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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Commitment? Nope.

Well, it looks like Garibaldi isn't as committed to the cause as we would have thought. Funny, that. From a man whose supporters have asked me time and time again whether Bob will run in the next election if he loses.

Oh, and try this on for arrogance:

"When I go into rooms people are glad I'm in the room because they've read stuff I wrote which contributed to their sense of what it is to be a Liberal and what Liberal philosophy is."

Uh huh. And I bet he walks on water, too.

Then he says this:

"People should do what they want to do. If people are not confident with me becoming the leader, the earlier they decide that the better," he said. "I want to lead a united party that has confidence in my leadership and if people have a problem with it, then they should get together and do what they want to do."

That's the one piece of his advice I think we should all take.

Folks, if I've said it once, I've said it several times: Michael Ignatieff doesn't have what it takes to be the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. And this just proves it.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I'm back! (like Garibaldi returning to Italy!)

To my regular readers: Sorry for the long pause. This past week was my last in Toronto for a while, and as you can imagine, I had other things (read: better things) to do than blog. BUT the John Lennard Experience is back and will be posting with a vengeance from now on. A few quick notes on a Monday morning:

1. I thoroughly enjoyed my summer internship. From a political standpoint, it was a tremendous learning experience. I've learned more things in the past four months than I have in the previous seven years of being involved as a Liberal. That's saying something. From a social standpoint, it was truly a transformative experience. I know the friendships forged over the summer will last me a lifetime. Thanks for everything, guys, and let's keep in touch.

2. I read the Hilary Clinton article in Time magazine the other day. I like. Very much. If she runs, I'll do everything I can do to help her out.

3. I like Michael Valpy. He's written a great and insightful... um, dissertation on Michael Ignatieff. More than anything, I think the article serves to reinforce people's positive and negative views about Michael. I still admire his deep intellect and have a growing appreciation for his past careers. He's done a lot of impressive things in his life and we should be happy to have him back home. That said, I'm still put off by his pomposity and the arrogance of those who surround him. I mean, this says it all:

  • "For those Liberals seeking the messianic new face last provided by Pierre Trudeau four decades ago, Mr. Ignatieff -- who worked as a student on the Trudeau leadership campaign -- is the prize. "It's like Garibaldi returning to Italy," enthuses one of his supporters, referring to the great 19th-century patriot and soldier who brought about the unification of Italy."

MESSIANIC NEW FACE!?!!!? IT'S LIKE GARIBALDI RETURNING TO ITALY!??!?!? WTF??? Come on, enough with the hyperbole. Sheesh!!

Anyway, that's enough for me today. That last one got my blood pressure up a little too high. I'm going to take a chill pill.

Garibaldi. Pfft.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Let's talk about PSE

My friend Jeff Jedras (whom I had the pleasure of meeting a week ago at the Stephane Dion reception in Toronto) wrote a post a while back on post-secondary education. He was concerned (rightfully) that the issue hasn't been getting as much attention in this race as it should be. He put out a call to all of the campaigns to put forward their ideas on improving/reforming PSE. Two candidates replied -- Carolyn Bennett and Bob Rae.

Recently, Bob came out with a seven-point plan to address post-secondary education and training. For the benefit of Jeff and others, I thought it would be appropriate to reiterate that vision here.

Bob Rae believes education, training, research must re-emerge as priorities of the national government. We must recognize that prosperity, shared opportunity and equity are mutually reinforcing.

Mr. Rae outlined a 7-point plan to address these labour and educational issues:

1) A principle we must enshrine in our education systems is that every qualified student should have access to college and university. No one should be loaded down with debts they can’t afford.

2) We need a federal-provincial student grants and loans program to cover both the living expenses of students and their tuition, starting with the least well-off students, and moving steadily upwards.

3) Ottawa should be a full funding partner in supporting the base operations of colleges and universities and priorities for labour market training, apprenticeship, research and graduate education.

