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Open Letter to the Liberal Party of Canada executive.

Dear LPC Executive (Mr. Doug Ferguson et al.):

I’ve been debating about doing this blogpost I’m about to do, and it pains me to do it, but I think I need to say it, in light of all the Liberal blogs I’ve seen murmuring today about the state of the LPC and the leadership.

I’m a Liberal Party of Canada member because I was impressed with Dion at the Convention which I helped cover for Progressive Bloggers/BlogsCanada in 2006. I became a Liberal after the Convention, so I’m not a “true” Dionista, but close. I’ve supported him publicly and privately since his rise to Liberal leader. I applauded his ability to negotiate with other parties to get this Liberal-NDP coalition in place, and I still believe we should have that intact when Jan 26th rolls around, with the resumption of Parliament, and still present it to Jean as an alternative government if the Conservatives totally blow their 7 week vacation and come up with nothing substantial. I believe Jean will consider it, because I’ve seen reports that indicate she may have hinted to Harper in their 2 hr marathon meeting that this would be something she’d strongly consider if his government fell in a non-confidence vote.

With all that said, I’m of the belief that if there still is a coalition on Jan 26th, and Harper has shown that he’s not serious about a stimulus package (or not serious enough) in the Budget, and the Liberals believe it can’t be approved, I’m of the belief that the person who the liberals would propose to the Governor-General would be PM needs to be someone else beside Dion. I like him, and I think he has gotten and gets pilloried unfairly, but the Harper attack ads and his inability to communicate with a lot of Canadians hampers that, and stuff like the videotape response reinforces that image (even though I believe that fiasco was as much if not more the fault of his Office and the staffers then it was Dion’s).

Polls have shown quite consistently and overwhelmingly that people are very uncomfortable with Dion as leader or PM of the country, and I think thats a fact we cant ignore. I think if G-G Jean had refused to prorogue and Dion had become PM, that would have given him a chance to prove he was capable. But, since she hasn’t, and since all these polls are showing discomfort with Dion as PM, and nothing at this point he does will dispell that discomfort, I think for the good of the coalition, for the good of his party, and for the good of the country, he needs to recognize this fact and voluntarily resign to let someone else be the leader and present to the nation as the leader of any coalition.

Who might that be? Some are saying it should be one of the Liberal leadership contenders that the LPC executive should pick in consultation with caucus, but I’ve been rather leery of that, because I think that basically would start a civil war with the leadership supporters, which is the last thing we need. I’ve been of the opinion that it should be a respected Liberal veteran, (like John Mccallum or Ralph Goodale for example) to lead it.

There is another option which has been proposed over at Steve’s place that I find really interesting as a proposal: If Dion resigns, the LPC executive could hold 308 emergency riding meetings, wherein party members can vote on a new leader. Everyone with a Liberal membership card can go to your local riding association and cast your vote for either Iggy, Rae, or Dominic. Even better for those who can’t get to their local riding, set up a secure site online with a way to validate actual Liberal members from actual ridings, and let them vote that way. I’ll go further and say set a cutoff date of the past election, where if you weren’t a Liberal member prior to the election, you aren’t eligible to vote. That would prevent a rush to sign up “instant Liberals” or allow fake ones to sign up (as some Blogging Tories have mischievously suggested they might do).

Some might be uncharitable and say that the LPC has shown no ability the past few years to get itself this organized in a hurry to do this sort of emergency 308 riding vote, but I think it could be done. We can pull that off. The party has a complete membership list. So, get all the riding heads on a conference call, work out the details and go. It’s a fair compromise, and nobody can claim they weren’t consulted and the grassroots/members didn’t have a say in voting for the new leader.

Just some thoughts on a Friday afternoon. I think Dion is an honourable and good man, and that part of his troubles were that some in his party never really seemed to want to accept him as leader – when you’re fighting internal battles as well as external attack ads and perception, that makes for a losing battle. I believe he still can do great service to Canada in some sort of Cabinet capacity in a coalition/Liberal government – he has proved that in the past as the Unity Minister and in Environment.

