Category Archives: Gerard Kennedy
You know that in principle I’m profoundly against strategic voting, which I see as the symptom not the cure for a deeply flawed electoral system. But I guess if there’s one thing worse than “strategic voting” it’s “non strategic strategic voting”. “Strategic voting” advocates say to vote for Peggy Nash in the riding of Parkdale High Park.
Throughout this campaign I’ve written mainly with the “progressive” voter in mind, and have attempted to discredit the Liberal Party of Canada’s claim to represent that label. I’ve discussed things like disingenuous or cynical politics played by Liberals (here, here, here, here). I’ve noted Dion’s highly dubious costing of the Liberal platform and his “regressive” voodoo economics around the Liberal position on slashing corporate tax rates. Progressive voters really just need to keep in mind, that if the Liberal Party of Canada actually stood for “progress”, they would run on electoral reform to address a failing, unfair electoral system which produces things like strategic voting and I believe is partly responsible for decreasing voter turnouts and citizen participation in our democracy.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT PEGGY:
“Peggy Nash brings years of real experience in negotiating with some of Canada’s largest businesses. Canada needs her judgement and skills in the House of Commons in this time of uncertainty and worry.”
Jim Stanford, Economist and Contributing Columnist, Globe and Mail
“This exemplary woman is not a promise. Peggy Nash is a given.”
Cheri DiNovo, MPP Parkdale- High Park
“ You can vote with more than your heart, even your head, for … Peggy Nash in Parkdale-High Park…. and be confident that you will have made your mark beside the name of one of the best MPs that Canada will elect next week.”
NOW, October, 9, 2008
“One of the best local MPs in any party….”
Don Martin, The National Post, October 6, 2008
“…power chick NDP (MP) Peggy Nash… and MPP Cheri DiNovo, they have the riding all sewn up”
Christina Blizzard, Toronto Sun, Sept 24, 2008
“Kudos …to MP Peggy Nash for spurring opposition to the sale of Canadarm and Radarsat-2 satellite technology to a U.S. defence contractor…”
David Olive, Toronto Star, April 14, 2008
“Laurels to …MP Peggy Nash: For standing up for Ontario; too often our representatives in Ottawa forget their roots.”
Editorial Page, Toronto Star, March 1, 2008
This is an embarrassment. I would be ashamed to have this weasling opportunist as my Prime Minister, especially on an international stage. If Dion can only perform in a tightly controled and scripted situation (like the partisan confines of CBC giving him a free hour on Cross Country Check-Up), then Layton was right to punk his ass. If Dion can’t perform the duties of the Official opposition what is he doing running for PM?
“I [said Dion] was elected to lead the people of this party to leave a better planet.”
“No,” said Bob Rae. “You were elected because you’re not me and you’re not Michael Ignatieff.”
Apparently this latest bout of “lack of comprehensionitis”, known more commonly as “What? You expect me to work without a tele prompter!” is contagious. Watch the Liberal candidate trying to defend Dion. What a nightmare!
Even a brief perusal of their website will confirm that CBC has brazenly become a shill for the Liberal Party of Canada. If that’s not enough proof, last Sunday, just as the Liberals were desperate to turn around their sagging fortunes (tied with the NDP), CBC Radio magically comes to the rescue granting Stephane Dion a full hour of free (or rather tax payer funded) air time, on a very popular nationally broadcast show on politics, Cross Country Check-Up. I await to see if the same courtesy (invitation to appear in this highly coveted time slot) and hospitality (serving up easy questions and allowing Dion uninterruptedly to proselytize, to mischaracterize his opponents, to misrepresent their platforms, etc.) is extended to Jack Layton and Stephen Harper.
I was wondering when The Star would ramp up it shilling for the Liberal Party of Canada, and I guess today’s Saturday edition must have been decided as the best time to do so. I suspect that next Saturday is when we’ll see the editorial board come out and officially endorse the LPC. I still maintain The Star should have been claimed as a campaign expense by the McGuinty Liberals last year and that they failed the public miserably in their coverage of the provincial election.