4) Apprenticeships should be recognized as a postsecondary destination, and apprenticeship programming delivered by colleges should be seen as a core focus of education policy.

5) We must ensure Aboriginal Canadians can reach their full potential –jobs in the natural resource sector are often going unfilled, for instance; we have to do a better job in ensuring opportunities for skilled trades and apprenticeships. Alberta resource sector companies have taken important steps in this direction.

6) We have to work harder to ensure that immigrants get jobs in their areas of expertise to help lessen the skills shortage. The Canadian economy loses $4-5 billion per year due to the credential recognition problem. We should also look at inland processing of applications from foreign students who want to stay and work in Canada.

7) A key source of growth is research and development. Yet this year’s federal budget was bereft of anything for the “excellence agenda”. We need a research and innovation strategy in Canada involving Ottawa, the provinces, universities, research institutes and the private sector. Universities must work with companies and venture capital to take the fruits of public research dollars to the market.

People may not agree with what Bob is saying or has said on this, but at least he's putting something forward, unlike other candidates. A healthy debate on PSE is important. In my opinion, this is one of the most pressing issues facing Canada today. More than any other topic, it reflects on our ability to sustain our way of life and standard of living, particularly in the face of growing foreign competition.

As always, comments are welcome.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"Canadians are a serious people"

I've always wondered about that quotation. "Canadians are a serious people." As opposed to who? Humourous people? Non-serious individuals? Are Canadians different from those who joke, or jest, or tease or frolic? You know, like those Funny French, or those Amusing Aussies, or those Entertaining Estonians, or those Merry Mexicans?

Canadians are a serious people. What insight!

(special thanks to my friend James B. for getting me started on this risible rant.)

Monday, August 21, 2006

My comments section makes me laugh

I love Conservative trolls. Why? Because they are very humourous, especially when they decide to post comments that have nothing to do with the issue at hand. Here's a recent example from my post last week about why I thought Cherniak was wrong on the Bob Rae/905 issue. James Halifax (Conservative troll) writes:

Hey, as long as the NDP and many LIberals keep marching with Hezbollah and their terrorist supporters, and as long as Canadians STILL don't know where the over $40 MILLION dollars the Liberals stole from us has gone....I'd say a victory by the Liberals or the NDP in that riding would mean that the people of that riding lose. This has nothing to do with conservatives. Harper's election strategy was pretty straight forward. While the Liberals told lies about Conservatives, Harper told the truth about the Liberals. Simple really. A lot of Canadians (those who voted tory) don't like thieves and liars and refused to vote for them.

All I have to say is: Huh?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday musings

Some thoughts on a Sunday morning:

1. I went to a Stephane Dion get-together the other day. Tetreault has a good recap of the event. It was reasonably well attended, with a good mix of Dion supporters, supporters from other camps and curious undecideds. I think we all appreciated his candor. Stephane really comes across as a person who says what he means and means what he says. That's why I find his bizarre comments on Northern Ontario so disheatening. I'll chalk it up to the fact that he had a long day and was probably tired, but to suggest to Northern Ontarians that they leave their communities and "go to where the jobs are" is not at all tactful.

2. Yesterday, I attended the LPC(O) Executive Board meeting at the Marriott Toronto Eaton's Centre. For those of you who don't know, the Executive Board is a gathering of Ontario riding presidents, LPC(O) Table Officers, Commission executive members and other party officials. As an Area Coordinator for part of Northern Ontario, I'm invited to attend these meetings. Without going into any details or providing any context or rationale, I can state categorically that the Liberal Party will continue to lose elections unless it gets younger people involved at the senior party level.

3. Yesterday afternoon, I went out to High Park to check out the OYL "Liberals in the Park" event. Organized by the York University Young Liberals, the event was filled with good games, good food and good company. I especially liked the OYL Olympics part, where the different teams had to compete against each other in various events, from trivia to improv, from a relay to a soccer game. Team Trinity-Spadina (which I happened to join just two minutes before the awards ceremony...Thanks Brian Clow!) came in third place after a coin toss. The losers from Toronto-Centre weren't too happy :o( All in all, it was a great time. I particularly enjoyed the BAPM (Big Ass Piece of Meat)...Cooked to perfection!!! Kudos to Li Zhang and Sukhpaul Tut for organizing a great event.