But, I am now of the belief that someone else needs to take the mantle – either option I’ve suggested would be a good way to do so. The 2nd option would definitely be more democratic, and I think now that I’ve thought it through, that might be the way I lean.


30 comments to Open Letter to the Liberal Party of Canada executive.

  • So the latest rumor has IGGY is gong to abscond with the leadership this week and #3 is out.

    Don’t you people ever get it? No wonder you are in and will remain in the wilderness. In your own clutzy way you are as bad as the other idiots

    A new standard is called for but first you need to neuter the Harper monster. Then you need to understand an intelligent coalition would do wonders for the country and your future credibility.

    Iggy has no backbone and is just another misguided and arrogant academic who knows not the political game. He has no blood lust nor the street smarts to outmaneuver Harper

    Harper will unfortunately continue to grind you up and spit you out until you have a gentleman master tactician and strategist who can win the battles decisively. Iggy may be the darling of the money. Given all that is happening on that front to you think a bedfellow of the highly suspect money boys has the backbone to turf them as they get exposed. (Watch CBC Sunday Night – Nov 23 and the clip – Whose Guarding The Money if you missed it. Rot of the highest order in money land)

    Those of us in the trenches would never consider him. He is just more of the tired old same old same old with NO political wisdom and experience.

    Read my impartial advice earlier to see what an intelligent solution would be.

  • burpnrun

    Scott, 62% of the people didn’t vote for the three amigos, either. But that’s not what is on my mind.

    I truly believe that the LPC is in the process of being hijacked, and you/others don’t realize it. The Hargrove/Ryan, Rae and Layton cabal took over the Greens. Almost worked, but folks just kept asking whose side May was on, so it was less than optimally effective, as they say. The same group is taking a run at the LPC, and has been for some time; well before the election started. There’s nothing like exploiting weak leadership, fear, disorganization and disappointment if you’re going to try to gut and take over a party.

    A “united left” is the objective, of course. If you are happy being in bed with Sid and Jack, then stop reading now. Otherwise, stop and think for a moment. Get the big picture into view, not the “constitutional” or “Harper is a coward” or likewise nits. Back up and look what’s happening. Even worse, extrapolate what may happen if Rae is successful, and what obstacles will be quickly bypassed. Remember, there’s nothing more rabid than Sid and his gang of socialists.

    Better hurry up and decide what your party stands for and believes in. Because if you don’t, Jack and his crew will via Bob who, by the way, never was a Liberal. And, don’t expect help from your coalition partner Duceppe. It’s to his advantage to let the LPC fade to oblivion.

    I’m really concerned, guy, for Canada and for you.

  • @burpnrun

    62% of people also rejected the Conservatives.

    Regardless.. people elect MP’s to Parliament.. not the Prime Minister. The will of parliament is supreme in a a parliamentary democracy. You should study Canadian parliamentary democracy before you sputter your tripe. As more then one constitutional professor has said.. Harper is basing his appeals of legitimacy to people who get all their knowledge about how our democracy supposedly works from watching too much American television.

  • burpnrun

    Ah, Scott. Still a true Liberal. Power first and at any cost, no matter if principles and beliefs (purportedly) held strongly are discarded like yesterday’s news, or who gets screwed — even if it is the nation (especially o/s Quebec).

    But a question. What DOES the LPC believe in? Revocation of corporate tax cuts? Bailing out Ford, GM and Chrysler, whose cars nobody wants to buy (worldwide)? Duceppe’s mission of Separatism? Raising the GST? Holding a leadership race open to all, rather than just Iggy, NDP Bob, and that other guy – Dominic?

    By now the whole nation is confused about what Liberals stand for, except grabbing power, as illustrated in the past two weeks. The polls may be highly in favour of the CPC now, and will certainly diminish, but don’t they tell you something?

    As I said a year ago: stop “hating” something or somebody, and start promoting a platform with a set of principles and policies, that are attractive to Canadians. A good starting point would be a policy convention and the leadership convention. Believe me, Canada won’t “die” in the meantime, for lack of superb leadership of (would-be) PM Dion, assisted by communist Jack, socialist Bob, and breakup artist Gilles.

