By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 0 Comments
The afternoon was not without new clarification. Or at least an attempt at such.
Picking up where yesterday had left off, Thomas Mulcair endeavoured to sort out the precise value of John Baird’s assurance that the matter of Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy had been referred to two independent authorities.
“Mr. Speaker, yesterday afternoon, 11 times the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the Duffy affair was going to be investigated by independent authorities, independent bodies, independent officers. When my colleague, the House Leader of the Official Opposition asked him what those were, he could not give an answer,” Mr. Mulcair recounted. “Twice during the afternoon the Prime Minister’s Office said that they were referring to the Senate’s Ethics Officer. Later it corrected that to say that it is the Senate committee, the same one that whitewashed Mike Duffy the first time, that is carrying out the investigation.”
“Ahh!” sighed the New Democrats.
Along the government’s front row, Vic Toews grumbled in Mr. Mulcair’s direction about a “bribe” (seemingly a reference to the matter of Mr. Mulcair and the mayor of Laval).
“Does the minister not realize,” Mr. Mulcair asked, “that is about as credible as Paul Martin asking Jean Chrétien to investigate the sponsorship scandal?”
The New Democrats enjoyed this reference and stood to applaud their man.
Mr. Baird now stood to quote himself. “What I did say yesterday was, and I quote: ‘Furthermore, this matter has been referred to two independent bodies for review,’ which is nothing like what he just said,” Mr. Baird explained, seeming to stress the word referred.
It is not actually clear what this should clarify, although, as it turns out, it now seems the Senate Ethics Officer is indeed reviewing the matter. So there’s that. Unfortunately, there is not much else on offer. Or, rather, not much else that the government seems either willing or able to offer. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 11:16 AM - 0 Comments
Liberal MP Denis Coderre announces he’s seeking to be the next mayor of Montreal and with that the race for Bourassa can be begin. And with that might come the first real test of Justin Trudeau’s leadership.
After losing in his first run for the riding in 1993, Mr. Coderre won it six times between 1997 and 2011, but the 40.9% of the vote he received in 2011 was the lowest share a Liberal has ever received in Bourassa.
The New Democrats came within 3,300 votes in that election, but that was with the NDP receiving 43% of the vote in the province and the Liberals taking 14%. The latest monthly polling average put the Liberals at 36% and the New Democrats at 26%, but then there seems to be some belief among New Democrats that Liberal support in Bourassa is tied to Mr. Coderre.
It was, of course, the NDP’s win in a previously safe Liberal riding in Montreal—Outremont in 2007—that gave the NDP a presence in Quebec and rattled the leadership of Stephane Dion. (Fun fact: Before the Liberals nominated Jocelyn Coulon, it was thought that Justin Trudeau might be the Liberal candidate in Outremont.)
Meanwhile, Bloc leader Daniel Paille, still without a seat in the House, has said he won’t run in Bourassa.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 9:24 PM - 0 Comments
With 84 of 91 polls reporting, Liberal Yvonne Jones leads Peter Penashue 51.2% o 28.5%. Turnout is already at 53.5%, slightly above the 2011 election.
All things considered, the Liberals should have won here: a traditionally Liberal riding and a Conservative incumbent forced to resign amid election-spending unpleasantness. But the Liberals gain a new voice and the Conservatives suffer another bit of bad news. The real test for Justin Trudeau will come if, as expected, Denis Coderre resigns and a by-election in Bourassa is called. That would put in play a Montreal riding where the New Democrats finished a strong second in 2011.
Update 10:59pm. A statement from the Conservative party, celebrating a victory in Labrador.
As we know, majority governments do not usually win by-elections.
In fact, Liberals have won the riding of Labrador in every election in history except for two, so we are not surprised with these results.
What is surprising is the collapse of the Liberal support during this by-election. When this by-election was called the Liberals had a 43-point lead in the polls. Since electing Justin Trudeau as leader and having him personally campaign there, they have dropped 20 points in Labrador. That’s a significant drop in only a few weeks. Labradorians were able to see firsthand how Justin Trudeau is in over his head.
I’m not sure how the Conservatives can claim the Liberals dropped 20 points in the riding. The final count gives Yvonne Jones 48.2% of vote, which is about 15 points off what Abacus gave her a month ago.