4. The Liberal Party will win federal seats in Alberta. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow... Hell, maybe not anytime soon, for that matter. But a few of us are working on it.

5. Warren Kinsella posted a comment on my blog the other day. I'm ecstatic! But it still doesn't change the way I feel about "Big Meanie" Warren. I haven't cried that much since Brokeback Mountain lost the Oscar.

6. It's my last week in Toronto. I'm not happy.

OK, that's enough rambling for today. I've got to get ready for the LPO(O) Boat Cruise. Or as I like to call it, the Schmooze Cruise. Have a great Sunday!

Friday, August 18, 2006

New endorsements for Bob Rae!! (part 2)

(More Friday nonsense)

Ever since Bob Rae ditched his trademark glasses, this kid now has the coolest shades in the world. He has no reason to endorse Bob for the federal leadership, but he did anyway. Hey, we'll take what we can get!

Peter Griffin has finally come out with a statement in which he says he agrees with Bob Rae: Tories stink! We've been waiting for this statement for nearly a month now! For being so tardy, Peter wins the Michael Ignatieff Award for Taking Three Weeks to State the Obvious. He'll also be joining Team Rae as Bob's personal wardrobe advisor.

Star Jones still hasn't found a job since she was unceremoniously dumped from The View a while back. I posted about this a few months ago, and ever since, she and I have been in constant contact. Even though she remains quite bitter and jaded, Star has a tremendous ability to communicate, especially in writing. As such, she will be joining me as Bob Rae's Blogging Co-Chair. You can read her acerbic commentary at

New endorsements for Bob Rae!!

(It's Friday, and I'm in a good mood. I hope you enjoy the following nonsense.)

On the heals of Bob Rae's hugely successful week where, among other things, he received the backing of Maurizio Bevilacqua, the campaign team is pleased to announce the following high-profile endorsements:

For proving that comebacks are indeed possible, Bob received a call from Gary Coleman late last night. Gary offered his full support to the campaign, and even said he'd run on Bob's team in the next election. Bob offered him the riding of his choosing. Gary chose Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

Bob recently gave a speech at a daycare centre in Halifax, where he reiterated the fact that as Premier of Ontario, he increased spending on child care by 62%. These babies were so inspired by Bob's speech and his devotion to children's causes that they decided to put their money where their mouths are (that is, after they stopped sucking their thumbs). Each of them offered to donate $5400 to the campaign. The campaign politely declined. But talk about grassroots support!

Mr. T pities fools, and after hearing Bob's recent foreign policy speech at the Munk Centre, the acclaimed action star came to the conclusion that Bob Rae is no fool. Mr. T will be joining the team as head of security, with special responsibilities for protecting the John Lennard Experience. His first task: to "settle" my ongoing dispute with Jason Cherniak. Be afraid, Jason. Be very afraid.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

On Kinsella

In response to Warren Kinsella's recent comments about Bob Rae, all I have to say is the following:

Warren Kinsella is a big meanie. He actually made me cry. And the John Lennard Experience never cries.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Seeds of jealousy

It's because he was broke. No wait! It's because Sorbara out-organized him in his riding. Oops, I was wrong. It's because Rae is desperate to win in Quebec. Silly me, it really was Big, Bad Sorbara, who apparently needs Maurizio's help to win the provincial leadership. Nah, it's really because the man has no principles.

My take? People are jealous, plain and simple. My advice? Get over it, and fast.

Monday, August 14, 2006

On Cherniak

(I preface this by saying that Jason Cherniak is a friend of mine. As a blogger, I have a lot of respect for his opinions, even though he and I may disagree from time to time. He's one of the reasons I got into the blogging game, and I'm grateful for his ongoing advice.)

