Saturday, November 21, 2009

Opportunities out of rude awakenings

I'm going to come to the defence of Janine Krieber here for the audacity of having said something controversial in the present Canadian political climate. It's all breathless ooohing and ahhing and a bit too much fascination with the event. It should be kept in perspective. Ms. Krieber is a distinguished political science professor and clearly a very intelligent, independent woman in her own right. The fact that she might have a view on present Liberal difficulties is not news. That she chose to publish a note publicly, however, is news and it's fair for media to run with it for that reason. But that note may have been published hastily given that it's apparently been retracted. And I'm assuming it's been verified that she did indeed write it.

Some perspective should be added to these discussions, however. As Stephane Dions wife, she clearly feels a personal sting from his time in leadership and his removal. That's understandable and I'd be heavily influenced by such an experience too. That should be a fact that should be taken into account when reading her views and I'm sure that's an obvious point to anyone reading. She gets a big free pass from me. But it's her view, it's not necessarily translatable at all to a general Liberal unrest.

Having said that, she's not doing anything more than airing issues that are being discussed by Liberals these days. These are tough times, the polls aren't great, it's rebuilding time. It's not surprising that a thinking Liberal might write something like Ms. Krieber did. Let's be honest about it, it's not a surprise that someone would question Ignatieff's leadership. Even he knows that, see the reference in the CP report below. It's difficult to have constant slings coming from within the party but that's par for the course these days.

These are days of rude awakenings, this is one more. Krieber is one voice among many at the moment in the Liberal party doing soul searching. There's nothing to be afraid of in that. Embrace it and act seriously to address such criticisms.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of other issues that should be preoccupying the political class at the moment. The focus needs to be this government and its agenda. I hope Liberals stay focussed on that and stop feeding the ravenous appetite there is out there for Liberal party turmoil. There are lots of willing beneficiaries happily cheering it on.

CP report here, Globe report here.