By Paul Wells - Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 0 Comments
Four of Jean Chrétien’s six Supreme Court appointees were francophones, including some from outside Quebec; the two anglophones, Fish and Binnie, were Montreal-born McGill graduates who had no trouble in French. At one point Chrétien’s Chief Justice (Antonio Lamer), Clerk of the Privy Council (Jocelyne Bourgon), Chief of Staff (Jean Pelletier), and some large number of his cabinet ministers were francophones. Chrétien’s favourite cabinet minister, Stéphane Dion, introduced an Action Plan for Official Languages in 2003; Paul Martin extended it in 2005.
I belabour all this because Stephen Harper responded to some criticism in a year-end interview with TVA by saying: “As prime minister, I think I’ve given more space to French than any prime minister in the history of the country.” (He began the sentence with a franchement, frankly, that gave me this post’s headline.) Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
A few footnotes to the Trudeau imbroglio.
In 2006, the Bloc Quebecois produced a newspaper ad that read “Don’t let Calgary decide for Quebec.” (Note the cowboy hat over the “r” in Calgary.)
Nine years before that, as Kevin Libin notes in that Western Standard blog post, the Reform party produced a television ad that called for a “voice for all Canadians, not just Quebec politicians.” This drew a bit of criticism. Here is how the Canadian Press reported the story at the time. (Note the former Reform MP who was consulted for analysis.) Continue…
By John Geddes - Monday, November 19, 2012 at 11:38 PM - 0 Comments
One thing is for sure: he can take a punch
Ralph Goodale is not the sort of politician who generates a lot of chatter. He lacks the hint of mystery of, say, Michael Ignatieff, or Stephen Harper’s ideological edge, or Jack Layton’s partisan intensity. By contrast, Goodale has those stolid, dependable qualities we often claim to crave from our politicians, just before turning our gaze back toward more complex and divisive figures.
But Ralph Goodale is the best MP in Canada according to his colleagues, who voted him the honour in an Ipsos-Reid survey conducted for Maclean’s, L’actualité and the Dominion Institute. And his story is gripping in its own way—a classic Canadian survival saga. He’s a farm-bred Saskatchewan Liberal, a rare Prairie species that often looks as vulnerable as the swift fox. He suffered humbling setbacks that almost ended his political career in the 1980s, but rode the victories that followed to very near the pinnacle of federal power. Then, after doggedly building and rebuilding a career based on personal credibility, he saw that precious reputation for incorruptibility and competence put to a painful test in last January’s election.
He’s the enduring type. Goodale has the frame of a man who’d be handy to have around when you need to move a sofa bed up a flight of stairs. He hits the gym as much as he can, has bench-pressed 180 lb., and reputedly once lifted the end of the Miata he was about to ride in a Regina parade. (He neither confirms nor denies the legend.) Asked about the essence of his appeal, friends often use Goodale’s stocky five-foot-seven-and-a-half build as a metaphor for his character. Stable. Not to be knocked off course. “Some people, you seem to be able to tell their values just to look at them,” says David Herle, another Liberal from Saskatchewan and one-time top adviser to Paul Martin. “Ralph’s one of those people.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 1:09 PM - 0 Comments
Stephen Gordon reviews yesterday’s economic update.
The structural deficit introduced by the GST cut had to be addressed at some point. The 2011 budget would have been too early: the recovery was still fragile. In February, I was of the opinion that a small amount of fiscal contraction was appropriate for the 2012 budget: private-sector employment had recovered its pre-recession peak, and it was time to get federal government’s house in order in time for the next recession. And that’s what we got, although in the form of modest spending cuts (the 2012 budget had nothing on Paul Martin’s 1995 austerity program) and not a reversal of the GST reduction.
