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Canadian Liberal Leadership Convention

by edwin Sat Dec 2nd, 2006 at 07:12:13 PM EST

Canadian News Short

The liberal leadership convention is now over. Stéphane Dion defeated front runner Michael Ignatieff. Dion 54.7% (2521 votes) to Ignatieff 45.3% (2084).

Michael Ignatieff is a Harvard professor who has spent most of his adult life outside of Canada. He has supported torture and the Iraq war. Part of his support may have been because he was not part of the Sponsorship scandal - the scandal that defeated the Liberal party and brought in a minority Conservative government.

Stéphane Dion's politics are as follows:

Stéphane Dion: Through my three-pillar approach, which is bringing together economic vitality, environmental sustainability and social justice. My action plan is to create a virtuous circle between the three pillars. Because I am proposing sound environmental policies, Canada will become more energy efficient and competitive in the new industrial revolution; double column the sustainable economy. Then we will have more capacity to improve social justice in Canada, and n on a progressive platform. because of that Canadians will be more educated, healthier, better equipped and more confident as players in the economy. And in this way, you will have a virtuous circle between the three pillars.

We don't know if the greenhouse gas emissions went up when I was Minister of the Environment because the last available statistics stopped in 2004. Having said that, it is very likely that there has been an increase since then. It is why I released, in April 2005, a much more compelling plan to honour our Kyoto commitments. This is also why I listed greenhouse gas emissions as a substance to be regulated under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. If the Liberals would have been re-elected, this plan would have been implemented, including a Carbon Market system and our emissions would start to go down. But Mr. Harper cancelled everything and we have wasted a full year. Three weeks ago I release an energy and climate change plan which is even more comprehensive than my 2005 one.

In addition to my Energy and Climate Change Plan, I have released during the last week a Clean Air Plan and a Clean Water Plan. Pretty soon, I will release an Environment and Health Plan and a Nature and Biodiversity Plan.


The red Tory David Orchard supported Stéphane Dion as the best person to defeat the current Prime Minister Steven Harper. Steve Harper seems to be not as extreme as George Bush, but built from the same mould.

The Conservative Party is traditionally known as the Tory party. A red Tory is one who is socially progressive but fiscally conservative. The Conservative Party merged/was taken over by the extreme right wing Alliance Party who wanted to avoid splitting the right wing vote so they would have a chance at power. After the merger the name Conservative Party was used.

Canada has a first past the post system. The party most often in power is the Liberal Party - a centre of the road party that manages to swing left and right in order to capture the most seats an amazingly large percentage of the time.

During the last election, something like 11% of the people who voted Conservative - voted for the Conservative Party. The remainder voted against the Liberal party. During a recent pole, the liberal party was more popular in every province in Canada except for Alberta - in spite of not having a leader. Now that Dion has been elected leader of the Liberal party, this trend will probably increase - perhaps with the Conservatives becoming even more popular in Alberta.

People in Quebec are reluctant to vote for a party unless that party has a leader from Quebec. This will stand the liberal party well in the next federal election whenever it may be.

By electing a left leaning leader, this will give Steven Harper more room, and will hurt the New Democratic Party. As well, the strong environmental stands by Dion will hurt the Green Party in their quest for a seat. Because Dion is from Quebec it will potentially hurt the Bloc Quebecois. Because Dion was around during the Sponsorship Scandal, it is possible that there may be some negative baggage that he may be saddled with.

That so many delegates voted for Ignatieff does not mean that people support entering the Iraq war or that they support torture. It does mean, as far as I can tell that these issues are not that important to people.

Really apreciate the update about this. Do you think Dion has what it takes to beat Harper? I hope so...I have been disappointed to see a Bush clone emerge in Canada...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun Dec 3rd, 2006 at 04:14:10 AM EST
I don't follow Canadian politics as closely as I should.

In my opinion, Harper has been doing relatively well lately. After getting off to a rocky start he has managed to run a relatively smooth government. If he keeps this up people will either have forgotten or forgiven his early problems. It is hard to judge what he is doing because I dislike him so much.

I certainly want Dion to win over Harper next election. My feeling is that a large number on the left were hoping for anyone but Ignatieff. Ignatieff had the charisma with people comparing him to Trudeau. He certainly has managed to introduce the same type of split that Trudeau had created. People loved him and hated him.

Canada is a funny place - I don't think that the identification with the US was a problem for Ignatieff. There are rather large numbers of Americans in Canada. Similarly, Trudeau was once a member of the New Democratic Party and interested in Marxist ideas and his past did not hurt him in his quest to be Prime Minister of the Liberal Party. On the other hand Canadians look down on the US. Harper is perceived to be pro Bush and pro US style politics and this will hurt him. Stockwell Day's (minister for Public Safety) belief in intelligent design will probably not help much either.

