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Canada's Next Prime Minister
April 9, 2006 4:53 PM   Subscribe

On December 3rd, 2006 Canada's next Prime Minister will be decided by a few thousand delegates at the Liberal party convention in Montreal (join for ~$10). Don't believe me? In the last 110 years of Liberal party history only one leader has failed to become Prime Minister. No fewer than sixteen candidates met in Edmonton last week. On the surface the candidates are making nice.
Ignatieff: "None of us, none of us are going to run against each other. All of us are running against Stephen Harper's vision of Canada."
It is even said that Bob Rae and Ignatieff are life long close friends. That didn't stop the Ignatieff campaign co-chair.
David Peterson: "[Rae's] got some terrible burdens to overcome. One is his record and one is his loyalty."
Emphasis mine, and <more inside>
posted by Chuckles (52 comments total)

 
The inspiration for this post was a very interesting panel discussion - 4th Reading: Cabinet Shuffle. Check out the mp3 audio of it, at 4:12 in they discuss Gerard Kennedy's record in Ontario, at 10:40 they discuss Kennedy's chances in the Liberal leadership race, and at 15:45 they start talking about David Peterson and Bob Rae.

Also not to be missed, the U of T Magazine article on Rae and Ignatieff (linked above).


posted by Chuckles at 4:53 PM on April 9, 2006


FFPP (Filigreed FPP)
posted by stbalbach at 4:58 PM on April 9, 2006


As Adam Radwanski pointed out, it's interesting that absolutely no one is suggesting David Peterson run.
posted by 327.ca at 5:00 PM on April 9, 2006


I think Peterson styles himself as the new Liberal party king-maker.

stbalbach, I don't get it..
posted by Chuckles at 5:05 PM on April 9, 2006


Okay, I guess I do.. Thanks!
posted by Chuckles at 5:09 PM on April 9, 2006


Chuckles, sorry, stylistically, I just noticed you used a lot of MeFi tricks in the FPP, an impressive array: small text, popups, more inside, pictures, multi-paragraphs, indentations, bold.
posted by stbalbach at 5:11 PM on April 9, 2006


That's a really good photo of Ignatieff and Rae.
posted by 327.ca at 5:14 PM on April 9, 2006


Great article from the Star over the weekend: IQ-ing up for Liberal race (with a fantastic photo of Ignatieff)

If this leadership race were really about Canada's next Prime Minister, we wouldn't be talking about Dion, Rae and Ignatieff, but about Mckenna, Tobin and Manley. The fact that all of the frontrunners at the time of Martin's resignation decided that they had better things to do than become Prime Minister should probably be an indication of insider's expectations of near-term Liberal party success. Now the next Liberal leadership convention should be interesting, especially if the aforementioned three join in, plus a newly-francophone Stronach and one or two of the Trudeau kiddies.

I think it's funny that Peterson and Rae are so involved in the race too. Rae's election was a result of voter disgust at Peterson's incompetance and arrogance. Harris' election was a result of voter horror at Rae's incompetance and inability to to anything without turning it into a disaster. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Liberal Party circa 2006!
posted by loquax at 7:22 PM on April 9, 2006


I thought the conservatives won in parlement, shouldn't they get to pick the PM?

I'm confused.
posted by delmoi at 8:13 PM on April 9, 2006


...oh boy.

The Conversative party is our current government. This post is about the Liberal party looking for their new leader, the next person to lead the Liberal party in the next election (whenever that arrives). Since the Liberals usually win elections in Canada, we're anticipating that they're picking the next Prime Minister.

Does that help?
posted by Hildegarde at 8:17 PM on April 9, 2006


Okay, so the one leader who failed to become PM was the one who ran against the current Conservative leader?
posted by delmoi at 8:22 PM on April 9, 2006


no, the liberal leader who just lost was Paul Martin, the Prime Minister, running for re-eclection.
posted by chococat at 8:25 PM on April 9, 2006


...election.
posted by chococat at 8:25 PM on April 9, 2006


Delmoi, Paul Martin, who *was* Prime Minister, was the leader of the Liberal Party. He lost to Stephen Harper, our new Prime Minister. Harper is the leader of the Conservative Party.