The main effect of slower-than-previously-expected growth is less income and expenditure, which means lower tax revenue. This would be bad news if Canada’s deficit and debt were at the levels they were 20 years ago, but—thanks to Paul Martin and Jean Chrétien—Jim Flaherty has a much thicker cushion to work with. Bond markets will not be upset by a slight delay in the path to a balanced budget, so there isn’t any pressing need for further fiscal tightening.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Stephen Harper is your statesman of the year for 2012 (as determined by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation), but he won’t be speaking to the UN General Assembly while he’s in New York to pick up the award. Campbell Clark deems this a “snub.”
Perhaps most pointedly, his disaffection for the UN is demonstrated by his willingness to fly to New York during the so-called UN week to meet other world leaders without agreeing to speak to the General Assembly.
The Prime Minister last addressed the UN General Assembly in 2010. In 2009, he was questioned about skipping the assembly to tour a Tim Hortons plant in Oakville. (We dubbed this the donut speech and, after Erin Weir raised questions about the significance of the moment, we fact checked the Harper government’s enthusiasm.)
A search of the UN database shows Jean Chretien addressed the general assembly five times—in 1995, 1997, 2000, 2002 and 2003—in his 10 years as prime minister. He also addressed the security council in 2000.
A search for Brian Mulroney turns up three speeches—in 1985, 1988 and 1990. (The archive only goes back to 1983.)
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, August 27, 2012 at 11:42 AM - 0 Comments
With Senator Zimmer currently in the headlines, Aaron Wherry considers one obvious question (there are others, of course)
With Rod Zimmer currently in the headlines, Aaron Wherry considers his journey to the Senate:
In 1999, Rod Zimmer, a prominent Winnipeg businessman and fundraiser, was reportedly among the final two candidates for the posting of Lieutenant Governor in Manitoba. Jean Chrétien chose the other finalist, Peter Liba.
Six years later, Zimmer received a decent consolation prize—an appointment to the Senate. Zimmer was among five senators selected in August of that year by Paul Martin.
From 1968 to 1971, Zimmer was an assistant to Cyril MacDonald, the Liberal minister of welfare in Saskatchewan, and for most of the rest of the 1970s he was an assistant to James Richardson, the federal minister of defence. He was the Manitoba chair for the federal Liberal campaign in 1980 and while then building a career in business—including prominent positions with CanWest and the Manitoba Lotteries Foundation—Zimmer continued to work within and around the Liberal party. He was a member of the fundraising committee for Paul Martin’s leadership campaign in 2003 and revenue chair for the federal Liberals in Manitoba from 2004 to 2006.
“People will comment on the fundraising that he’s done for the Liberal party, but what is overlooked is the incredible amount of work he’s done for all sorts of other causes in Manitoba,” Manitoba Liberal leader Jon Gerrard told the Winnipeg Free Press when Zimmer’s Senate appointment was announced. “That kind of commitment is a positive thing. He has a lot of public spirit.”
After Martin’s resignation, Zimmer helped raise funds for Ken Dryden’s leadership campaign.
From 1989 to 1991, he was president of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and from 1981 to 1993 he was a member of the board of directors for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. And according to Zimmer’s official biography, he is a “champion swimmer, diver, and water-skier” and ”he has actively participated in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, volleyball, curling, tennis, golf, soccer, squash, handball, badminton and downhill skiing.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 11:49 AM - 0 Comments
Elizabeth May suggests that, in the event of a by-election in Etobicoke Centre, the Greens and NDP should stand down to allow for a straightforward grudge match between Ted Opitz and Borys Wrzesnewskyj.
Although Ms. May she said would not normally urge her party to stay off a ballot, the situation in Etobicoke Centre is highly unusual. If anyone was unfairly denied a seat in that riding it was Mr. Wrzesnewskyj, she said, and if there is a by-election it should be “a clean vote between Borys and Ted.”
Ms. May has some history in this regard: Stephane Dion agreed in 2007 to not run a candidate in Central Nova in an ill-fated attempt to help Ms. May defeat Peter MacKay.
