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Some advice better off not listened to, and some claims that need to be justified.

I was speaking about Liberals getting lots of advice yesterday from different sources. If there’s one person I’d hope Liberals would not listen to, it would be John Manley, former Liberal cabinet minister who has popped up again in the news claiming to be an expert on the Liberals demise, and what policies he’d like to see.

I’ve made no secret before I’ve no particular love for Manley -what really damaged him though in my eyes and a fair number of others, is when, in my opinion, he carried Harper’s water on that Afghanistan commission that was to give recommendations to Harper on what to do there. The supposedly “independent”, “non-partisan commission” was stacked with three former Conservatives and 2 people that Harper knew would give him the report he wished for his own partisan purposes (see Pamela Wallin, now a Conservative Senator). Now, Manley is showing his stripes off regarding the Canada Health Act. In my opinion, Manley long ago stopped being a Liberal, and I could care less what his thoughts are.

And briefly, Alfred Apps, Liberal Party President, claims “thousands” of Liberals are telling him to go slow on a leadership campaign – hence his plan to try and amend the LPC Constitution to prevent the Liberals from having a convention 6 months after the leader resigns. That’s fine Alf, but care to show proof of that? How about we get a vote going of members to see what they think?

UPDATE: I’d note that there’s a little Facebook poll going on that’s asking if Liberals think Alf Apps should resign now rather then wait until his term is up. At present, 200 people have voted, and 167 of those say, yes he should. Unscientific, but at least those are straight numbers, rather then what Apps is doing pulling a claim out of seemingly thin air.

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21 comments to Some advice better off not listened to, and some claims that need to be justified.

  • MoS

    Just curious. Mark Francis who has such strident advice to ditch the Libs and move to the NDP shows on his blog that he’s parked his vote with the Greens. If he’s washed his hands of the LPC, why should he get so embroiled in that party’s leadership questions?

    • I like debating issues. I advise Liberals to join the party they want.

      You know, i enough Liberals jumped ship together, they could organize within another party as a voting block…

  • pale

    Just sayin….If the Libs select a new leader, who is going to be running in the next election…Doing it sooner rather than later also gives the Cons a chance to practice more character assassination and smearing.

    As you probably know, Ignatieff was not someone who I would support. Based on his stances on pre-emptive war mainly. The Bush doctrine.
    But, Harper and his war room have managed to demonize those with education and book’larnin..They did it to Dion as well.

    On the other hand, they are also going after Ruth Ellen Brosseau, because she is not an elitist thinker, corporate hack.
    This is a totally different atmosphere, we now have American style electioneering. Well, since the right united actually. It is a mess.

    • No matter what you do, the CPC will respond as they always have.

      A leaderless party will be assailed as a pointless party.

      A party with sa real leader will be assailed with whatever horrible smear.

      Either way, the LPC has to respond to defend itself.

      Decide if those resources are better spent on an interim leader, or a real one.

  • I agree that Louise Arbour could get the Liberal Party fixed, but would she want to do it. We still need a younger leader.
    John Manly, I always thought was a little Conservative.. A Blue Blue Liberal, that I am not fussy over.

  • sharonapple88

    To be clearer: Harper is hyper-partisan and he wants the LPC demolished. He wants blue Liberals to permanently migrate to his party. He will use this LPC leadership vacuum to his advantage.

    Past historical examples are not relevant. Mulroney was not Harper.

    For one thing, Mulroney was a better politician than Harper. He was able to get the West, Quebec, as well as support from Blue Liberals/Red Tories. Mulroney had charm and was able to hide his his anger. And he could be vicious. Here are some quotes from the Secret Tapes:

    “They’re [the press are] all married to one another and they’re shacked up with one another. And their wives are on the payroll of the CBC.”

    “Slit her throat.” (On a politician who screwed up)

    “Trudeau’s contribution was not to build Canada but to destroy it.”

    Sounds exactly like things Harper would say if given a chance.

    Look, I’m not going to draw a correlation between the situation in 1990 and now. The past can’t always predict the future. The example was just there to note that a long leadership race doesn’t always lead to a disaster. Who knows how this will turn out.

    As for stealing blue liberals — look, the hammering is coming from the left and the right. Getting someone there as soon as possible isn’t going to change this. Getting the right person will. Anyway, there’s no obvious frontrunner right now. Other than Bob Rae.

    • Getting the wrong person now, is a bad idea.

      Getting him/her later, good or bad, is also bad idea.

      You have to get the right person *NOW*

      My POV is that the LPC is a rump, and is staying that way. Of course I can be wrong, but being led by a lame duck leader is going to accomplish nothing except to likely make me right. Canadians are watching, and we’re laughing/rolling our eyes/shrugging our shoulders.