In terms of actual votes, Mr. Penashue lost 334 votes between election day in 2011 and today, this despite Stephen Harper’s assessment that Mr. Penashue was “the best member of Parliament Labrador has ever had.” Yvonne Jones, conversely, received 1,637 more votes than Todd Russell did in 2011.
Total turnout increased by 1,315 votes.
One possible explanation for tonight’s vote: a decent number of Liberal voters who stayed home in 2011 came back to the party tonight.
Update 11:58pm. Of course, given their previous comments on this by-election, Stephen Harper and Pierre Poilievre will be terribly disappointed in the Conservative party’s response.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 12:14 PM - 0 Comments
The Liberal leader invites your questions.
Michael Ignatieff tried something like this in the fall of 2010—see here and here for examples. I don’t recall whether Mr. Ignatieff actively solicited questions as Mr. Trudeau is doing now, but (as Susan Delacourt notes as well), during its earliest days in the House, the Reform party had phone and fax lines through which constituents could submit questions that would be asked in the House (note the Speaker’s concern about that gambit).
During the last election, the Liberals promised that, if elected, they would create a “People’s Question Period,” during which the Prime Minister and various cabinet ministers would take questions from the public.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 11:36 AM - 0 Comments
To the previous tallies of Conservative MPs who say they won’t be using their office budgets to distribute the Conservative mailout attacking Justin Trudeau, you can add Scott Armstrong, Ron Cannan, Patricia Davidson, Joe Preston, Ed Holder, Susan Truppe, Gerald Keddy, Peter MacKay and Greg Kerr.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 11:23 PM - 0 Comments
When the Ottawa Senators scored late in tonight’s game with the Montreal Canadiens to tie the score, Justin Trudeau was displeased.
hey buddy @JustinTrudeau habs or leafs?
Mr. Trudeau responded.
Mr. Canseco then attempted to continue the conversation.
As of this writing, Mr. Trudeau has not commented on what they should do about “Rod Ford.” But Mr. Canseco does now credit Mr. Trudeau with his knowledge of French swear words. Also, Mr. Canseco seems to think that, given the electoral significance of Ontario, Mr. Trudeau might consider supporting the Leafs.
See previously: Stephen Harper vs. Homer Simpson
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 5:45 PM - 0 Comments
It is important to keep this much in mind: This might be as good as it ever gets for Justin Trudeau.
He is, in the estimation of one poll released last week, in position to become the 23rd prime minister of this country. In the three weeks he has been leader of the Liberals, the party has raised more than a million dollars, the sort of pace that would finally challenge the significant financial advantage the Conservatives have enjoyed in recent years. Another poll suggests the attack ads that the Conservatives have used their riches to deploy are failing to deeply undermine Mr. Trudeau’s standing with the public.
All of which is all well and good, but not much, if anything, more than might have been said of Stephane Dion or Michael Ignatieff or Thomas Mulcair or even Nycole Turmel (thirteen months ago, with the interim NDP leader in place, the New Democrats were tied atop the theoretical standings). It did not end well for Mr. Dion, nor Mr. Ignatieff. It has not gone obviously well for Mr. Mulcair. (And the New Democrats had the temerity to dump Ms. Turmel a mere two days after she pulled them even with the Conservatives.) And so it must be understood that this might be the high point for Mr. Trudeau.
Where Mr. Trudeau is now along the arc of his story we can’t know now.
Where he is this evening, in the literal sense, is the Ottawa Valley, where the bugs are big enough to make a sound when they hit your windshield. Past Calabogie and Arnprior, but before Cobden, to Renfrew (pop. 8,218), an hour northwest of Parliament Hill. Past the water tower and the fast food franchises and through downtown to the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 148, with a french fry stand in the parking lot.
Inside the legion hall, blue plastic chairs are lined up before the stage. On the stage, father and son fiddlers warm up the crowd. Atop the stage is a picture of the Queen. Red and white Liberal signs are taped on the wood-panelled walls. Trays of triangle sandwiches (turkey, salmon, ham, egg and beef) sit on tables in the corner beside trays of vegetables and trays of cookies, cartons of juice (lemon ice tea, raspberry lemonade and lemonade) and urns of coffee and tea and the sort of small styrofoam cups that you might have thought were illegal to use by now. There is, of course, a lot of white hair here, but also parents with children and several men and women who are old enough to vote, but not old enough to have mortgages and young men with clipboards. Everyone is made to wear a name tag and the young men with clipboards will get the names and email addresses of 250 people this evening.