So Cherniak continues to insist that his political judgment is better than that of two veteran politicians who, combined, have been elected 11 times in York region to the federal and provincial legislatures. That's fine. I think he's wrong.

If anyone knows what will sell in the 905, it would be Greg Sorbara and Maurizio Bevilacqua. As elected officials, they know the area, they know the people, they know the concerns and they know the issues. If either of them seriously believed Bob Rae wouldn't sell in York region, I sincerely doubt they'd endorse the guy. They did, because they think he can win there.

What Jason is spinning is typical conventional wisdom. The same conventional wisdom that led him to be such a strong Martinite back in the day. The same conventional wisdom that led him to call the Tories' pre-Christmas campaign a "failure".

Now he claims the Liberals will be wiped out in York region in a Conservative sweep if Rae is elected leader. An interesting theory, to be sure. Since Jason's made such bold (and wrong) predictions before, I'm wondering if he can enlighten us once again. Who's going to lose in York region if Rae wins the leadership, Jason? Will it be Maurizio? Your friend Byron Wilfert, perhaps? Will it be McCallum, Stronach, Temelkovski, Kadis? Who's going to lose?


Big news for team Rae. Wish I could take credit for it, but I can't. I'm still happy, nonetheless.

I think this is fantastic for two reasons:

1) It gives Rae additional credibility on the economic front. Maurizio Bevilacqua has made a strong economy the central plank of his leadership bid. He wouldn't be with Rae today if he felt that Bob was overly vulnerable on this issue, or if he thought Bob would do a bad job on the economic front.

2) It gives Rae additional credibility in the Liberal Party. Many people have questioned Bob's loyalty to the Liberal cause, given his tenure as an NDP Premier and his recent arrival to our party. With the backing of a six-term MP who has served in the House for the past 18 years, Bob can now show that long-time, die-hard Liberals appreciate his leadership qualities.

Great news, all around. Welcome aboard, Maurizio.

UPDATE: I think Jason Cherniak's comments on the Maurizio decision are complete junk. He calls it a "horrible decision" because Maurizio is from the 905 area (York region specifically), and according to Cherniak, this will be the toughest area to hold in the next election. Nonsense. First Sorbara supported Bob Rae. Now Bevilacqua does the same. I'd argue that both know a hell of a lot more about York region than Cherniak does. Why? Because they've actually been elected there before. Jason's never held any elected office. They have. They know what it takes to win. He doesn't. Maybe that's why he was so wrong in his analysis of the last federal election, when he actually called the Conservative strategy for the first half "a failure." And it's why he's so wrong once again about Bob Rae.

Old myths die hard

Critics (including many Liberals) have been peddling the myth for years that Bob Rae was an ineffective steward of Ontario. I maintain now, as I have all along, that this simply isn't true.

Go ahead. Call me crazy. Call me blindly partisan. Call me drunk (or worse). But I genuinely believe Bob Rae was one of the greatest premiers this province ever had. I thought he governed effectively under harsh conditions. He even did a lot of terrific things as Premier.

Don't believe me? Fine. Believe this. I'd like to pull out one section in particular:

"When Bob Rae assumed office, the province was faced with an economic crisis -- a deepening recession, unprecedented competitive challenges from a Free Trade Agreement with the U.S., high interest rates, an overvalued dollar and a budget deficit of several billion dollars rather than the surplus predicted by the prioradministration. Over 300,000 manufacturing jobs were lost between 1989 and 1992.

"When the Rae government approached the end of its term, Ontario led the way in growth among the provinces and had one of the strongest economies in the G7. Surveys showed strong consumer and business confidence.

"Private sector investment was back with billions in capital spending. Labour productivity was at an all-time high, as were manufacturing exports. Health-care costs were under much improved control as part of a broader strategy that was reducing the deficit."

