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A BCer in Toronto: Haters were going to call Eglinton-Lawrence a loss for Trudeau no matter what

When the narrative is against you, events don’t matter — they’ll be twisted to suit the desired message no matter what. Such is the case these days with Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party, and Sunday’s nomination in Eglinton-Lawrence offers a compelling case study.

As you probably know, some months back former Conservative MP . . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: Haters were going to call Eglinton-Lawrence a loss for Trudeau no matter what

A BCer in Ottawa: Haters were going to call Eglinton-Lawrence a loss for Trudeau no matter what

When the narrative is against you, events don’t matter — they’ll be twisted to suit the desired message no matter what. Such is the case these days with Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party, and Sunday’s nomination in Eglinton-Lawrence offers a compelling case study.

As you probably know, some months back former Conservative MP Eve Adams crossed the floor to join the Liberal caucus. Told she had to seek an open nomination, she opted to run in a riding where she had no roots — Eglinton-Lawrence — as there was already a Liberal candidate nominated at the time in her home riding. A local Liberal, Marco Mendicino, was already seeking the nomination in Eglinton-Lawrence. After a long delay and a heated race, Mendicino won on Sunday — by some reports handily.

As we waited for the results, I tweeted this:

I predict pundits have 2 columns ready. 1 Adams wins shows noms not open. 2 Adams loses shows Libs reject Trudeau. #cdnpoli #EgLaw

— Jeff Jedras (@jeffjedras) July 26, 2015

And as you can guess, with Mendicino’s win they went for option 2. It was entirely predictable. Heads the pundits win, tails Justin loses. Tim Harper’s column is representative of the spin across social media and pundit land this morning. Haters gonna hate, and they were going to hate either way.

Just for fun, let’s try to look at this logically. Fact is if Trudeau really wanted Adams as the candidate, she’d be the candidate. He’d either have appointed her or fixed the race to ensure she won. Mendicino would have had swathes of memberships mysteriously disallowed or disappeared. People would have been strongly encouraged to not support his campaign. There were plenty of levers they could have pulled. They pulled none of them. Besides leaving the nomination call to second-last in the GTA (Thornhill remains) no process or other levers were used to support the supposedly favoured candidate. And Mendicino had the support of past (interim) leader Bob Rae and a lot of active establishment Liberals who, if Adams was really the hard Trudeau choice, wouldn’t have gone near his campaign.

The argument for option 2 also relies on Adams being “Trudeau’s choice.” Let’s examine that logically too, shall we? The only way Trudeau could have headed off this damned either way scenario is if he hadn’t have let Adams cross the floor to the Liberal caucus. She was hardly a big get and her Liberal bonafides were questionable at best, but the opportunity to pick up an MP at Harper’s expense is hard to pass up. And if he’d blocked her he’d have taken flack for that too; don’t kid yourself.

So now that we accept she’s coming onboard, of course he has to have a press conference with her — only Prime Minister Harper is allowed to never talk to the press without consequence. And of course he is going to say positive things about her — what, is he going to say I don’t like her but welcome to our caucus? But he took pains to make clear that she would have to face an open nomination and he would pick no favourites. So all the “Trudeau’s choice” arguments are predicated on the fact he had a press conference to welcome a new MP to the caucus. It just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

Of course, logic doesn’t help you when the gods of the narrative aren’t on your side. So be it. To quote a great philosopher, haters gonna hate. Liberals just need to shake it off. The pundits will move on to the next tortured story soon. And no narrative is forever — a year ago they’d decided the man walked on water.

Meanwhile, in Mendicino Liberals have a candidate with deep local roots and the Liberal grassroots behind him that is best positioned to take on and defeat Joe Oliver. And none of the rest matters. . . . → Read More: A BCer in Ottawa: Haters were going to call Eglinton-Lawrence a loss for Trudeau no matter what

A BCer in Ottawa: Why I have no time for David Bertschi’s complaints

I’ve tried to hold my tongue through David Bertschi’s dramatic performances through the nomination process, but after his conduct at the Ottawa-Orleans nomination on the weekend, enough is enough.

I’m the first person to be up in arms with regards to nomination shenanigans or interference from the centre. I’m a supporter of open nominations – it was a key part of Deborah Coyne’s democratic reform platform during the leadership campaign, and I was glad to see Justin Trudeau adopt a similar position shortly after we released ours.

I think everyone – if they’re being honest with themselves anyway – knew that there would always be an asterix for open nominations when the pledge was reaffirmed by the leader for this nomination cycle. A certain threshold of rules would need to be met by all candidates seeking a nomination, from a commitment to Liberal values (see supporting the right to choose) to a background check, and so on.

