Sunday, January 16, 2011

All the things you never wanted to know about the Liberal Party...


Are in this book.

I just finished this 600-odd page book, authored by former (and probably still) LPC insider Brooke Jeffrey, and I have to say, it's magnificent. It details meticulously the strange, winding, and often adversarial path that the Liberal Party took between 1984 and 2008, and explains how the Liberal Party was split apart by forces who fought over, and eventually broke down, the Liberal's position on the so-called "federalist axis." It goes through how the most recent splits in much of how the caucus thinks and breaks can be traced directly back to the Trudeau-Turner feuds of the 1980's, and how we've ended up where we are today because of it.

I very highly recommend you read the book if you ever get the chance, you can find it at Chapters/Indigo. As someone who only joined the Party in 2008, it's taught me an awful lot about how the Liberals have evolved into what they are today over the past two decades. I've learned more from it than I have any other source. Grab it if you can!

6 comments:

  1. Brooke Jeffrey was on the radio earlier this week, discussing her book and her thoughts. Interesting analysis.

    I found it especially interesting when she said that she believed that Paul Martin, while well intended, probably made a mistake in calling the Gomery Commission. She said that Chretien, if he had hung onto power probably never would've; he had closed the sponsorship program, the RCMP was involved, He changed fundraising rules, etc.

    I'm not sure that she is wrong. I mean, despite the fact that Martin called the Gomery commission, it hasn't helped anything. Many are still hell bent to this day of keeping ADSCAM alive. Folks intent on making Ignatieff own it, despite the fact he wasn't even in the country when it happened.

    I don't see how not having called it would've made it worse.

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  2. You know, I've often heard of the same opinion about Gomery that Jeffrey has, and before I even read her book. After all, he never had to call the commission, but did so because he panicked, and he thought that it would differentiate his government from Chretien's by noting how scandalous they were compared to Martin. It backfired, and a lot of hooey was made over that was essentially 0.003% of the government of Canada's budget in a year - and this went over several years!

    Would it have stopped us from losing government? Probably not. Was it morally correct? Probably. But, what's past is past, I guess.

    Jeffrey goes into some detail about it, so I'd recommend reading up on it.

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  3. Though I am not a member of the LPC, I think the past few years have demonstrated that calling Gomery was a terrible tactical error. We just have to look at the past few years of the Harper government which has had several scandals just as bad as the Sponsorship scandal, and they simply ignore them and pretend that nothing is wrong. And it works! I think you could have a video of Harper and Baird selling drugs to minors and they would just stand up in the House and say it is all a Liberal plot, and that would be the end of it. The LPC really has to wake up to the kind of enemy they are fighting.

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  4. You're telling me. But alas, whats done is done. Most people are over the adscam boogeyman. I just worry about one thing, if Harper gets a majority: will he open investigations into it?

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  5. There is a real irony here because I truly believe that it has been his status as a minority PM that has saved Harper's political career. If he had a majority his dictatorial style coupled with the awesome power he would wield would be his undoing. I don't think he could reopen the Sponsorship book, but everything he did would truly contribute to his very real downfall. People like Chretien or Clinton survive as long as they do because they are pragmatic. But men like Mulroney, Harper, or Bush, become intensely unpopular because they are not pragmatic, they are ideologues. A majority would cement this status for Harper. While he has a majority he has to be just flexible enough to give the impression of pragmatism.

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  6. I think the past few years have demonstrated that calling Gomery was a terrible tactical error. We just have to look at the past few years of the Harper government which has had several scandals just as bad as the Sponsorship scandal, and they simply ignore them and pretend that nothing is wrong. And it works!

    Exactly!

    In Quebec, Jean Charest is being pressured left, right and center to call an inquiry into the construction scandals. He does well to not cave in for a few reasons:

    a)Construction companies and scandals with organized crime in Quebec are not a new thing by a long shot. The PQ doesn't exactly have clean hands where that is concerned. In fact, I believe that was partially how the Landry PQ lost to Charest in 2003.

    B)This is a manufactured crisis which always happens when a party has been seen to have governed for too long in Quebec. A 3rd mandate for Charest? Well, that's a bit much for the separatists to handle.

    It's already a given that the Liberals will lose the next provincial election. I think even Charest knows this. Why make it worse for himself? Besides, when Robert Bourassa called the Cliche commission for that same age old problem of construction companies, it pretty much brought Rene Levesque and the PQ to power in 1976. Bourassa remained a hated man, Even when the Libs were elected back to power in the 80s, Bourassa didn't even win his own seat. All Cliche did really, was catapult Brian Mulroney and Lucien Bouchard's careers.

    Gomery is still alive and well in Quebec, hence, why the Liberals can't seem to gain traction over the Bloc in recent years.

    As for Cliche, well, the construction scandals still very much exist to this day.

    All that to say that public inquiries are not often the best tactical ways of dealing with a problem.

    Harper, on the other hand, can sell his grandmother for 25 cents around the corner, steal wheelchairs quadriplegics and abuse children, yet they'll still remain on top.

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