By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, March 19, 2010 - 5 Comments
The Girl Guides of Canada were on the Hill celebrating their 100th anniversary by…
The Girl Guides of Canada were on the Hill celebrating their 100th anniversary by handing out cookies to MPs and then holding a reception in 200 West Block. Below, Liberal MPs Mark Eyking (right) and Denis Coderre sample the goods.
Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe.
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 11:40 PM - 3 Comments
On April 23, 2007, the Globe reported what it had learned from interviews with 30 detainees. Two days later, the paper revealed what the Foreign Affairs department’s own reporting disclosed about torture in Afghanistan. After the premature announcement of a new transfer agreement that week, a new deal was signed on May 3.
Understandably, the issue dominated Question Period during this time—dozens of questions asked between April 23 and May 7 as new stories and allegations came to light. Herein, a selection of questions and answers during that period. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 8:45 PM - 4 Comments
In the first few months of 2007, the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan was discussed during 14 sessions of Question Period: February 6, February 12, February 13, February 21, February 27, March 1, March 2, March 19, March 20, March 21, March 22, March 23, March 26 and March 29. It was on the morning of March 19, that Gordon O’Connor apologized to the House for misleading it about the monitoring of detainees by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Herein, a collection of some of the relevant exchanges during this period. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, November 13, 2009 at 10:10 AM - 13 Comments
Heritage Minister James Moore held a special screening of the Quebec film De Père…
Heritage Minister James Moore held a special screening of the Quebec film De Père en Flic at the National Gallery of Canada. Moore (right) is below with the film’s star, Michel Côté.
Seated together in the theatre were Denis Coderre (right), who resigned in a huff as the Liberals’ Quebec Lieutenant, and Pablo Rodriguez, who was named president of the federal Liberal Quebec caucus after Montreal MP Marc Garneau replaced Coderre.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, October 23, 2009 at 3:16 PM - 18 Comments
This is referenced briefly in the print edition, but here’s a more expansive take.
One could argue that the defining characteristic of Liberal leaders over the last half century is recovery. Pearson, Trudeau and Chretien struggled and recovered. Turner, Martin and Dion struggled and did not. Pearson wins the leadership in 1958 and promptly leads the party to what was then its worst ever defeat. Trudeau nearly loses to Bob Stanfield in 1972 and loses outright to Joe Clark in 1979, and comes back both times to revive his fortunes and win majority governments. And then there’s Chretien. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 10:53 PM - 87 Comments
So everyone’s watching to see whether Denis Coderre will mouth a few congenial platitudes on Radio-Canada on Sunday night. Apparently that’s all it takes to make Coderre’s leader forget that Coderre spent a weekend planning a nationally televised news conference in which Coderre made allegations about the Liberal party that will materially hurt its election chances in Quebec for years to come. What a fun party the Liberals will be to cover after Ignatieff gets done sending that message to his caucus!
By Andrew Coyne - Friday, October 2, 2009 at 5:55 PM - 19 Comments
The Canadian Press reports:
With some colleagues apparently calling for his head and his leader warning he might be punished, embattled Liberal MP Denis Coderre has used a TV appearance to try mending fences…
Liberals waiting for another bombshell from Coderre found themselves exhaling slightly. Party members had feared the worst when Coderre agreed to appear on “Tout le monde en parle,” a wildly popular French-language talk show on Radio-Canada.
The show will only air Sunday but, if a snippet that ran Friday afternoon is any indication, they needn’t worry.
“I think it’s an opportunity to say that we are a great party,” Coderre said in the clip…
Also appearing on Sunday’s broadcast, alongside Coderre: Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, from the legendary rock group Kiss.
I have just one comment. Legendary?
By Paul Wells - Friday, October 2, 2009 at 8:30 AM - 88 Comments
Denis Coderre’s resignation begs the question: can Michael Ignatieff run a tight ship?
They say revenge is a dish best eaten cold, and Denis Coderre has always been fond of generous portions. There was a weekend between Sept. 25, when Michael Ignatieff stopped taking Coderre’s advice on Liberal candidate nominations in two key Montreal ridings, and Sept. 28, when Coderre convened a news conference to resign as Ignatieff’s Quebec lieutenant. During that time, sources say, the Liberal leader telephoned his pugnacious deputy repeatedly. Coderre wouldn’t take the calls. He preferred to plan his revenge at leisure.