    Remember. 76% rejected the Liberals in the past election. 84% for the NDP. And 90% for the Bloc. So what makes you thing a collection of losers is better than the people’s will?

  • I kind of agree with Mary Lynn about not limiting the voting to current members. But if Liberal needs to quickly vote for a new leader, this might not be feasible. Plus, Conservatives are already talking about sabotaging the vote by signing up and voting in a way that would drag the leadership race on. A tactic employed by the Republican during the Democrats primaries. So what possible safeguard can we put on to prevent this from happening?

  • Jason Townsend

    Liberals who aren’t for the coalition haven’t had Stephen Harper’s plan to obliterate opposition, 2006- the present explained.

    Ditto Liberals and others who want to “see the budget” to decide if he should survive.

    Any Liberal, any opposition member who thinks that Harper’s own departure is a negotiable point is going to be eaten by the wolf they can’t see sitting right in front of them, with no regard for tradition, constitution, scruple, morality or legality.

    To allow Harper’s continued leadership of this country would be a betrayal of our job as an opposition.

  • Mary Lynn

    I feel the same way, Scott. I was a fan of Dion’s back before the convention and was pleased when he won. Even after the election, I still thought Dion was the right leader.

    I’m starting to feel differently now.

    I hear so many people say that just can’t support the party with him as leader–and these are people I know who would be very likely Liberal supporters. I get teasing accusations of, “and YOU thought he would be a good leader.” I still think he might’ve been fine if the CPC had not been so effective in defining him negatively.

    My only quibble with your suggestion is that you suggest only people who were Liberals before the election be allowed to vote as that would cancel me out. I’d accidentally let my membership lapse, even while I was dutifully sending off my contribution to the Victory fund every month. Oops.

    The other thing is this…I think that a lot of people have become truly fired up politically since the last election and in this last week and a half. My parents have both been keen followers of politics, but non-partisan for years. This new political climate has them truly engaged and they have taken out membership in the Liberal party. I have friends considering doing the same. I know you’re wary of Tories become insta-Liberals to mess things up, but I would hate to see truly impassioned new Liberals cut off from being able to participate in this process.

  • slg

    Ignatieff is being careful, as he should be. Rae pushing Dion aside? C’mon Rae, act like a man and accept the fact that you are ONLY a “candidate” and no one has appointed you as spokesman or leader.

    Rae pushing Dion aside? This is absolutely unacceptable and very insulting to Dion.

    Both Iggy and LeBlanc have been quiet. Both have said they support the coalition, but they’re not running around like a crazed activist – yup, Rae is NDP to the bone.

    He even financially supported some NDP candidates during the 2006 election and decided hey, I’ll just be a liberal so at the last minute I’ll jump into the race so I can be the PM. Power Corp. and brother Johnnie will help me – they have control and influence over Canada so I’m in. Well, Rae it didn’t happen.

  • Jason Townsend

    operagirl: For clarity’s sake, I was speaking to Scott Tribe’s critics rather than to Scott himself.

    I am emphatically against such comments as those which Jim Karygiannis made the other day, which undermine the coalition.

    I am, myself, reluctant to call for a change in leadership when I suspect Mr. Dion himself realizes that there’s the possibility of a 2 months prorogation and then a 1 month election campaign (essentially necessitating a new leader.)

    I took great satisfaction in the idea that M. Dion would defeat Mr. Harper; a proud example of Canadian civic involvement trumping bad, a portrait in the halls of parliament of which we could be deeply proud.

    But I think in truth it’s inevitable that either Bob Rae or Michael Ignatieff will lead us into a coalition government, with or without a federal election in February. I know Scott enough to know that his letter is in good faith.

    For myself, Mssrs Ignatieff, Rae and Dion have my most emphatic support. We can’t be divided, and hateful, and stupid at a time like this. Canada’s democracy is being made into a bitter mockery.