Will the cynics be satisfied? I don't know. All I can do is try my best.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Go away, Joe

Another reason Joe Lieberman deserved to lose the Democratic primary: Not only does he agree with Bush's foreign policy, he uses Bush's old "any disagreement is a victory for the terrorists" line. And he even takes it to a new extreme:

Campaigning in Connecticut, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, who lost Tuesday's Democratic primary and is now running as an independent, said the antiwar views of primary winner Ned Lamont would be "taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England."

C'mon Joe. You know better than that. Or at least you should. It's time for you to go.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Matter settled

Yesterday afternoon, I received a telephone call from a (very) senior staffer on Michael Ignatieff's campaign team. While he and I do not share the same view on the Liberal leadership, I consider this individual to be a friend, and I look forward to working with him in the future.

He was concerned about my recent comments on Michael's absence and his tardiness in issuing a statement on the Israel-Lebanon issue. In particular, he was troubled by my characterization of Ian Davey's comments about an "illness in the family" as a "lie." After a lengthy discussion, he and I agreed to the following:

1. Linda Diebel does not like Michael Ignatieff.
2. Her article, on which my comments were based, clearly made it seem as though the Ignatieff campaign lied about the mother-in-law issue.
3. Ian Davey's comments were perhaps unintentionally misleading, but they did not amount to a lie.
4. The Ignatieff campaign did not do enough to correct the record and make it clear that there was no health crisis.
5. No leadership campaign should be held responsible for comments made by their blogging supporters. As such, I should not hold the Ignatieff campaign responsible for false suggestions by his supporters (e.g., TDH Strategies) that Ignatieff's family member was "deathly ill" and that the family was enduring a "tragedy" in Hungary.
6. I was perhaps too hasty in my assessment of the situation.

With these conclusions in mind, I reaffirm the following:

1. My continued belief that Michael Ignatieff is not the right person to lead the Liberal Party of Canada;
2. My continued belief that Bob Rae is the right person to lead the Liberal Party of Canada;
3. Notwithstanding these beliefs, my commitment to support whomever is elected Liberal leader in December.

I hope that settles everything.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The politics of compromise

Defeated. Turfed. Rejected. Repudiated. Call it what you want, but the result is clear: Last night, Connecticut Democrats decided they had enough with Joe Lieberman's politics of constant compromise. And they made the right choice.

Joe Lieberman is a good man. I have the deepest admiration for Joe because he is decent and honest. His credentials as a Democrat are solid, longstanding and irrefutable. A lot of people are attributing his failure to his strong support for the Iraq war. Granted, Iraq fueled much of Ned Lamont's insurgent candidacy. But Joe's problems went beyond his support for Bush's foreign policies. His problem is that he represents the Democratic Party's failed strategy to capture the imagination of Americans.

For the past thirty years or so, Republicans been consistent in presenting a clear and simple vision for America. Small government. Low taxes. Tough on crime. Tough on defense. Tough on terror. Family values. They have also built a political infrastructure of conservative think-tanks, talk radio shows, activist groups and (more recently) bloggers to support this simple vision. And over and over again, they've won.

For their part, Democrats have been less successful. They have neglected to build a comparable political infrastructure for liberal ideas. As a result, the liberal voice -- equality for all, health care for all, education for all, job security for all -- has been drowned out by the conservative roar. And over and over again, they've lost.

Rather than work on building a solid liberal infrastructure to spread its vision, the Democratic Party adopted a different approach to winning based on presenting a "centrist," "moderate" or "compromising" alternative to the Republican message. This approach rejects the "extremism" of both the progressive left and the conservative right, and proposes that the Democratic Party represent a happy medium, where compromises can be found to most of the country's problems. Organizations such as the Democratic Leadership Council have strongly backed this approach. The DLC points to the fact that the only Democrat elected nationwide in the past 30 years was Bill Clinton, a centrist and former DLC head.