There is some general notion that parties might not field a candidate when a by-election occurs to provide an opportunity for the new leader of another party to win a seat, but, at least in recent history, it has been inconsistently applied. The Liberals, for instance, didn’t run candidates against Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest) in 2002 or Joe Clark (Kings-Hants) in 2000 and the Progressive Conservatives didn’t field a candidate against Jean Chretien (Beauséjour) in 1990. But the Liberals did field candidates against Stockwell Day (Okanagan-Coquihalla) in 2000 and Brian Mulroney (Central Nova) in 1983. The NDP fielded candidates in all of those by-elections.
The last time an election result was declared void and a by-election ordered—York North in 1988—the dispute involved a close finish between a Liberal (Maurizio Bevilacqua) and a Progressive Conservative (Michael O’Brien). The NDP fielded a candidate in the by-election and ended up getting ahead of the Progressive Conservatives to finish second.
Astute reader Derek Leebosh notes that in 1942, the Liberals officially stood down in York South when Conservative party leader Arthur Meighen sought a seat, but the CCF candidate (with Liberal assistance) went on to win the by-election. This post from Torontoist explains the situation in lavish detail.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 2:14 PM - 0 Comments
Whatever the impact of the attack ads run against him, one historical note on the challenge facing Thomas Mulcair. He will be attempting in 2015 to do something that most leaders of the opposition fail to do: lead their parties to a general election victory on their first try.
By my count, between 1921 and 2011, 15 opposition leaders* who had not previously been prime minister led their parties into elections. Ten of those leaders failed to lead their parties to government on that first try: Michael Ignatieff, Stephane Dion, Stephen Harper, Stockwell Day, Preston Manning, Robert Stanfield, Lester B. Pearson, George Drew, John Bracken and Robert Manion. Only two of those ten went on to become prime minister after losing the first time: Messrs Harper and Pearson.
On the other hand, the five who won were Jean Chretien (1993), Brian Mulroney (1984), Joe Clark (1979), John Diefenbaker (1957) and Mackenzie King (1921) and all of those five defeated governments that had been in power for at least two terms.
When Mr. Chretien become prime minister, the Progressive Conservatives had been in power for nine years. When Mr. Mulroney became prime minister, the Liberals had been in power for 20 of the previous 21 years and won six of the previous seven elections. When Mr. Clark became prime minister, the Liberals had been in power for 16 years covering five elections. When Mr. Diefenbaker became prime minister, the Liberals had been in power for 22 years covering five elections. When Mr. King became prime minister, the Conservatives (on their own and then as a coalition) had been in power for 10 years covering two elections.
When Mr. Mulcair faces the Conservatives in 2015, the Conservatives will be at the end of their third mandate and been in power for nine years.
*Preston Manning was not technically the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in 1997. Officially that title belonged to Gilles Duceppe, but the Bloc Quebecois had no chance of forming government and at dissolution the Bloc and Reform Party had the same number of seats.
By Paul Wells - Friday, June 8, 2012 at 2:01 PM - 0 Comments
‘Diplomacy, like a lot of other things Harper used to regard with suspicion, is back in style.’
In his first speech in the House of Commons as leader of the Opposition, in 2002, Stephen Harper’s chosen topic was “perhaps the most important issue that ever faces Canada: our relationship with the United States.”
Harper was pretty sure the Liberals were making a mess of that relationship. Jean Chrétien didn’t really even like Americans, so he was frittering away time on trade trips to China in a doomed attempt “to revive the failed trade diversification of the 1970s, the Trudeau government’s so-called third-option strategy, which did not work then and is not working now.”
On the matter of Canada-U.S. relations, as on almost no other topic, Harper admitted nostalgia for the days of Brian Mulroney. Now there was a guy who “understood a fundamental truth,” said Harper: “The United States is our closest neighbour, our best ally, our biggest customer and our most consistent friend. Whatever else, we forget these things at our own peril.”
