Canada – (Liberal) aftermath of 2011 elections

Written by  //  April 14, 2013  //  Canada, Politics  //  1 Comment

Liberal Party of Canada ; Liberal Renaissance libéral
Don Tapscott: Rethinking Government, Democracy and Politics for the Age of Networked Intelligence / Repenser le gouvernement, la démocratie et la politique dans l’âge des réseaux de renseignement

Flowchart for hijacking the Liberal Party of Canada

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Justin Trudeau offers key glimpses of next Liberal platform
(CTV News) … on some select issues, Trudeau has offered some glimpses of where he’d take the party, and the country, if given the chance:
Democratic reform: Trudeau unveiled a detailed five-point plan aimed at making Canada’s electoral system more representative of Canadians’ choices and MPs more responsive to the views of their constituents.
National unity: Trudeau has ruled out any attempt to finally secure Quebec’s signature on the Constitution … He says Quebecers aren’t interested in re-opening old constitutional squabbles. He supports the Clarity Act.
Senate reform: Trudeau considers an elected Senate a “terrible idea” that would exacerbate the under-representation of western provinces and potentially result in parliamentary gridlock on issues where the Senate was at odds with the House of Commons. He said he believes better quality appointments, along with 12-year term limits, are all that’s required to fix the much-maligned upper house.
Natural resources: Trudeau is opposed to the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to carry bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to the B.C. coast, but is open to other, less environmentally problematic pipeline proposals. He supports the contentious Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport bitumen from northern Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries.
He supports foreign ownership, including by state-owned enterprises like China’s CNOOC, in the oilsands and other Canadian resources. He favours putting a price on carbon but has not specified [in what form]. He would not attempt to reinstate the hated national energy program instituted by his father.
Education: A Trudeau government’s “highest national economic priority” would be to increase the proportion of Canadians with post-secondary education to 70 per cent from the current rate of just over 50 per cent. He has not specified how he’d do it, but has mused about making student loans repayable according to income earned after graduation, creating a personal registered education savings plan program, and working with private and non-profit sectors to increase workplace training.
Economy: Trudeau has said his focus will be on improving the standard of living and economic security of middle class Canadians. He has not provided details, other than to rule out increasing the GST back to 7 per cent from the current 5 per cent and saying he would scrap the Harper government’s plan to raise the age of eligibility for old age security to 67 from 65. Trudeau has also ruled out changes to corporate tax rates and the possibility of a so-called “wealth tax” on high-income Canadians.
Gun control: Trudeau has described the Chretien-era long-gun registry as a “failed” policy that he has no plans to revisit.
Justin Trudeau Faces Challenges To Rebuild Liberal Party, Manage Expectations
(Canadian Press via HuffPost) Until Parliament breaks for the summer in late June, the tentative plan is to have Trudeau meet the challenge head on, spending considerable time in the Commons, honing his fencing skills and growing more comfortable in his new starring role.
His schedule will be rebalanced when Parliament resumes in the fall, so that he can spend more time on the road doing what he does best: thrilling adoring crowds, raising money, motivating Liberal troops, building a campaign machine and recruiting potential candidates.
Sins of the father
By Bob Plamondon, Ottawa Citizen
If Justin Trudeau wants to be his own man and win a national election on his own terms he should refrain from invoking his father’s memory except to the extent that he disagrees with his policies.
Just as he turned heads when one day he said the gun registry was a mistake, how refreshing it would be to hear him say that the National Energy Program was an unmitigated disaster for the West; that the policies of the 1970s and 1980s that drove away investment and jobs, such as the Foreign Investment Review Agency, were misguided; that record deficits of the early 1980s placed an immoral burden on the generation of Canadians that followed; that a national Constitution should be an instrument of unity and that it was a mistake to proceed over the objections of the government of Quebec.
It is unjust when the sins of the father land on the son. So for Justin to succeed he should not seek to build upon the legacy of his father, but rather work to overcome it.
Justin Trudeau and the challenges ahead for the Liberal Party
(Globe & Mail editorial) A new chapter in the history of the Liberal Party, and Canadian politics, is about to open. By the end of this weekend, barring a historically shocking upset, Justin Trudeau will be the Liberal Leader. He will excite and energize public life, breathe hope into the often cynical pursuit of politics, and at once rattle the cages of Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair. His is a confident voice for federalism, a reasonable if somewhat fuzzy champion of progressivism, an infectious spirit for all.
… Over the next 700 days, he and his Liberals have a lot of convincing to do. He has the skills of persuasion, and may in a Reaganesque way connect with ordinary people struggling with extraordinary times. His passion for Canada – and belief that this country can be better – will open hearts and chequebooks. But the party should never forget a lesson from that other Trudeau, that on election day we can be sure that reason almost always trumps passion.
7 February
Stéphane Dion: Quebeckers want more clarity than 50% plus one
(Globe & Mail) Charles Taylor supports the New Democratic Party’s Bill C-470, which proposes to make a simple majority of valid votes expressed in a referendum the threshold at which the obligation to negotiate the secession of Quebec would set in. In doing so, Professor Taylor and the NDP are at odds with Quebeckers and the Supreme Court. Maclean’s articles tagged ‘Clarity Act’
3 February
Michael Den Tandt: ‘Hands off Justin’ becomes mantra of Liberal leadership race
The Conservatives have built their electoral success, not on likeability, but on the calculated formation of public policy, based on data. Until Liberals are prepared to do that or better, whatever heresies may result, they really are chatting among themselves across a little table. And this leadership race, Trudeau or no Trudeau, is just a talk show.
2 February
Stéphane Dion: The Senate reform bill: A constitutional danger for Canada
I bring to your attention a text that was published in the Inroads Journal some time ago. I explain why the Conservative’s Senate reform project, Bill C-7, is ill-conceived, dangerous for Canada, unfair for Alberta and British Colombia, and most likely unconstitutional. Stéphane Dion – In Roads- EN