      W/o a proper leader, the LPC is going to be ‘led’ by full-time employees concerned with maintaining employment. A few years of that, and it will be leading the Party, not any leader. Probably already is.

      • sharonapple88

        You have to get the right person *NOW*

        Yeah, in an ideal world, I’d be all over this.

        The Liberals have had two fast leadership races, and with all due respect to Ignatieff and Dion (especially Dion), all they’ve shown is that when things are done in a snap, the most connected or well-known candidate gets picked. I don’t want to get caught in some never-ending “Peter principle” cycle.

        The next guy or gal has to not only have ideas (which Dion and Ignateiff had), but they also have the ability to sell them (which is where the last two leaders fell a little short), and he/she has to have a plan to reorganize the party. (I’ll take at least two of the three traits.)

        Doing something simply for the sake of appearances will end in disaster. I’m more interested in a method that would get the right one than a fast one.

        • Then you’ll likely have nothing.

          And, was the problem with Ignatieff and Dion really with themselves? This fixation on leadership my the LPC ignores the LPC’s systemic problems. I saw that with Dion when I worked for the Party then, and it looked the same with Ignatieff, especially outside of the actual campaign. Leaders, no matter how good they are, are still managed. I see the LPC as systemically not understanding how to campaign properly in and (most seriously) out of campaigns.

          Spend a few years concentrating on the “right leader” and I suspect you’ll find no one willing to lead such a decimated party. It has to prove it’s relevance. Frankly, I doubt it is anymore. Going to be hard finding the “just right” leader who wants to lead the LPC in its current shape.

          Best of luck.

          • sharonapple88

            As I noted before, getting a leader is part of the things that need to be worked on. Obviously, your point on the inability of the party to run a succesful campaign is one of the many problems with the party. As we’ve seen with Dion being replaced with Ignatieff… a change in leadership doesn’t fix these things.

            And I don’t think anyone’s arguing to spend years considering the problem, just longer than five months.

            I’m curious, since you’re so insistant on establishing a new leader ASAP– whom do you think should be leader then, and why?

          • I’m not suggesting any particular leader. I frankly don’t care at this point. The LPC is now just a vote splitter now. I’d rather it die.

            Like it or not, we are in a polarized political environment and a polarized economic environment. Half measures will not do. Now is not the time for centrism.

            So, the LPC, which for years has utilized pragmatism as a substitute for ideology, is simply no longer a party of our times. Kill it. Don;t even merge with the NDP. Just walk away.

            Blue Liberals need to jump right, the rest left, and I’m sure there’s diehards who will stay in the grand old tradition of the PC Party rump. The result would be largely a bicarmeral Commons. I don’t like it either, but between what is happening in our world, and our stupid FPTP system, it’s what we need.

            Going back to the leadership issue, there’s no wisdom in delaying the decision. Delayed, all you will get is very long leadership race, giving the backroom even more time to manoeuvre their man into position.

            Of course, prior to all that, we’ll see nothing but faction after faction fight it out. Doesn’t sound productive to me.

            Keep in mind that you don’t have four years by any means. Harper can call an election any time he wants. His law does not prevent that.

          • sharonapple88

            Like it or not, we are in a polarized political environment and a polarized economic environment. Half measures will not do. Now is not the time for centrism.

            You might be right about the political fight moving to a polarized environment. We might end up exactly like America, with it’s two-party system. But it’s not ideal. Parties tend to stake out territories on things that shouldn’t be polarized llike the environment/global warming, with one party absolutely abandoning the issue.

            As for whether this is the time for centralism… when I read that bit, a comment Jon Stewart made about the real fight in politics isn’t between liberals and conservatives, but extremists and moderates popped into my head.

            As always, these are just my thoughts on the situation, YMMV.

            Keep in mind that you don’t have four years by any means. Harper can call an election any time he wants. His law does not prevent that.

            He would be smart to pull the trigger shortly after the Liberals find a new leader. He’d be less tempted if it’s five months from now, possibly more tempted if it’s two years.

            Anyway, it was interesting reading your view on the situation.

  • MoS

    I think the Libs, after the last two disasters, can’t afford to get it wrong again. Layton showed them what a blood sport politics is today. They need someone with charisma, incredibly honed instincts, aggression and vision. The push to annoint another leader, JT, will be a mistake from which the LPC probably won’t recover. He’s “all hat and no cattle.” Mainly Margaret and very little Pierre. Manley’s laurels were earned on his pathetic Afghanistan report and he has to wear that. He makes a mockery of the party to call himself a Liberal. I agree with WesternGrit, this deserves some “long, hard thinking.” Restoring the LPC is going to mean payback for Layton and a relentless, dogged attack on Harper. That takes a leader with instincts and grit, not a floundering leader falling back on advisors.

