The Real Opposition

Although the Liberals may have been reduced to third-party status in parliament after the last election, there’s little doubt that, largely thanks to the feisty leadership of Bob Rae, they are presently the de facto Opposition to the Harper Government®.

If polled, I wonder how many people would even know who Nycole Turmel is? Or, for that matter, any of the hapless mediocrities vying to helm the “New” Democratic Party…

17 Comments

Filed under Canadian Politics, Liberal Party of Canada, NDP

17 responses to “The Real Opposition

  1. Rotterdam

    Go Bob Go! I always personally liked Bob Rae. A lot of Conservatives I know hope he become the Liberal leader. They would see it as a gift.

  2. I agree, I’ve always liked Bob Rae as well. I’m not sure what problem people have with his “history” in Ontario. I was a student during the Rae years in Ontario and that’s the one thing that people cite as his biggest failure… and I think I’m doing okay. I got a great education, went to college and have succeeded (albeit not in my trained field, but then again, “library science” is, like, the best education ever in the “information age” so I’ve got no regrets).

    I think that, given the opportunity, Rae can certain lead the Liberal Party back to its former place as the natural governing party of Canada.

    At least I hope so.

  3. Gyor

    You need to stop drinking the msm cool aid and read some of accidental deliberation summaries of what actually goes on in parliament.

    Yes Bob Ray has gotten alot of attention lately, but what about the rest of the Liberal cacus?

    Bob Ray is effectively the Liberals entire front bench. While we have Charlie Angus, Peter Julian, Alexandre Boultice, Megan Leslie, Libby Davies and so many more doing an amazing job. All of which the media chooses to ignore 90% of the time.

    This is the same Media that told Canadians that the Orange Wave would die, that the NDP would be crushed by,the Bloc and Liberals ground game in Quebec and would only win a couple more seats in the last election.

    Example ignoring the Toronto debate that was so packed that hundreds had to be turned away, that most of the msm did not bother to attend. This btw is why the last people you should ask about the are the msm.

    I could go on and point out how Niki Ashton has taken the lead on fighting for the Wheat Broad and bringing in Michael Moore into her fight to protect jobs, or Romoes Saganash’s UN experience, or the fact that he is a key reason why the Cree in Quebec are so much better off then in the ROC, or that he’s a key expert on the constitution, or that he was the first Cree lawyer, Or Peggy Nash’s experience in bargaining building far deals with corporations, or her history of activism, or Cullen’s Parliamentary experience and his key voice in the fight against the Northern Pipeline, and his fundraiser for the poor workers at catapillar, how about Topp master tactician with the support of two successful premiers, and best of all Thomas Mulcair who is regarded by enviromentalists as the best enviromental minister in North American history, including changing the Quebec constitution to protect the enviroment, who has experience as NDP fincance critic, house leader, and QLP critic for industry and Natural Resources, who fought and won protection for women against sexual harrassment in his union days, who has the endorsement of a nobel prize winner amoung many others (his MP endorsements out number the liberal cacus), who honestly could beat both Ray and Harper in a debate with ease. Oh and according to polls over 60% of Quebecers would vote for Mulcair if he won.

    This is your idea of medicore candiadates?

    Meanwhile you toute Bob “the failure” Ray as the next liberal savior? The same guy Premier Dalton actually attacked last election, the guy who dragged the federal liberals into defending his former NDP government?

    Don’t you see it, the msm has been spoon feeding the Liberals in the hope they’ll display the NDP, Bob Ray’s a pawn who has actually achieved nothing.

    Meanwhile you’ll have to endure your own painful race next year, with most likely a liberals for life candiatate for the liberals leadership. Just like its looking like will happen in Toronto Danforth.

    Liberals for life is reborn.

  4. Craig Chamberlain

    Rae is probably the best debater in the House. With the NDP presently sidelined by their choice in Turmel as Interim Leader, being a strong debater can make you an effective, de facto Leader of the Opposition, Liberal or NDP. He’s the leader, having easily eclipsed Turmel, and no doubt he knows he has to run well out in front in the rather short time now before the NDP have their new leader.

  5. It is impossible to ignore the fact that most NDP MPs are completely out of their depth. This is not an indictment of the NDP by way. Given the number of MPs the NDP historically elected and their share of the popular support in Ontario and Quebec in the year leading up last May’s vote, the quality of candidates the NDP were going to attract in many Quebec ridings, for example, was never going to be great. NDP supporters should take solace in the fact that their crop of new MPs were not half as weird as the inbred morons that were elected under the Reform banner in 1993.

    Of course, all that would not be much of a problem if the NDP had enough bench strenght to overcome the many shortcomings of their rookie MPs, but beyond a few mps the talent is simply not there. Muclair is a clever politician, Joe Comartin an excellent MP, and there are a handful of very good constituency MPs — Libby Davis being the best known.

    The challenge for the next NDP leader is not only to maintain the NDP’s lead over the Liberals, but also to keep the party close enough to the Conservatives such that they will be able to attract more quality candidates in 2015.

  6. CWTF

    I really enjoy having NDP fart-catchers tell me how effective they are as the opposition. Really it’s cute. I read Dr. Dawg and I can’t help but be reminded of Conbots with a better vocabulary.

    My local NDP member, to whom I’ve spoken to is nothing more than a dolt. But hey, NDP members will tell you that they are an effective opposition… But please don’t tell them that their numbers suck in Quebec, somehow that goes against the spirit of Saint-Jack… The Orange Wave is dying in Quebec. Easily predicted that fickle Quebec voters would loose their love affair but not to NDP members it would seem.

