Category Archives: Gerard Kennedy

Message to "Strategic Voters" in Parkdale High Park: Vote Peggy Nash

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. 

Wouldn’t want you to vote for the other guy thinking you were voting “strategically”.

p.s. contrary to misinformation that’s out there Elizabeth May is NOT telling Green supporters to vote Liberal.

p.s.s. Even, a site hopelessly skewed in favour of the Liberals, is recommending that voters of Parkdale High Park vote freely with their hearts. Both Peggy Nash and the other guy are “environmental stars”.

A Message from Peggy Nash

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.

Peggy Nash really needs no introduction. She is among the most respected MP’s in the House of Commons by her peers and by parliamentarians. About the race in Parkdale High Park read here, here, here.  Election Prediction Project now predicts Peggy Nash the winner.


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

Dion thinks politics is a golf game: Takes a mulligan, then another, then yet another

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?

Until now, I’ve steered clear of criticizing Dion as a poor leader. I have previously called him the wrong leader (strategically a very poor choice to stop Harper) but eventually it’s difficult to ignore that besides wrong policies, Dion is very awkward, plain and unimpressive.  Gerard Kennedy picked the runt of the litter of leaders; a determined, likable runt, but also kind of pathetic and incompetent. From The Star a while back:

 “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!

Update II:

Cherniak tries to brush this off as a not uncommon request for clarification. Well at least he doesn’t stupidly try to make hay out of this and compare it to the Con attack on Chretien. But he also doesn’t ignore it, which means he knows this could really hurt Dion. 
Dion’s response to a question he should have been well prepared for was simply NOT prime ministerial. I mean the last week or so, Dion has done little but personally attack the other leaders, and he has repeatedly attacked Harper for his insensitivity and his failure to respond to economic situation. When asked quite simply, “OK wise guy, what would you have done?”, Dion doesn’t ask for clarification (which I think is perfectly appropriate) he asks for a do over 3 TIMES.  So far, I think I’ve resisted attacking Dion unfairly.  But this man just seems to dissolve under pressure. I’ve seen that awkward, dazed, and confused expression in Dion all too often. Remember when Layton put him in his place at the English debate, Dion was motionless and speechless.
BTW, Kudos to Layton for not immediately jumping on this one. Dion said he and the Liberals wouldn’t go negative and that they would run a dignified campaign, not a chance. Liberals practice gutter politics no less than Conservatives. Period!

So much for Dion not going negative, or hanging Gerard Kennedy out to dry

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. 

That The Star should do the same is shameful and irresponsible, but it is not, in my opinion, an obstruction of democracy and fair elections as is the case with the CBC, which is publicly funded. The Star is privately owned and supported and may express, however prejudicially or irresponsibly, whatever opinions it wishes. In fact, I’d be surprised if the Star’s editorial board doesn’t come out and officially endorse the LPC. But again, that the CBC, a publicly funded network for all Canadians, is essentially endorsing one party over the others, refusing to engage in responsible reporting and not informing Canadians as best it can, all with money that I cannot voluntarily donate, is a basic affront to democracy and a clear obstruction of free and democratic elections. 
Anyways, I don’t pretend to be surprised or even shocked that Dion and the Liberals have thrown all principles over board and have gone decidedly and desperately negative. I knew it was around the corner when CBC started using the words “more aggressive” and “feisty” to describe Dion’s approach heading to the debate. Of course, that was simply code for “going negative in a big way.” And have Dion’s Liberals ever started the mud slinging and the gutter politics. They’re desperately looking through everything candidates has ever said or done that might rightly or wrongly be construed in a negative light. They’re looking for “truthers”, exposing Harper’s “plagiarism”, tapping into old fears in Ontario that a Harper government would be worse than a Mike Harris government, demanding apologies and resignations. Some of it strategically motivated (i.e. looking to hurt NDP candidates in BC where Liberals were really slipping), while some is just perpetrated out of malice and distress. 
And the Liberals have gone negative because it works! To get votes that is. Except it also works to cheapen democracy and to decrease voter interest and turnout.
Yet there might be some collateral damage in all of this. Gerard Kennedy will likely become a casualty of this approach.  The few Liberal candidates actually running on the Left of the Liberal Party and running on principles rather than Liberal brand will likely be hurt by this.
Gerard Kennedy, whether principled or not, has been forced to run on principles, because otherwise he’s seen as either the kingmaker with poor judgment who served up Dion and ensured the return of a Harper government. Or the king maker who chose selfishly to position himself to for a future run at the leadership, thereby ensuring the return of a Harper government.  Kennedy’s only tack now is that of principle: he truly chose Dion out of principle, which conveniently fits in with the whole food bank activist thing, working together thing, etc… Kennedy is running on a principle and a clean campaign.
Problem is, as Kennedy begins to adopt more and more the desperation of the Liberal Party and goes decidedly negative, he also undermines his electability. For instance, at an all candidates meeting last night, when pushed on Liberal absenteeism as the Official Opposition, Kennedy couldn’t respond with a tactical justification (i.e. our squabbling and infighting coupled with our low polling meant we would have lost an election). Thus, Kennedy responded that the Liberals’ ineffectual opposition was, in reality, honourable and done on behalf of all Canadians. Of course, he was rightly and resoundingly booed. There is never an upright reason to abdicate a basic democratic duty!
At that same meeting, constituents also began to see a more desperate Kennedy, who like the Liberal party, is resorting to fear mongering and tapping into the fears Ontarians have regarding the Harris/Eves governments. This tack can easily backfire on Kennedy. It wasn’t the Canadian people that handed Stephen Harper a “majority” the last couple of years, it was the Liberal Party of Canada. Many Canadians, thanks to the LPC experienced the Harper “majority” as “not horribly bad government” (the same strategy made so successful in Ontario by McGuinty), and thus, the fear mongering is likely to be less effective. Thus, resorting to fear mongering undermines both the credibility of the LPC and the honour on which Kennedy is running.
Going dirty in this riding also is not very wise, since one of the nastiest smears in Ontario politics happened in Parkdale High Park and constituents seemed to vote resoundingly to denounce negative campaigning. Constituents here are intelligent, ethical, and not easily deceived. Kennedy is implicated in two ways. First, it was his abandoning of the riding to seek, rather impossibly, the leadership of the LPC that sparked that fateful by-election in the first place. Second, Gerard Kennedy was a DIRECT participant in the smear campaign against now MPP DiNovo.  So much for principle, honour, and the high road!
Going decidedly and nastily negative is not “Progressive”. Just another reason for “progressives” not to vote for Liberals.