Martin, having lost the election, has stepped down, so the Liberals now need a new leader.

I stuck the actual names in there to make it less abstract. Hope that helps.
posted by Zinger at 8:28 PM on April 9, 2006


I think once the delegates get a taste of Gerard Kennedy in a some kind of debate or public forum they'll say goodnight to Ignatieff's pretend-Trudeau act. This guy has shone since his days at the food bank...he was McGuinty's only bright light.

Bob Rae hasn't sounded like he wants to do it for a while, no matter how much goading Peterson baits him with.
posted by bobloblaw at 9:34 PM on April 9, 2006


Yeah I don't like what I've read of Ignatieff so far, there was his article today in The Star "kinda" condemning torture, like he was arguing against it but he didn't seem that angry about the issue. And his support of the Iraq war really rubbed me the wrong way. My impression is that Ignatieff might be more suited for some other country, some country that maybe has an international military presence.

Gotta agree with boblowblaw about Gerard Kennedy. He's one of the most charasmatic politicians I've seen and I like his concern about poverty and "real" issues. Whenever I've seen him speak on television over the years I find myself agreeing with a lot he says.
posted by bobo123 at 10:04 PM on April 9, 2006


Bring back Paul Martin
posted by mert at 11:02 PM on April 9, 2006


Canada's next Prime Minister will be decided by a few thousand delegates

Phft... you're not a REAL country until your leaders are decided by a single terrorist hiding out somewhere along the Afghanistan-Pakistan boarder.
posted by wfrgms at 11:08 PM on April 9, 2006


Ya, I kind of screwed up the 'join' part.. As it is, it sounds like an advertisement. I meant to say "So, if you want to have a say you better join now", or something.. Still better than terror warnings though :)

Personally, I'm not that positive about Ignatieff, or even Rae. Kennedy seems interesting, but even though I try to pay attention to this stuff, I really don't know much about him. By party tradition it is a francophone's turn to be leader, and I get the feeling that Dion's campaign will be very strong.

Overall, it is very heartening to hear so much lefty talk from so many of them, and it is really great for everyone except Stephen Harper that Manley, Rock, McKenna and Tobin (and so many other well known names) stayed home. The question is, how long will the move to the left last, and will the new leader shape the party or will the party hammer the new leader into the same old box.
posted by Chuckles at 12:00 AM on April 10, 2006


From what little I know, Kennedy seems like a fairly decent choice too.

I'd prefer not Bob Rae, oh God. He's a nice enough man, but seems somewhat dim in person. Plus his dog bit me once.


That said, I do somewhat like the sound of Prime Minister David Miller... Perhaps in ten years or so.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:34 AM on April 10, 2006


A moose once bit my sister.
posted by GuyZero at 6:51 AM on April 10, 2006


I think it's jumping the gun a bit to assume that the next Liberal party leader will be able to win the next election. Harper is being pretty careful to make a lot of noise about sounds-great-on-the-face-of-it things like reducing the GST & putting more $ in every parents pocket. Things that sell well on the campaign trail, even if they aren't great long-term solutions.
posted by raedyn at 7:28 AM on April 10, 2006


Things that sell well on the campaign trail, even if they aren't great long-term solutions.
Exactly. $1200 a year per kid? That pays for, what, one minute of daycare a day?
And now there's rumblings of a free vote on same-sex marriage.
posted by chococat at 8:19 AM on April 10, 2006


FWIW, this is the first election I've voted Conservative, previously voting Liberal and Green and National Party (Mel Hurtig and I had some good conversations that convinced me). I think a lot of people are in the same boat as I am...convinced by overwhelming evidence that the Liberals are overspending and corrupt, and that the NDP has a better chance of growing wings than being elected.

