Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Tale of Two Parties

Earlier in the year, there was a story about how of the (then) eleven candidates, only three did not donate to the Federal Liberal Party last year. They were Michael Ignatieff, Gerard Kennedy, and Bob Rae.

While it's unfortunate that they hadn't given, there are reasons to believe the commitments of the first two. Michael Ignatieff has been a Liberal (and helped on Liberal political campaigns) since the 60s and is a Liberal MP. Gerard Kennedy has been a provincial Liberal MP for almost 10 years. Say whatever what you will about those two (and indeed, I have said quite a lot about the two), they are both committed Liberals who have been intensely committed to the Liberal project.

Now Bob Rae, as we all know, has been elected to office eight times, each as a member of the NDP. He was the NDP premier of Ontario. So now, he decides to make a switch to the Liberals, because they're, from what I gather from hearing him speak, he believes that they're a slightly more centrist and more pragmatic NDP with a capability to actually govern (instead of being a party of protest).

To that, I respond, fair enough. I think that it's quite legitimate for people to change political parties. I don't think they should run for leader a few weeks after getting their membership card, and I think they should show slightly more commitment to a party before running, but fair enough. If Rae has really, in recent years, decided he supports the Liberal project, then good for him. If he has ditched his NDP roots, then good for him.

But then, why did he give to two NDP candidates last year? Giving another party funding the year before you decide to run for the leadership of a party, now that doesn't seem right. If you want to prove your credentials, that is precisely not the way to do it. That's a way to alienate hard core Liberals, alienate moderate/right of centre Liberals, and alienate everyone who believes that you're actually committed to the Liberal project, instead of just being an incredibly opportunistic politician. I've called Rae opportunistic before, and this has just confirmed by suspicions.

Now, Rae might respond that he was just giving to two very certain candidates who he was helping to win, not giving to the party as a whole. Fine. But a) there were plenty of Liberal candidates in very close money who could have used that money, b) he gave to a party who helped to defeat the Liberals.

Why the hell should we believe that Rae is seriously committed to the Liberal party when less than 12 months ago Rae actively tried to help two NDP candidates defeat Liberal candidates? We shouldn't.

If you're a moderate/right of centre Liberal supporting Rae, go to Ignatieff.

If you're a moderate/left of centre Liberal supporting Rae, go to Kennedy.

If you're a moderate/left of centre Liberal in Quebec supporting Rae, go to Dion.

If you're part of the Red Tory wing of the Liberal Party supporting Rae, go to Brison.

Whoever you are and whatever your political preferences, if you're currently supporting Rae, get away. Go to someone else.


Blogger Robert said...

Nice try, but emphatically, "no."

6:20 PM  
Blogger Liberal Wise said...

He actually donated to 4 NDP candidates and according to the London Free Press last January is reported to have been "thrilled" at the success of the NDP in their seat gains.

You forgot one:

If you believe that the constitution should not be amended to recognize Quebec as a nation, vote Dion.

If you believe that we should at least start to have a conversation about it so that one day Quebec is brought into the fold, vote Ignatieff.

If you believe that whichever way we go, we need a strong leader with a clear vision who doesn't flip flop on such fundamental issues on which he claims to be an expert, then vot Ignatieff or Dion but for god's sake don't vote for Bob "whichever way the wind blows" Rae.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Devon said...

Thank you. Bob Rae should not run for Leader. -liberal outsider

7:31 PM  
Blogger goonandbleed said...

Michael Ignatieff has been a Liberal (and helped on Liberal political campaigns) since the 60s

Can you please tell us what Michael Ignatieff has done to help Liberal campaigns since the 1960s and can you tell us when he most recently took out a Liberal memebership.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Anonymous Liberal said...


I did not make any statements about how Ignatieff has been actively helping Liberals at every moment over all these years. My point is simply that while Ignatieff has in the past supported the Liberals--or, at the very least, been inactive politically--Bob Rae has actively been supporting candidates who were running against the Liberal Party.