The Toronto Star should be ashamed!

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.

It’s unfortunate that the Left and progressives in this country need to be dependent on the whims of  the CBC and The Star in order that occasionally and inconsistently their voices may be heard in the MSM. But, it’s downright shameful when The Star resorts to this kind of irresponsible, transparently biased, reporting.  Seriously, in this story The Star approaches Cherniakian levels of desperation and disingenuousness. As we’ve seen in the last couple of days, The Star’s story line to aid and abet the Liberals is going to be to attempt to refashion Dion’s image as leader and to create the impression that the tide is turning. 
Thus, under the banner of Winning Support, we see the bold headline Dion in need of converts”.  We are then told the story of conversion of  Sue Cox.  I think Sue Cox was chosen because apparently women supporters of the Liberal Party have been drifting over to Conservatives for a more phallic leader. But anyway, this articulate woman had come to see Dion with a certain negative predisposition and amazingly walked away “completely changed”.  Cox’s conversion was of biblical proportion. It was like Saul becoming Paul on the road to Damascus. The tide is turning, Dion is a really leader (note how, he defended Lesley Hughes, then after flip flopping, following apparently heavy influence from Jewish community groups, he showed leadership and fired her, without even telling her).  The tide is turning, the campaign isn’t over. We have a leader. Right? Well, not so much. (numbers today showed NDP and Liberals tied in support at 21% and Liberals bleeding support to Conservatives).
Back to the article, and Sue Cox could have been one of those women lured to the dark side by Stephen Harper, but having seen Stephane Dion, she has become a “CONVERT”. This is all well and good if by “CONVERT”, The Star actually means “shill, decoy, Liberal hack, and Gerard Kennedy campaign worker.  I repeat, The Star, and Bruce Campion-Smith particularly, should be ashamed of their grossly incompetent journalism. Just about everyone in Toronto knows Sue Cox’s direct connections to the LPC. 
While Gerard “don’t hate me cause I’m a spoon fed white boy “Professor” who fights poverty sitting on a chair earning good coin” Kennedy was building up his “incredulous” reputation as a poverty activist, Sue Cox was his right hand woman, who eventually became herself the Director of The Daily Bread Food Bank (this is not a shot a the Food Bank which has served our community admirably, but to the extent it has done so, it is largely because of the many people who volunteer and who actually roll up their sleeves and go meet poverty head on).  Sue Cox endorsed Kennedy’s run a the Liberal leadership, and has been working on his campaign to represent Parkdale High Park. She is also part of the Parkdale-High Park Federal Liberal Riding Association.
So, I’m left wondering. How can anyone with any integrity refer to Sue Cox as a convert. Perhaps, the headline should have read “Liberal insiders finally starting to respect Dion”. But then again, perhaps that headline should’ve come ago so that the Liberals could have mounted a credible challenge and alternative to Stephen Harper.  More worrisome, however, is the brash and transparent attempt to propagandize for the Liberals and deceive the reader!  This article was clearly contrived to attempt create a different image of Stephane Dion and to reverse the trend for Gerard Kennedy, whose star is rapid falling here in Parkdale High Park.

In this week’s NOW Magazine

Kingmaker Kennedy’s crisis

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.

Pundits beginning to predict a Kennedy loss in Parkdale High Park

(image courtesy of janfromthebruce)

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


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?