A Liberal last won this riding in 1997—there’s a small picture in the far left corner of the room here of Hec Cloutier posing with a veteran of D-Day—and with that Liberal running as an independent against the Conservative incumbent in the last election, the Liberals received just 6,545 votes here.
He arrives a little after 6:30pm and proceeds with the shaking of hands. He is wearing a white button-up shirt, open at the collar, slightly weathered jeans, a brown belt and brown sneakers. When he is invited to the stage he receives a standing ovation.
“What a pleasure it is for me to be back in the valley,” he says. “Here in Renfrew the welcome is always as warm as the sunshine and today it’s really warm indeed.”
Now a joke.
“What a great time of year it is. It’s spring and, like clockwork, the birds are singing, the buds are coming out on the trees, attack ads are appearing on TV,” he quips. “It’s the rite of spring here in Canada.”
The crowd laughs.
And now both a flattering assessment of the country and a segue to the problem Mr. Trudeau claims to aim to address.
“It’s been a wonderful past six months, through this leadership campaign,” he says, perhaps still getting used to the fact that that campaign is over, “I’ve managed to travel to all sorts of different corners across the country and everywhere, whether they’re Conservative areas or less-Conservative areas or Liberal areas or anywhere across the country, everywhere I meet Canadians who aren’t defined by the brand of politics that they follow or the colour or the approach, but are defined by a sense of optimism about our future. We are a people who are confident, forward-looking, engaged and ready, always, to roll up our sleeves and build a better country.”
Hurray for us.
“And that’s what we’ve lost a little bit of in the past days and past years in politics,” Mr. Trudeau says. “And that’s what I know Canadians are hungry to get back.”
The crowd applauds.
He talks here about the “politics of negativity, of division, of fear.” He says it will get you elected, but it leaves you unable to govern.
And then there is an explanation of the country that might best be reported at length.
“And let’s face it, Canada is an extraordinary, unlikely, country. We are defined by the fact that our ancestors, or ourselves, came to this country, from distant lands, trying to build a better future for ourselves and for our children and our descendants, and when we got to this land, whether it was 400 years ago or 40 days ago, we deal with the same thing. A country that’s too big, too empty and, notwithstanding beautiful days like this, too dang cold too many months of the year.”
Someone in the crowd suggests long johns, but Mr. Trudeau doesn’t pause to engage the joke.
“So what we do and what we’ve done throughout history is learn to lean on each other. You learn to succeed in Canada, it takes a lot of hard work, but no matter how hard you work, no matter how smart and capable you are, you need to know that you can rely on your neighbours in times of trouble,” he says. “And that’s universal. Here in this country, we’ve learnt how to lean on each other. How to build success as communities and as a country out of what was an inhospitable land. And those two facets of working hard and strong communities is what has shaped us into the modern country we are. We’re that one place in the world that has figured out how to be strong not in spite of our differences but because of them. Regardless of your background, regardless of where you settled geographically, or your religion or your language, Canadians are defined not by singular histories or culture, but by a shared set of values. Values of openness, respect, hard work, compassion, a willingness to be there for each other, a willingness to roll up your sleeves and drive to succeed, a desire for equality, for justice. These are the things that define us. And we had to learn how to define ourselves by these shared values because, on the surface, we are so different. And that’s what has made Canada just such an extraordinary success through the 20th century.”
There is something here. There is a hint of what could be a serious discussion about government and democracy and what we want and what we should hope for and how we should go about doing it.
He talks about inequality and resource and environmental concerns and fear and insecurity. He wonders aloud, rhetorically, why the politics of division is so effective. He mocks the government’s assurances (“We’re doing better than Spain,” he fake boasts). He says something has changed. And then he’s explaining the country again.