2012

28 November
Trudeau admits comments may have affected Calgary byelection
(CBC) Says anti-Alberta remarks he made 2 years ago may have hurt Liberal candidate
23 November
At Issue Panel on Justin Trudeau, the Liberals and Alberta not impressed by Justin Trudeau’s Alberta remarks
Govt MPs attack Liberal opposition for comments on province of Alberta
22 November
Bad news for Liberals with Fontana, McGuinty, is good news to Harper’s Conservatives
Conservatives are having a hard time masking their glee this week over two major blows to Liberal fortunes.Some ill-advised remarks and a critic’s resignation by Ottawa MP David McGuinty, in addition to the arrest of London mayor and former Liberal cabinet minister Joe Fontana, gave Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government plenty of new ammunition to pummel their perennially favourite rivals.
For Liberals, the timing couldn’t be worse, especially in light of the looming by-elections. Polls have been showing Liberals’ chances rising in Calgary Centre — enough to pose a serious challenge to Conservative candidate Joan Crockatt. But on Tuesday, McGuinty threw out some back-of-the-hand remarks about Alberta MPs while talking to a reporter outside a Commons committee room. He slammed Alberta’s Conservative representatives for putting their province ahead of the national interest.
20 November
Opinion: With Nexen stand, Justin Trudeau signals he won’t be pigeon-holed as vacuous pop star
Among other things, his take on China trade deftly shoves him over to the current Liberal party’s economic right wing. It also shows — not for the first time — that he has the capacity to surprise.
To give credit where credit is due: The overwhelming favourite to win the Liberal crown didn’t need to take this position, which puts him offside of much of the progressive left, as well as public opinion.
Justin Trudeau talks up Nexen bid in Calgary
Trudeau still opposed to Northern Gateway pipeline
(Canada.com) Liberal leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau weighed in on a controversial bid for oil company Nexen during a visit to Calgary to support Harvey Locke in the federal Calgary Centre byelection.
Trudeau has surprised many by coming out in favour of the $15-billion takeover of Calgary-based Nexen — Canada’s sixth-largest oil company — by China’s state-owned energy giant CNOOC.
In an opinion piece published in Postmedia newspapers Tuesday, Trudeau said the deal would be “good for Canada” because the investment will help create middle-class jobs and bolster its trading relationship with China.
L. Ian MacDonald: Third-place Liberals still have brand equity
(Canada.com) You need to be very careful about writing off the Liberals. They may have fallen to third place, but they still have huge equity in their brand. And they still have a rank and file, and proved it at their convention last January, when 3,400 people paid their own way to Ottawa.
29 September
Op-Ed: Is the Trudeau name still a strong brand? NO
Trudeau’s policies of high deficits, an activist federal government and economic protectionism are finally fading out of fashion, writes Adam Daifallah.
(Ottawa Citizen) The current government has quietly and craftily de-emphasized or even jettisoned many of the symbols and policies the Trudeau era championed. Stephen Harper and his cabinet never mention the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, eschew anti-Americanism, take principled and controversial stands on foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, and have abandoned the Trudeau notion of Quebec as being the same as any other province (recall Harper’s “nation” resolution). Those who are coming of voting age now — those born after Trudeau left office — will never have the emotional connection to the Trudeau vision of Canada some of their parents do. [They may not connect it with Trudeau, but there are many who espouse the vision]
Of course, the Trudeau brand still has strength in some quarters. If it didn’t, Justin wouldn’t be in a position to run for leader in the first place. He is nothing without his name. He has not distinguished himself by any big policy idea, or by his performance in the House of Commons.
INGRID PERITZ and DANIEL LEBLANC: Justin Trudeau’s success grounded in hard work
(Globe & Mail) Justin Trudeau has spent his short political life trying to prove to skeptics that he’s more than a kid trading on one of the most famous names in Canadian politics. And the place where he first had to prove it is a rough-and-tumble district in north-central Montreal.
Even without a formal declaration, Justin Trudeau will generate a lot of opinions and controversy
27 September
With Justin Trudeau as their leader, Liberals would easily win federal election: exclusive poll