By Ken MacQueen - Monday, April 23, 2012 at 4:10 AM - 0 Comments
The Sutter boys’ diverging fortunes, the Obamas’ new best friends, and Britney Spears’ $15-million question
Good eye, regular guy!
Somewhere in east Vancouver, the host of a recent garage sale weeps bitter tears. Two paintings he sold for a combined $100 were a tad undervalued. One is a watercolour by Group of Seven member Frederick Varley. The other appears to be an oil-on-plywood landscape by Tom Thomson. Kate Bellringer of Maynard’s Auctions told the Vancouver Sun the paintings were purchased on “impulse” by a “regular guy” who wants anonymity. Perhaps it was the barely discernible Thomson signature that caused him to haul both works to the auction house for appraisal. Smart move: Bellringer said expert consensus is the Thomson is authentic. The Varley has an estimated value of up to $6,000, while the Thomson may fetch as much as $250,000 at a May 16 auction.
The Flames’ blame game
Darryl Sutter has turned around the Los Angeles Kings since taking over coaching duties mid-season. His Kings have the Vancouver Canucks on the ropes in the first round of the NHL playoffs. Puck luck hasn’t been as kind to his brother Brent Sutter. The Calgary Flames announced last week that Brent has left as head coach by “mutual agreement” after the team missed the playoffs yet again. Darryl had kind words for his bro: “I think he’s a top coach in the National Hockey League and it may very well be that he’ll be coaching somewhere else soon, too.” Darryl speaks from experience. He, too, was punted from the flickering Flames in late 2010. He was GM there when Brent was hired in 2009.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 5:08 PM - 0 Comments
A footnote to Mr. Mulcair’s official statement on the 30th anniversary of the Charter: Paper Dynamite digs up a speech Mr. Mulcair gave two years ago in the House during debate on representation in the House of Commons.
The biggest problem is the attitude the Liberal Party has had for the past 40 years. That has been the main problem with the Canadian federation since the time of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. The Liberals pay lip service to the idea of recognizing Quebec, but when push comes to shove, they always vote against such recognition.
The sad fact is that the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords, which were negotiated in good faith, were necessary because the Canadian Constitution that Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Jean Chrétien repatriated includes the law passed in English only in England, with a bilingual schedule. The law begins with the words “Whereas Canada has requested”.
It is a bald-faced lie to say that Canada requested this, because Quebec was not included, unless the point was to show that to Pierre Elliott Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada, Canada did not include Quebec. That has been the problem since 1982. The Canadian Constitution, which was adopted despite both sovereignist and federalist opposition in Quebec City, still exists. In spite of the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords, which were negotiated in good faith, the government has never managed to accommodate Quebec to this day.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 8:01 AM - 0 Comments
The Prime Minister isn’t quite ready to celebrate.
Harper alluded to the fact that Quebec did not sign on to the Constitution Act of 1982, of which the Charter was a part. Two other attempts to bring Quebec into the constitutional fold — the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords — failed. “In terms of this as an anniversary, I think it’s an interesting and important step, but I would point out that the Charter remains inextricably linked to the patriation of the Constitution and the divisions around that matter, which as you know are still very real in some parts of the country,” Harper said.
Thomas Mulcair wasn’t too keen on the Charter ten years ago when he was a member of the Quebec assembly. Jean Chretien says the Night of the Long Knives is more myth than reality. And, on the same note, former Newfoundland premier Brian Peckford wants his due.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, February 17, 2012 at 9:30 AM - 0 Comments
Brian Topp tells the CBC that, if he’s elected leader of the NDP, he’ll ask an NDP MP in Quebec to step aside so that he can run in a by-election.
Fun fact: the last three leaders of the opposition who went on to become prime minister weren’t MPs when they won their party leaderships.
Stephen Harper was elected leader of the Canadian Alliance in March 20, 2002 and then ran in a by-election to fill the seat for Calgary Southwest that was left vacant when Preston Manning resigned in January of that year. Not until May 21, 2002 did Mr. Harper make his first appearance in the House as the leader of the opposition.
