Thursday, August 14, 2014

Responses To My Previous Post

I am always grateful when people take the time to respond to my posts. Engaging in discussions, exchanging points of view are part of what makes this blog worthwhile. On occasion I like to reproduce comments as separate posts, aware of the fact that often those comments will be missed by readers who generally don't return to read them. In that spirit I offer these responses from Scotian and Simon to my previous post on Justin Trudeau. Both reflect a point of view shared by many of us, that the first priority has to be to get rid of Harper, and that Trudeau's timidity is in part a reflection of the LPC's desire not to provide any ammunition to the Conservatives who, time and time again, have shown their willingness to stoop to any dirty trick to try to sully those who oppose them.


Not that I am wanting to be defending this, as I've already said here I disagree profoundly with this choice of his on this issue, but how much of this is because he knows he cannot afford to give the Harper machine any chance to portray him especially on foreign policy grounds as unserious. Remember the comment I made that you chose to post on your blog? Those forces are no doubt watching Trudeau like a Hawk hoping for just the slightest chance to tear at him so as to let them keep their preferred man Harper in the PMO. So it is possible what we are seeing is as you said bobbing and weaving like in that boxing match, but remember, that serves a real purpose, to stay in the fight until you can deliver your hard punches to win.

I'm not saying I'm happy with this, because I am not. I am though also not going to pretend that as ugly and horrific as things are with Israel and the Palestinians that I am going to make my political domestic judgments in the current reality on them either. I do not know that my view is correct, that Trudeau is saying what he needs to to be able to stay in the fight to beat Harper, and if he is it is something I never like seeing political leaders do, but I won't pretend that there isn't real reason for a leader with Trudeaus limited record to do it on an issue as charged and with as powerful a lobby on one side as we have here.

Even if I am wrong though and he truly believes what he is saying, I am still not going to change my view that letting him become the next PM is still the best choice among the three actually viable options, because while Mulcair may have more experience as a leader the way he operates is not a whole lot better than Harper in my eyes, granted for less destructive purposes. I don't trust those in his team for competence to run a government, I do trust in the institutional experience within the Liberal party though, and that is why I can still support a Lib leader who comes in with as limited experience as Trudeau, especially since he clearly knows how to find quality competent people around him and makes them get the job done. Look at how much he has been able to rebuild the Lib party itself for proof of that.

He is clearly not his father in intellect, but then how many of us are? Is he as developed as I would prefer, no but then I think he himself would say that. He didn't after all, initially want to run for leader this soon, he wanted to build up more experience, the problem was the 2011 results left him with a stark choice, either run now or there quite possibly wouldn't be a Lib party for him to lead when he did have that experience. So I understand your concerns Lorne, and even to a degree share them, but I also keep the context we have in mind too, and I do not believe that Trudeau is so able a leader to run and win his leadership with a 80% first ballot win, then rebuild his party machinery from the ground up, fundraising machinery overhauled as it has been, and not understand that he needs to put out more serious substance, I'm hoping he is biding his time. Too soon as we know what the Harper CPC will do, we've seen that movie already after all. Just ask Dion.

If we were in typical times I could not support a first time leader such as Trudeau, but these are anything but, and I refuse to allow myself to be diverted from the most important short term goal, the removal of Harper and the CPC, and hopefully with enough force to send them to third party status hopefully allowing the Red Tories to take over the CPC and turn it into something sane.


I went to see JT in London last year and before the Party nomination precisely because I didn't believe the hype. I was impressed with his poise and knowledge and ultimately decided that he is the real deal. I too, however, feel vaguely disappointed with his public position re: Zion and Gaza.

I fairness though, he is still only a PM in waiting. He is young and inexperienced and has already suffered several beatings at the hands of the CPC bullys precisely for taking firm positions (pro-choice, pot). Since he still has to *win* popular support (and the next election), I think it is reasonable for him to be somewhat more coy about extremely divisive issues.

His head and heart are in the right place. He is a proud Canadian and a champion of this great country and its liberal values. This is the diametric opposite of Harper's Alberta-centric, corporate oil pandering, science-denying, climate-change ignoring, anti-woman, opaque, unaccountable, controversial subterfuge.

I want this young man to lead this country. He'll find his feet.

Cheers, Simon

I replied:

Thanks to both Scotian and Simon for your well-considered comments. I hope you won't mind if I publish both in a separate blog entry, as they provide incisive counter-balances to the views I expressed above.

While I do believe that you are quite right about the dangers being forthright would pose at the hands of the Harper henchmen, I do think there are ways to be fair to both the Gazans and Israelis without alienating the supporters of either side. I wish Trudeau would opt for one of those ways.

Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

To which Scotian responded:

I've got no problems with it, if I did why would I write comments in the first place? LOL

Seriously, it is not like I disagree with you on the preference, but I am also mindful of the fact that Trudeau has only one chance to win here, the moment he makes those "in over his head" ads look credible on any serious issue, however fairly or unfairly, is the moment his and the Lib chances take a serious hit and all that CPC voter support he and the Libs have been pulling away risks returning to Harper. It is not likely they will go to Mulcair and the NDP, they didn't for Layton in 2011 after all. Remember, it is not just he Harper henchmen I fear on this issue, indeed in some ways they would be the pick-up follow-through to the ones I truly fear, who would also give a dangerous credibility to that attack from the Harperites. It is not in the interests of the pro-Israel-at-all-costs lobby to lose Harper, who clearly is the most committed to their POV of all our leaders, and it is they I fear would do the initial damage which then the Harperites could and would exploit.

I think that the political team around Trudeau can see that at least as easily as I can, so I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt despite my clear distaste for what is said and for the fact that if I am right we have a leader saying one thing while believing another, something I never like seeing in politics from anyone. That said though, we cannot really make any difference in Gaza, especially with Harper as PM, but we CAN make a difference in who is our PM, so that is where I believe our focus must stay, even when we see such ugliness as we have seen over the past several weeks, both in the ME and in our domestic discourse about it.

The hard and ugly truth is Trudeau because of his inexperience as a leader cannot afford to take risks like the one you wished he would, not yet. Once he gains the gravitas as a PM he can, and I would hope will, but for now he needs to keep the foreign policy arena as neutral a space as possible in terms of the difference between him and Harper so as to prevent it being used to undercut his and the Lib chances, and especially so on this issue given the outside/third party lobby interest already referred to.

Believe me Lorne, it turns my stomach to be writing/saying such things, but the last 8 years has been doing that too, and worse. Before anything else can be changed we MUST be rid of Harper and his CPC, and hopefully forcefully enough that his faction loses their grip on the party and the old time Red Tories can take it over and return it to something that actually cares about traditional Canadian values, indeed typical Canadian Conservative values at that.


  1. Several comments:

    (1) Unquestionably, any one of Trudeau, Mulcair or May, and their respective parties, would be better than what we have now,

    (2) While the points raised/suggested by both Scotian and Simon were undoubtedly correct that Harper and his cabal, and their supporters among the Press Gallery, are likely just waiting to pounce on Junior for any missteps, real or contrived, how wrong could Trudeau have been by condemning the loss of non combatant civilian lives on both sides? Granted the latter would have been an indirect indictment of the heavy handedness of the Israelis since the loss of civilian lives was disproportionately high on one side (the Palestinians), however, he could have explained that away easily as a parent being bothered by the images of dead babies and children, regardless of who was in the right or wrong. This would even have bolstered his image as a more compassionate leader,

    (3) Since then, Mulcair at least had expressed his strong opposition to the loss of civilian lives while May alone, among all the leaders, had been the only one who had been crystal clear where she stood on this issue. Mulcairs's action was undoubtedly only in response to the anger among his own NDP base and was likely a realization of potential vote loss if he had let the issue fester.

    No, I am not sure why Trudeau and the Liberals took such a one sided stand on this issue but I think we should not simply explain that away as saying that he is just being "bullied" into taking a stand that he otherwise would not have taken. Trudeau has actually so far shown that he has managed to give as well as he took. If one believes this week's EKOS' poll, one could argue that in fact Junior has given even better than he has taken.

    No, the question still stands: just what is the stance of the Liberals on this issue? What if it turns out that Trudeau and the Liberals actually believe in the apparent one sided stance they had taken. Don't we deserve to know before we vote?

    I believe, Lorne, that was the point you had raised in your original post (that Junior cannot keep weaving and bobbing all the time).

    I believe your question was a valid one.

    1. Thanks for your contribution to the discussion, Anon. Like you, I do feel that a non-inflammatory but strong statement from Trudeau was warranted, one consistent with our former reputation on the international scene as an honest broker. And yes, I agree as well that Canadians do deserve to know where the Liberal Party stands on this very grave and pressing issue.

    2. As I said before, I don't disagree, but I understand why it didn't happen either because of the realities domestically that exist. I wanted a strong condemnation too, but at the same time I understand politics too well to not understand why what happened (or didn't happen) is what we got. I would also love to have much clearer and definitive policy positions from our parties, ALL of them, whether foreign or domestic issues, but we don't see all that much from any of the big three when you get right down to it.