So on Monday, Coderre, a scrappy Liberal lifer whose Rolodex is as formidable as his self-regard, told a national television audience he could no longer run his leader’s Quebec operation or serve as his parliamentary defence critic because he had consistently been “short-circuited” by “the leader’s inner circle in Toronto.” Hours later, five other Liberal officials in Quebec with ties to Coderre quit their own positions. Le Devoir’s headline the next day said the party had been “decapitated” in Quebec. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 9:01 AM - 42 Comments
Le Devoir’s young political reporter, recently departed from Ottawa (no fool he) to ply his trade back home in Montreal, turns in easily the best tick-tock of the events leading up to Denis Coderre’s unfortunate televised auto da fé of the other day. This sort of access reporting is obviously open to the obvious caveats — how do we know who his sources were? But couldn’t some of them be (gasp) (hand across brow) self-interested? — but it builds a plausible case that this entire business began as a simple case of crossed wires.
And the hero of the morality play is party president Alfred Apps, who went on his own initiative to Montreal in June to sound out Martin Cauchon as a possible candidate. Cauchon, who is lunching with the President of the Liberal Party of Canada and the man who helped recruit Michael Ignatieff into Canadian politics in the first place, believes himself to be the object of a serious, high-level recruitment initiative. Which, to his eventual woe, he takes seriously. Apps notifies neither his leader nor the party’s Quebec election apparatus of Cauchon’s summer-long ruminations because he doesn’t think he’s made any formal offer. The Quebec election apparatus, Denis Coderre, Esq., prop., recruits a candidate for Outremont, believing as one usually does that Outremont will need a candidate. Enter Nathalie Le Prohon, duly-recruited candidate. Almost simultaneously, Cauchon accepts the offer he believes he was given from the party president. Hijinx ensue.
This sort of reported insider narrative is about 90 light-years removed from the kind of journalism (zzzzzzz) Le Devoir practiced for most of its history. I wonder whether they’ll be debating the déontologie of it all at the next FPJQ meeting. Ah well; it’s a ripping good yarn.
By Andrew Coyne - Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 9:53 PM - 108 Comments
It was predictable enough that Denis Coderre would resign his position as the Liberals’ Quebec “lieutenant” in the wake of Michael Ignatieff’s decision to overrule him in the matter of who should carry the party banner in Outremont. Indeed, after such a public rebuff he could hardly do otherwise: his credibility was shot.
What was not so predictable, perhaps, was that he would do so in such a spectacularly destructive, and self-destructive, fashion: the political equivalent of a suicide bombing. To claim that he was the victim of a Toronto-based cabal — one that, by implication, also held Quebec in its grip — is a particularly incendiary charge in Quebec, ever alert to signs of Anglo domination.
It’s not true, of course: Coderre is not Quebec, and many if not most members of the Liberal Party in Quebec would prefer Martin Cauchon to Denis Coderre as their standard-bearer. Amongst those Liberals, I’d guess, would be a majority of the Quebec caucus, plus the party executive — and Jean Chretien. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 5:45 PM - 86 Comments
The Scene. The Prime Minister was pleading humble competence, all shrugs and up-turned palms. But then Michael Ignatieff, having tried his first two questions in French, had to go and repeat his accusations in English.
“Mr. Speaker, Canadians should be able to count on their government to help them find jobs no matter how they vote and no matter where they live, but instead we have a government that is using infrastructure money like a rewards program,” the Liberal leader alleged.
Mr. Ignatieff leaned forward and put his fingers together. The Conservatives groaned.
“Quebec’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average, yet Quebeckers are receiving the lowest per capita infrastructure funding in all of Canada,” he continued. “How does the Prime Minister explain this? How does he explain his own numbers?”
Turns out he explains it quite simply.
“Mr. Speaker,” Mr. Harper reported, “of course, that is completely false.”
“Your numbers!” a Liberal cried in confusion.
And soon enough, Mr. Harper’s pointy finger was back out, poking a hole in the air before him. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, September 28, 2009 at 12:55 PM - 8 Comments
If, as has been reported, Denis Coderre will be resigning his post as defence critic in the Liberal shadow cabinet, let the record show that these were his last two contributions to Question Period in that role.
Mr. Speaker, the only climate change we have witnessed today is the change in the colour of the Prime Minister’s tie. It has changed from blue to orange. Although the NDP leader and the Conservative Prime Minister are trying to invent a new dance, known as the SOCO or socialist-conservative dance, Quebeckers are no fools. They have no faith in this government. Tomorrow, the Prime Minister will be in Washington. Will this be another Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? We would like to know who will be the real Prime Minister? Will it be the friend of the reformist dinosaurs, who we heard speaking in Sault Ste. Marie, or the smiling Conservative charlatan?
