Showing posts with label Liberals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liberals. Show all posts

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Iggy gives $0 to Liberal Party in 2008

This shouldn't be much of a surprise since it's not legal for foreigners to make donations to Canadian political parties.
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Monday, 2 February 2009

Where's Warren's backup?

If you're here it's because a post I actually wrote a year ago on Warren Kinsella's kitty comments has inadvertently been reposted with today's date as if it were new. It's not. Unfortunately, blogger doesn't seem to have any way for me to fix the date stamp, - at least none that I can find. If you know how to fix the date on this thing please feel free to lend your advice:)

Warren Kinsella has gotten himself in hot water for some rather dumb comments about a Chinese restaurant in Ottawa. The pathetic part of it is that Kinsella, who received a lot of prominence earlier in his career for his anti-racism would invoke really stupid, 1950s style, bigoted humour that should have died with Buddy Hackett's "Chinese waiter sketch". The "barbecue cat and rice" joke was so out of it's time I would have assumed that Kinsella was actually being deeply ironic if I thought he had the intelligence for irony or if irony hadn't died in 2001. It was the same patheticness that the writers of the Simpsons created for Krusty the Clown when they had him do Chinese restaurant gags in order to make the point that the only a fossil would think that stuff's funny.

If Kinsella were even the most rudimentary anti-racist he would have filtered those jokes out of his repetoire a long time ago. Heck, most racists don't engage in that sort of humour because they're too aware that they'll "out" themselves by doing so. The only way I can explain Kinsella's lapse is that in his arrogance he assumes that he's truly some sort of anti-racist icon and therefore is incapable of bigotry and so he is incapable of the sort of self-awareness and self-scrutiny most people use when they're tempted to blurt out something offensive.

Of course, the Tories and the right wing of the blogosphere is exploiting Kinsella's faux pas to the hilt. So much so that you would have thought he'd called for the reintroduction of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Of course, most of the Tories are being hypocritical considering the comments many of them have tolerated or even defended far worse from people like Herb Grubel, Monte Solberg, Lee Richardson, or the party's own ad team. And let's not forget that one of the founding issues of the Reform Party was opposition to Sikh RCMP officers wearing turbans. That many of the right wing blog netizens now chomping at Kinsella have no hesitation to mock and make abusive comments about Muslims only underscores the hypocricy around this issue. And, frankly, given Kinsella's eagerness to smear others based on half-truths and distortions it's hard to feel sympathy for the guy.

Kinsella should issue a real apology, ie one that expresses actual contrition and self-awareness, rather than the minimization he's been engaging in.

On a political plane, what's been interesting about this whole affair is the failure of any Liberals that I'm aware of to back Kinsella up and defend him. Perhaps the rehabilitation which seemed in the offing under Iggy will prove to be short lived?
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Thursday, 29 January 2009

Iggy gags caucus III

Earlier this month I alleged that new Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff was gagging his MPs from speaking out on Gaza. My allegation was indirectly proven by the fact that a number of MPs who were usually outspoken on the issue of Palestinian rights were remaining silent during the Gaza war. The furthest any Grit MP would go, namely Rob Oliphant, Bonnie Crombie, Borys Wrezesnewskyj and Jim Karygiannis, was to attend a round table discussion with pro-Palestinian groups to hear their concerns but no Liberal MP agreed to speak at any of the numerous of Gaza solidarity rallies and events held during the war or to criticize Israel in the media.

Nevertheless, several people were either skeptical of my assertion that there was a gag order or were reserving judgment while Ignatieff's office officially denied that they would ever do such a thing.

Well, today comes confirmation that Ignatieff is muzzling his caucus and is attempting to control the access his MPs have to the media. The Globe and Mail reports that

At his first caucus meeting as leader in December, [Ignatieff] made it clear the caucus speaks with one voice and it is his.

“He laid down the law at the beginning. You could hear a pin drop,” a Liberal insider said about the way Mr. Ignatieff outlined the new one-voice strategy. He said Mr. Ignatieff possesses discipline and firmness. “You know when you leave the room who the leader is.”


In addition, Ignatieff is banning "Liberal strategists" from appearing on TV panels without approval.

So far, the designation of TV pundits has not been tested, but the other Ignatieff edict is working. Trying to get any information from this week's caucus proved extremely difficult.

“We have taken a death vow,” one Liberal MP said. “You could hold me down and tickle me. I'm totally mum on this one.”
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Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Liberal MPs gagged part II: The Hounds of the Ignatieffs or the Curious Incident of the Liberal MPs who did not bark

"The dog did nothing in the night-time,"Holmes said. "That was the curious incident."