“The story of this country—that story of hard work and pulling together—built the premise, the basic promise of this country. That wherever you are from, whatever language you spoke, you could come to this country, work hard and you’d be able to create greater opportunities and a better life for your children here than you ever could have anywhere at home. And every successive generation has built on that, so that every coming year, every next generation, could expect better than the last. And that’s something deeply comforting in the very idea of progress that this country is built on. That you build for the future. That your hard work will provide for your shoulders for your kids and grandkids to stand on,” he says. “But now… for the first time perhaps… in the story of this country… people are worried that the next generation will not have the same or better quality of life than this. That our kids might not have greater opportunities than we did. And that’s incredibly destabilizing.”
The country is doing well, but as individuals we are feeling the strain, he says. He has a statistic on median family income. He takes note of where he is and there’s a tangent about our history of military sacrifice and then it’s back to what division has wrought: a sort of hiding and settling.
“That’s. Not. Good. Enough,” he says.
To listen for the first time is to wonder where he’s going with all this and whether he’s really ready to engage in a philosophical debate about achieving the collective good. His speaking style is not too overwrought. His left hand is halfway into his pocket and he gestures with his right. He is smooth and loud and generally without affectation.
“What I see right across the country is, more now than ever before,” he explains, “Canadians don’t believe that politics is a useful tool to achieving those big, collective dreams for ourselves.”
There is still, he adds, a “a very strong sense of citizenship in Canada.” And then he elaborates and expands and then there’s a bit about our willingness to take a position on big issues like climate change and peace in the Middle East. And then he’s back to our ability to believe in politics.
“But politics? Politics has ceased to be a meaningful way for ordinary citizens to help shape their community and their world, particularly the politics that happens down the road from you in the House of Commons. And that’s what we have to turn around.”
Fair enough. But how? With speeches like this? With someone like Mr. Trudeau? With a new app? With open nominations at the riding level and more freedom for MPs, sure, maybe. But what else?
There are the bones of something here. Or, rather, there are the guts of something. At some point it needs the structure and ability of muscle and bone.
“What I’ve seen over the past six months and what I’ve continued to see as I get out across the country is people who want to believe that politics can matter once again,” he says. “Can be a place where we talk about big words like vision and a long-term plan and robust, meaningful solutions that’ll have an impact on the next generation. But we’ve grown cynical. And we’re not sure that’s possible anymore. And collectively, as Canadians, we’ve begun to despair.”
There is an argument here. Or at least an argument to be made. There is something deeply important here. Or there could be. About how Stephen Harper has governed and how Mr. Trudeau wishes to govern and how we want to govern ourselves. About what politics is and should be. About how we imagine ourselves as a collection of 35 million people.
It is an argument that Stephen Harper has been quietly engaging for seven years. It is an argument that Thomas Mulcair quietly confronted last month (“We don’t have to accept less. We can strive for more.”) And it is an argument Mr. Trudeau now seems to be building towards here in Renfrew in the company of a couple hundred people and several varieties of sandwich.
“And that’s why over the past six months of this leadership and into my three weeks as the leader of the Liberal party of Canada now…”
The crowd applauds.
“I have seen people responding, incredibly positively, to the idea, not that we’re going to bring in all the answers, but that the Liberal party of Canada is once again going to ask Canadians to help us build those solutions.”
He mocks the Liberal tendencies toward self-satisfaction and arrogance and he talks about rebuilding the party and this idea of doing that in collaboration with Canadians.
“That sense of trust we have to rebuild doesn’t come from convincing Canadians to once again trust politicians,” he says, “but from convincing Canadians that there are politicians who trust them.”
The crowd applauds, but it’s not clear what this means. And it can’t be known what this will amount to as it pertains to what Mr. Trudeau and the Liberals will offer the country in 2015.
What he has to offer now is the idea of him and a sense of what he might do. He has the broad strokes of what might be an interesting stump speech and a raw ability to deliver it. He has some favourable polling results and the party has a million dollars and the young men with clipboards have another 250 names and email addresses. There are so many more days between now and when it might all amount to something. And so much depends on Mr. Trudeau and his advisors and, of course, fate. Potential is a wonderful thing. But it is theoretical.
