Monday, September 21, 2009

Outremont - The Musical

Watching the hubbub over the Liberal party nomination in Outremont - a battle which Ignatieff has now declared in favour of star candidate Nathalie Le Prohon over former justice minister (and Outremont MP) Martin Cauchon, I am taken back to the two years I spent living in that riding.

The Liberals had trouble back then. Unfortunately, while I moved to Outremont when Cauchon was still my MP, I didn't get the chance to vote for him, although I enthusiastically would have done so. Paul Martin, the curse whose legacy still haunts the Liberals, decided to push aside Chrétien loyalists like Cauchon and Sheila Copps, making way for such luminaries as ex-Bloquiste Jean Lapierre. Not only did I not vote for Lapierre, I campaigned for the then no-hoper NDP candidate. Clearly many Outremont Liberals felt the same way about the changing winds in Liberal HQ. Lapierre's share of the vote plummetted, barely holding on to the seat. And as we see now, the Liberal lock on this safe seat was detached, making way for Thomas Mulcair.

I think this should have gone to an open nomination. But of the various opinions that I've seen on this fracas, my favorite, unsurprisingly, is Chantal Hébert's observation on her blogue at La Presse. She observes that "en laissant traîner les choses pendant une semaine, le chef libéral a transformé une bataille entre chats de ruelle en affrontement entre gangs de rue."

I think this is a rather poetic and dramatic image - the alley cat fight transformed into a street gang confrontation. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim and Luc Plamondon could make a new bilingual musical out of it, which could play at both Stratford and the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde.

I rather suspect it would have to be a tragedy.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Ignatieff: Alienating supporters of electoral and parliamentary reform one stupid declaration at a time

So, responding to Harper's latest skillful bit of bait, Michael Ignatieff has declared he will never enter into a coalition government.

Delightful. In an era of perpetual minority governments, and deeply fragmented voter intentions, Ignatieff has decided that making a working parliament that actually reflects the spectrum of voter opinion is a bad idea.

If he wanted to alienate supporters of electoral reform and voters who actually think a Liberal-NDP coalition might be a good thing, he's done a bang-up job.

I wonder who the NDP and Green candidates are going to be in Guelph...

ETA: I miss Jean Chrétien.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Of Home Renovations and Elections

Never let it be said that Stephen Harper is not cunning. I've known for a while that the much-touted home renovation tax credit had not yet received official sanction from the House of Commons. Not that you'd know this from all the television ads and every home renovation store touting purchases as being eligible under the program. But you'd figure that someone in the Liberal party had to know that they hadn't voted on this yet.

It figures therefore, that this is the poison pill that the Conservatives are hoping to make the Liberals swallow. At best, Ignatieff will be forced to back down on his threat to vote against the Harper government at the first possible confidence opportunity, and wait until a subsequent vote when the party's bravado has a little less force. At worst, his party votes against a wildly-popular tax credit, and then has to explain to middle-class Canadians how his government will re-introduce the program whenever the House gets around to sitting again after the election - which I'd bet would not be any sooner than December.

My advice: swallow your pride, vote for the reno tax credit, and don't risk losing Ontario seats in the 519-905 belt. It's better than letting the election be branded on the theme of how the Liberals don't care about the middle class.

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