Say what you will about Michael Ignatieff, but he has not done anything to actively try to get another party elected. Bob Rae has done precisely that, as recently as 9 months ago. Bob Rae has taken proactive steps to support candidates who were fighting against Liberals...and not just once, but (and I stand corrected on this) in four separate occasions. Admitedly, he also supported one Liberal. If that's any indication of his political roots and heritage, it means he's 4/5 NDP and only 1/5 Liberal.

I personally cannot in good conscience support a man for the leadership who supported 4 candidates from another party over candidates from a party he now wants to lead.

8:03 PM  
Blogger goonandbleed said...

Well we have proof that Bob Rae has helped at least one Liberal candidate. You also have provided no proof at to which candidates Michael has supported. How much money has Michael Ignatieff contributed to the Liberal Party? Again you haven't answered the question: when did Michael Ignatieff join the Liberal Party of Canada?

8:10 PM  
Blogger goonandbleed said...

Oh yes one more thing, when you write that Ignatieff has helped the Liberal Party in the "past" I take it you are referring to the 1968 Liberal leadership convention Ignatieff attended as a delegate ... the same one attended by Mr. Rae.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Cerberus said...

Go On is having a hard time seeing his guy's momentum come to a loud and screeching crash stop because of the Coutts plant in the Kennedy campaign, the flip flop on the constitution and the helping NDP beat Liberals and being "thrilled" about it. So let's go easy on him.

Go On: your single response to any criticism of Rae is that 'well, Iggy sucks'. That is a not even a response.

The issue is not how active in the party - Iggy has been helping Liberals for years and actively for the last two. I'm not sure how much Dryden was doing before 2 years ago or how much Kennedy was helping out the feds.

The issue for everyone is that Rae was active AGAINST the party is now trying to LEAD. None of the other frontrunners have tried to DEFEAT Liberals. And not even Brison was trying to do that THIS YEAR, a month before he decided to run.

8:38 PM  
Blogger polfilma said...

Before Ignatieff even contemplated running for a MP seat, he was invited to address the Liberal Biennial Policy Conference in Ottawa on March 3, 2005.

The title of his speech was "Liberal values in the 21st century".

You can read his full speech here:

Michael Ignatieff has been a proud Liberal all his life.

9:07 PM  
Blogger goonandbleed said...

Well there you go again Cerberus; playing fast and loose with the truth.

As a lawyer you understand that to prove a case you need evidence. As well, I’m sure you also understand the frailties of hearsay evidence. If you need to brush up on those two areas of law I can suggest a few evidence texts for you and point you to the appropriate Supreme Court authorities.

Let’s deal with the issues you raised in the order you raised them:

“because of the Coutts plant in the Kennedy campaign”
I’m sorry Cerberus, but can you point to any evidence of this so called “plan”? Do you have a confession from Mr. Coutts himself? From the Rae campaign? Please tell me you have something more than the fanciful musings of some character named “rae daze” who is spreading this figment of his own imagination. Oh that’s right, all the proof is to be found in the the romance between Coutts and Rae’s sister. Right.

“the flip flop on the constitution”
Well let’s see here I’m not sure any flip flopping has taken place here. Bob Rae supported Meech Lake and he helped negotiate the Charlottetown Accord while premier of Ontario. He said he still subscribes to the positions that Quebec is a distinct society/nation. Rae has said that he has come to the position through history and experience and that he does not think it is wise to reopen constitutional talks because he fears that will do more harm than good to the country. Where is the flip flop? The man has listened to what the vast majority of Canadians want and that is a moratorium on constitutional negotiations.

“helping NDP beat Liberals and being ‘thrilled’ about it.”
Well now, this is an interesting one because there is no quote anywhere about Rae being “thrilled” about beating the Liberals. Why do you ignore that Rae has admitted to donating money to individual NDP AND Liberal candidates. How did he help beat the Liberals? Did he go door to door for the NDP? Lick envelopes? Host Fundraisers? Incidentally Cerberus, it was the people of Canada who kicked the Liberals out not Bob Rae. So easy on the hearsay evidence you provide.