For the former leadership candidates seeking a nomination (including from 2006) there were additional rules. I have some insight into this, as I managed Deborah’s leadership campaign. Those carrying leadership debt were required to submit a debt repayment plan and schedule, and report regularly on their progress to the party. They were informed that their greenlighting was provisional, and could be revoked at any time if they didn’t maintain satisfactory progress.

This applied to all leadership candidates carrying leadership debt from recent campaigns, from Coyne and Bertschi and George Takach, to caucus members like Marc Garneau and Hedy Fry. The rules were clear and known to all.

The rules were also clear during the leadership campaign with regards to the amount of debt campaigns were allowed to carry, both in loans and in accounts payable. A financial filing was due regularly to the party for compliance purposes and, if the levels were violated, a range of sanctions were available, up to and including expulsion from the leadership race. Again, the rules were clear and known to all.

And it appears to me that Mr. Bertschi was unable or unwilling to follow rules, whether during the leadership campaign or during the nomination process.

Bertschi withdrew from the leadership campaign in a flourish, after hemorrhaging staff and volunteers, just before he was facing sanction from the party and possible expulsion from the race for violating those debt limits – post-race filings with Elections Canada confirm his non-compliance. This after making a virtue of having promised a debt-free campaign.

Nevertheless, he was provisionally green-lit by the party to seek the nomination in Ottawa-Orleans. Like every other leadership candidate carrying debt, he had to submit and follow a repayment plan. And once again, he couldn’t follow the rules. And so he faced the consequences.

Now, the current underlying all of this, of course, is the party centre’s favoured candidate for Ottawa-Orleans, Andrew Leslie – the former general was acclaimed this weekend following Bertschi’s expulsion.

Let’s be frank. Did the powers that be want Leslie? Obviously. Were they going to use the levers available to them to help make that happen? Most definitely.

Here’s the thing, though: Bertschi made it easy on them. No shenanigans were necessary. By failing to comply with the clearly stated rules, rules which applied to all (and the others managed to comply with), Bertschi made it easy for the party to remove him from the race completely by the book. No shenanigans were necessary, as Bertschi was the author of his own demise.

I might still be able to muster a measure of sympathy for him – being denied a dream you’ve long worked for is incredibly difficult – were it not for the arrogance with which he has conducted himself through this process. Attacking other Liberals, threatening lawsuits, his supporters disrupting meetings, heckling, disrespecting the Canadian flag. Bertschi isn’t about the Liberal Party; he’s about David Bertschi. And I have no time for people like that.

If Bertschi had followed the rules, he would have challenged Leslie this past weekend, and who knows what would have happened. The party’s pick doesn’t always win – see Don Valley North. Superior organization will take the day. Instead, he was the author of his own demise, and seems determined to light the bridge aflame behind him.

Don’t let the door, etc.

. . . → Read More: A BCer in Ottawa: Why I have no time for David Bertschi’s complaints

A BCer in Toronto: Why I have no time for David Bertschi’s complaints

I’ve tried to hold my tongue through David Bertschi’s dramatic performances through the nomination process, but after his conduct at the Ottawa-Orleans nomination on the weekend, enough is enough. I’m the first person to be up in arms with regards to nomination shenanigans or interference from the centre. I’m a supporter of open nominations – . . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: Why I have no time for David Bertschi’s complaints

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– Oxfam studies the spread of extreme inequality around the globe, as well as the policies needed to combat it: Oxfam’s decades of experience in the world’s poorest communities have taught us that poverty and inequality are not inevitable or accidental, but the result of deliberate policy choices. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Trashy's World: There are some quality candidates…

… vying for Liberal Party nominations. My political junkiness kicks into high gear usually about 12-18 months ahead of a projected election date. I love elections. And I love the processes and machinations leading up to them. Although it has been an unbelievable (literally and figuratively… which you’ll understand if you know me personally) summer, . . . → Read More: Trashy’s World: There are some quality candidates…

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– Linda McQuaig criticizes the Cons’ use of the tax system to try to silence charities who don’t match their political message: PEN now joins Amnesty International, the David Suzuki Foundation, Canada Without Poverty, the United Church and other groups that, having criticized an array of Harper policies, . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, contrasting the NDP’s hard-fought Regina nomination elections against the stories of Paul Manly, Chris Rendell, and the apparent trend of federal and provincial NDP candidates being disqualified from seeking nominations for entirely insufficient reasons.