We -do- pay too much tax in this country because of major overspending in non-critical areas and I'm happy to see the GST cut to take that on. If they take less tax in then hopefully they'll act like fiscal conservatives and reduce spending. I spent a fair bit of time living in Ottawa and was astounded by how much is spent there on cultural activities that no one outside Ontario can participate in, and how much waste happens in government offices. Anything that reduces the bloat is happy-making for me.

As for the child care, the sense of entitlement that people have on this issue is astounding. I'm (about to be, within two months) a parent as well and I went into it knowing that it was MY responsibility to provide for my child, not the governments. The $1200 is a nice bonus to help take care of my kid, as opposed to the incredibly expensive universal childcare plan from the Liberals that gave me no control over the method I use to arrange childcare. But in any case, that $1200 is just a bonus and should not be expected to solve child care issues that really belong in the hands of the parents.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:33 AM on April 10, 2006


By the way, there's talk that the Conservatives will also continue to cut income taxes, along with the GST, which was not part of their election platform. I don't know if the next election will result in a Conservative majority (hard to see, demographically, how that can happen), but I'd bet everything I own at the moment against a Liberal government of any stripe. It will take a colossal screw-up by Harper to lose to any of the proposed candidates for Liberal leadership, IMO.
posted by loquax at 9:56 AM on April 10, 2006


chococat >>> "And now there's rumblings of a free vote on same-sex marriage."

Which pisses me off. Not just for the obvious reasons; it's an entirely un-Canadian thing to do. Taking rights away once thay have finally been granted? When did that become something we as a country could even think about doing?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:07 AM on April 10, 2006


The next Prime Minister doesn't have to win the next election, unless you Conservative types think Harper is going somewhere..

That said, fortunes in the next election will rest completely in Quebec, Harper has maxed out his support everywhere else.
posted by Chuckles at 10:08 AM on April 10, 2006


The interesting thing that's happening in Parliament now is that the Bloc and the NDP are continuing to pound on the Liberals as if they were the ones in power. Neither of them must perceive the Conservatives as a threat to take votes away from them, so they're going to continue to kick the Liberal party when it's down.

As for teh leadership race, I like Kennedy, I think Bob Rae is being understimated but he does carry the baggage of having governed in a recession (and other legitimately bad policies to go with it.), but is quite politically sharp. Ignatieff hasn't had to fight and win enough elections of any kind to be a credible national political party leader or prime minister (my same criticism of Stronach.)
posted by Space Coyote at 10:16 AM on April 10, 2006


Is it only because I live south of the border that Ignatieff comes off as a Democratic Party wanker? I mean, I've spent more time in Canada in the past 30 years than he has.

I was starting to wonder if anyone who had been a member of the Liberal Party for more than a couple years was going to run.
posted by QIbHom at 10:28 AM on April 10, 2006


I was starting to wonder if anyone who had been a member of the Liberal Party for more than a couple years was going to run.

Like I said, they will when they think they have a chance at winning a majority, not simply being a transitional party leader.
posted by loquax at 10:49 AM on April 10, 2006


Exactly. $1200 a year per kid? That pays for, what, one minute of daycare a day?

As opposed to "universal" daycare that will go mainly towards upper-middle class urban families? The $1200 will benefit more children.
posted by angrybeaver at 12:49 PM on April 10, 2006


Why would universal daycare benefit the upper-middle class? Because they have kids? Because they're urban? Yeah, and 80% of the rest of the population. Why will the $1200 benefit more children?
posted by maledictory at 1:21 PM on April 10, 2006


As opposed to "universal" daycare that will go mainly towards upper-middle class urban families? - angrybeaver

Bullshit. In SK, for instance, the province was planning to spend the money on universal pre-school for 4 year olds. You know, kind of like kindergarten except only a few days a week. How does that benefit mainly upper-middle class urban families?

The intention of Harper's plan is good, but the execution sucks royally.

There are several times more children requiring care than there are licenced child care spots. It doesn't matter how much money you give parents, they can't buy what doesn't exist.