According to Maclean's columnist Kady O'Malley, the office of Michael Ignatieff has said it is "absolutely untrue" that Liberal MPs have been told not to speak at Gaza solidarity rallies on the pain of having their nominations rejected in the next election. The question then is why was at least one rally organizing committee told otherwise when invitations were extended to Liberal MPs and why is it that not one Liberal MP addressed a single one of the cross-Canada rallies last weekend when NDP MPs such as Irene Mathysson and even a Liberal MPP from Dalton McGuinty's caucus did? Normally, loquacious MPs would climb over each other for the chance to speak to thousands of people and there is no shortage of MPs in the Liberal caucus who have been outspoken supporters of the Palestinians in the past.

Is Ignatieff's office telling the truth or is this a case of plausible deniability?
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Monday, 5 January 2009

Liberal MPs gagged on Gaza

I've just heard word from a reliable source that Liberal MPs have been instructed not to speak at Gaza solidarity rallies with the threat that if they do their nominations forms will not be signed for the next election. I wonder if Liberals have been given the same instruction in relation to pro-Israel rallies?

Click here for an update.
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Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Liberal leadership prospects narrow

John Manley announced today that he will not be a candidate for the Liberal leadership, surprising many pundits. The non-candidacies of Manley and former New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna means that the support of the powerful Business Liberal faction of the Liberal Party will coalesce behind Michael Ignatieff. This sets the scene for a showdown with Bob Rae at next year's leadership convention with Rae arguing that the Liberals should lead a "unite the left" movement and Ignatieff calling for the Liberals to move "back" to the centre. Both these arguments are deeply flawed.

Bob Rae sees himself as a Canadian Obama but he's really the Great White North's answer to Joe Lieberman. He is, with good cause, viewed by New Democrats as a traitor for obvious reasons and a fraud who squandered the miraculous opportunity given the Ontario NDP in 1990 to permanently reshape politics in that province and the country thanks to his abandonment of public auto insurance and his betrayal of labour through the social contract. Rae can no more "unite the left" under his banner than Sarah Palin can unite feminists under hers. While Rae's ego and arrogance leads him to believe that NDP and Green voters would flock to him because of the force of his personality he is, in fact, not only loathed by NDP activists who would balk at any formal co-operation between the NDP and Rae's Liberals but he is deeply mistrusted by progressives, unionists and conscientious working class voters even if they are not NDP partisans. For the Liberals "uniting the left" may make sense as a strategy (though it makes no sense for the left to put their faith in the Liberals), Rae is just about the last person who can bring that concept to fruition.

Meanwhile, Ignatieff and other Business Liberals have argued since October 14th that the reason the Liberal Party lost the election is that they have strayed too far from the "centre" (meaning the centre-right). This is a fallacious argument based on the false premise that the Liberals moved to the left under Dion. In fact, Dion's prescriptions for the country were very much in the centre-right tradition of the Chretien-Martin years. The "carbon tax" which would have shifted taxation from progressive income and corporate taxes to a regressive consumption tax is an eco-capitalist, centre-right, prescription to the environmental crisis that sees the market mechanisms as the solution to global warming and has been embraced by centre right leaders such as BC's Gordon Campbell. Carbon tax aside, Dion has argued that the Harper government has not gone far enough to implement corporate tax cuts saying “A low corporate tax rate is not a right-wing policy or a left-wing policy. It is a sound policy” and, at least before the global economic crisis, he opposed any expansion of government's role in the economy and was open to the idea of private-public partnerships and other incursions by the private sector into public services. The Dion led Liberals showed no interest in tax fairness, in combatting corporate globalization, reversing cuts to EI or any other widespread restoration of social programs to their pre-Chretien state.

The Liberal Party's electoral success has always been based on running from the left - or more accurately fooling Canadians into thinking that a Liberal government would govern from the left while privately assuring corporate interests that promises such as the Chretien era pledges to scrap the GST, scrap NAFTA, implement a national housing strategy or child care would not be implemented in the end. "Campaign from the left and govern from the right" is the formula that has allowed the Liberals to win support from working class and lower and middle income stratas as well as from a healthy section of the business community. The proposition by business Liberals that the party lost the election because they were too left wing is based not on facts but is simply an attempt to rally opposition within the party against the more progressive wing of the party.
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Thursday, 25 September 2008

Cherniak and 9/11 "truthers"

Jason Cherniak and his hangers-on have played fast and loose with the facts in order to insinuate that there are prominent NDPers who advocate wing-nut 9/11 conspiracy theories. How unfortunate that it turns out the first major party to boast a bona fide 9/11 "truther" is none other than the Liberal Party thanks to Liberal candidate Lesley Hughes who claims that Israel is behind the attacks.