Jean Chretien was elected leader of the Liberal party on June 23, 1990. Fernand Robichaud, the Liberal MP for Beausejour, resigned, so that Mr. Chretien could run in a by-election there. Mr. Chretien then took his seat as the leader of the opposition on Dec. 21, 1990.
Brian Mulroney was elected leader of the Progressive Conservatives on June 11, 1983. Elmer MacKay (father of Peter) then stepped down, allowing Mr. Mulroney to run in Central Nova. Mr. Mulroney then took his seat as the leader of the opposition on August 29, 1993.
By Adam Goldenberg - Friday, January 13, 2012 at 12:42 PM - 0 Comments
To Canadian political journalists, Liberal fratricide is mother’s milk. Trudeau-Turner begat Turner-Chrétien begat Chrétien-Martin, and Dion-Ignatieff begat Ignatieff-Rae. Liberals only stand behind their leaders, it is said, to stab them in the back.
What rubbish. Sure, there are divisions in the Liberal party. There are divisions in every party. Take an old-time Newfoundland Tory for a pint, and ask him what he thinks of the Reform Party. In the months before the last election, I met at least one New Democrat MP who couldn’t stand Jack Layton—and don’t even get him started on Tom Mulcair.
Political people are, well, political, and that’s both a vice and a virtue. What makes the Liberals different is that internecine warfare is part of the party’s modern mythology, perpetuated by a persistent minority of aging backroom boys who’ve never met a dead horse they don’t want to beat. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, September 9, 2011 at 9:00 AM - 38 Comments
During his interview with the CBC, Stephen Harper was asked about comments Jean Chretien made nine years ago on the first anniversary of Sept. 11.
Nobody who was killed on 9/11 deserved it remotely. It was a terrible thing, has nothing to do with wealth versus poverty. It has to do with, in this case, a particular hateful ideology that has attacked people around the world, not just affluent societies like our own, but some pretty poor places. You know, I think the people killed in Indonesia, in India. The fact that Afghanistan became a failed state, where you know, people just essentially lived in not just poverty, but brutality, to the point where a kind of Islamic fascist regime literally invited terrorists, international terrorists to set up camp in their country. I think that that kind of situation obviously bred a threat, and that’s why we are so worried when we look around the world now at other places where the same thing could happen. You know, I think you know some of them: Somalia, Yemen, that are there or at that kind of stage. That’s the kind of thing I think we really have to worry about, where you have not just poverty, but poverty and literally lawlessness becomes the nature of the state. And I do think it’s in our broader interests and the right thing to do to try and help people and help countries so that they don’t get into that situation. That’s why, you know, we obviously are helping with the famine in East Africa. It’s why we’re so involved in Haiti. Not to have that kind of a state in our own backyard. So those, I think those kinds of situations are very dangerous.
By David Collenette - Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 11:25 AM - 4 Comments
The former transport minister on deciding who to ground and who could fly on Sept. 11, 2001
“Wind up your speech. There has been a tragedy.” This hastily handwritten note, placed on the lectern as I delivered the keynote address at a conference of international airport executives, heralded the longest day of my political life. It was Sept. 11, 2001.
I had gotten up at 5 a.m. to take a Transport Canada Citation jet to Montreal, a groggy start to another long ministerial day. The conference should have been routine. But just after 9 a.m., the audience became restless. This was not unusual for a politician giving a speech; still I was puzzled. For the most part, people had appeared quite interested.
I continued to speak while reading the note, which instructed me to talk to assistant deputy minister Louis Ranger and avoid the media. I feared the worst, probably a serious accident, which Louis did confirm: at 8:45 a.m. a plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York. I immediately sensed some type of terrorist act had occurred, since passenger jets just don’t crash into tall buildings if they are in trouble. There are all kinds of emergency procedures for pilots: landing at the nearest airport or ditching in water around Manhattan.