At about 7 o’clock, his advisor gives him the sign to wrap it up and Mr. Trudeau finishes on a rousing note. A woman comes on stage to thank him and present him with a bottle of maple syrup. And then Mr. Trudeau walks off the stage and down to the floor of the legion hall, where a line forms around the room of those who want to shake his hand or get his autograph or have their picture taken with him or some combination thereof. He pulls people in close for photos and flashes a toothy grin. Young women and old women giggle in his presence. It takes him more than a hour to get through the line.
By Paul Wells - Monday, May 6, 2013 at 11:21 AM - 0 Comments
Justin Trudeau enjoys a spring weekend counting money:
On Twitter, where the collective wisdom is what it is, everyone’s debating the Liberal leader’s pants. I’m struck by the numbers. Since he became Liberal leader, about three weeks ago, the party has raised “over a million dollars” from 14,000 donors, of which, apparently, 6,000 are donating for the first time. That sounds impressive.
How impressive is it? Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:53 AM - 0 Comments
Mr. Trudeau announces that, since he became leader, the party has taken in more than $1 million in fundraising.
Now all the Liberals need to do is maintain that pace for the next two years.
In 2012, the Conservatives raised $17.2 million. In 2011, they raised $22.7 million. In 2010, they raised $17.4 million.
Raising a million every three weeks would give the Liberals $17.3 million over the course of a year.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 6, 2013 at 8:41 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – What a difference a few weeks, and a charismatic new leader, have…
OTTAWA – What a difference a few weeks, and a charismatic new leader, have made to the financial fortunes of the federal Liberal Party.
After years of struggling to persuade supporters their money wouldn’t be wasted on the Liberal cause, the gold is now flowing into party coffers at what may be an unprecedented rate.
Since Justin Trudeau’s virtual coronation as Liberal leader on April 14, the party reports it has raised more than one million dollars.
By Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press - Friday, May 3, 2013 at 3:44 PM - 0 Comments
EDMONTON – Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has praised Alberta Premier Alison Redford for…
EDMONTON – Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has praised Alberta Premier Alison Redford for her efforts to get the United States to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
But Trudeau said Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government hasn’t done enough to push the project.
“This (federal) government hasn’t done a very good job of reassuring either Canadians or our trading partners that we are serious about managing environmental sustainability,” Trudeau told reporters after shaking hands with commuters at a downtown subway station early Friday.
“This is the kind of thing we need strong leadership on, and I’m pleased to see Premier Redford taking such a strong and balanced position on that.”
The $7-billion TransCanada (TSX:TRP) line would take oilsands crude from Alberta across the U.S. Midwest to coastal refineries in Texas. Labour and industry representatives say the line is crucial to secure a reliable source of oil. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Friday, May 3, 2013 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
Paul Wells on why Tom Mulcair sounds a lot like Jean Charest
Turns out the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition is some guy named Tom Mulcair, and apparently his “New Democratic Party” has nearly three times as many MPs as Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. Who knew? You can read all about the NDP leader in the new Maclean’s ebook, Justin!: Justin Justin Trudeau Trudeau Trudeau. We’re sure there’s something about old what’s-his-name in there somewhere.
My press gallery colleagues were reminded of Mulcair’s existence this week when the NDP leader denounced the Supreme Court’s cursory investigation into its own behaviour 33 years ago. A new book by a Quebec historian, Frédéric Bastien, quotes archival documents from the United Kingdom to assert that two former Supremes, then-chief justice Bora Laskin and his colleague Willard Estey, discussed the Constitution’s repatriation with Canadian and British officials in 1980. Bastien sees this as proof of collusion across the wall that should separate judges from legislators, and therefore as proof that Canada’s Constitution is illegitimate. He notes that the paperwork he received from Canada’s government was heavily edited. More proof!
In reality, the top court’s patriation reference opinion did not say what Pierre Trudeau wanted it to say. If Laskin and Trudeau were conspiring, they were really bad at it. But details like that are not enough to shake off a dedicated conspiracy theorist.
By Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 6:34 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Two weeks of Conservative attack ads have done little to dim Justin…
OTTAWA – Two weeks of Conservative attack ads have done little to dim Justin Trudeau’s honeymoon with Canadians, a new poll suggests.