      I know for some I place too much emphasis on removing Harper to the exclusion of all else but I am not going to apologize for it, and I believe over the past decade I've made consistent arguments that he eventually backed up by his actions as to why I am so focused. I'm also focused on the Libs as that vehicle and have always been primarily because of how I read the demographic voting patterns of the electorate as shown by actual voting results in elections. Again, as I have explained in exhaustive detail for a decade now.

      This time out though I am finding myself additionally motivated by Trudeau himself, because I think he may actually be something closer to what we used to have in our leaders in this country, and he clearly shares values that I define as traditional Canadian ones. I've heard him speak live, and he does come off as more substantive than he has in the media from time to time, but even so I recognize that he is still fairly young and inexperienced, but he also has demonstrated with his results with his party rebuild that he can run a large organization effectively, he can delegate to competent people and is not threatened by the capability of others, and he appears willing to listen to other voices aside from his own. That makes him far better than what we have, and politically speaking his brand is one the plurality of voters have shown they will tend to get behind unless they really have reason not to.

      I also want the next government that comes in to have some real background in running government in its pocket because of the utter disaster awaiting the next government from the systemic warfare the Harper Government (tm) has spent the past decade waging. And to be blunt about it, at this point having Trudeau and/or Mulcair come out for evenhandedness in the ME and about the dead is not going to do us any good internationally, and domestically given the factors I've mentioned in prior comments it is potentially very dangerous to give Harper et al the opening.

      In closing, I know Lorne gets this but I hope the other people reading what I've been saying get this, I am *NOT* happy about what I saying, under normal circumstances I would *NOT* be making such comments/arguments, but the harsh truth of the Canadian reality these days leaves me with little choice otherwise. Indeed, if I thought May and the Greens had anything near a real chance I might well be persuaded to go there were we talking about other than a Harper Government, but not when so much is on the line already. No, this time we HAVE to remove Harper, and the only realistic way I see that is with the Libs, personally I would prefer a slim majority, enough so they can work without pressure all the time to campaign, but not so comfortable that they feel they can ignore everyone else, a 3-5 seat majority would be my preference, although I know many other would prefer a minority Lib with a NDP partner, but given the recent bad blood between the two sides thanks to the attempt by Layton to exterminate and replace the Libs instead of fighting first against Harper and the traditional distrust/contempt of Libs from Dippers who see the Libs as con artists and policy thieves, given the work ahead I don't want that kind of instability if it can be avoided.

      Sorry if this was a bit disjointed Lorne, I'm writing this right before calling it a night.


    3. Thanks again for your contribution, Scotian, Your comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

  2. .. is it possible to access a clear, concise & honest statement of what the National Liberal Party, the National NDP and the National Green Party actually stand for? Something approx 2 - 6 lines maximum.. and gritty truth.. not glossed up stuff.

    I guess I'm looking for something genuine.. the opposite or contrary version of the mealy pap and complete deceit emitted by The Harper Party.

    Perhaps we can resolve the complete nonsense of the provincial Liberal Party in British Columbia at the same time. Is it not a franchise of The Harper 'Conservative' Brand? And if so, why is it called a Liberal Party?

    Transparency, Accountability, Honesty.. now appear to mean Secrecy, Denial, Duplicity in government.. tailings 'ponds' = 'stewardship' and election implies suppression. We have ideological buffoons telling us we are anti-semetic for questioning their motives.. which appear to be driven by Rapture mythology or vote pandering, or both. These same miscreants are now bolting Natural Resources - mining & energy information into Environment Ministry web pages along with happy bright news about our wonderful muskrat, weather and unprotected navigable waters.

    We have a government that thrives on lying outrageously to Canadians. Baird and Clement on G20. Harper's Defence Procurement is a complete FIASCO. They attack United Nations daily... DAILY! EI is another fiasco as is Disability, as is The Canada Pension.. every single file... a disaster, a cover up, a failure. Jason 'TFW' Kenney, Fatuous Fantino, Pierre 'the rat' Poilievre.. the ludicrous MP's a la Calandra, Butt, Del Mastro.. this is a government still pimping asbestos.. not just pimping for Israel.

    The Opposition parties better start speaking up loud and clear on facts and truth.. and how & how quickly they will clean up the disasters on every single file the Harper butchers got their slimy hands on.. And if it takes a coalition government to turf Harper and the rest of the slime like him.. out of power, then get on with it. We have no time to lose

    1. Without question, Salamander, a clear and clean alternative to the mud the Conservatives fling at all of us is badly needed. The onus is on the opposition parties to provide some real choice.