German Intelligence (BND) claims to have warned the U.S. last June, the Israeli Mossad and Russian Intelligence in August. Israeli businesses, which had offices in the Towers, vacated the premises a week before the attacks, breaking their lease to do it. About 3000 Americans working there were not so lucky.

Thanks to Dawg's Blawg for doing what Cherniak only dreamed of doing - finding a major party candidate who is also a 911 truther.

Update: The Liberals have dropped Hughes as a candidate. Congratulations to Jason Cherniak for scoring on his own net. Had it not been for his logically tenuous accusations against the NDP various bloggers would not have been motivated to dig in Jason's backyard.
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Monday, 15 September 2008

An exchange with Bob Rae's campaign manager

Shortly after I made my earlier blogpost on Bob Rae's shunning of St. James Town, the Liberal MP's campaign manager posted a public message to me below one of Bob Rae's Facebook notes where I had posted a link to this very blog. Here are his comments and my response.

Blake Webb writes:

I am Bob's campaign manager, and am happy to discuss your concerns.

Bob did attend an all candidates debate in St. James Town less then 6 months ago during the by-election, one of eight in total.

With a compressed campaign period - it is impossible for us to commit to another 8 debates. We have been in touch many community organizations who have agreed to work together to host joint debates throughout the riding (the St. James Town Safety Committee being one of them).

Feel free to contact me at our campaign office - 416-922-0401. Would be happy to talk to you further about it.

Regards

Blake Webb


My response:

Hi Blake,

You should probably talk to the St. James Town people rather than me. However, let me ask you this; if you are expecting all candidates meetings to be consolidated does this mean you are expecting either the Rosedale neighbourhood association to pack up their meeting and head down to St. James Town or the Cabbagetown people to pack up and do the same? No. My understanding is that you want St. James Town voters to go to someone else's neighbourhood despite the fact that St. James Town is by far the most populous neighbourhood of the three. Toronto Centre has 84,000 voters. Over 20,000 people live in St. James Town. The math is compelling.

Now ask yourself, why is the Bob Rae campaign prioritizing wealthier but less populous neighbourhoods over St. James Town? I think you'll find the answer in my blog post. That's probably also a pretty good reason why folks in SJT shouldn't be voting for Bob Rae. If they are also rans behind more prosperous neighbourhoods in Bob's book then they should give him the same lack of consideration.

As for you claim that it is impossible for Bob to commit to 8 debates because of a "compressed campaign period" I think the problem is more that Bob is spending much of the time campaigning in other ridings. That's his choice but I don't think it gives him a licence to complain or to favour wealthy neighbourhoods in his riding over poor ones.


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Bob Rae shunning the poor?

I've heard from several different sources today that Liberal MP Bob Rae is trying to give the brush off to an all-candidates meeting planned for St. Jamestown on October 8th. Rae says his schedule is too busy and his people are trying to get the St. Jamestown planning committee to go to all candidates meetings planned in upper middle class Cabbagetown or upper class Rosedale instead!

I guess I can see Bob's point. After all, the issues facing the poor and working poor living in substandard bedbug and cockroach infested housing in St. Jamestown are so much like those of the superrich in Rosedale or the white collar professionals of Cabbagetown.

St. Jamestown, with over 20,000 residents, is the most densely populated neighbourhood in Canada yet Rae obviously thinks better off neighbourhoods are more important. If signs in past elections are any indication, there is a stronger Liberal vote in St. Jamestown than in either of its neighbouring communities but they just aren't Bob's preferred class of voter.

Perhaps Rae doesn't want to explain why the Liberals never got around to implementing the housing strategy they promised in the Red Book in 1993? Perhaps he has nothing to offer working poor people in the way of fixing the EI system that Paul Martin broke, or restoring the federal transfers to provincial social programs that the Liberals cut? Rae certainly can't talk about childcare now that the Dion Liberals have abandoned the child care plan that was offered last election in favour of expanding Stephen Harper's child care rebate - which they mocked last time - and which will do nothing to actually provide quality, inexpensive, public and non-profit care.

In his recent screed against the NDP Bob complains that the NDP campaign in this past spring's by-election consisted of "class warfare and character assassination. Corporations bad, wealth creation bad, rich guys vs poor guys, "working families" vs what? Lazy families?"

The real problem is not that the NDP is preaching "class warfare" (if only) but that Bob Rae doesn't want to talk about class issues and would rather pretend they don't exist. Let the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Let Canada languish with an unacceptable rate of child poverty. Let our affordable housing stock decay and public housing shrink. Sure, Rae's riding of Toronto Centre may have one of the largest populations of urban poor in Canada - but don't expect him to talk to them.

Rae doesn't have a class analysis now and he didn't have one when he claimed to be a New Democrat. Now he's showing that he has no class either.
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