The latest Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey suggests the Liberal party jumped into a seven-point lead over the Conservatives over the two weeks that followed Trudeau’s landslide leadership victory last month.
Liberal support stood at 35 per cent, while the Conservatives dropped to 28 and the NDP to 22. The Green party was at seven per cent.
That’s the highest level of support for the Liberals since March 2009, when the selection of Michael Ignatieff as party leader briefly buoyed the party’s fortunes.
By Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 6:33 PM - 0 Comments
WINNIPEG – Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau blamed “petty politics” on the part of…
WINNIPEG – Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau blamed “petty politics” on the part of a school board for the abrupt derailing of one of his media events Thursday.
Reporters and camera operators who had been invited to watch Trudeau speak to students at Sisler High School in Winnipeg were told 20 minutes ahead of time that they would have to leave. The teacher who organized Trudeau’s appearance said word had come down from the Winnipeg School Division that allowing media to be present would make the event seem partisan.
Trudeau was taken aback.
By John Geddes - Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 1:00 PM - 0 Comments
The new Liberal leader is being portrayed as not manly enough–which won’t hurt his polling numbers at all
Those early Conservative attack ads against Justin Trudeau are being widely interpreted as not-so-subtly casting doubt on the new Liberal leader’s manliness. Among other telltale elements, they end with Trudeau’s name unscrolling across TV screens—with a fairy-tale spray of animated sparkles—in a rather feminine, cursive script. As well, the ads were aired heavily during sports shows, suggesting the target viewer was the hockey-loving male.
But how susceptible is he to being portrayed as not man enough? To make that case, Conservative strategists must overcome the image of Trudeau pummelling then-Tory Sen. Patrick Brazeau (since kicked out of the party’s caucus after being charged with assault and sexual assault) in a charity boxing brawl last year. And then there’s the factor documented by the photos here. The throngs of women Trudeau often attracts, despite his being a married man with two young children, do not appear to be pressing close to him in order to demand that he flesh out his economic policy.
Might male voters be impressed, or will they resent his effect on their wives and girlfriends? The sexes do seem to perceive him differently. An EKOS poll found that 20 per cent of men who’d seen one of the Tory attack ads found it fair, compared to just 10 per cent of women. (Most of both sexes, however, about 70 per cent, thought the ad was unfair, with the rest not sure.)
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 12:44 PM - 0 Comments
That makes, by my count, 12 Conservatives who won’t be participating.
By Jennifer Ditchburn, The Canadian Press - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 7:13 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – A growing number of Conservative MPs say they won’t mail their constituents…
OTTAWA – A growing number of Conservative MPs say they won’t mail their constituents the party’s latest attack on Justin Trudeau, saying the negative, taxpayer-funded pamphlet is just not their style.
Tories received a sample of the flyer about the Liberal leader last week, designed by the party’s parliamentary research group. It matches recent television spots about Trudeau that say he lacks the experience and judgment to govern.
Unlike the TV ads, the mailout (called a “ten-percenter”) is funded by the taxpayer through House of Commons budgets. Several Conservatives from across the country said Tuesday they won’t use it.
“I haven’t sent out an attack ten-percenter for over four years,” said Edmonton Tory MP Laurie Hawn. “It’s just not my style.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 11:20 AM - 0 Comments
The Conservative MP for Tobique—Mactaquac won’t be sending mailouts to his constituents that mock Justin Trudeau.
“I’ve looked at some of the ads going back as far as 1993, some of the ads that have been used by all the parties during the last number of elections that I’ve run in and I find some of them, actually, odd, and a little bit childish,” Allen said. “But at the end of the day, I guess parties are using them because they’ve proven themselves to be effective and it’s a way to use their money to get their message out unfiltered.”
Allen notes negative ads have been effective against former Liberal leaders Michael Ignatieff and Stephane Dion, but he said it’s not his style. Allen said he will not send out any of the anti-Trudeau flyers to his constituents. “If I’m going to use something in my riding, I’m going to do a compare and contrast to the policy positions of the parties and the policy positions of the leader. I think in my riding I think people would say, ‘OK that is fair ball,’” he said.
Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber has also declined to send such mailouts, as he explained to reporters after QP last Thursday.