Also, the plan is to a mke it a taxable benefit that is not income tested, and it would be payable to the lower income parent. So if my husband makes $200,000 per year and I am a full time mom with no income, I get the entire $1200/year and none of it is taxed back. Fine. My neighbours both work, and they have a combined income of $70,000. The lower income person will get the $1200 per year, but a chunk of it will get taxed back. So even though our household makes significantly more money, we get the whole $1200 while our neighbours get less just because they both work. Does that make sense?
posted by raedyn at 2:41 PM on April 10, 2006


Too bad Ujjal Dosanjh isn't in the running, that would be two former NDP premiers running for the liberal party leadership. Dosanjh jumped directly into a high profile cabinet position. I can see why Rae would not consider his "baggage" to be a serious obstacle.
posted by crazycanuck at 2:41 PM on April 10, 2006


(answer: No. That's stupid.)
posted by raedyn at 2:43 PM on April 10, 2006


I think we have some interesting candidates. Ignatieff, despite some of his views, stands up and discusses them and indeed, encourages discussion, which is about the polar opposite of Harper, though the opposition and his minority position is forcing his hand.

I'll be voting Liberal next time and look forward to them moving on from Martin and the country moving on from a minority Conservative government.
posted by juiceCake at 2:54 PM on April 10, 2006


It is interesting tha tIgnatieff has been running towards his intellectual nature, while Harper (not in the same league, but certainly no slouch in the book learning department) has been running away from it. I wonder how taht would play out on the national stage.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:07 PM on April 10, 2006


As for the child care, the sense of entitlement that people have on this issue is astounding.

Are you seriously one of those "you should have thought about that before you got yourself pregnant" people? And you voted Green Party?

that $1200 is just a bonus and should not be expected to solve child care issues that really belong in the hands of the parents.

But it wasn't posited as a "bonus." It was their childcare plan. It was the usual Conservative method of distilling a problem down to x amount of dollars and throwing cash at people (like the useless GST cut) instead of trying to deal with the issue, i.e. THERE ISN'T ENOUGHT DAYCARE.
I don't feel like I'm entitled to anything except that my government tries to take care of its people.
posted by chococat at 3:19 PM on April 10, 2006


raedyn, why can't your neighbours pay for their own day care? $70,000 combined family income is a lot of money.
posted by angrybeaver at 5:42 PM on April 10, 2006


I hope the Liberals learn from their previous mistakes and run a clean leadership campaign. As I recall the last leadership campaign involved ridiculous amounts of money and hidden donations, ethnic bloc voting, and extremely tight control of membership forms.

Are there any westerners on the list? I'm not familiar with most of the candidates but they all seem to hail east of the Manitoba-Ontario border.
posted by angrybeaver at 6:00 PM on April 10, 2006


Are there any westerners on the list?

Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre MP) is on the list, although not the short list. Right now the only people really looking strong and organized enough are Scott Brison (Kings-Hants, NS riding), Ignatieff, Kennedy (who has pretty strong Edmonton roots, at least), Stephane Dion, Bob Rae... and.. I think there might be someone else. Oh, a lot of people give credit to Ken Dryden as well. But he had a wedding to attend this past weekend.

There's a rundown here at a blog I quite like.

As far as I can see, Brison's annoying and slimy, Ignatieff is too wishy-washy, Dion is unfortunately too Quebecois to win in the current political situation, and Rae will never get any Ontario votes. The Liberals should go with Kennedy. I really like him and everyone who's been around him whose opinion I respect thinks he's an absolutely excellent candidate. But I am afraid he might not. I wish I could do something about it.
posted by blacklite at 9:34 PM on April 10, 2006


raedyn, why can't your neighbours pay for their own day care? $70,000 combined family income is a lot of money.

It's my understanding that licensed, 50-hour a week daycare can cost about $1000 a month. $12,000 a year (for one kid!) is a big percentage of $70,000 - and you haven't even taken into account that that $70,000 is before tax income.
posted by orange swan at 7:30 AM on April 11, 2006


why can't your neighbours pay for their own day care? $70,000 combined family income is a lot of money. - angrybeaver

They can. I never siad otherwise. But as my example shows, in some situations, the wealthier families will get MORE money. That's friggin' stupid. Really friggin' stupid.