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 11:15 AM - 1 Comment
Deeper economic integration has been stalled by a risk-averse U.S. government
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, then-foreign minister John Manley was relaxing on an Air Canada flight from Germany when a pair of flight attendants asked him to come up to the cockpit. The pilots wanted to know what to tell the passengers about the extraordinary events on the ground. They gave Manley headphones for listening to radio updates. Airports in Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa were closing. “It was chaos,” he recalled. “No one knew if it was four planes or a dozen.”
Canada’s then-ambassador to the United States, David Kergin, had just arrived at his office near the Capitol to see black smoke rising from the Pentagon building across the Potomac River. “We very quickly concluded maybe we were best to stay in the embassy because it was secure,” he recalls. As rumours abounded of bombs in the U.S. capital, the ambassador had a call from prime minister Jean Chrétien. “You know, the world will never be the same again,” Chrétien told him. It wasn’t—and neither was Canada’s relationship with the U.S.
Ottawa’s relations with Washington had generally focused on trade disputes such as softwood lumber and agriculture. Since then, the focus of time, energy, and spending has been the border. No longer is the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office the most important for Ottawa. Now the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), created in the aftermath of the attacks, eclipses all else. The job of DHS is not to ensure trade and prosperity, but help to prevent another attack. And Canadians have felt the difference.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 2:58 PM - 6 Comments
Ian Brodie quibbles with the suggestion that luck explains Stephen Harper’s success.
Merging the Reform-Alliance into the Conservative Party may have looked easy to outsiders obsessed with the drama of David Orchard’s efforts to block his Party’s ratification of the merger deal. But Harper had worked long and hard to overcome years of Reform-Alliance hostility to Toryism, and reaped the benefit of that work when the time came to do the deal. Keeping the new party unified and focused in the face of predictions of the coming Martin “juggernaut” may have looked easy to outsiders, but required careful internal leadership and work. Snatching victory from the jaws of victory in the 2005-06 campaign looks, in retrospect, like the inevitable unfolding of history, but required two years of brutal, disciplined work. And is it lucky to be in charge during a mammoth economic crisis? Does having an excuse for spending billions on economic stimulus lead to political success? Please, someone, ask Barack Obama.
If Brian Mulroney had been lucky enough to be in power during a long, global economic boom with very low interest rates, he and Mike Wilson would have balanced the federal budget. Instead, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin were the lucky ones. But let the Liberals keep on thinking that Harper’s success is the result of luck. Let them believe their current crisis is the result of bad luck. Whatever we do, don’t ever persuade them they need to change their approach. Let them keep rolling the dice and betting the house.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 3:11 PM - 26 Comments
Angus-Reid asks a thousand Canadians to identify the best and worst prime ministers since 1968. The results below (with changes from four years ago in parentheses).
Trudeau 36% (+3)
Harper 19% (+5)
Chretien 12% (+4)
Mulroney 6% (-8)
Mulroney 19% (-1)
Harper 19% (+4)
Trudeau 13% (-)
Chretien 10% (-3)
Mr. Trudeau tops 36% in British Columbia, the Prairies, Ontario and Atlantic Canada and bests Mr. Harper in every region except Alberta. Quebec is the only jurisdiction that ranks Mr. Harper less than second.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 12:16 PM - 103 Comments
This post last updated at 5:30pm.
The Globe and Mail discovers that Nycole Turmel was a member of the Bloc Quebecois.
According to information obtained by The Globe and Mail, the 68-year-old became a member of the Bloc Québécois in December, 2006, the year she retired as president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. She sent back her membership card to the Bloc on Jan. 19 of this year in a signed letter to then-Bloc MP Carole Lavallée. “Enclosed is my Bloc Québécois membership card, which I wish to cancel. I wish to state that my request has nothing to do with the party’s policies, I am doing this for personal reasons,” Ms. Turmel wrote. She then wished “good luck” to Ms. Lavallée, who went on to be defeated by an NDP candidate in the May 2 general election. In addition to her membership in the Bloc, Ms. Turmel made four donations totalling $235 to the party between 2006 and 2011, according to party records. The donations, which ranged from $35 to $100, were not made public because they are under the $200 threshold for disclosure by political parties.