Mr. Speaker, what I find interesting about this minister’s tie is that now that it is almost blue, it is turning orange. At the meeting of the three amigos this summer, President Obama pushed aside, even trivialized, the issue of the “Buy American” clause. He even said that it was not that serious and not to worry. At the time, the Prime Minister had the opportunity to protect the interests of Quebeckers and Canadians, yet he did nothing. Tomorrow marks one month of silence. It has been seven months since he said anything. He will have another opportunity to assert our interests. How can we have confidence in this Prime Minister when he is rendered speechless by President Obama?
By Philippe Gohier - Monday, September 28, 2009 at 12:31 PM - 31 Comments
The Star‘s Susan Delacourt combs the archives:
The executive of the Quebec youth wing…
The Star‘s Susan Delacourt combs the archives:
The executive of the Quebec youth wing of the Liberal Party will ask for the resignation of party leader John Turner at a news conference scheduled for Monday in Montreal.
Time has run out for Mr. Turner, Denis Coderre, the president of the Young Liberals of Quebec , said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Mr. Coderre, once a strong Turner loyalist, co-ordinated the pro-Turner youth movement at the convention that confirmed Mr. Turner’s leadership last November, and was also youth organizer during his 1984 leadership campaign.
By Paul Wells - Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 8:07 PM - 48 Comments
Martin Cauchon has been offered the Liberal nomination in Jeanne-Le Ber, which was contested in 2008 (I was at the nomination meeting. It was very entertaining), on a platter, by Michael Ignatieff at Denis Coderre’s recommendation. Renewal being, apparently, a higher priority for the Liberal party in the northern part of downtown Montreal than it is in the western part.
I suppose they could simply have contested nomination meetings. But that would be wrong.
UPDATE: More. Sheila Gervais, who here criticizes Ignatieff’s eminently criticism-worthy wave of candidate appointments, supported Bob Rae for the Liberal leadership in 2006 and was national director of the party when Jean Chrétien appointed several candidates, but I offer that context only to anticipate obvious rebuttals to the point she’s making, which remains valid.
UPDATER: The Gazette seems to believe Liza Frulla was the Liberal in Jeanne-Le Ber in 2008. She wasn’t.
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 9:32 AM - 76 Comments
Not quite. But then, around here we like the spicy headlines. Here’s what friend Chantal actually says in her column today about the Cauchon-Coderre hijinx:
Both of them might be better advised to pay more attention to Justin Trudeau, a rare rising Liberal star who actually beat a Bloc incumbent to get to the House of Commons. His stock has quietly been going up since then.
In a future succession battle, Trudeau is at least as likely to be a threat to both Cauchon and Coderre as they are to find each other’s names on the final ballot of a leadership vote.
And now you all get to argue in the comments.
By Philippe Gohier - Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 3:49 PM - 10 Comments
Hélène Buzzetti has the scoop: “According to information gathered by Le Devoir, four Quebec…
Hélène Buzzetti has the scoop: “According to information gathered by Le Devoir, four Quebec Liberal MPs are being asked by Denis Coderre to leave politics and hand over their safe seats to a star candidate.”
They are: Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds-Dollars), Raymonde Folco (Laval-Les Îles), and Lise Zarac (LaSalle-Émard). Not exactly household names to those who don’t follow federal politics. The real kicker, though, is the last name on the Coderre hitlist: Stéphane Dion.
Of course, it seems doubtful Ignatieff would install Dion in some sort of leading role should the Liberals win the next election, so shedding him isn’t a huge problem as far as the party’s starting lineup is concerned. Neither are the three others for that matter. (Booting Cauchon, on the other hand, may be a riskier proposition.) Still, there’s something unseemly about letting an overgrown Young Liberal like Denis Coderre do the housecleaning—especially when it comes to showing a former party leader the door. You’d think Ignatieff could find a moment to do that himself.
The widespread thinking is that Coderre wants to install a bunch of yes-(wo)men who’ll do his bidding when he decides to take a run at Ignatieff’s job. (Shudder.) With friends like Coderre, Ignatieff hardly needs enemies.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 11:03 AM - 51 Comments
With all the usual caveats whenever anonymous Liberals are involved, a novel theory is attributed to Denis Coderre here.
Coderre has pressured some long-serving MPs with safe seats to resign, according to a number of Liberal sources. They told CBC News the party wants those seats for star female candidates as part of its renewal process. The sources said former party leader Stéphane Dion, along with Bernard Patry, Raymonde Folco, and Lise Zarac, have all been asked to step aside.
Two of those MPs are publicly downplaying the suggestion. Patry said he did speak to Coderre about his future candidacy, but when asked by CBC News if he felt pressured to resign, he said, “Not really.” ”He asked me if I thought I would run again and I told him yes,” Patry said.