(National Post) In an exclusive poll conducted for the National Post, Forum found if Mr. Trudeau were leader of the Liberal Party and an election were held today, the Grits would win, handily, with 39% of the popular vote.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives would come in second, with 32% of the vote, and the NDP — today the Official Opposition and led by Thomas Mulcair — would return to third-party status, with just 20% of the vote.
26 September
Jonathan Kay: Justin Trudeau’s path to PM (if it exists at all) goes straight through Quebec
It’s fashionable to write off Mr. Trudeau as a lightweight, and his party as a spent force. But recent events in Quebec — specifically, Pauline Marois’ election as premier, and the student strikes that indirectly brought her separatist party to power — suggest there is an avenue for the Liberals, with Mr. Trudeau at the helm, to make themselves relevant again in Canadian politics, and perhaps even make a play for power.
First off, anyone who still dismisses Mr. Trudeau as an untested political dilettante isn’t paying attention. As early as 2006, he was chairing the Liberals’ youth-renewal task force. In 2008, he became an MP — and he did so in the competitive, highly multicultural, hardscrabble east-end Montreal riding of Papineau. In the 2008 election, he fought a hard door-to-door ground war against former BQ vice-president Vivian Barbot, defeating the incumbent by fewer than 1,200 votes. In 2011, he survived the Orange Wave, defeating his NDP challenger by more than 4,000 votes. Justin Trudeau’s inner circle draws heavily on help of long-time friends
8 September
Michael Ignatieff heading back to U.S. with half-time post at Harvard
(National Post) Former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is taking half-time teaching posts at Harvard and the University of Toronto.
Ignatieff joins the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto with a half-time appointment as professor this month. In January he is to assume a half-time appointment as professor of practice at the Harvard Kennedy School.
7 September
Justin Trudeau will run for Liberal leadership: columnist
He will make it official in due course, John Iveson of the National Post says
5 September
Liberal Caucus Meeting: Rae Compares Harper To Eastwood, Pitches Unity Vision
(Canadian Press via HuffPost) Liberals had been positioning themselves as the party of national unity in anticipation of Tuesday’s Parti Quebecois election victory in Quebec, but Rae pitched a far more pan-Canadian message as the 35 MPs and 40 Liberal senators sat down for their fall planning session.
In a clear effort to spread his embattled party’s federalist credentials beyond the rancorous old French-English divide, Rae used Alberta’s olive branch on a national energy policy to pillory Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s long-standing reticence toward first ministers’ meetings.
Harper has met with the premiers en masse only twice since coming to office in 2006, and has indicated he intends to keep it that way.
20 July
Lawrence Martin: Trudeau’s team takes shape
(iPolitics) Trudeau has a big network of support to call on. As the party’s biggest draw for the last several years, he’s attended countless fundraisers across the country. The IOUs have piled up as has his contact list. His Twitter following dwarfs other possible leadership contenders by more than 100,000. … One of the things Trudeau must do is find a way of distancing himself from the policies of his father. He has to show he thinks for himself, has his own ideas and isn’t overly influenced by his father’s old network. … Given Trudeau’s relative lack of experience at running anything, having the right management team will be critical. Problems at the managerial level have plagued recent Liberal leaders. … Compared to Stephen Harper’s operation, these ones didn’t measure up. That kind of disadvantage is something the Liberals, whose organization has improved under Bob Rae, can no longer afford.
25 June
Bruce Anderson: Marc Garneau could have the right stuff for Liberal leader
If Mr. Garneau enters the race, touting interesting ideas for the future of the country, his candidacy may become a pretty interesting story line. For many voters, he may have already passed some pretty important qualifying exams.
20 June
Lessons for Justin Trudeau from John Turner on being Liberal ‘saviour’
(Toronto Star) Trudeau and all Liberals should study Turner’s tenure as leader closely because it provides a prime lesson into what can happen to a political party that pins its hopes for success solely on finding a “saviour.”
13 June
Tasha Kheiriddin: Bob Rae didn’t want to be captain of a sinking ship
We can always count on Tasha for the conservative-negative view