Gerard Kennedy Put Us on this Path

Another take on Chantal Hebert’s comment that“Kennedy put us on this path”:

I was hoping Cherniak wouldn’t blurt out anything too stupid during the election campaign, but

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).

First, anyone with any intelligence reads Cherniak not for substance but more in the way many watch a Nascar race; that is, secretly waiting for the inevitable car crash. And Cherniak always delivers. Whether its ridiculous gaffes, inane arguments, or malicious assaults on a person’s character, Cherniak delivers.  Still, it’s especially fun watching him spin out during election campaigns. Sad part is, Cherniak probably believes he is “as influential as the mainstream media”, when in fact, what he does share with mainstream media is that he too is purely a shill. In this case, a shill for the Liberal Party, just as are the Toronto Star and, regrettably, the CBC. Sadly, there is no critical, progressive, left mainstream media in this country and I believe Canadians suffer for it.
Anyways, as the only Ontarian that has somehow connected with Stephane Dion (oops I forgot Gerard Kennedy, but we all know Kennedy’s support for Dion was purely based on opportunism and best positioning himself for a future run at the leadership following Dion’s foreseeable failure), Cherniak must be especially vested in this campaign. Otherwise, why would he do something that’s new, even for the shameless Liberal that he is, and simply start making stuff up? I mean we’re used to disingenuous misreading, spin, but not complete invention. From this post we read:

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. 

The Liberals were dismal as the Official opposition. In fact, they were absent as an opposition. They allowed Harper to dictate the agenda in parliament and the timing of the election. And most critically they (i.e. Gerard Kennedy) chose the absolute worst leader to position themselves to challenge the Conservatives the next time around. A meek, mild, seemingly neurotic and anxious leader, unable to rein in his caucus, who seems detached and academic, who is resoundingly despised in Quebec, who can’t connect and communicate with Ontarians. Might as well have handed the victory to Harper the moment the writ was dropped. Thanks for nothing LPC. And you have the gall to ask me to reward you with my vote. The best that can come out of this now is that the NDP gain as many seats as possible so that we don’t end up with a strong and active Official opposition. And, perhaps Canadians will begin to see the desperate need for electoral reform. The NDP and the Greens already have!
One last thing. On the subject of the costing the Liberal Platform, I thought readers might want to read the reaction of The Progressive Economics Forum (The PEF brings together over 125 progressive economists, working in universities, the labour movement, and activist research organizations).  According to Andrew Jackson of the PEF:

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.”

Peggy Nash also responded:

“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.”

Golden Boy Gerard Kennedy Not Really So Golden: Response to "The Star" today

In The Star today, the brief synopsis of Parkdale High Park contains a number of questionable assumptions. First, there is the contention that “high-income people in the large houses” didn’t form part of the broad base of support that elected incumbent Peggy Nash. I’m not so sure. I would think, in the absence of a strong Conservative candidate, long time Conservatives would just as easily cast their vote for a person they perceive as honest and principled, even if misguided (NDPer), as a person they perceive as an opportunist and an eternal rival (Liberal). In any event, high income people in large houses shouldn’t be decisive in this election, but if they were it shoudn’t particularly hurt Nash, who is certainly well liked and respected in Swansea, Bloor West, and the Humber River.
Second, there is an assumption that the increased affluence in the riding favours the Liberals. Again, I’m not so sure. We saw a year ago, a riding that voted resoundingly for Cheri DiNovo and the NDP. If the sign war is any indication, as Chantal Hebert notes, Nash’s support is strong and holding. In Parkdale High Park, it’s not only about gentrification and affluence, it’s also about an educated, intelligent and progressive electorate. This was the riding that soundly rebuked a nasty Ontario Liberal smear campaign against DiNovo in 2006. It should not be missed be that Gerard Kennedy himself participated in the mudslinging.
This leads to my third issue with the article. The Golden boy himself, Gerard Kennedy. In my previous post, I argued why Peggy Nash not only does not deserve to be punished, but in fact, deserves to be re-elected. Similarly, it should not at all be self-evident that Gerard Kennedy will reclaim the seat for the Liberals. There are plenty of reasons not to vote for Kennedy. First, he abandoned the riding, and doesn’t really have roots in the riding (he doesn’t live or work in the riding). Kennedy has shown that he’s not above gutter politics. Kennedy participated in the Liberal smear of DiNovo, and he was implicated in anti-semitic slurs against Bob Rae during the Liberal leadership race. Gerard Kennedy is obviously a consummate opportunist. In supporting Dion for leadership, he cast his support in a way that would best position him for a future run at the leadership rather than with a candidate that could actually challenge Harper in forming the next government. Hebert is right in saying that “Kennedy put us on this path”.

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.

The Liberal Party of Canada may reward opportunism, but discerning voters will not reward the party (nor the candidate singularly responsible for Dion becoming leader) whose infighting, bungling and incompetence have ensured that Harper returns to government unimpeded.

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.