In an interview, Folco said she had heard rumours that she was going to be asked to resign, so she made an appointment to meet with the leader. ”I said, ‘I want to stay’ and he said, ‘It’s true, I want renewal, but you will stay in the party and be the candidate for Laval-Les Îles.’”
Speaking of renewal, Lise Zarac was first elected all of eleven and a half months ago. Change moves swiftly these days.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 6:15 PM - 61 Comments
The Scene. Having not had the opportunity a day earlier to add his unique voice to the discussion, Conservative Gord Brown stood a few minutes before Question Period with a bulletin.
“Mr. Speaker, throughout my great riding of Leeds-Grenville there are shovels in the ground, there are roads, sewers and other infrastructure works being built and repaired and folks are looking forward to the future. Everywhere I travelled in my riding this summer the people told me they are pleased with the direction our government has taken to help position Canada to face tomorrow,” he reported. “My constituents have one message: ‘Remain focused on the economy and do not have an expensive and unnecessary election.’ ”
No doubt. Our last exercise in electoral representation cost the national treasury some $280 million. Even with a drop in the price of oil, another one might add approximately the same to our already overdrawn account.
Mind you, that surely pales in comparison to the cost of sending several dozen men and women to Ottawa after each election so that they might stand in their places every so often and repeat the rote partisan rhetoric of the day.
Not that one should fuss too much over the numbers. For who among us, really, can put a price on precious democracy?
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 4:47 PM - 5 Comments
Denis Coderre embraces his parody.
The “mini-consecration,” as Mr. Coderre called his coming appearances on the Quebec equivalent of Spitting Image , is remarkable given that most characters on the show are current or former party leaders. “I think that it’s an honour to be a part of a show like that,” said Mr. Coderre, who is the first backbencher to get his computerized double on Et Dieu créa … Laflaque…
Getting a spot on Laflaque is only natural for Mr. Coderre, according to the program’s creator, who describes him as a prototypical “old-style politician.” “He is a human caricature,” award-winning cartoonist Serge Chapleau said while introducing the animated version of the glad-handling Mr. Coderre recently.
At last check, Mr. Coderre was using the cartoon as his Facebook photo.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 6:35 PM - 8 Comments
The Scene. In the sandstone bunker named for John A. Macdonald’s public works minister, a man one biography describes as having left politics in “utter disgrace,” Michael Ignatieff and Stephen Harper honoured their forefathers with a meeting. According to one account, Mr. Ignatieff entered the building, home to the Prime Minister’s Office, around 2pm and exited about five minutes after three. A Canadian Press reporter on the scene claims the Liberal leader left through the Elgin Street exit, skillfully avoiding said reporter’s attempt to question him.
Requests for details of the proceedings would not go completely ignored though. Indeed, in short order there were identical statements from those assigned to speak on behalf of both men. The meeting was described as “productive”—a word that would seem to indicate there was a minimum of swearing and likely a complete lack of physical violence. There are vague promises, as of this writing, that the two will meet again later today. The adjective used to describe those discussions will surely be the subject of intense negotiation.
Across the street and up the hill, the business of Parliament was compelled to proceed without them. And not yet sure of how “productive” the negotiations would be, the parties of Messrs. Ignatieff and Harper were compelled to loudly and forcefully make their claims. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 7:11 PM - 26 Comments
The Scene. The good news for the Finance Minister was this: a full 45 minutes of Question Period passed this day without a single query about a federal deficit that may now be on track to total upwards of $170 billion. Not until after QP, surrounded by reporters, did the increasingly gaping hole in the national treasury come up. At which point, Jim Flaherty’s response was as follows.
“Well, you know, economists at TD and economists at the other banks are entitled to their view. I’m sure different economists will have different views. All of them were on average more optimistic than I was in the budget in January but they’re on the low side of the private sector forecasters right now.”
Er. Well, don’t get too worried about that $170 billion then. Indeed, it could be worse. For sure, it might be worse.
That though will be for whoever the Finance Minister is in 2014. Mr. Flaherty, no fool, will have surely bequeathed the position to someone else by then. Denis Coderre, say. Or Thomas Mulcair. Or Pierre Poilievre. Or whoever Prime Minister Gilles Duceppe decides to let handle the books.
In the meantime, the bad news for Mr. Flaherty was this: even without, apparently, the time to prepare some questions about our increasing indebtitude, the opposition still arrived for Question Period ready to press all sorts of issues said to demonstrate some failing or another in the minister. Continue…