Rae won’t seek Liberal leadership

“The way in which I can serve my party best is by not running for the leadership,” Mr. Rae told reporters Wednesday after revealing his decision to the Liberal caucus.
“It hasn’t been an easy decision,” he acknowledged, citing pressure from colleagues and friends, along with speculation in the media that he would run.
But “I think it’s best for the party and it’s a decision that I feel comfortable with,” he concluded.
Mr. Rae, 63, confirmed he will remain as Interim Leader until a permanent replacement is chosen next spring.
(National Post) Bob Rae won’t run for Liberal leadership as all eyes now turn to Justin Trudeau
7 June
As Liberal Party considers letting Bob Rae run for leader, Canadians say they prefer Justin Trudeau
7 June
Bob Rae To Be Allowed To Run In Liberal Leadership Race
(CBC) Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae will be permitted to run in his party’s leadership race and he is expected to enter the race, CBC News has learned.
3 June
Michael Den Tandt: Tory, NDP principles may be a gift to the Liberals
(National Post) We now have, for the first time many of us can remember, principles-based politics. Here’s Mulcair, environmentalist firebrand, with an entire industry anxious to persuade him that it is not, in fact, the modern face of evil. And here’s Harper, doggedly driving the relationship between Ottawa and the economy through a full-wash cycle. The stage is set for an epic battle between left and right, surely, with resource development as the fulcrum.
… Whoever wins [the Liberal leadership], they’ll have two and a half years to build a new policy kit, drawing on some of the most experienced and calculating political minds in Canada, all bent on exploiting the ideological gap between Conservatives and New Democrats.
Liberal leadership race to heat up in June, once Bob Rae’s intentions are clear
(Toronto Star) Liberal party president Mike Crawley says there are also about nine other people who are considering their chances for a leadership run — and that some of them may launch campaigns as soon as July, after the party sets the date and spending limits for the contest.
28 May
Opposition vows to keep up pressure on budget bill
(National Post) … The Liberals and NDP both vowed Monday to keep pressuring the government to back down on the “sweeping” changes contained in Bill C-38.
18 April
Andrew Coyne: Liberals fail to grasp direness of their situation, nearly a year after collapse
The way for Liberals to break out of the box they are in is to redefine the centre: to be more Conservative than the Conservatives on some issues, more NDP than the NDP on others, and so attract support from both. A party that went where the free-market Tories would not — on supply management for instance, or deregulation of broadcasting — without their autocratic impulses; a party that was willing to advocate for sensible environmental policy — which means making consumers pay the full environmental cost for things — unencumbered by the NDP’s ties to the unions: such a party would have every chance of surviving, and what is more, of mattering.
But that requires a boldness — of vision, and of action — that so far seems in short supply.
20 March
John Ivison: Conservative ads could force Bob Rae to make decision on Liberal leadership
(National Post) Mr. Rae now thinks the Liberal party has a “responsibility” to respond and defend his record as NDP Premier. The party is planning to raise new money in response to the ad and mount a counter-attack with those funds.
This has triggered a backlash from a number of Liberals I spoke to Tuesday, who are uncomfortable about the idea of squandering the party’s meagre war-chest to defend the man who is still, nominally, the interim leader.
28 January
Liberals Fight for Shared Prosperity and Equality of Opportunity for All Canadians
“At the heart of the Liberal ideal is the belief in shared prosperity,” said Mr. Rae. “Addressing social barriers like poverty, mental illness and a lack of affordable housing is crucial to ensuring that Canada has a strong, sustainable economy.”
While the Conservatives would have Canadians believe that economic and social policy are mutually exclusive, Liberals understand that the two are intrinsically linked.
The Liberals need a new leader: What about Bob?
(Globe & Mail) … The Liberals invited communications guru Don Tapscott to be their keynote speaker at the convention in part because of his reputation for understanding the Millennial generation. He isn’t counting Mr. Rae out. “It would be reasonable to conclude that anybody of Mr. Rae’s age is yesterday’s man,” he says. But, in fact, Mr. Rae is one of the people “driving this vision” of the party as an engaged, open network that reaches out across all kinds of channels to build community and draw young people into a real discussion about ideas.
20 January
Bob Rae More Popular Than Stephen Harper In New Polling
Though Canadians would rather vote for the federal Conservatives, they have a much better opinion of the Liberal Party’s Bob Rae than they do of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
NCC slammed for ‘disgusting character assassination’ attack ad against Rae
Liberal and New Democrat MPs say the NCC’s attack ad against Bob Rae suggests Parliament should review the role of heavily-financed third-party lobby groups between elections.
17 January
5 things the Liberal convention was buzzing about
16 January
Andrew Coyne: Liberals choose once again to play follow the leader
If they are to survive Liberals need to make themselves into something more than a leadership cult, but rather a democratic alternative to the other main parties. But in their current mood — deferential as ever to the leader, indistinct as ever on policy — it’s hard to see them as much of either: democratic or an alternative.
Comedian Mark Critch talks about This Hour Has 22 Minutes’ coverage of the weekend Liberal convention.

