By Steve Lambert - Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 0 Comments
WINNIPEG – Manitoba Opposition Leader Brian Pallister has denounced racist comments from his party’s…
WINNIPEG – Manitoba Opposition Leader Brian Pallister has denounced racist comments from his party’s former youth president, but he is refusing to apologize for them.
The stance may add more fuel to a controversy that has dogged the Progressive Conservatives for the last week.
Pallister said Thursday that comments posted on two social media sites last Friday by Braydon Mazurkiewich, which included a reference to “freeloading Indians,” are abhorrent.
“What he said was wrong. What he said was unacceptable to any thinking Manitoban. It was dealt with immediately,” Pallister said. Continue…
By Colby Cosh - Friday, September 21, 2012 at 3:56 PM - 0 Comments
Alberta premier fought for a more equitable Constitution for all Canadians
The leadership of the federal Progressive Conservatives was Peter Lougheed’s for the asking from about 1973 onwards. Bob Stanfield approached him almost immediately after his 1974 election defeat, and Joe Clark, who had started political life as a gopher for Lougheed’s election team, made sure to get his all-clear before launching his own campaign. Later, after Clark’s vote-counting powers failed him at a 1983 leadership review, Lougheed was drafted again. That time, he thought about it a little longer.
He concluded—and notice how little self-delusion the man exhibited, compared to many who came after him—that his lack of French was a deal-breaker. Even a man who had once been well-organized enough to combine professional football with law school was unlikely to remedy that in his ’50s.
In truth, he could sincerely see no more satisfying use of his abilities than to be premier of Alberta. That probably still sounds ridiculous to some. It sounded half-crazy to everybody, when Lougheed was a young man. But his political comrades remember him talking about it when he was still nothing but a bundle of ambition—before he had even decided what the particular vehicle for his political ascendancy was going to be.
By Charlie Gillis - Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
DNA test shows George Dryden belongs to the PM’s family
Maclean’s has been following George Dryden’s search for a familial connection to John Diefenbaker for over a year. For more on how Dryden obtained DNA that links him to the late prime minister’s extended family, his mother’s relationship with Diefenbaker, and the political intrigue behind the saga, read the current issue of Maclean’s magazine, on newsstands tomorrow.
A Toronto man who believes he is the son of John Diefenbaker now has a persuasive piece of evidence to back his claim, Macleans.ca has learned: DNA analysis indicating that he is related to the late prime minister’s family.
Last Tuesday, George Dryden received results from a DNA lab that compared his genetic profile to that of an unidentified male member of Diefenbaker’s extended family who lives in southern Ontario. The relative’s sample came from a discarded Q-tip, which was obtained without consent by a private investigator experienced in paternity cases. It was then sent to directly to a Toronto firm where DNA analysts identified “genetic overlap” pointing to common ancestry.
“There is a familial linkage,” Harvey Tenenbaum, president of Accu-Metrics, told Maclean’s for a story appearing in this week’s issue of the magazine. “I can’t say what it is, but it’s more than just strangers passing in the street.”
Tenenbaum cautioned that the results don’t definitively prove that 43-year-old Dryden was fathered by Diefenbaker, who was married twice and had no children by either of his wives. Dryden “could be fifth cousins” with the man from whom the sample was obtained, Tenenbaum said, adding: “You’d really need a sample from John Diefenbaker, or a member of his immediate family, to do an accurate comparison.”
By Colby Cosh - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 5:06 PM - 0 Comments
My story for print Maclean’s on Conservative fortunes in provincial politics is now on the web. As is often the case, I had help with the story from lots of people who didn’t make it into the finished version, and gathered information and had thoughts that didn’t quite fit.
1) A lot could still happen to derail or deplete the in-progress “blue surge”, but the mere possibility does create problems for the folk wisdom that the party in power in Ottawa tends to lose in the provinces. Trudeau’s dynamic personality had completely wiped out the Liberal brand in provincial politics by 1980; the Mulroney years left the Conservatives barely hanging on in the Prairies; Chretien’s brought them back, in ’04 and ’05, to the peak they’re now trying to re-climb. Wouldn’t we expect the Harper government to create costs for Conservatives like David Alward?
The thing is, if you ask a political scientist about this folk wisdom they’ll make an unsweetened-lemonade face. Despite the apparent trends of the last 30 or 40 years, there’s still a sizable controversy about how independent the federal and provincial political scenes are.
A couple of years ago, UBC’s Fred Cutler made a close study of Ontario’s 2003 election and found that the decisions of Ontario voters were dominated by “arena-specific factors”. Cutler’s analysis confirmed what I suppose we all imagine to be true of ourselves: we mostly aren’t blind automatons who adhere to national brands. Knowing a voter’s national-level identification gave you surprisingly little additional information about how he would vote in Ontario in ’03, even though there was a perfect one-to-one mapping between federal and provincial ridings and the same parties were contending in both arenas. Voters chose their party pretty strictly on within-Ontario criteria, especially economically. Their degree of satisfaction with the federal government didn’t affect their Ontario decision.