Kingmaker Kennedy’s crisis
TARNISHED GOLDEN BOY TRIES TO RESURRECT HOPE AGAINST PEOPLE’S CHOICE NASH
BY ANDREW CASH
It’s a glorious, sunny Saturday morning, the second-last day of summer, but Gerard Kennedy is standing in the middle of a shitstorm.
Mainstreeting on posh Bloor West Village, where even the No Frills seems high-end, Kennedy, shirt sleeves rolled up, suit jacket perpetually thrown over his shoulder, spends much of the morning sticking up for the guy he made Liberal boss, Stéphane Dion.
“You picked the wrong guy,” says more than one passerby.
“You should have been the leader,” remark others.
A number of the locals stop to give him an earful about how bad Dion’s sales job of the Green Shift has been.
While it isn’t all bad news, it’s clear that there’s more on the line for Kennedy than simply knocking off popular NDP incumbent Peggy Nash. Like maybe his political career.
“That’s a no-brainer,” he says of the stakes in this campaign.
He’s still in debt from his failed leadership bid, his party’s campaign has yet to catch a big wave, and many blame him as leadership kingmaker. The former provincial education minister needs a win.
Though he won here provincially twice with massive percentages, the contest in this lefty riding, which runs the gamut from million-dollar digs in High Park to the homeless hanging on in an increasingly yuppified area, is far from in the bag.
One passerby sums up the mood. “He’s great, but I wish he wasn’t running in this riding. I’m voting for Peggy.”
Indeed, many feel that if Kennedy was really serious about stopping Stephen Harper, he’d use his star power in a riding with a Tory rather than NDP incumbent.
“I did consider running in western Canada since I have roots there,” he tells me, “but in the end it would have been too much on the family to pull up and move out west.”
“You have to have a reason to be in a community,” he says. “Look, I have a lot of regard for Peggy, but I have to run in a place where I have an affinity. It isn’t that easy to just drop yourself into a riding.”
Probably not, but this concentration of competing lefty cred has gotta be the kind of thing that soothes Harper to sleep at night.
If Kennedy is waging a shadow campaign, fighting the demons of leadership races past and carrying water for a weak leader, Nash seems by comparison to be travelling very light indeed. Credit the strong loyalty she inspires and the near flawless national NDP campaign.
Nash has a formidable organization. With provincial counterpart Cheri DiNovo, who first took the seat in the by-election created by Kennedy’s resignation, riding shotgun, she’s door-knocking on West Queen West, home to beautiful Victorian renos and a high concentration of new immigrants.
Nash, as the NDP’s industry critic, took a string of initiatives that include introducing a bill for a federal $10 minimum wage, campaigning against the foreign takeover of space company MacDonald Dettwiler and pushing for a resolution making the Dalai Lama an honorary Canadian citizen.
She’s worked hard with the growing Tibetan community in her riding, and many recognize her. She and DiNovo seem to be having a ball as they cruise through the ’hood. I’ve never seen canvassing politicians having such a good time.
But her lightheartedness shouldn’t be misread. A former CAW labour negotiator before bagging the riding in the 2006 rematch with Lib Sarmite Bulte, she’s tough.
“People here don’t want you to just show up at election time,” she says pointedly about the fact that Lib leadership contender Kennedy was a no-show pretty much everywhere for two years after the convention.
“There are ongoing community struggles, and people want to see representation,” says Nash.
They also want to stop Stephen Harper. Kennedy, who uses the word “progressive” countless times today to describe his politics, says he’s really concerned that, even if a majority of Canadians vote against the Harper agenda, the Tories will still form the next government.
“It’s in the country’s interest to have a progressive coalition. We’re trying to create one within the Liberal party. Is that gonna work? We’ll find out. If it doesn’t work, there may be other ways to get things done.”
But Nash isn’t having any of it. “How is voting to stay in Afghanistan until 2012 ‘progressive’? How is supporting a budget that cut funding to women’s programs, cut the court challenges program, cut literacy funding and attacked social spending a progressive alternative?” she asks.
Sure, the Tories don’t have a ghost of a chance here, but it’s all still music to Stephen Harper’s ears.
I usually agree with Christina Blizzard, who always calls them as she sees them.