22 Minutes’ Liberal laughs
15 January
Liberals elect Crawley as president, reject US-style primaries
Delegates at the biennial policy convention voted down the controversial resolution that would have seen the new leader elected in a series of staggered votes across the country. It had required the support of two-thirds of the delegates as it is a change to the constitution. The amendment, meanwhile, provoked a passionate debate.
Liberals Taking Internet Lead over Conservatives and New Democrats
The federal Liberals just completed their policy convention. One of the additions to this year’s Liberal Convention was a complete embrace of the Internet, social media, and online video.
Stephen Maher: Liberal party starting to resemble Bob Rae
(Canada.com) Back when he was a New Democrat, Bob Rae once said, “The Liberals are a beanbag kind of party that looks like the last person that sat in it.”
In a way the most significant business of Liberals in frigid Ottawa this weekend was selecting the person who will decide when Rae will have to vacate the beanbag, ensuring the race for the permanent seat is fair.
(CBC) Liberals choose renewal in electing Crawley Favour legalizing marijuana, reject severing ties to monarchy
14 January
Liberals vote to add ‘supporters’ to membership
Liberals agreed Saturday night to allow people to join their party as “supporters,” a move interim leader Bob Rae implored delegates to take. Rae said creating the supporter category, which will allow Canadians to take part in future leadership votes without paying a membership fee, will help break down walls between the Liberal party and citizens. (Globe & Mail): Liberals will let non-members vote for next leader
Jeffrey Simpson: The last man standing will be … Bob Rae
Beleaguered Liberals could have fallen into factional infighting, as shattered parties often do. Under Mr. Rae, harmony has reigned in caucus, fundraising has picked up, media exposure has been won, and Mr. Rae has earned the highest badge of partisan honour: personal attacks from the Conservatives.
13 January
‘We have picked ourselves up,’ Rae tells Liberal convention
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae officially kicked off the federal Liberals’ biennial convention Friday with a frank assessment of his party’s electoral defeat, but also a reminder that, while bloodied and bruised, “we were not knocked out.”
John Ivison: Sometimes honesty isn’t really that great a policy
One of the more interesting internal contests at the Liberal convention is for the post of national policy chair. … Paul Summerville, a former economist with RBC Dominion and TD Bank, is running for the job and would be a shoo-in — were it not for the fact he ran for the NDP in the St Paul’s riding in Toronto in 2006.
12 January
From Liberal club to open network
Networks and movements will succeed; clubs and tribes will fail. Citizens will remain outside the partisan bubble as long as it is there. The party has an opportunity to prove it understands what’s happening, blow the doors wide open and let the people in. Or it can enjoy these last 34 seats before they disappear, too.
By Pascal Zamprelli
(Montreal Gazette) If the Liberal Party does not stop seeing itself as a private club, complete with membership dues, Byzantine governance structures and little plastic cards, it will probably further slip into political irrelevance. It must instead see itself as a network, a hub of ideas and activity that brings people together to collaborate in pursuit of shared objectives. Clubs thrive in bubbles; networks tear them down.
Bob Rae: Liberal Leadership Ambitions Loom Ahead Of Party’s Biennial Convention
(HuffPost) Despite Rae’s pledge that he will not use the interim position as a springboard to permanent leadership of the party, some Liberals believed Rae’s team would successfully build a narrative suggesting that since their man was doing such an excellent job as leader, he should be given a shot at the real deal and that a consensus would build that he was the Liberals’ best choice.
Time For Liberals to Take Long, Hard Look in the Mirror
If we learn from our mistakes over the past decade and we all commit to being consistently forthright with Canadians about the challenges we are facing as a nation, then this convention will mark the end of the beginning of our rebuilding process and we will be well positioned to attract a strong field of candidates for our leadership contest. If not, it may mark the end of the rebuilding process.
11 January
Andrew Coyne: Crux of Liberal convention is one of existence itself
(National Post) Fresh from the worst pasting in its history, the party must decide not just what it will be, but whether it will be. How it answers the first will go a long way to answering the second. Both will depend on how well it understands the reasons for its defeat, and how bold it is prepared to be in response. And much will be decided at this week’s convention.
… The question before the Liberals is existential — why be a Liberal, rather than a member of one of the other parties? What do we offer that they don’t? And part of the answer to that has to be: as a Liberal you will actually have a say in how the party is run. The near destruction of the party is, in a way, its comparative advantage here.
6 January
Liberal directors release final ideas for ‘radical’ change
The final proposals designed by the Liberal Party of Canada’s national board to make “sweeping” and “radical” changes to the party were released Friday.
Liberals to vote on complete overhaul
2011
25 December
Bob Rae’s Christmas in Kabul
Canada is no longer in combat, and no longer in Kandahar. There are no embedded reporters in Kabul, and the journalistic interest in the current mission is almost zero. But to create a sustainable capacity in Afghanistan for its own security is a deeply important job. It is not a job that lends itself to artificial timelines or deadlines, and in many respects should have been much more of a focus for a much longer time. It does not create as much drama as “fighting bad guys”, but it is just as important.
MP Garneau eyes run at Liberal leadership
Former astronaut waiting to see who else will seek party’s top job
(CBC) Liberal MP Marc Garneau is keeping the door open to a potential run at his party’s leadership, but says he would also be willing to support a younger candidate who could revive the Grits
15 December
Rodger Cuzner: Twas the week before Christmas…
Twas the week before Christmas and all over the Hill
The humbuggish Tories were imposing their will.
The stockings in Muskoka were stuffed to the brim
But life for First Nations remained woefully grim.