    Let’s not say anything honest about the NDP as they will get riled up. The NDP is a party that has moved to the centre wanting to take over the Liberals – except that they seem more inept.

    Yes, there is a faith hope for the NDP if they elect Mulcair as a Leader. He will not be bullied and can debate with the best of them.

  7. Without Rae, there would have been no Harris. Rae was a disaster in Ontario. I graduated in November 1990. It took me two years to find full-time employment. Rae made the recession worse. Harris was awful, but he was a reaction to Rae. I like how Rae has changed over the years, however …

  8. Having said that the Rae Government did not promulgate FTA. That ultimately, has decimated Ontario.

  9. jkg

    Well, one could say that voters punishing Peterson for a snap election precipitated that entire period as well. I like to think that Ontarians have long memories, but the fixation on Rae seems to gloss over the fact that most of Harris’ Ministry is now in Harper’s Ministry. If voters really hated Harris in Ontario, then it is miracle that Baird, Flaherty, and Clement have ascended to Cabinet positions.

  10. Gygor: Your credibility isn’t aided by the fact that you seem incapable of spelling Bob Rae’s name correctly (i.e., it’s not “Ray”).

    Regarding the litany of notable “achievements” by various luminaries running to be next leader of the NDP, allow me to summarize my response thusly: Zzzzzzz. Yes, I’m sure they’ve all done a number of good and worthy things over the course of their political careers — heck, it’s practically what the NDP specializes in! That, and championing lost causes, empty gestures and doomed ventures. But to the semi-casual observer who merely scans the daily papers and occasionally watches the nightly news, the NDP leadership race is a total snooze mostly filled with obscure people of little interest.

    Sorry if that opinion rubs you the wrong way, but I suspect that its one shared by the vast majority of people in the country.

    Tom Mulcair would probably make a perfectly fine leader of the NDP, but from what little I gather, his testy nature and sharp elbows haven’t exactly endeared him to certain elements of the party… I guess we’ll see what happens. Maybe you’ll end up with another Audrey McLaughlin. Good luck with that!

  11. ATY: First, I think your logic is pretty funny… blaming Rae for the existence of Harris.

    I really don’t want to re-litigate Bob Rae’s record as Premier of Ontario even though there is a compelling case to be made that absolves him of much of the blame that is routinely ascribed to him for economic difficulties of the time.

    However, that’s beside the point… I was simply observing (with some delight) that Bob has done a pretty good job so far in helping the Liberals bat above their weight in terms of representing the opinions of people opposed to the Harper government.

  12. Craig Chamberlain

    As I seem to recall, people voted NDP thinking their neighbours were voting Liberal. Didn’t exactly happen that way. We got an ideological, grossly inexperienced government under Rae, at the worst time. (Is there ever a good time?) Shocking indeed that Ontarians should forget their experience of Flaherty.

  13. Red:

    Harris’ shift to the right was a response to how the NDP governed Ontario. There was really nothing in his pre-1990 record to indicate the direction into which he would ultimately head.

    I do concede your point that Liberal Rae is a much wiser man than NDP Rae – and I think Bob Rae is on record as saying the the NDP was too Left-Wing or became too Left-Wing over the course of the time he was a member of that party. I will still never vote Liberal however, as I think they are merely pale versions of Harper’s neo-liberal image.

  14. Sir Francis and I are going to be wearing Restoration Silk, Ermine & Velvet with Coronets when the neo-liberal secret police come for us !

  15. ATY: I totally got where you were coming on that point about Rae’s policies effectively precipitating the “common sense” aberration that was Harris, but it just made me chuckle nonetheless.

    And I appreciate your distaste for the “neo-liberalism” of the Liberals. It’s not something that sits altogether well with me either.

  16. jkg

    I think CWTF made this point before, but NDP Bob Rae was the moderate in a caucus full of really idealistic Progressives.

    As for federal NDP, I have raised our original point about the lack of intellectual base and activist infrastructure that the NDP have to maintain themselves, but I will tell you this, now with all the resources available being the Official Opposition, the NDP I think are finally taking this a bit more seriously. Let’s give credit where credit is due: The OAS response was quick and well researched. However, as we have mentioned before, this is a far cry. We shall see just what ‘victories’ will instill enough momentum for the NDP, but I am not holding my breath.

    The fact that there is a general resignation that neo-liberalism abounds, it should be pretty apparent that Neocons have won on that front while they still convince the general electorate that they are constantly under attack some “liberal mass horde.” And therein lies the problem: When you step back and widen the scope, you realize that much of what is discussed is done under a neo-liberal framework. The idea that we will have new ideas, I think, is going to be limited to a very small set with Progressives just keep taking the principled stand in response to the completely lack of seriousness on the part of the CPC while the Liberals will be continuously pilloried strangely for trying to take the centrist view.

  17. JKG: For better or worse, “Neo-liberalism” is the operative political mode in the current trade environment of corporate globalization. As I see it, the best we can hope for is a domestic government that does what it can to mitigate the harmful effects of those policies on the working class and people in need of basic assistance while investing money in education, R&D, innovation, and infrastructure to help make us more competitive.

    Purchasing a fleet of horrendously expensive fighter jets, flushing billions of dollars down a pointless hellhole on the other side of the world, and vowing to expand the prison system at home may not be the best way of going about things in that regard…

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