Wednesday, April 02, 2008

State Of The LIberal Party

Cameron Duncan provides possibly the single most cogent analysis of the problems/prospects facing the Federal Liberal Party I have read in awhile. Although I think he's a bit off on Bob Rae, who has, as far as I can tell, been forgiven by Ontarians.

My favorite bit:

While the Harper Conservatives have had (and will continue to have) serious support from the Canwest Global, and CTV globemedia mainstream media monopolies, the party still has not achieved as much popular support in English speaking Canada as the Dion Liberals. Despite having all the advantages afforded a sitting prime minister, Harper has not broken through the resistance to his party, its policies, and his own tyrannical leadership style.

And I would remind those people who have been demanding Stephane Dion's departure: even in the unlikely event this were to occur, Iggy or Bob Rae or whoever would not ascend gracefully into the leadership position. Nope! Due to some very unfortunate politicking in Montreal, 2006, the Libs will be stuck holding an expensive, drawn-out, archaic, and exclusive delegated convention to determine a new leader. Sure to keep the Party weak and divided into 2009 and beyond.

(Although, to be sure, watching Iggy accidentally set his tie on fire while trying to explain his position on torture again would be worth a few giggles)


biff said...

By English speaking Canada, he (and you) must mean downtown Toronto.

In BC, rural and suburban regions, Harper has taken a fairly sizeable lead. In downtown Vancouver even (see Quadra) the CPC has narrowed the 20 point gap, down to no gap. English.

Alberta is English. Harper dominates, and Dion is nowhere.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan, conservative numbers are significantly higher than the Liberals. Also English.

Northwestern Ontario, central rural Ontario, and the 905 belt, Harper is 15-20 points ahead of Dion at this point.

Perhaps this Duncan fellow, is from Toronto, which may explain his assessment of "English" Canada. Otherwise, it may be just a case of having to tell himself something he needs to believe to sustain himself as a dispirited Liberal supporter.

Borges said...

Good point about Dion being the best we've got and that the alternatives will be costly.

bigcitylib said...

Biff, you is a one man polling machine.

RuralSandi said...

I think there is a dillusion here that Rae has been forgiven by Ontario.

Not in least from what I hear from friends and associates. He won a strong Liberal riding, but Ontario - not at all.

There's a Liberal leadership poll as pointed out by Susan Delacourt - Rae doesn't do much better than Dion.

It's naive to think that one man (Rae) simply by his presence is going to save the party

James Curran said...

Well, I think the Liberals are about to poll just fine out west, since the Cons have once again decided to open the constitution for Quebec. I know :the rest of Canada" really enjoys that sort of thing.

Biff you seem to have forgotten all of Eastern Canada. Remind me again. Who's polling well out there? I seem to remember something about Newfoundland loves Conservatives.

biff said...

I wish. I just calls em as I sees em (based on a lot of empirical data/evidence that I cannot take credit for).


biff said...


well I didn't mention Quebec, because it's more than obvious what's happening there. Huge Lib declines and steady Con gains (as well as NDP).

The Crop poll is a province wide (not a national poll in which one cannot extrapolate local numbers) and so is more closely akin to internals, though they're not quite there.

I've stated a few days earlier that there are a cluster of seats in Atlantic Canada that are still solidly liberal, but that the Cons will still gain two seats there.


Gayle said...

james - ignore biff. S/he comes here, posts this stuff like s/he is "in the know" in an attempt to derail discussions.

Just the other day s/he said s/he would return after the election. Apparently some promises are meant to be forgotten.

In any event, do not engage the biff-troll.

BCL - the liberal party is obviously its own worst enemy. I think that article shows us it is not about Dion's "leadership", it is about Dion being a newbie entering into a long-standing war. It also shows why Dion was chosen leader in the first place; the party wants to rid itself of these stupid warring factions.

Harper knows Canadians want to vote liberal. That is why he has been launching person attacks against Dion from day one. After a year of these attacks got him no where, he finally attempted to attack the party - also not working. In fact, Harper has little to do with the fact the liberals are not gaining ground. He knows that once they unite it is game over for the cons.

biff said...


James, being a responsible free thinking adult, is more than capable of discerning for himself what he does or does not wish to read or consider.

This was a political post which specifically referenced how the Cons were doing in English Canada.

By "derailing" I assume you mean give an opinion which you do not wish to hear. That's fine, you do not have to believe it (or even read it for that matter).

James Curran said...

Refresh my memory Biff. Is Quebec considered English speaking Canada?

Although with Harper's new insentive to re-open the constitution, it may eventually be absorbed into English Canada say in 3, 4 hundred years from now.