22 December
Convention exclusivity hinders Liberal rebuilding effort
As Grits gather in mid-January to elect a new president, the delegates will be mostly male and bloggers will have to dig deep into their pockets to attend. The two issues have emerged as potential irritants as Liberals prepare for their Ottawa policy convention.
8 December
Reports of the Liberal Party’s death are greatly exaggerated
(Westmount Examiner) At the Westmount-Ville-Marie General Meeting on Nov. 20, the young Westmounter [Roger Hilton] was appointed to a position on the Board of Directors of the Liberal Party. Ironically, on the following day, political journalist Peter C. Newman declared the death of the Liberals.
Newcomer Hilton dismisses this death sentence.
Westmount Liberal MP Marc Garneau also strongly disagrees with Newman’s autopsy of the Liberal Party, but does acknowledge that the author identifies “a lot of reasons why we have gone downhill in recent years.”
As to their infamous sense of entitlement? “That’s not there anymore, I can promise you that,” Garneau laughed. “We don’t feel that we’re entitled to anything. Canadians have told us that clearly last election.”
1 December
Kelly McParland: Conservatives revive Watergate in dirty tricks against Cotler
It’s low-down, squalid and beneath the dignity of any government, of any stripe. But rather than apologize and back off, Tory officials bobbed and weaved and tried to justify it when finally forced to admit their responsibility.
29 November
Can anyone touch Copps? Liberals ponder party leadership
The best thing about the 2012 presidential race is the diversity of the candidates, Floyd says. There’s Sheila Copps, who has the name recognition. Mike Crawley, a grassroots Ontario Liberal who once led the provincial party. Alexandra Mendes, a Quebec MP who was defeated in the election. Ron Hartling, a local organizer who helped the Liberals hang onto the Kingston and the Islands riding. And Charles Ward, an Albertan who wants to uncover more Liberals in the West.
25 November
Michael Valpy: Is a Liberal comeback mission impossible?
(Globe & Mail) National president Alfred Apps estimates that 80 of the party’s 308 riding associations are dormant. In almost 100 ridings, Liberals attracted less than 10 per cent of the vote in the last election. Party membership has plummeted over little more than two decades from half a million to about 35,000, and donations are less than half those of the Conservatives. …
As state supports diminish and taxation advantages are increasingly skewed to the wealthy, the middle class shrinks and inequality increases. … This month, interim Liberal leader Bob Rae launched a direct appeal to Canada’s vanishing middle class with a declaration that his party will bang the drums loudly for all those things drifting beyond the middle-class grasp: good, affordable housing and education, “interesting and rewarding” jobs, a redoubtable health-care system and “retirement with dignity.”
22 November
Why the Liberals are yesterday’s party
Special interests and entrenched fiefdoms doomed the Liberals to electoral defeat, writes Peter C. Newman
(Maclean’s) The attack ads defined Ignatieff in a way the Liberals did not—it turned out, could not—answer. Not because the accusations were true, but because they were repeated with brainwashing frequency.
12 November
Down to the nitty-gritty: Rebuilding the Liberal party
(National Post) In his bid for the party presidency, [Mike] Crawley says the long decline of the once-unbeatable brand, which culminated in a crushing electoral defeat in May, provides a chance for Liberals to finally do what they have long needed to do: Find a purpose.
10 November
The case against Liberal primaries
Interim leader Bob Rae says he would support U.S.-style primaries to select his replacement. Here’s why it’s a bad idea.
On Thursday, the Liberal party’s national executive released a list of proposals for reforming and restructuring the party, after leaking it to select media days earlier. (The leak is a major problem in itself, but one for another day.) The idea generating the most attention would see the Liberals adopt an open primary system for selecting the party’s leader and riding nomination candidates.
10 November
A future with Rae
(Ottawa Citizen)In a speech Wednesday at the Economic Club of Canada, Rae began to flesh out his vision of the future of the Liberal party. Rae defines it as the party of the middle class, which has been a casualty, he says, of ideological politics. It is a point that is likely to resonate with many. He is also defining the Liberals as the party of facts and serious debate, which is fertile ground at a time when the Conservatives’ omnibus crime bill is just the latest example of policy at odds with evidence.
John Ibbitson: Will the New Centre hold for Liberals?
As the Liberal Party lifts the curtain this week on its effort to reinvent itself, a central question emerges: Is a New Centre emerging in Canadian political life?
7 November
Liberal Party executive at last proposes substantive change