I won’t be participating in that program … generally speaking, my constituents are not all that thrilled by negative attacks … I don’t believe that my constituents are particularly thrilled by receiving that. They rather want to hear about issues. They’re not really interested in those types of ads, although other people have different opinions.
Update 1:25pm. Dan Albas won’t be sending around the mailouts either.
As a rule I typically avoid personal attacks or strongly themed politically partisan messaging. One observation that I have come to appreciate from our now retired MLA and former Speaker of the House Bill Barisoff, is that most citizens prefer aggressive partisan attacks are left out of the debate and discussion. Although I will not be using these particular ten percenters that have raised the ire of some, I do support the right of Members of Parliament from all sides of the House to communicate on issues they believe are important without restrictions on the content.
By Paul Wells - Friday, April 26, 2013 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
If you want to be the calm at the eye of the storm, it helps to be calm. Justin Trudeau is figuring that part out.
On Monday, Trudeau’s (pause to count on fingers) ninth day as leader of the plucky underdog Liberal party, the wavy-maned MP for Papineau exited the House of Commons and parked in front of a scrum microphone in the Centre Block lobby. He was greeted by the customary mob of journalists badgering him for autographs. Just kidding! No, we had Tough Questions for him.
What did he make of his latest exchange with the Prime Minister, which came after ﬁve questions from the NDP, a party the scribes are basically ignoring this month? “I asked a substantive question,” Trudeau said, once, twice, three times. But Stephen Harper preferred to send mockery in return.
Surely this will be a theme of Trudeau’s spring: he would like to be considered more than a pretty face. He asks substantive questions. If Harper can’t give substantive answers, or won’t, Trudeau hints, well then we’ll know who’s low on substantivity, won’t we? Substantivosity. Substantiveness. Substance? Never mind. We’ll know what needs knowing.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 26, 2013 at 9:05 AM - 0 Comments
Teachers are apparently unimpressed with the Conservative attack ads.
The head of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation says members have been contacting him since the Conservatives began running TV ads that refer to his past as a drama teacher as a sign of his inexperience and unsuitability to lead the country.
“People are very insulted that their profession was targeted in that way,” said Paul Taillefer, president of the federation, a national organization representing about 200,000 teachers. (Taillefer is also a former Liberal candidate who ran unsuccessfully in the 2008 federal election.) “To say that it is not a worthwhile profession and the skills you garner in a teaching career don’t really count for anything, well, people are pretty upset about that.”
Other observers wonder if the ads are an attempt to question Mr. Trudeau’s masculinity.
“I think there is a subtle attempt not necessarily to question Justin Trudeau’s masculinity but to at least make him appear less masculine,” said David Coletto, a Canadian market researcher and CEO of Abacus Data.
Coletto says recent polling shows Trudeau does just as well with men as with women, something that would worry the Conservatives. “I think (the ads) are meant to weaken his standing particularly among middle-aged men, who are really the core of the Conservative government’s coalition, so they’re trying to shore that up … the idea that this guy’s not a man’s man, and maybe therefore not worthy of our vote,” said Coletto.
In a note to supporters this morning, Trudeau campaign co-chair Katie Telford claims the Liberals have raised $500,000 in the past week, more than half of those donating making their first political donation and one in five having not registered or voted in the leadership campaign. The Trudeau response ads have apparently begun airing. There also appears to be a second cut of the French ad that differs slightly in the images used from the one released earlier this week.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 3:41 PM - 0 Comments
Included amongst the Conservative documents obtained and distributed by the Liberals yesterday were two pages of scripts, apparently meant to be part of the mailouts.
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 8:38 PM - 0 Comments
HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L. – New Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau swept into Labrador urging…
HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L. – New Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau swept into Labrador urging voters here to use the coming byelection to reject what he called the Conservative brand of divisive politics.
About 100 people cheered and waved signs for Liberal candidate Yvonne Jones as supporters snapped photos on Wednesday evening in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
Former cabinet minister and Conservative incumbent Peter Penashue resigned over illegal campaign donations in the 2011 election.
He says he has taken responsibility and is running again to regain the trust of voters.
Trudeau says attack ads since he became Liberal leader earlier this month show that the Conservative party fears voters who may choose hope over cynical politics.