“your single response to any criticism of Rae is that ‘well, Iggy sucks’.”
Interesting that you write that because I would love it if you could point out that quote to me. As well, I know you are busy but perhaps you should read my blog from the beginning and note that I have written that I thought that the race was between Ignatieff, Rae and Dion and that I could live with any one of them as leader. It was only after Ignatieff released his manifesto that I concluded his plan to reopen the constitution was too dangerous to support him as leader. As well, I never really cared that Ignatieff, like Rae, had just recently rejoined the party or just moved back to Canada after a 30 year absence. But since all these loyalty tests have been given to Rae I only think that it is fair that the same standards apply to Ignatieff. I’m certain fairness is also important to you.

“Iggy has been helping Liberals for years”
Well that’s great to read Cerberus but can somebody explain to us exactly how he has been helping Liberals. That’s all I’m asking because all I ever hear from Ignatieff is that he was a delegate at the 1968 convention – along with Rae – and then nothing after that. I know that he returned to Canada in late 2005. Did he take out his membership shortly before filing his nominations papers with the Etobicoke Lakeshore Liberal Associations? Why can’t we have this information?

“The issue for everyone is that Rae was active AGAINST the party is now trying to LEAD.”
Well again Cerberus, the issue that you raise is not for “everyone” it’s just for a few partisan anti-Rae people. Now that’s fine, but don’t write that “everyone” in the party cares about this issues unless you have some facts and figures you’d like to share.

“None of the other frontrunners have tried to DEFEAT Liberals. And not even Brison was trying to do that THIS YEAR, a month before he decided to run.”
Ah yes the highly qualified statement. Look at all the conditions, “frontrunners” and “this year”. You don’t get to impose the parameters of the debate. I keep hearing about “this year” as if it possesses mystical meaning. Brison was a committed PCer and he ran and defeated Liberal candidates. Why does it not matter that it wasn’t this year? Maybe he too has divided loyalties? He said some pretty nasty things about Paul Martin and his government? Why does he get a pass and not Rae?

I’m afraid the reason is that Brison is not the threat to your man Ignatieff that Rae is. Again that is all fine and dandy … this is politics after all. But let’s try not to get too sanctimonious about all this and keep the “opportunist” shots to a minimum.

If Ignatieff wants to fight this campaign on the basis of who is less of an opportunist I don’t think that he has a 100 percent chance of winning. But I understand that Ignatieff and his supporters are going to make the label stick to Bob Rae. Just don’t get all agitated when Bob Rae and his supporters don’t just sit there and take it.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Red Tory said...

This is such a non-issue. There are many reasons to have legitimate concerns about Rae’s candidacy. This isn’t one of them.

You might also want to get your facts straight on the matter. Rae also contributed to three Liberal candidates.

Better hurry over and sign that petition… I hear they need an 11th signature.


10:04 PM  
Blogger Penny said...

I would like very much to know where you folks get the information on who contributed how much money to political campaigns.... I'd heard about one $300 contribution Rae made to a female NDP candidate, and about 3 others (no figures) he made to Liberal candidates, but not about 4 donations to NDP, etc etc.

How can I find out who all the other candidates gave to last winter, please?

I always like to have "real" sources or links so I and others can check my sources and evaluate them.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

1:08 AM  
Blogger Penny said...

Never mind. I helped myself.

Bob Rae gave

Irene Mathyssen / New Democratic Party / London--Fanshawe - $300 on Janury 20th

John Godfrey/ Liberal Party of Canada / Don Valley West - $300 on January 16th (he was, after Martin resigned, a LPC leadership candidate who dropped out for health reasons)

Rochelle Carnegie / New Democratic Party / Willowdale - $250 on December 22nd.

2 women. 1 man. Not large sums. Encouraging female candidates and one Liberal Cabinet Minister.

No sign of any contributions by Ignatieff going back to the 38th election.

1:40 AM  
Blogger Ray Daze said...

I've got to give Bob Job his props. Word is that he is going to announce Monday that he will seek the Liberal nomination in London North Centre to run in the by-election triggered by Joe Fontana's resignation. Kudos to him.

That's pretty bold given that its a riding that won't have forgotten Rae Days. I suppose this would prove whether he's got the stuff. Bold on his part, for sure.

8:49 PM  

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