One of the most encouraging signs to emerge to date is a series of reforms the national executive is coming forward with in the days to come as part of a White Paper to overhaul the inner workings of the party. Let me start with the positives: Some of the changes are outstanding, long overdue reforms that the executive deserves massive kudos for.
Alfred Apps: On behalf of your National Board of Directors, I am pleased to submit “A Roadmap to Renewal” for the review and consideration of all Liberals. It sets out some suggested ‘renewal and rebuilding’ resolutions, inspired and informed by grassroots input, for final consideration at our upcoming Ottawa 2012 – Liberal Biennial Convention (January 13-15).
30 August
Bob Rae scoffs at Liberal-NDP merger ‘fiction’
(Globe & Mail) Mr. Rae, who also characterized the merger idea as mere “media speculation” that crops up during the summer political doldrums, made his comments outside of his party’s summer caucus retreat. The issue came to the fore Monday in the wake of NDP leader Jack Layton’s death, with several heavyweight Liberals [e.g. Denis Coderre] talking it up
18 August
Federal Liberals aren’t quite a party of ideas just yet
(National Post) On Wednesday, Liberal health critic Hedy Fry held a press conference to announce what was billed as the “Liberal Vision for Health Care” … and announced that the Liberal vision for health care is to demand the Conservatives do something about it. “
14 August
Liberals face challenge in Quebec, Rae says
(CBC) Rae says it’s a positive sign that Quebecers showed an openness to change when they voted for the NDP in record numbers on May 2.But he says the Liberals must figure out why they weren’t the party of choice for most voters. He says the Liberals need to prove to Quebecers that the party is prepared to listen to them.
10 August
Mike Crawley: Long-term decline of a great party
(Toronto Star) The myth of the federal Liberals as Canada’s natural governing party has been propagated by its members and political observers long after its potency had already begun to wane.
27 July
Copps may run for Liberal party president
20 June
Stéphane Dion steps out of the Liberal shadows
(Globe & Mail) The former Liberal leader is asking questions in the House of Commons and participating in debates. He even attended the NDP convention in Vancouver as an observer.
In addition, he intervened at the beginning of the party’s so-called extraordinary convention Saturday to call for the selection of a permanent leader to be delayed for two years to give the party time to rebuild. His view won the day as Liberals decided to postpone the decision until no later than June, 2013.
18 June
Your decision at the Extraordinary Convention
Posted by Hon. Peter Milliken, Convention Chairperson
Today, delegates voted on two amendments to the Liberal Party of Canada Constitution. With these Special Resolutions, the delegates of the Extraordinary Convention decided the following:
To delay the Leadership Vote to a date between March 1, 2013 and June 30, 2013; and
To set the date of the next biennial convention of the Party to 13 – 15 January 2012 in Ottawa. (Globe & Mail) Federal Liberals won’t pick new leader for full two years … That’s an even greater delay than proposed by party brass, who had wanted Liberals to take 18 to 22 months to rebuild ….
1 June
With stiff upper lip, Bob Rae announces Liberal shadow cabinet
(Globe & Mail) Liberal veteran Ralph Goodale has been given the job of deputy leader while mild-mannered former astronaut Marc Garneau will be the House leader – a role that will see him face off against Conservative Peter Van Loan and New Democrat Thomas Mulcair.
Warren Kinsella:Grit party president must go
Now that Bob Rae is leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, he can get right down to work. First order of business: Fire the party’s president, Alf Apps.
Kelly McParland: Wikileaks shows Liberals devouring themselves from within
… It all cements the notion that Mr. Rae is a wily creature whose evident bonhomie and good nature mask a skilled and calculating politician, and that his boyhood pal Mr. Ignatieff was in over his head and too inflexible to do anything about it. It can’t be helping to soothe tensions within the party, which has lived with the Rae-Ignatieff rivalry for five years and now has Mr. Rae at its head for two more. Paul Martin’s eventual victory over Jean Chretien did little to settle the civil war between their forces, and Mr. Rae is seen by many as the Chretien camp’s main man in the Liberal caucus.
The more we learn, the more evident it becomes that the Liberals did as much or more to bring about their own demise as Stephen Harper ever managed. The party was eating away at itself for years before he came along; all he did was poke it at the right time, and watch it disintegrate.
30 May
Scott Brison: How the Liberals might yet be saved
Leadership is but one element of the rebuilding. What will a renewed Liberal party that appeals to Canadians look like beyond the issue of leadership?
The same Liberal party that presents innovative social policy can present innovative economic, tax, and entrepreneurial strategies that can create the jobs of tomorrow; reform like eliminating capital gains taxes. We must ensure that current policy conveys a strong commitment to supporting our market-driven entrepreneur-led economy. A pro-business Liberal party is a pro-jobs Liberal party.
Scott Reid: Liberals can’t afford to refight old battles
(Toronto Star) It’s time for the Liberal party to get over itself. Rear view recriminations will do exactly nothing to help renew and revitalize the party. Canadians could not be less interested. Old scores will simply have to go unsettled in service to the larger and more urgent project of bringing Liberals together and reigniting their sense of purpose.
A detailed perspective on the approach, tools and tactics required to achieve this enormous objective will be found in the upcoming June edition of Policy Options. However, three key principles offer a sound preview of the way forward.
First, generational change is a categorical imperative. … Second, membership must be grown explosively. … Third, a clear identity must be forged.
27 May
In Peter C. Newman’s book, Ignatieff was ‘the catalyst on the road to ruin’
(Globe & Mail) … the author found a brilliant man so full of ideas that he was unfocused; he found someone bent on seeking redemption and a man who aspired to be a winning politician, having only ever led one revolution – a protest against a pajama party at Upper Canada College.
26 May
Rex Murphy: Better Late Than Never
Rex gives the Liberals a hearty round of applause for finally picking the right leader.
25 May
Liberal [MPs] choose Rae as interim leader in a decision that was confirmed by the party executive.
The Toronto MP and former Ontario premier said he was honoured to accept the position. Montreal MP Marc Garneau, the only other caucus member who had publicly expressed interest in the job, was standing by Rae’s side. Power & Politics (audio) Jane Taber: Bob the rebuilder surveys the Liberal wreckage
21 May
Steve Pinkus & Désirée McGraw: Liberal Party politics distract from real renewal
(National Post op-ed) The Liberal Party of Canada is at a critical juncture. We are no longer the vaunted Red Machine that needs a little retooling and a few drops of oil in order to remain a national party – let alone Canada’s “natural governing party.” We received a strong message from Canadians on May 2nd: Bring us new ideas, new people and a new way of doing things, or fade into the sunset.