And it still doesn't address the problem of non-existent childcare spots. I'll have to go look up the exact numbers (they're at home and I'm at work right now) but in SK for example, there are 10 kids for each 1 childcare spot that exists. What do the families of the other 9 kids do?

You can't buy what doesn't exist.
posted by raedyn at 7:36 AM on April 11, 2006


It's my understanding that licensed, 50-hour a week daycare can cost about $1000 a month. - orange swan
It can. This varies depending on the part of the country you're in.

$12,000 a year (for one kid!) is a big percentage of $70,000 - and you haven't even taken into account that that $70,000 is before tax income. - orange swan

Yes, but childcare expenses are deductible at least, so the $12,000 (or whatever) is before taxes.
posted by raedyn at 7:38 AM on April 11, 2006


That's still a huge burden. And the average Canadian family only has a household income of about $55,000 a year, not $70,000.
posted by orange swan at 8:00 AM on April 11, 2006


No arguement there.
posted by raedyn at 8:04 AM on April 11, 2006


angrybeaver >>> "raedyn, why can't your neighbours pay for their own day care? $70,000 combined family income is a lot of money."

Not really, when there are kids involved. There were links about this all over the Blue a while ago, I think. $70K, two jobs, means two cars-- there's at least $8-10K/year right there, after insurance, gas, mechanics. And that's lowballing the figure.

Assume at least $15K (probably more) gone to taxes, EI, CPP, etc.

Mortgage? That's probably at least $20K. AT least. Groceries alone for a family of four are likely to run in the $10-12K range.

Dammit, I wish I could find those links now. They showed that, all other things being equal, having both parents as wage earners isn't significantly better than having only one parent, and in fact is often going to be worse in financial terms.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:03 AM on April 11, 2006


here's another friggin' stupid example.

Also from the same article
But for the Liberals to now suggest that their plan was some kind of child care panacea is as false as calling the Conservative scheme anything more than a middle-class tax cut.

In practice, the Liberals’ $5 billion would not have created and sustained public daycare spaces for more than a small fraction of Canadian families.
It is the choice of the family making $70K/year (or whatever amount) to have the second parent work outside the home. Why should the burden of taking care of their kids fall on others?

dirtynumb: 2 cars? $20K yearly mortgage payments? That family sounds pretty well off.
posted by angrybeaver at 10:32 AM on April 11, 2006


No one here has advocated that the "burden" (your word, not mine) should fall on others.

But Harper et all are saying that they have a childcare plan. And I'm calling bullshit. It's not a childcare plan. It's not thoughtful. I've got a child under three, and I'll appreciate the money, sure. I'll be putting it into an RESP for her. But to try and say that this helps my family with childcare is plain wrong.

There still aren't any licenced daycare spots to be had here. No matter how much money you put in my pocket, it isn't going to make them materialize. Even if the government offered to replace my income so I could stay home with her, that still wouldn't buy my kid the educational opportunities that a proper professional early learning daycare can provide.
posted by raedyn at 10:52 AM on April 11, 2006


In the most extreme case, an Ontario couple with a family income of $30,000 a year would end up with merely $199 of the $1,200 once taxes and other reductions are taken into account.

The brightest outlook was for single breadwinner families earing more than $100,000 a year who would keep $1,081 of the payment.
Source: Montreal Gazette
(online edition of article is for subsribers only).


Families making $30,000 per year get less than $200, while the family making $100,000 gets five times that. Super. Great plan. Very logical. Very helpful. I'm sure 200 bucks a year makes a huge difference to the low-income family's ability to access quality care. Bravo.
posted by raedyn at 8:07 AM on April 13, 2006


I don't understand why Ralph Goodale keeps saying he won't enter the race. He's known on the Hill and at home as a man of integrity and he's got plenty of experience.
posted by raedyn at 10:03 AM on April 13, 2006


I got a great kick out of Rick Mercer's send-up of Ignatief as a canidate. No paucity of merit, he.
posted by raedyn at 10:07 AM on April 13, 2006


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