Thursday, August 27, 2009


It's been quite the thing at a certain blog this week to be reading the criticisms of Liberals for poll performances and allegedly not standing up on human rights issues. How I do wish some of my NDP friends would keep their eye on the ball. I understand the Liberal-bashing, but sometimes it gets a bit much.

A one-off comment in a newspaper report on the prospect of legislation to deal with consular issues abroad has been inflated as the likely Liberal position. You'll have to excuse some of us if we don't take what appears to be a shoot-from-the-hip remark from a Liberal MP that appears to be borne out of frustration with the Conservatives as gospel on what the Liberal party may or may not do on the issue in the future, whether in opposition or government. Liberals might like to propose their own bill, for starters instead of jumping on board with Dewar's legislation, whatever that draft work in progress might entail. Dewar likes to be first off the mark on so many issues (Parliamentary Budget Officer too, isn't he foreign affairs critic?), maybe some future leadership politics going on with Dewar. While Dewar should be congratulated in pursuing his own bill, it certainly doesn't preclude other efforts. There's certainly no need to wonder about a lack of interest from Liberals.

And you know, the Liberals don't need to apologize to anyone for their stance on such issues this summer. To wit: "Liberals call for public investigation into abandoned Canadians abroad." The likely new Foreign Affairs Minister in a Liberal government has demonstrated amply what a Liberal led policy on standing up for Canadians abroad would look like:
"Today's decision by the Federal Court of Appeal reaffirms the obligation of the government of Canada to seek Omar Khadr's return to Canada,” said Mr. Rae.

“Suaad Mohamud, Omar Khadr, Abdihakim Mohamed, Bashir Makhtal, Maziar Bahari, Abousfian Abdelrazik and Brenda Martin all have one thing in common – they’re Canadian. But our government has failed in its duty to provide equal treatment to them,” Mr. Rae added.
Bob Rae's been widely quoted on these cases throughout the summer and he's more than able in doing so. What do we think the response might be from Bob Rae on such issues if he were the minister? I reckon he'd put Lawrence Cannon to shame. I reckon Omar Khadr would be repatriated by now or well on the way. And the leader, in the Liberal party anyway, doesn't have to be in front of the cameras on every issue 24/7. That's what a more than competent team is for. But I don't expect any of that to assuage NDP critics. The Liberals started on some of these cases years ago, yadda, same as the Conservative talking points. Rae and the present party's words count though.

Secondly, an Ipsos poll was relied on to slag the Liberals. They've flubbed it, it's all lost. Yet hola, Decima and Ekos (Aug. 27 link) quickly demonstrated that the numbers this summer have actually been quite stable. Yet that's still not enough, we're told the Liberals should be skyrocketing in the polls. While the numbers are not soaring, it's recognition that we're in, what I like to call it, an electoral lock box. There are two "blocs" in Canada, Quebec - which may move to an extent - and Alberta. There might be some movement in B.C. and Atlantic Canada too but the big play will be in Ontario and numbers overall have been more favourable here for Liberals in recent months than Conservatives. Any breakaway is likely to come within the context of a campaign. Until then, there's complacency in the wedge-subjected, talking point-throttled and negative-ad deluged electorate. And by the way, as we are seeing, the NDP numbers aren't quite where they were in the last election, it must be noted. At 14% and 13% in Ontario in those recent Decima and Ekos polls, not good. Guess if I were an NDP blogger I'd be deflecting too.

I generally don't think it's a fruitful way to spend the time, engaging in assaults against the NDP, there's more than enough to do in writing about the Harper crew. But from time to time, I'll bite.