NDP candidate Harry Borlase is also running in the May 13th byelection.
Penashue won the traditionally Liberal riding by just 79 votes over Liberal Todd Russell.
Russell decided not to run again.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 3:52 PM - 0 Comments
Jonathan Kay checks the math behind Justin Trudeau in the new Liberal ad.
My only real complaint with the ad is the set of polynomial expressions written on the blackboard. The first three are all correct. But on the fourth, they failed to simplify the expression (4x + 6)(x+2). Someone seems to have started, with the incorrect formulation “4×2=8x” … which seems to be a botched effort to capture the terms 4x-squared and 8x, which would have been derived by correctly unpacking the remaining unsolved polynomial. But then they gave up (and, oddly, added in a spurious equals sign). Perhaps the camera crew was getting impatient.
For confirmation, the National Post consults mathematicians.
Meanwhile, Dave Wiegel recalls Michael Dukakis.
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 2:19 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The Conservatives are orchestrating a mass-mail campaign against Justin Trudeau — at…
OTTAWA – The Conservatives are orchestrating a mass-mail campaign against Justin Trudeau — at taxpayers’ expense.
The campaign urges Tory MPs to use their mailing privileges to blanket their ridings with flyers bashing the new Liberal leader.
Templates for the flyers — obtained by the Liberals — have been prepared by the Conservative Resource Group, which is the research bureau for the Tory caucus.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 12:28 PM - 0 Comments
Chris Selley questions the Liberal motion on statements by members and notes that Justin Trudeau’s interest in freedom for MPs doesn’t include the freedom to pursue a new law on abortion.
But it’s not just that Mr. Trudeau is trying to foment dissent within the Conservative ranks on a very basic and important point of privilege (which is certainly fair play, but not exactly Doing Politics Differently). It’s that he agrees with the subcommittee on private member’s business that quashed Mr. Warawa’s motion in the first place. “[I’m] committed to giving MPs more freedom to represent Canadians, but MPs would be required to support Canadians’ fundamental rights,” he tweeted a while back. “For me, a woman’s right to choose is a fundamental right.” (He seemed to be suggesting that the motion ran afoul of the Charter, which is absurd.)
In other words, Mr. Trudeau is not so much standing up for MPs’ freedom to discuss and debate issues, or for Parliament as the proper venue for same, as MPs’ right to make embarrassing statements that he can then use against them. It’s very likely that at least a few Liberals would vote for a private member’s motion condemning sex-selective abortion, and he couldn’t have that, could he? It would ruin his angle of attack.
This goes to both Mr. Trudeau’s promised democratic reforms and the larger discussion about abortion and democracy. It’s actually possible that all three party leaders in the House—Mr. Harper, Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair—are in agreement on this point: no votes in the House about anything to do with abortion.
Jeff Jedras has argued that the Liberals should whip any vote related to abortion: that if the party has taken a pro-choice position, its MPs should adhere to that position. Perhaps Mr. Trudeau basically agrees with Jeff. At least so long as none of his MPs decide to pursue a bill or motion related to abortion and Mr. Harper is able to block any Conservative MP from doing likewise, he might never have to enforce such discipline. But should such a motion or bill reach the floor, if Mr. Harper or his successor should allow that to happen or prove unable to stop it, Mr. Trudeau will be put in a bit of a spot. When Motion 312 reached the floor last fall, four Liberals voted in favour. Were something like Motion 312 to reach the floor now, what would Mr. Trudeau say to someone like John McKay?
McKay, one of four Grit MPs who voted in favour of a motion calling for a review of “when life begins” this week, is outraged over the suggestion debate should on stifled. “It is going to be discussed, and it is going to keep coming up and it is failure of political will to actually deal with it,” McKay told reporters outside the Commons Friday.
Although the Liberals circulated a petition against the motion put forward by backbench Tory MP Stephen Woodworth, interim leader Bob Rae allowed caucus members to vote freely. “I don’t like to go against my colleagues or the platform of the Liberal party. It is not a lot of fun but Mr. Rae had the wisdom to say these are matters of conscience and views,” McKay said. “I think I actually have an informed view. I think my opinion should count for something and I am sick and tired of people refusing to discuss what is a foundational issue in this country.”