Canadian bloggers can pick up from their "stateside" counterparts, because right now, it doesn't seem like there's any discussion or "soul searching" going on, period.  If bloggers need to get that ball rolling, then I'd highly suggest that somebody start pushin'.

  • Jason Townsend

    And incidentally, Gauntlet made a useful point on CG: Outremont was a stronghold, and that doesn't always build a strong campaigning tradition within a riding, especially when you add candidate turnover and so on onto that.  My own riding has been an NDP stronghold for some time, and I've heard (perhaps biased) accounts of the laziness that the NDP's success here has fostered. 

    A factor to consider.

  • Jason Townsend

    I agree that we ought never advertise unwillingness to forgo an election – the whole point of Parliamentary confidence chicken is credibility.  At the same time, we already know that Harper has a "Madman" approach to confidence contests, so it's likely he will assume the Liberals are terrified of an election regardless of what anyone says or does.

    I'm not sure that we have more or less to be afraid of in a fall election as opposed to a week ago; there's nothing suddenly suggesting the prospect of a Harper majority, and another minority victory would be a mixed bag for both parties, especially since it would probably be annotated as "Harper's attempt at a majority" by the media.  However, it is clear that the events of the byelection highlighted low-level disorganization and that the outcome was a big disappointment for everyone.  Problems like that don't have quick (or often cheap) fixes – and of course the 'fix' that the trolls are suggesting is nothing of the sort, more like electoral seppuku.

    Lastly, as I just commented on Jason's blog – I'm not really sure that blogs are ever going to be an appropriate venue for intra-party soul-searching or 'constructive pessimism.'  Unpleasant those this fact may be, blog comment sections are partisan cess-pits where anything like poor morale or defeatism is toasted by thick-skulled triumphalists of the right and diverted into circular hate-sessions by party factionalists (who, it seems, didn't get quite enough fun in 2006). 

    So at the end of the day my blog reaction to the byelections has tended to be more in the nature of "Shit happens, we're still strong" even if I hope the internal party discussion is rather more wide-ranging and reflective.

  • David

    ALW and Scott

    Some good points that I agree with and here is one specific example: If you go back to when Harper was the leader of the opposition they supported the Government legislation when it was in line with their policies. The policies that the Tories did not agree with were voted against – irrespective of the consequences.  

    It was pointed out in Eddies book that Chrétien also had this principle. It is Dion that is voting against bills just because the Tories are introducing them. And – even worse allowing his MP'S to introduce legislation that for 10 years the party has been against. EG C-257 anti-scab legislation – this has been introduced 10 times over the last 10 years and defeated every time (9 times under a Liberal Government and once under a Conservative Government) Now Dion has allowed a new Lib MP to introduce virtually the same bill as they have been voting for the past 10 years. _ What the FXXX is happening.  David

  • ALW

    Um, is Outremont really the problem here?  How about the fact the Liberals are about as popular in Quebec outside of Montreal as Stockwell Day was in 2000?

    I respect your view, Scott, that if a party truly feels it can't support the government in a minority situation, it should try to bring it down – even if it means losing the resulting campaign. I said precisely that myself in the fall of 2005: even if we lose, its still better than being complicit with the Martin government.

  • Sean S.

    Yep, no credit to the NDP for running a well oiled campaign, not even a little? He may be personally popular but notice how he was running for the NDP and not the Liberals, that says something….man o' man is it always about the Liberals even in defeat?

    Does this mean we are in for another 1.5 years of the BQ and Libs keeping Harper in power?

  • slg

    Dion has stated that he takes full responsibility for the failure in Quebec.  Dion is already out there today at an event.  At least he's taking it like a grown up man.  Remember when Harper lost to Martin – Harper disappeared for a few days pouting and feeling sorry for himself.

    I watched some on-the-street  interviews in Quebec – the NDP vote was because they like Mulcair.  As one girl said, it's not that we dislike Dion and we know he's a good person, it's because we are familiar with and very much like Mulcair – not one mention of liking the NDP platform.

    I'm tired of the subject that has been so over-analysed and talked about for two weeks – I think it's time to move on.

    And, I've just about had with our lazy, lazy MSM.

  • MoS

    The Taliban stole Outremont, at least according to our leader.  Stephane Dion opined today that we lost that seat because the voters wanted to send a message to Harper to get Canada out of Afghanistan, now.  In other words it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the party or its leadership.   If that's the sort of leadership he's going to show us in the fall, Outremont is just the start of our problems. 

  • wilson61

    'With opponents of the calibre of Harper and Layton, there's no excuse for the Liberals to be languishing – none what so ever.'

    Sooooo 2004,  MoS.
    The Liberal brand is only good for 25% of the vote.

  • MoS

    Dion's going to "lead that charge" if we have a fall election?  It might be helpful if he could show he knows how to handle a horse first.   This is Stephane's opportunity – here and now – to show he's not the invisible man we endured over the summer.    With opponents of the calibre of Harper and Layton, there's no excuse for the Liberals to be languishing – none what so ever.

  • I agree Scott. Too late to navel gaze and muse if electing Dion was the right or wrong thing to do.  It's pretty irrelevant now. As I said 10 days ago….I think we will have an election this fall and Dion will be lead that charge.

  • Lord Kitchener's Own

    Yeah, you know, the media notwithstanding, it's not all that shocking that the Liberals lost all of 6% in Outrement to a hugely popular former Liberal star candidate running for the NDP.  The Liberal vote has been going down since Martin put Jean Lapierre in the riding seven years ago, and a 6 point drop to the enormously popular Mulcair is to be expected.  It's hardly a shock (or it shouldn't be).

    While we all stare at Dion and Iggy though, it's almost as though no one's noticed that the Bloc just lost 18% ACROSS THE BOARD.  Beaten by the NDP on one side, the Tories on the other, and having a 31 point lead in the third riding reduced to 5 points.  Isn't THAT the big story? 


  • Sorry.. I dont agree with that – one by-election also doesn't determine leadership qualities.
    I'm sorry to hear you've adopted Conservative talking points, Dawg.

  • I guess I'm one of those having a little fun at Jason's expense.  But really–did you check out his comments? The loss was because the signs for the Liberal candidate cost too much! *wipes tears of laughter from eyes*

    I don't think we should read national calamity for the Liberals because of three by-elections, including two ridings that they didn't hold anyway, but (I hate myself for quoting our Caudillo) Dion just isn't a leader. Get yourselves another one.

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