  • Dennis H.

    Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys & Girls

    Scott’s assessment is solid.

    When I worked on the Hill in 1977, a favorite truism even back then was the phrase “The Perception is The Reality” !!!

    I’m sure most are familiar with this phrase & it’s relevance to the topic at hand. While I too totally respect & appreciate Mr. Dion, he lacks the “right stuff”.

    The Stephan Dion brand has already been too permanently damaged (by 2 years of non-stop slagging by the REFORMaTORY SLAG MACHINE) to continue successfully with this most important initiative.

    The cold, sad reality is that we will not get to the promised land with Dion leading the charge.

    I strongly fear we place the integrity of this most important democratic initiative in serious jeopardy, if we do not pull Mr. Dion as soon as possible.

  • Gabe

    Something has happened to the collective social values of this country when recent polls show that Canadians’ preference for PM is Harper, the person who demonstrates qualities that we once had nothing but contempt for – cowardly, tyrannical, vengeful, dishonest, vain, cruel, (the list really is endless) – to the person who embodies the exact opposite. It baffles me, but it is the current reality. Wishing that people will wake up to the appalling choice they appear to be making seems like a recipe for disaster.

  • I am not nor ever have been a Liberal (or any other party) supporter. I always chose on the mettle of the man or woman in my riding.

    To this end I would suggest as a senior Canadian who cares passionately about this great land, I was truly excited about the prospects of this coalition. If we can focus on the true essence of what can make it work – people coming together for the greater good of the country when our titular head clearly is not nor is he capable of doing so. People setting aside differences, forgetting about egos, forgetting about power and control, working on the Canada team and not the ME team then we can really set a great example.

    Now before you think I am smoking weird stuff (I don’t smoke) follow this logic. If a group of MATURE adults could actually show leadership through collaboration, respect and trust of all in the coalition, set a POSITIVE example for Canadians through their conduct, actions and words you could be starting a valuable journey towards restoring true values to our country’s leadership. Today we have none. Parliament and all in it are seen as a joke and a bunch of stupid, argumentative little children that deserve a damn good thrashing. One telling comment on the National this week I thought said it all. It was by an elementary school teacher who said if his class acted like those people, they would all be disciplined and kept after class.

    Someone has to take a firm leadership role in changing that. For a brief moment we had that glimpse this last week with the early moments of the coalition. Then Harper went to his six million factoids he gathers on every breathing and not so breathing cadaver in Canada to exploit all the weaknesses. For that moment before he got his blood lust back it was an exhilarating moment to actually here Jack, Stephan and Gil speak intelligently and calmly.

    This coalition attempt was a good start. As I see it from Western Canada there were two flaws. M. Dion is an honorable and capable man. He is not a jungle fighter and he has communications issues in the media. He is not the leader for the time. Harper is an egomaniacal liar and control freak who cares only about himself and not his country. Concentrate on strategic and psychological moves that address that side of him and his obedient trained seals

    What is needed is for the coalition to stay strong and become much more strategic is this. You need an interim leader immediately. You need a team commitment to harmony and positive actions at all times. You need to realize that an harmonious and respectful team will make much greater gains in the long term

    Communicate that whoever the leader is, he or she is an interim leader who will step aside in May. Diffuse the attack on a temporary leader. That is silly. Counter the cold blooded and ruthless lies and innuendo of the manipulative Harper machine with calm and fact and STAY on that message at all times. You know it is coming. Find yourself some better strategists rather than the old crowd or the jaded crowd. Obama showed class and integrity can work.

    Another angle worth considering is this. Maybe the only true answer to this country is a coalition given all the regional differences. Most Canadians were not paying close enough attention to this whole story this week, only snippets. If that message had been put and there had been more wisdom in the actions of the coalition then there may have been a different result.

    The high road may take more time, but the reward at the end will be well worth the journey. It’s a pity Justin doesn’t have 10 years experience under his belt on the hill!