Political recycling bin
No reducing, lots of reusing as many past politicians use name recognition en route to ballot box
By CHRISTINA BLIZZARD
Checking out some federal lawn signs these days, you could be forgiven for thinking you were caught in a time warp.
The political space and time continuum seems to have become bizarrely bent out of shape. A former premier, a former NDP cabinet minister, one of McGuinty’s former cabinet ministers, a clutch of Mike Harris-era former provincial Tory cabinet ministers and the odd backbencher all have their names on the hustings.
They’re ’90s names in an ’08 world.
It’s like reduce, reuse and recycle for politicians….
A lot of Liberal insiders are wishing it were Rae taking on Prime Minister Stephen Harper, New Democratic honcho Jack Layton and Green Leader Elizabeth May in the TV debate.
Rae is a formidable debater, with experience in televised debating. And his French is better than Dion’s English.
Rae is set for an easy win — especially since the Tory candidate running against him, Chris Reid, was forced to quit over some oddball blog entries.
Which brings us to former McGuinty education minister Gerard Kennedy. He’s in tough in Parkdale-High Park against NDP power chick Peggy Nash. Provincially the riding is held by another popular New Democrat woman, Cheri DiNovo. Between DiNovo and Nash, they have the riding all sewn up.
If Kennedy loses, it will be poetic justice. He was the guy who foisted Dion on an unsuspecting party by throwing his support behind him in the leadership convention.
Most pundits predict it will be adieu, Gerard. And the end of his political career. Any openings at the food bank, I wonder?
Another take on Chantal Hebert’s comment that“Kennedy put us on this path”:
I should have known better. I’ve always conceded that Cherniak’s a good Liberal (petty, opportunistic, moderately intelligent but not enough to be self-critical, has an abiding sense of entitlement, overindulged, and win at all costs approach that will forego any dignity or integrity if need be).
This morning, Jack Layton changed his entire campaign and admitted that Stéphane Dion would be the next prime minister in a coalition government. His only argument is now that it should be a coalition with the NDP.
Cherniak was asked in his comments section to provide proof for this unbelievable assertion. And, of course none was forthcoming because he wished it into existence. In fact, if anyone has conceded this race it has been the Liberal Party of Canada. Note how the fear mongering has changed from we must stop the Harper Conservatives to we must stop a Harper Conservative majority. Any why are Canadians now facing an inexorable return to government by Harper’s Conservatives? Because the Liberals have been too busy pursuing selfish opportunistic politics, backstabbing one another, bungling decision after decision, unable to unite and take on the Conservatives.
I stand by my earlier argument that they [the Liberals] can’t balance the Budget, deeply cut corporate taxes, oppose new taxes (outside the internally consistent green shift package) AND make major new spending promises outside the green shift – all in the context of a slumping economy.
The costing here is dubious at best.
We get four year spending and tax reduction totals with little or no detail on timing. No adjustment is really made for slowing growth and rising unemployment.
Clearly a lot of the good new stuff outside the green shift is shunted off to the future. As a key case in point, last week the Liberals promised to bring in a $1.25 Billion per year national child care program. Today, that program is costed at $1.5 Billion over 4 years. That’s a slow phase in, to say the least. Another case in point is municipal infrastructure spending, which barely increases over the status quo for the next four years.
We get a modest dose of Reaganomics and supply-side tax cut magic. Cutting the tax rate on income trusts will supposedly raise $1 Billion in new revenues.
The Liberals actually raise the ante on balanced budgets, promising Martin era determination to run surpluses to pay down debt. They promise to restore the $3 Billion Contingency Reserve – to my mind implying spending cuts “come hell or high water” even if we go into recession.
That’s bad enough, What is worse is that their fiscal plan depends on unspecificed cuts of $12 Billion over 4 years – a not inconsiderable sum after continuing rounds of “program review.”
“Mr. Dion wants to keep in place every penny of Stephen Harper’s corporate tax giveaway and even cut deeper. It’s not credible to cut corporate taxes deeper than Stephen Harper and still keep commitments to new spending.
Despite releasing his platform, Mr. Dion still doesn’t have targets to reduce greenhouse gases, still has no plan to train more doctors and still doesn’t have a plan to stop the gouging of average consumers.