For further reading…– The Leader-Post reported on the nomination victories by Erin Weir in Regina-Lewvan and Nial Kuyek in . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day

A BCer in Toronto: Proud to be part of a Liberal Party that stands for choice

The drama around the revelation that only those with pro-choice views (incumbents exempted) will be allowed to run for Liberal Party of Canada nominations has been interesting to watch, with so many commentators turning to democracy arguments to seek to overturn something Liberal members have democratically decided many times: we are a pro-choice party. It . . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: Proud to be part of a Liberal Party that stands for choice

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– Crawford Kilian discusses the growing influence of Thomas Piketty’s observations about wealth inequality and the unfairness of a system which inherently perpetuates privilege: What I take away is this: We are playing in a rigged game. The deck has always been stacked against us, and against our . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Andrew Coyne sees the powerful impact of local forces on nomination contests as evidence that grassroots democracy is still alive and well in Canada – no matter how much the Cons and Libs may wish otherwise: What’s common to both of these stories is not only the willingness . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

A BCer in Toronto: Jason Cherniak launches campaign for Liberal nomination in Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill

It’s always fun when a friend throws their hat in the political ring, and so it was an honour Sunday to venture up to Aurora as Jason Cherniak launched his campaign for the federal Liberal nomination in the newly created riding of Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill. Over 100 people were in hand for the Sunday . . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: Jason Cherniak launches campaign for Liberal nomination in Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill

The Liberal Scarf: Haven’t done one of these in awhile, a peek at early declared Liberal nomination candidates

Hey, before you take a look at who has come out of the wood work early to run for nominations, why don’t you take a look at my policy on Common Ground, Encouraging Youth Voter Participation and Improving Civic Education? Lots of political space being paid attention to right now on the federal scene (and rightfully . . . → Read More: The Liberal Scarf: Haven’t done one of these in awhile, a peek at early declared Liberal nomination candidates

A BCer in Toronto: Getting to know Amy Robichaud, Liberal nomination contestant in Scarborough-Southwest

While the 2015 federal election is a long ways off (if Stephen Harper actually sticks to his fixed election date law, that is), in a sign of the strength and renewal of the Liberal Party of Canada, quality candidates are already beginning to come forward and begin organizing for what will likely be hotly . . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: Getting to know Amy Robichaud, Liberal nomination contestant in Scarborough-Southwest

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

– Matt Taibbi discusses how public pension funds are being looted for the benefit of a few well-connected banksters: Hedge funds have good reason to want to keep their fees hidden: They’re insanely expensive. The typical fee structure for private hedge-fund management is a formula called “two and . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

A BCer in Toronto: Ideas for opening Liberal nominations

I’m a big proponent of open riding nominations. During the Liberal leadership race, I was proud when my candidate released an extensive party reform proposal including an open nomination process, and I was pleased when many of the other candidates – including the eventual winner, Justin Trudeau – joined us in supporting the concept . . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: Ideas for opening Liberal nominations

The Liberal Scarf: Provincial nomination progress, NDP and Greens

Neither the ONDP or GPO have nominated a particularly large slate so far, so I combined them here.The NDP haven’t nominated a whole lot of candidates so far as I can tell, and they so far seemed to have focused on the GTA. I could only find one notice … . . . → Read More: The Liberal Scarf: Provincial nomination progress, NDP and Greens

The Liberal Scarf: Provincial nomination progress, PC edition

Click the link for full sized version: http://i53.tinypic.com/2r4h2tk.png The most colour-complex map, for start. The PC’s have nominated almost all of their caucus, with only Steve Clark of Leeds-Grenville, Jerry Ouellette of Oshawa, and leader Tim Hu… . . . → Read More: The Liberal Scarf: Provincial nomination progress, PC edition

The Liberal Scarf: A look at provincial candidate nomination progress – Liberals

So on a whim, I decided to whip up some tracking maps of each party’s nomination progress, as far as I could tell. You’ll probably want to click on the maps for full size, and to tell the colour shades apart. I’ve decided to include Sarah Thompson’s ru… . . . → Read More: The Liberal Scarf: A look at provincial candidate nomination progress – Liberals

The Liberal Scarf: Tory in-fighting in Mississauga South, part I don’t even know anymore

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tories-bicker-in-key-toronto-area-ridings/article1897744/page1/Conservatives in my home riding of Mississauga South must really miss the days when they could just throw a Kennedy on the ballot and have the r… . . . → Read More: The Liberal Scarf: Tory in-fighting in Mississauga South, part I don’t even know anymore

The Liberal Scarf: Nancy Branscombe, new PC candidate in London North Centre, has some interesting ideas about political integrity

Nancy Branscombe was nominated as Tim Hudak’s candidate in London North Centre last night, and while Tim Hudak says that she will “fight for the priorities of families”, given Nancy’s personal record of political games, she has her own priorities.Here’… . . . → Read More: The Liberal Scarf: Nancy Branscombe, new PC candidate in London North Centre, has some interesting ideas about political integrity