Compromise is a legitimate and necessary aspect of politics. But its practicality, particularly in a two-party system, requires that both sides come to it in good faith and from equal bargaining positions. The problem in the U.S. is that the Republicans are very comfortable being a conservative party. Democrats (or at least those who listen to the DLC) say they are not comfortable being a liberal party. The DLC rejects liberalism as much as it rejects conservatism, viewing both as too extreme. Thus, the impetus for conservative Republicans to compromise with liberal Democrats is eliminated. If the Democratic Party rejects liberalism, why should Republicans acknowledge it?

This scenario, which is a reality in America today, is the reason so many American liberals are upset. For the past fifteen or twenty years, their progressive vision has been pushed aside in favour of the politics of compromise from which, ironically, no real compromises have sprung. Republicans keep on winning and Democrats keep on losing. The "centrism" strategy has failed. And progressives are tired of it.

Which brings us back to the situation with Joe Lieberman. Connecticut is one of those blue states which consistently, if not overwhelmingly, votes Democrat. It makes sense for the Democrats to run true progressives in states like Connecticut for the same reason it makes sense for Republicans to run true conservatives in states like Wyoming, Nebraska or Alabama. Why? Because they can. And when it comes time to compromise with conservative Republicans, progressive voters stand to gain more by having true progressives representing them in Washington. Joe Lieberman not a true progressive. He is, at best, a centrist. He supports the war in Iraq. He favours school vouchers. He favours censorship. He opposes gay marriage. He supported Bush's appointment of conservative John Roberts to the Supreme Court. In short, he was not doing enough to reflect the views of progressives who elected him. By contrast, Ned Lamont is a true liberal. He will do Connecticut proud.

So should all centrist Democrats be defeated and replaced with die-hard liberals? In a perfect world, I'd say yes, but as we know the world is far from perfect. In some states, Democrats have little chance at winning, and running liberals probably wouldn't be wise. In the short term, it makes sense to run so-called "centrist" Democrats in these states, such Rep. Harold Ford in Tennessee (although he is still a bit too conservative for my liking). Hopefully, centrists will be able to moderate the conservative political culture in some of these red states.

The long term goal should always be to build a strong liberal infrastructure in each and every state. It will be more difficult in some areas and easier in others. But it has to start somewhere. I'm glad Connecticut Democrats decided to begin this process. As I look towards 2008 and beyond, I have to ask myself: "Who's next?"

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Showdown in Connecticut

Those of us who follow American politics will be glued to this story on Tuesday. A Lieberman loss may signal the beginning of the end of the centrist philosophy that has permeated the Democratic Party for the past fifteen years or so. What will it mean for 2008? More importantly for us, what will it mean for Canada, given that the political trends in our country seem to follow those of our southern neighbours? Will Canadian politics become more even more polarized and polarizing? Interesting questions, for sure.

I'll have more to say later in the week as the results of the primary are announced.

For shame

I've changed my mind from the post below. I will never, ever support Michael Ignatieff for the leadership of the Liberal Party. If it comes down to him or anyone else on the final ballot, I will vote for anyone else. If I can't bring myself to vote for the other person, I will abstain from voting. If he wins, I don't know what I'll do. I'll probably bite my tongue, accept the result, support my local Liberal candidate in the next federal election, and then wait for the leadership review to come around.

Why do I take this position? For one, I don't like being lied to. And two, Ignatieff is clearly not up to the job. He doesn't have the tact, the political smarts or the common sense to be leader of our party, let alone Prime Minister.

His supporters have spent the past couple of weeks peddling the bold-faced lie (August 1) that Michael's recent MiA status was due to a "deathly ill" mother-in-law. They got this impression from a statement by his campaign manager, Ian Davey, and other campaign officials who claimed that Michael was away dealing with a family illness. In fact, there was no illness in the family. His campaign manager made it up. He was just on vacation.