12:41pm… The Globe reports that Conservative MPs and supporters were briefed on Ms. Turmel’s ties to separatists in a memo distributed late last week. The Star notes that some of these issues were raised in April during the election campaign. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, July 25, 2011 at 2:11 PM - 11 Comments
(This post last updated at 6:38pm.)
Looking gaunt and sounding hoarse, Jack Layton has told a Toronto news conference that while his fight with prostate cancer is going well, he is now dealing with a new cancer and will be taking a temporary leave from politics. He says he intends to return when Parliament resumes in the fall. In his place, he is recommending that Nycole Turmel serve as interim leader of the NDP caucus.
2:13pm… The official announcement is here.
If I have tried to bring anything to federal politics, it is the idea that hope and optimism should be at their heart. We CAN look after each other better than we do today. We CAN have a fiscally responsible government. We CAN have a strong economy; greater equality; a clean environment. We CAN be a force for peace in the world.
I am as hopeful and optimistic about all of this as I was the day I began my political work, many years ago. I am hopeful and optimistic about the personal battle that lies before me in the weeks to come. And I am very hopeful and optimistic that our party will continue to move forward.
We WILL replace the Conservative government, a few short years from now. And we WILL work with Canadians to build the country of our hopes Of our dreams. Of our optimism. Of our determination. Of our values… Of our love.
2:18pm… NDP president Brian Topp says the NDP caucus will meet Wednesday morning to consider Mr. Layton’s suggestion and who will lead the party until his return. Advice from the caucus will then be reported to the party’s federal council and then the council will choose the leader. Mr. Topp says Mr. Layton was in hospital for a period of time, but has no details on what his coming treatment will involve. “I wouldn’t bet against Jack Layton,” Mr. Topp says. Mr. Topp wrote about his own battle with prostate cancer last year.
2:36pm… Video of Mr. Layton’s announcement is available here.
2:46pm… The NDP has set up an online form for Canadians to send get well messages to Mr. Layton.
By Erica Alini - Monday, July 4, 2011 at 11:10 AM - 9 Comments
John Allemang profiles Terry Milewski.
“I happen to think that Canadians can be a little too complacent and pacific,” says Mr. Milewski, the lone-wolf outsider slotted in among the power-lunchers at Hy’s Steakhouse. “Our job as reporters is not to meekly accept whatever answer we’re given, but to challenge and provoke and press.”
Mr. Milewski was, somewhat famously, shouted down by Conservative partisans during a media availability with the Prime Minister during the last campaign. He has since been singled out for not showing proper deference to Mr. Harper.
Fans of irony will note that a decade ago it was Conservative MPs—including Stephen Harper—who rallied to Mr. Milewski’s cause when the CBC journalist was hounding Jean Chretien.
By Norman Hillmer and Stephen Azzi - Friday, June 10, 2011 at 9:00 AM - 62 Comments
Maclean’s second survey of our greatest leaders shows a new number one, and some big surprises.
Stephen Harper has his majority government. The Liberal party is in tatters, and the Bloc Québécois is devastated. The NDP, inexperienced in the limelight and leaning to the left, is a reliable target. No one now doubts the Prime Minister’s capacity for raw politics, or his staying power.
Harper is one of a select few Canadian leaders to have won three consecutive federal elections. When his current term ends, he will have been in office longer than many past titans, including Brian Mulroney, John Diefenbaker, and Lester Pearson.
All that remains, and it is a great deal, is to discover what Harper will make of his new lease on parliamentary life, and what history will make of him. To set a benchmark, we’ve undertaken Maclean’s second rankings survey on Canadian prime ministers, to determine the greats, near greats, and also-rans, as well as the ingredients of success and the reasons for failure.