By the election of Dion the Liberal Party has said that it sees the threat coming from the left, not from the right at this time.

David Orchard, organic farmer and king maker for the Conservative Party in the 2003 leadership convention (3rd place finish) shows that there is a certain groundswell of environmental concern that cuts across Canadian politics. As well there is a certain groundswell of social progressive ideas that cut across Canadian politics. His support for Dion could siphon some of the progressive Conservative base.

In these ways the new Conservative Party is out of touch with Canadian politics. My hunch is that the separatist party, The Block Quebecois, may have a certain amount of power to make the Conservatives by co-operating with them, and that is what they are doing. Interestingly, a left wing separatist party is beginning to form in Quebec.

Can Dion win? I am pretty sure he can, but I don't think that it is a done deal.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Sun Dec 3rd, 2006 at 09:01:01 AM EST
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Only 4500 voters? Who can vote at this convention?
by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Dec 3rd, 2006 at 04:43:43 AM EST
Hope this helps.

The party constitution lays out a process by which the party leader is chosen by several thousand delegates, who are elected by riding associations, women's associations, and Young Liberal clubs in proportion to the number of votes they receive at a delegate selection meeting of the general membership of that association. Hundreds of other ex-officio delegates are automatically awarded delegate spots at the convention, including Liberal Members of Parliament, Senators, riding association presidents, past candidates and members of provincial or territorial association executive boards.

As stipulated by the party constitution, the selection of delegates for the convention must occur 35 to 59 days prior to the convention itself, and only Liberals who joined the party 90 days before the delegate-selection meetings can vote for delegates or become delegates themselves. As a result, the early months of the leadership race was dominated by competing drives to sign up members likely to back various candidacies.


aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Sun Dec 3rd, 2006 at 08:18:16 AM EST
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A couple Canadian political blogs worth checking out:



I wonder if the NDP could branch out to the US to form an actual leftwing party down here?

by jam fuse on Sun Dec 3rd, 2006 at 03:17:59 PM EST
Here's my two cents,

  First, although there seems to be a lot of people in shock that Ignatieff lost, I'm not surprised at all. He's a very renowned academic and scholar. However, before 2 years ago, he's never shown any interest in Canada or the Liberal Party of Canada, so many people have made the claim that he wasn't so much interested in the party but the position, possibly Prime Minister. He ran in the 2006 election and won, however many of the party insiders have disliked him because he hasn't put in his dues (no financial, but years of service to the party).

  The other problem that Micheal Ignatieff had was his initial support for the war in Iraq and the North America missile shield. Both issues are hugely unpopular with the Liberal Party, if you watched the last day of the convention, Jean Chretien (past Prime Minister) was having a field day taking shots at G.W. Bush and the Iraq war.

  Finally, does Stephane Dion have a chance to win? My  personal answer: Definitely and here's why:

  1. Liberal Party of Canada: Considered the most successful political party in the modern world. Reference the book "The Big Red Machine"  
  2. Afghanistan as well all know is quickly deteriorating. Opinion is the last couple of months has been more or less evenly spilt between for and against. Strangely, even though it was the liberals sent the troops to Afghanistan in the first place, almost all of the blame has fallen on the Conservatives. The only reason I have for this is either of the strong arm/ republican style method that got the extension to 2009. The other possibility is that in the last year Afghanistan has really gone south and Canadian casualties are rapidly mounting.
  3.  Stephen Harper and his government has been absolutely massacred on there "clean air policy" and is taking a huge beating in the media, especially in Ontario and Quebec.
  4.  G.W. Bush is absolutely vilified in Canada, and Stephen Harper's perceived closeness and being a lap dog to is not going over well with Canadians. For the last three reasons, Steve (Another Chretien joke) has seen his popularity gone south as well.

An aside note, if Ignatieff chooses to stay around the Liberals win the next election (probably in the next 4-6 months), I see him being awarded a ministerial position, most likely foreign affairs with his pedigree. If he does this, I think the next leadership race, if he choses to run again, will have a much better chance at winning.
by Digitking on Sun Dec 3rd, 2006 at 05:03:39 PM EST
Some quick links for more reading on things I referenced:
A quick resume of the book, Big Red Machine:
A quick rundown of the Liberal Convention:
http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=17d2e816-3524-48cb-91cb-ee3c1941aaee&k= 21087&p=2

Can't find a article on Stephen Harper's declining approval ratings though I know there was a discussion about it on both CBC and CTV. If I find it later I'll post the link.

by Digitking on Sun Dec 3rd, 2006 at 05:16:15 PM EST
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