    If I had my way I’d do anything and everything possible to get Louise Arbour onside. An accomplished lawyer, a Supreme Court of Canada Justice, Chief Prosecutor of the ICCJ, UN Human Rights Commissioner – she’s taken on the worst of the worst, far worse than Harper, and she’s stood up to power whenever necessary, even to the Cheney White House. She epitomizes liberalism and she comes with the very credentials needed to restore the Liberal Party of Canada.

  • I’m in favor of the roughly one-year range for a leadership vote. Heck… if I plan on running, I couldn’t even raise the funds in the next 4 months (wise-crack – seriously). But honestly, THINK about it: If YOU were running for the party, would you be ready by October??? More accurately, would you have the time to organize beyond the means of some of the perceived front-runners?

    I want Liberals to be able to give this leadership some LONG, HARD thinking. I would even recommend the party bringing in an independent consulting company to advise on the “sell-ability” of all candidates. We need a populist that plays well in all regions (well, maybe not necessarily in Alberta)… And for this time, let’s forget the Harvard degrees and universally published. Let’s just focus on a good honest leader with a passion for Canada – who comes across well to Canadians – and doesn’t have a “dangerous” political and/or business past.

  • To be clearer: Harper is hyper-partisan and he wants the LPC demolished. He wants blue Liberals to permanently migrate to his party. He will use this LPC leadership vacuum to his advantage.

    Past historical examples are not relevant. Mulroney was not Harper.

    If the LPC does not see this, it deserves to die.

  • sharonapple88

    As for long leadership races… John Turner noted that he was stepping down on May 3, 1989. The leadership for the Liberal party was held on June 23, 1990 and Jean Chretien was elected.

    Long leadership races are sometimes not a bad thing for a party that needs to mend.

  • sharonapple88

    This looks pathetic.

    No matter what the party does, it’s going to look stupid at this stage.

    Getting a new leader in as soon as possible is not going to fix the party. Dion replaced Martin. The need to replace Dion as soon as possible lead to Ignatieff.

    As noted two years is far too long in my opinion for a vote for the next leader. But five months is too short.

    Overall, though, I’m less concerned about the speed of finding a new leader, as trying to find the right person to lead, changing the party’s platform, and getting some changes on the national council. Those things are my top concerns.

  • Oh, you can have an interim leader for years, but it’s utterly stupid.

    I mean, God, the LPC is thinking of doing this because it is afraid of having a real leader. That’s exactly how it looks.

    No one ever took the NDP all that seriously, so being rudderless and leaderless didn’t matter. But this is the LPC, for God’s sake! Canada’s Natural Governing Party(tm).

    This looks pathetic. Everyone who thinks it isn’t, keep your party card. Everyone else, run away.

  • sharonapple88

    You cannot *cannot* have an interim leader for years.

    Why not? Parties have in the past. Audrey McLaughlin announced in April 1994 that she was stepping down as leader. Alexa McDonough didn’t take over the NDP until Oct. 1995. After the 1993 election, Charest (interm leader) didn’t get the post officially until April 1995. (Insert cracks about what happened to those parties in subsequent elections.)

    As for a quick leadership race — you can make a joke about that too. The Liberals are still in search of some Messiah that will lead them out of the political wilderness. Whatever.

    Two years is obviously too long. Five months — sometime in October — too short. One thing I think most Liberals can agree on is that Alf Apps should step down.

  • I’m staying out of internal Liberal matters — you folks need to sort that out for yourselves. But this…

    Manley long ago stopped being a Liberal

    doesn’t go far enough. Manley is the spokesperson for the wealthiest CEOs of the largest corporations in the country. You have to assume those are the interests he’s representing when he speaks publicly whether he’s talking about the Liberal party or the Canada Health Act.

    And recall that when the negotiations between Harper and Obama on the latest version of deep integration were revealed, it immediately became obvious that Manley and his organization (among others) had known well before the rest of us and had worked behind the scenes with the government on an organized marketing campaign to sell it to us when it was finally revealed. Not only has he stopped being a Liberal, he’s stopped being an honest broker. If ever he was one.

  • I keep looking at this delaying leadership vote bit and keep seeing the same pathetic thing: There are Liberals afraid of having a leader.

    Do you see how that’s going to play?

    You cannot *cannot* have an interim leader for years.

    Rebuild the party if you must, but years of navel gazing is going to make the party a joke to the Canadian people.

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