James Curran said...

Not good news for Cons.

Gayle said...

james - correct me if I am wrong, but didn' the last attempt to re-open the constitution backfire spectacularly, resulting in the rise of the Bloc and a vote on separation a few years later?

Harper is thinking of his short term goal, andignoring the long term interests of our country.

Of course, living in Alberta I know the general Reform sentiment is to "let Quebec go" so maybe that is the real end game here.

James Curran said...

It also ended in 2 seats for the Conservatives nationwide.

Here's a nice Harper quote:

“Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion… And whether Canada ends up with one national government or two governments or ten governments, the Canadian people will require less government no matter what the constitutional status or arrangement of any future country may be.” (Speech to the Colin Brown Memorial Dinner, National Citizens Coalition, 1994)

Gayle said...

That quote sums it all up rather nicely.

biff said...

James, I'm pretty comfortable with my seat projections (on a previous thread).

The problem with "the Cons are in trouble" type of general pronouncements is that it fails to account for the fact that the Liberals will have to win.

Harper can't simply "lose" in isolation.

Whatever the Harper government's failings, which there are some, like any government, Dion is simply not viewed as a credible alternative.

The numbers are showing that Dion's not really in the game.

Again, I appreciate that with every new issue that comes along, there's a feeling like "this is finally the issue that'll knock Harper down," but absent a scandal of Adscam like proportions, the vast majority of people in Canada are generally content with how things are going, view Harper as a solid leader, and view Dion as someone who's simply not in the league of Prime Ministership.

The "Cadman" affair was the perfect example. Ground zero of this purported scandal that was to take Harper down, and what happened? The Liberals lost a 20 point advantage over the Cons, winning by literally a handful of votes in Quadra.

That was a liberal fortress. Now you can pretend the closer ridings in which conservative support is stronger, will somehow be weaker (than the Liberal stronghold) but that's wishful thinking, and the numbers just don't show that.

We saw what happened to a "close" riding in Sask - it ended up not being close at all.

THIS is why Dion hasn't pulled the pin. His people know (based on their own accurate internals) that an election would portend much of the same in riding after riding (save for downtown Toronto.

But as your colleague Scott Tribe has aptly noted, waiting has (and will continue) to make it worse.

The Mound of Sound said...

As for Dion, I think he has to go. He's the Liberal's leadership equivalent of Stockwell Day. Dorkwell was the best thing that ever happened to the Chretien government. Dion is playing the same role for Harper.

As for re-opening the constitution that would fit in perfectly with the agenda that brought Harper back into politics. He wants to decentralize Canada along the lines of a republic. Quebec would like that idea and so too would Harper's main concern, Alberta. Just imagine a wholesale transfer of powers to those provinces, especially the residual federal powers over things such as pollution, resources, health care and education - for starters. Doing that for Alberta under the guise of doing it for Quebec could be a slam dunk.

James Curran said...


With all due respect, you really do have your head burried somewhere. EVERY F*cking Liberal in the planet with half a brain knew Saskatchewan was a loss. it was our own fault thanks to Ralph Goodale. I wouldn't call that a CON victory. It was more like an acclamation.

It has zero bearing on any other ridings. The Cons are dead in the water in Ontario and Flaherty will lose his own seat. In Quadra we will win by a devastating amount in the general election now that Harpo has decided to screw the ROC with Quebec a la Mulroney.

Mound, Just imagine our dollar back at 63 cents.

biff said...


the average Canadian thinks about constitutional issues how many times during the day?

How bout: zero.

Harper has mastered the bread and butter issues. Which is why the grass root donations (one of the best ways to gauge motivational movement to a party BTW - the old adage of putting your money where your mouth is applies doubly so to politics) for the CPC are in a completely different league than the Libs.

You keep telling yourself that:

Quadra, Sask, Outremont,

were all isolated.

Harper, majority next election.

The only question is whether it will be a super majority or slim majority.

biff said...

It's also quite telling, that the mere prospect of some sort of constitutional recognition of Quebec's uniqueness,

is so abhorrent to the average Canadian that they would, on that issue alone, vote Harper out of power.

Oh, and here's the kicker:

A senior member of the Liberal party (perhaps even a leadership contender) is in favour of the idea, and will say so publicly in the upcoming weeks and months.

I suspect the rest of the party will follow, lest the Liberals want to lose Quebec forever.

James Curran said...

yadda yadda. Three words. New Harris Decima. Read it and weep Biffy boy.

biff said...

James, I invite you to come to this site, after the votes are counted in the next election.

We'll discuss the results then.