If this platform was supposed to be the channel changer for Stéphane Dion, it looks like the batteries just fell out of his remote.”
A rich white boy of privilege who’s failed to complete even a BA (although he’s quite content to insult all those who have laboured tirelessly to complete a doctorate by accepting a post as Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson). A white boy who’s worked his way up the political ladder through sheer opportunism and privilege. Never have I seen a politician advance so far on so little. Sitting as executive director of a food bank is hardly the same as devoting life and career with sleeves rolled up among the poor and disenfranchised, changing lives one by one, as DiNovo and Nash have done. Maybe Golden boy is not so golden.
I just can’t believe the Liberals have the gall and audacity to ask for votes from “progressives” in order to stop the Conservatives. If the Liberals really wanted “progressives” to unite against Harper, why would they run Kennedy in Parkdale High Park, and not a riding where he could have used his “star power” to take out a Conservative incumbent? Also, notice the Liberals are NOT at the same time asking “progressives” to cast their votes for the NDP or Greens in ridings where those parties have a chance to beat a Conservative candidate. Lastly, if the Liberals were at all concerned with the “progressive” vote, they would run on “electoral reform”, and they aren’t!
Kennedy put us on this path
If the abundance of NDP lawn signs in the Toronto riding of Parkdale-High Park is any indication, it is not a foregone conclusion that Liberal Gerard Kennedy will beat incumbent Peggy Nash and enter the House of Commons next month. But even in his absence, the next Parliament would very much bear his indelible mark.
As the kingmaker at the convention that crowned Stéphane Dion, Kennedy is the person most responsible for the dynamics of the 2008 campaign.
His decision to bypass the two front-runners in favour of a Quebec dark horse has changed the shape of the election race among the five parties.
Had Kennedy made a different choice, the election might already have come and gone. When they entered their convention in December 2006, the Liberals had the wind in their sails. With his government running afoul of public opinion on core issues such as Afghanistan and climate change, Stephen Harper’s minority regime looked destined to be a mere interlude between Liberal regimes.
Instead, the Liberals peaked shortly after Dion’s victory. Since then, not a week has gone by without more evidence of the unintended consequences of the convention outcome.
One of them has been to shut the Liberals out of the biggest shift in the Quebec paradigm in 40 years.
At a time when Quebecers were poised to put the unity wars behind them, bringing upon the party a leader most Liberals from Quebec were adamant that they could not sell was, to say the least, presumptuous.
Another has been to help achieve what scores of past NDP leaders could not, by giving the New Democrats an opening in Quebec. A Léger Marketing poll published yesterday showed the NDP to be a growing threat to the Liberals in Montreal, their last stronghold in the province.
Since the convention, Kennedy’s decision has been shown to be the product of two ill-informed miscalculations.
Among the candidates, he took the most vocal stance against the Quebec nation resolution. That and future leadership considerations led him to Dion, a Quebecer and a unity warrior, rather than to a fellow Ontarian.
But if Kennedy thought he was supporting a like-minded federalist or that he was advancing Canadian unity, he was mistaken.
When it comes to federalism, Dion and Kennedy ultimately have precious little in common.
The latter belongs to the school of Liberals – largely Ontario-based – for whom the Fathers of Confederation erred when they designated health care and education as exclusive provincial responsibilities.
Dion is of a different persuasion.
Under Jean Chrétien, he would not go to the barricades for the Millennium Scholarship Fund, on the basis that it was an unwarranted federal intrusion into a provincial jurisdiction. Under Paul Martin, he argued in favour of an asymmetrical agreement on health care with Quebec.
Far from sharing the sense that the term nation, when it is associated to Quebec, is a bad word, Dion goes out of his way to use it on the campaign trail.
And well he should. The nation resolution has cut the legs from under the sovereignty movement and accelerated the decline of its influence.
It has also lifted Conservative fortunes in the province.
Whenever he is in Quebec, Harper mentions the resolution, always to heartfelt applause. Every time that happens, it is hard not to think that but for Kennedy playing the apprentice sorcerer at the convention, a Liberal leader would be getting credit and Quebec votes for bringing the nation issue to the fore.