    This may be a rambling bit and thanks for allowing the opportunity to express it. Somewhere in here there are the seeds to a true positive reform in our country and those that choose the high road could make a huge impact on the country and your future success in it.

    As to your current crop of ‘leadership’ contenders only one has a proven track record of leadership and accommodation. Spare us this Iggy nonsense. You are just going to repeat the Dion mistake, only with one who has no real political experience or wisdom and with a deadly oversized ego to boot.

    Great good luck. With Jack Gil and X at the table good things can happen.

  • Although I don’t agree with dumping Dion because of false perception, I am resign to the fact that people are so gullible. I saw how U.S. fell for Bush and thought, boy how could people be that stupid. And now we see exactly the same thing happening here. Some people interviewed by the press are repeating Harper’s propaganda word for word. “Well it’s a coalition who wants to break Canada apart”.

    Well if people buy into that then they deserve a Harper majority and let him do his damage. Ontarians fall for Harris and even re-elected him. It’s not until things have gone so bad before they woke up. I would like to say people have to learn the hard way. But I doubt people really learn at all. They would just fall for the same trick from deceptive politicians all over again then blame the politicians for dirty politics.

    They easily fall for divisive politics of Bush’s “you are with us or against us”. And Harper’s it’s those damn Quebecers and city folks in their ivory tower against us.

    You know what, until people learn to think wisely, dirty politics are here to stay and would only deteriorate further leading to mob and bully rule. And people who can’t think for themselves outside of what the msm tell them have themselves to blame.

  • operagirl

    I’m with Jason. These types of posts are demoralizing.

    DION has to stay on. Who gives a $hit about the tape. I read his speech instead and was impressed and 100% behind him. Better than Harper who was full of make-up and speaking like a robot.

    The Liberals have to stay strong, IN YOUR FACE, and fight these bastards out of power.

    There, I feel better. Bonsoir!

  • wilson

    Why not do the 308 vote, and ask Dion to stay on the ballot?
    Do like Alberta provincial, with a first and second place pick.

  • Hear, hear Scott.

    Hear, hear.

  • You mean well but I think this would way more problems than it would solve. I remember when Paul Martin was going to fix all that was wrong with Libs. Turner before him. A while back I wrote a post “careful what you wish for”. I don’t know if Dion, having given everything & more to the Libs & Canada, is going to be willing to stick around as good team player after public repudiation & humiliation by lesser men & women. At a certain point, enough’s enough. He’s dealt with far more than his share of shit than any politician I know. Given Pablo & friends tried to throw him out of his riding under Martin, & then have to watch same bunch with wolfish smiles trample all over him…I don’t know. I already know he’s a better man than me, but is he really such a better man? Imagine you were him, with his history, and how you’ve been treated. What would you do? Not in some ideal political “stratego” way, but as a real thinking breathing feeling human being.

  • Gerry Hawes

    FYI, I did think about it. The time for niceties has passed. Plain language is needed.

    @Jason Townsend

  • Jason Townsend

    How about everybody does their stupid goddamned backbiting in private, where the Tories can only speculate about it?

    Airing this stuff in public A: demoralizes Liberals, B: weakens the anti-Harper front and C: provides copy and amusement for the Tories.

    Before hitting “post my comment,” think, how much would a Tory enjoy reading this? Then maybe just make it a frigging email instead.

  • Gerry Hawes

    The Dion appologists need to give it up. I supported Dion at the convention after Kennedy withdrew from the ballot, and have supported him him ever since. I was cheering him on with his coalition efforts too, hoping he would get the opportunity to step down as the Right Honourable Stéphane Dion. This would have been fitting recognition of his significant contributions and obvious superior character as a parliamentarian. I regret to say that I have given up on him now. His taped response to Harper was the last straw, not because of the poor production quality, which in and of inself made all Liberals look bad, but because of his god awfull delivery of the remarks. I hope for Mr. Dion’s sake he is working behind the scenes on an earlier exit. I don’t want to see him dragged out kicking and screaming.

  • Stephen P.

    I like the idea of a non-leadership candidate as interim Leader.\How about Ken Dryden.