Cutler has been building and juggling a dataset that contains every provincial and federal election since Confederation, and he has ransacked it for several different types of effect of federal politics on provincial ones. He says you can find evidence for common forces in the background—policy fashions, economic factors—that predispose voters to choose the same party on both levels. At the same time there is also evidence the other way, for the folk wisdom that voters act to “check” the party in power at the top—particularly after three or four years in office. “But electorates,” Cutler told me, “neither check nor balance the federal government when it is a minority. They don’t need to.”
2) There’s a passing mention in my story of new Toronto mayor Rob Ford, Canada’s one-man tea party. I was talking to people a full week before the election, and I had to be careful about presuming a particular result. But the writing was on the wall. Ford’s name came up a lot; he could easily have been the whole story.
Ford terrifies all the right people. How he will perform as mayor, God knows. But his triumph has relevance for provincial and federal politics. Graham Murray, editor of the Inside Queen’s Park newsletter, was the first to talk to me about how a Ford win would affect the prestige of “strategic voting”. We agreed that it is hard to say exactly how.
Some people think Ford’s win is so overwhelming that a concerted push behind one candidate of the left could never have mattered. I wonder what Linda Duncan thinks about that? Ford didn’t win half the vote, and the next two candidates’ combined votes would have beaten him—even though Rocco Rossi dropped out (or was forced out by defecting advisors) so late that his advance voters weren’t available to help anybody. It seems to me, from a very distant vantage point, that Ford couldn’t have arranged the campaign any better to suit himself. In the debates he almost seemed to take on the heroic aspect of a Roman gladiator fending off concerted attacks from a half-dozen smaller animals—ocelots? Weasels?
For many Torontonians, particularly the ones most inclined to think of themselves as representing the spirit of the city, the idea of Ford bedecked in the velvet-lined chain of office may be an ongoing torture. That, in turn, could encourage strategic voting and even overt trade-offs on the polite left—which has always found such affairs distasteful, because its adherents see politics as a means of self-expression and cosmic justice rather than a method of selecting managers and keeping them appropriately off-balance. The idea of voting for the least horrible bastard who can actually win isn’t very romantic. But maybe it has a certain appeal today that it didn’t before?
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 1:12 PM - 9 Comments
Something like 750 words on the last of the Progressive Conservatives on Parliament Hill.
She defines herself as socially progressive and fiscally conservative. And by her estimation, the Harper government has been neither. Tied by partisan afﬁliation to the past, working within an institution many consider antiquated, McCoy seems rather contemporary. She uses Twitter, has created an elaborate website (albertasenator.ca) dedicated to “meaningful, informed, open discussion” and regularly blogs about matters of policy and legislation. Last fall, with statistics and graphs, she doubted whether legislation on cigarillos would result in fewer children smoking. She speaks now of early childhood learning as a Progressive Conservative ideal: both socially and economically sound. She says, “I’m very fond, privately, of decrying the messaging, the narrative, that comes from our leaders these days of being positional instead of visionary and pragmatic.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 12:48 PM - 14 Comments
A fierce 60-something is now one of the PC party’s last holdouts
A symbol of defiance or history, the Progressive Conservative flag flies, or hangs at least, from an upright pole, down a quiet corridor of the Centre Block, just outside the office of Sen. Elaine McCoy.
From 1942—when John Bracken, Progressive premier of Manitoba, assumed leadership of the federal Conservative party, creating a party that would come to stand for moderate centrism—through 2003, some 675 individuals sat in the House of Commons under the PC banner. More than 100 PCs have, at one time or another, served in the Senate. But seven years after the Canadian Alliance and PC party merged, only two people formally identify as Progressive Conservatives on Parliament Hill: senators McCoy and Lowell Murray. When Murray retires next year, the party of John Diefenbaker and Brian Mulroney will be down to an Internet-savvy, sixtysomething policy wonk, who was appointed by Paul Martin and has little time for the agenda of Stephen Harper.
A protege of former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed, McCoy won Lougheed’s seat in the legislature when he stepped down in 1986. As a minister in Don Getty’s government, she spoke openly about gay rights and favoured a 50-cent hike in the minimum wage. But when she ran unsuccessfully for the provincial PC leadership in 1992, she pledged to cut spending and debt. (When a report circulated that half of cabinet might resign if a woman won the race, McCoy suggested that was a good opportunity to shrink government.) “When I was a cabinet minister, I was approached to cross the floor to the Liberals,” she recalls. “It was when Getty was really down in the polls and things weren’t getting done quite as well as they might. It was very tempting, but I just couldn’t. In the end, my stomach clenched and I just couldn’t do it. There’s something about sticking with who you say you are.”