In the middle of an international crisis, the widely recognized "expert" on foreign policy was on vacation. For two and a half weeks, he made no statement on the Lebanon crisis. No support for Israel. No support for Lebanon. No calls for an international intervention to prevent a humanitarian disaster. No calls for a ceasefire. No sympathies for the casualties on both sides of the conflict. No pleas for peace. Absolutely nothing.

Then he has the nerve to call Harper's response to the situation "inadequate" and to claim in an interview that "we are in a race against time." A race against time. Seriously, he said that.

Nobody should fault Ignatieff for wanting to take a couple weeks off. I mean, this leadership race is tough for all of us involved, from the candidates to the paid staff to the volunteers. Everyone deserves some down time. But if you're a human rights scholar and foreign policy expert running for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada and you see that the Middle East is about to explode, for God's sake, make a statement. Take a stand. Show us the knowledge and experience you've gained in your thirty-plus years abroad. Offer a solution. And do it quickly. The indepth op-eds in the Globe can come later.

And tell your campaign manager not to lie to us. That really pisses us off.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ignatieff: "Not losing sleep" over Qana

Despite my recent criticisms, I genuinely like Michael Ignatieff. He's clearly one of the world's foremost academics in the fields of human rights and international relations. I disagree strongly with his views on Iraq and Afghanistan, but agree with his positions on most domestic issues. Even his op-ed yesterday, which I criticized for coming out too late, was well reasoned, compelling and thoughtful. I agreed with much of what he said there, too. Michael Ignatieff is a good, smart and decent man whose contribution to the Liberal Party will be tremendous, regardless of the outcome of this leadership race. I've always said that if he becomes leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, I'll support him.

It's just statements like these that make me wonder if he's ready for prime time. With reference to the tragedy in Qana, he argues in the Toronto Star that the situation was inevitable and says: "This is the kind of dirty war you're in when you have to do this and I'm not losing sleep about that."

"Not losing sleep about that." Perhaps that's why it took him so long to make a statement.

I'm sorry to say it, Dr. Ignatieff, but I do lose sleep about that. I lose sleep because I know that every dead Lebanese civilian serves to embolden those who hate Israel. In your own words from your Globe piece, you say that Qana "is a victory for Hezbollah" which hopes to "lure Israel into an escalation of violence that will radicalize the Arab world and cause Israel to lose its remaining international support." I lose sleep over the thought of a radicalized Arab world and an isolated Israel. Peace will never exist under such conditions.

This is precisely why Bob Rae, Stephane Dion, Gerard Kennedy and others called for Canada to act quickly in helping to diffuse the situation. It took them a mere days to realize that further escalation of this conflict is not in Israel's best interest, nor is it in Lebanon's. It took Michael Ignatieff three weeks to come to the same conclusion. As he himself states, he waited until the situation reached a point of imminent "catastrophic violence" before "figuring out when was the time when a statement would be important and relevant."

Note to Michael Ignatieff: You're running to become leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. Presumably, you also hope to become Prime Minister of Canada. Prime Ministers don't wait for a point of "imminent catastrophic violence" to come before acting. Are you really suggesting otherwise? If you are, then you've once again proven why you would be the wrong choice for Liberal leader in December.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

3 days overdue...

Still no response from Michael Ignatieff, Joe Volpe, Hedy Fry and Maurizio Bevilacqua to Anne McLellan's questionnaire on women's issues in the Liberal Party. The former Deputy PM requested a response from all registered candidates by late July.

I have to say, I'm thoroughly disappointed in those who have failed to respond. Dr. Ignatieff's silence is particularly troubling, since he promised a reply by July 28th. I guess if the issue doesn't get you on the front page of the Globe and Mail, it's not worth responding to. (A question to the good professor: In university, they dock us marks for handing in our papers late. Does the same rule apply here?)

Take your pick

Some people show up for work. Some people don't. In times of crisis, leaders come out with a plan immediately. Followers wait three weeks to gauge public opinion before telling us what we already know.

It's about strong, decisive leadership, backed up by results. Or...silence. That's what it boils down to, folks. Take your pick.