There are many of us who are committed to revitalizing the Liberal Party of Canada. We are business people, teachers, parents and activists. We have extensive experience organizing, raising money, formulating policy and campaigning for the party. We have been lobbying the party establishment for reform for many years – without much success.
20 May
John Ivison: Trudeau, Rae don’t want permanent leadership
It is clear to all Liberals that it will be a long time before the party is ready to challenge for government again and that some hard work is required to rebuild the party in the interim. Many Liberals argue that the massive bureaucratic infrastructure that has left the party with 13 semi-autonomous provincial and territorial wings is untenable if the party is going to challenge the streamlined Conservative and NDP machines. “But there is a Catch-22 because the vested interests who want to keep the existing structure have the votes, so anyone honest enough to say they want to blow up the structure won’t get elected,” said one former leadership candidate.
Kelly McParland: Liberals have better choices for caretaker than for leader
Marc Garneau, astronaut, respected national figure, bilingual federalist from Quebec, is willing to stand for the temporary post. Bob Rae, who may not be everyone’s cup of tea but is a skilled, experienced, intelligent hand — the kind the party is desperately short of — says he’s also willing to “accept” the post if the party will guarantee him 18-24 months before a full-time leader is chosen. Either would be a credible face for the party while it sorts out some justification for continuing to exist.
19 May
‘Bob the Rebuilder’ forfeits run at permanent Liberal leadership
The Liberal caucus – 34 MPs and 45 Senators – is to decide next Wednesday on the interim leader. That choice must be ratified by the party’s national board before May 30.
17 May
In our humble opinion, this is what is at the root of the problem – the unelected who will not take responsibility for the débacle. Mr Apps bio vaunts his talents as a businessman and lawyer specializing in corporate mergers, acquisitions and financings. Surely, any CEO he has had dealings with would be fired if he had presided over an equivalent corporate disaster. It is a sad reflection on the basic structural problems of the LPC. But, then, we are only humble workers who toil in the fields.
Liberal president says he won’t resign despite criticism
Mr. Apps said he was not going to seek an extension of his presidency … “When my term expires at the next biennial convention, I will step down, but at the moment I have the support of the national board, I’ve got the support of all provincial and territorial associations across Canada and I believe that we are conducting ourselves in difficult, difficult circumstances in the only way possible in the interest of our party.”
16 May
Jeff Jedras: The latest plan in Liberal hunt for renewal raises some excellent points of concern
13 May
Adam Radwanski: Wanted: a Liberal leader who can grow with the party
What the party needs, more than anything, is someone who knows what he or she doesn’t know. If not quite a blank slate, the Liberals need someone capable of becoming the embodiment of a multi-year renewal process; who has the self-confidence to lead that process by enlisting the help of a new wave of talent, rather than comfortably falling back on the same circles of elites the Liberals have been relying upon since the Chrétien-Martin era.
12 May
Soul Searching and Re-Imagining Our Canada
For our party to survive, for us to get up off the mat and into the ring, it’s imperative that we listen to the message delivered to us by the electorate and begin to reshape our vision to meet the needs of all Canadians in our changing society. We can, and should, be proud of the Canada we helped shaped – … We created the social safety net our country relies upon to maintain our prosperity, we created the right to be equal and free, and we should be proud.
. … The time has come to rebuild this party from the ground up, which means making drastic changes from the top down. Our party president, Alfred Apps, needs to step down so we can begin that process with a new National Executive led by someone who cares passionately about our party and who won’t stand in the way of grassroots democracy and party renewal . While we’re at it, we need generational change from our leaders and candidates, allowing the young minds of the party to take a stronger role in shaping our future.
11 May
Top Liberals defend party executive No decisions yet on key positions after post-election meeting
10 May
Jeff Jedras: Liberals need a leader, and it’s not Alf Apps
… Proposals hatched in backrooms and floated in media leaks are not the way forward.
9 May
Jeffrey Simpson By focusing on leadership, Liberals put cart before horse
Liberals have to figure out who they are, what they stand for and how they will attempt to survive, and maybe eventually prosper, in this radically different political environment. … The party will have trouble raising money, inspiring people of quality to work for it, figuring out where it stands, being heard, let alone being taken seriously for a long time. Faced with such challenges, who would want to be leader anyway?
Liberals to limit interim leadership power
New rules set out by the Liberal Party say an interim party leader won’t be allowed to run for the party’s long-term leadership and won’t be able to talk about a merger with the NDP, according to an internal party document obtained by CBC News
6 May
Jean Chrétien calling Liberal MPs to lobby for Bob Rae
(CBC) Other MPs being discussed as candidates for interim Liberal leader are Ralph Goodale and Wayne Easter, neither of whom speak French, and former astronaut Marc Garneau.
David Herle is adamant that the idea of a merger of the Liberals and NDP is a BAD idea The Insiders: Why not merge?, however, given his own track record, perhaps we should take what he says with a grain of salt?
5 May
Robert Silver: Can Preston Manning save the Liberals?
… In order to get its act together, the Liberal Party needs outside organizations pushing and prodding it. The shorthand for this idea right now in the Canadian context is, as was suggested to me by four completely unrelated individuals, “the Liberal Party needs its own Manning Centre.” … Tom Axworthy suggests something similar – though I would argue very different – in his op-ed in today’s Star when he suggests the Liberal Party needs a think-tank. Read and ponder

One Comment on "Canada – (Liberal) aftermath of 2011 elections"

  1. Liam September 29, 2011 at 8:32 pm · Reply

    I wonder if we might have a conversation about why we still need the Liberals and the NDP, or either one. Certainly, we have conversations about what to do with the Liberal party, but given the circumstances, would it not be fruitful to have a conversation about what the differences still seem to be between the two parties, who’s right in those debates, and whether we can overcome them to get rid of Mr. Harper in 2011? The news is full of stories about the NDP leadership race (Paul Dewar is likely announcing his run this Sunday: so I would argue this conversation will remain timely for most of the next four years. Liam

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