    I was Michael Ignatieff supporter until this week. His utter lack of guts have caused me to abandon him. His duck and hide attitude during the coalition talks is just short of an abandonment of the Caucus. All this at its most crucial juncture.

    Michael has alot of explaining to do.

    Im now choosing between Rae and Leblanc.

  • Roll Tide

    Dion can be thankfull that we have a suspension of Parliament. See how Rae shoved Dion aside in yesterdays caucus meeting. Layton is that X 10, its in his DNA. Add to it, Duceppe who is in this for Quebec and not Canada, and you will see a coalition blow up before your eyes. The NDP-Liberal staffers who got into near blows at the Ottawa bar over Wednesday nites tape is only a pre-curser. The GG saved not only Harper, but the Liberals. Iggy knows it.
    The tape fiasco was not Dion’s fault, G&M says it was Gzowski, who knows, thats a Party issue. Its just too bad that Dion had to be the victim.

  • Tim N

    The reality is Perception IS Truth.

    Unfortunately, Scott is right.

  • ” Dion if you idiots would Open your eyes is the Pearson of our Times.”

    The point is, nobody is opening their eyes, they’re WINCING.

  • Thanks for that Scott. I really like Dion. Don’t like Iggy at all. But in the past few days I’ve seen Harper run scared from parliament, Liberals working with the NDP and the Bloc so it’s safe to my mind is blown and I’ve been shocked free of any petty self-interest as far as the leadership goes. We’re fighting for our survival now and we have to work together. If the membership gets to vote, I’m prepared to accept their choice and support whomever wins. Period.

  • Jason Townsend

    If you guys think Scott is on the right wing of the party than I think some definitions are out of whack.

    I supported Ignatieff in 2006, and have supported Dion ever since. In every conversational setting, without ever letting any Tory talking point slide. I worked hard in the last election and will work hard in this crisis. I believe M. Dion would make an excellent prime minister and is as well equipped to work with the other parties as anyone.

    He is the most-maligned, most underrated figures in recent politics. But for the love of god please don’t use every single iota of leadership discussion to trash “Iggy” and the “evil right wingers,” will you? It’s a constant loyalty test with the people for whom ABI is a hobby.

    As I’m sure you realize, fanaticism of that sort could very easily keep Ignatieff from winning the leadership – well, everyone else realizes it too. A leadership race in the next month or two would be completely wide open as compared to the race that seemed to be developing before the crisis.

    It’s just like 2 years ago; nothing is so gratifying as to work your ass off for a party and then sit down at your computer and read a bunch of pueurile comments, half-anonymous, about how you’re selling everyone out to the most ruthless and wicked Prime Minister in our history.

  • slg

    Truth comes to shove – it’s the voters that count, not Dion’s special supporters and they have spoken.

    We can’t run away from it.

    I would like to see Dion voluntarily resign for the sake of the Party and show that the Party and the people of Canada come first – he’d leave the position with dignity.

    I’d rather see him not be destroyed and have some dignity.

    beware rae!

  • sb

    I have to agree with the first comment above — the substance of Dion’s speech was fantastic — and I say this as someone who has fought against the liberal party for the past 15 years.

    The economic accord is the best we could hope for.

    The only people against dion are the right wing corporate media in canada and the right-wing side of the liberal party.

    The Gov Gen had no legal or constitutional right to allow harper to prorogue parliament at this point in time.

    dion should have been PM on monday night.

    focus on the horrendous manuevers of the Gov Gen and of harper — not on this silly game of perception.

    beware iggy.

  • SUE

    Oh for Christ’s sake Pearson was viewed as an awkward person in the media and it’s the damn Corp side of the Liberal Party that’s got it out for Dion NOT the progressives. I’m sick of all the “liberal” blogs harping on the God Damn Style of the video instead of the Substance. I saw the Substance of the Video0 not the Bloody Production you’re all as bad as the MSM. Dion if you idiots would Open your eyes is the Pearson of our Times. I’ve had it the STYLE give Substance.

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