Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Much ado about some solid constituency work

Just a brief post here before the world goes hockey crazy...

Wanted to follow up on a post Far&Wide did yesterday in reaction to this column by Adam Radwanski: "With friends like Kennedy, McGuinty needs no enemies." You can read Far&Wide's post for the point that Gerard Kennedy, doing effective constituency representation for the people in Parkdale-High Park over a big issue in the riding, was being unfairly tagged by Radwanski as some kind of rogue Liberal for doing so, causing headaches for his former provincial counterparts. Radwanski cited Kennedy's recent GST comments as well, clearly suggesting that Kennedy's railway advocacy was of a piece with some kind of lone ranger presentation. The rest of the column did have some fair coverage of the nuts and bolts of the railway issue, however.

As someone who lives in the riding and who attended a town hall hosted by Kennedy last week, I would vouch for the fact that this is indeed a big issue in the riding that Kennedy has necessarily taken up. The noise in the affected area is said to be unbearable and shaking house foundations. I'm sure the residents there are quite happy that Kennedy has advanced their cause and helped to obtain that federal ruling which seems to support a rational principle, that affected neighbourhoods have to be consulted and less noisier methods be used "wherever possible." There's little in the way of political intrigue involved in what is a very basic life-in-the-riding issue.

Radwanski has clarified his intent toward Kennedy today:
That said, I feel obliged to correct the perception out there that yesterday's column was a hit-job on Gerard Kennedy.* It wasn't. And neither was it a defence of either Metrolinx or Dalton McGuinty, even if the headline may have tilted slightly in that direction.
I'm not entirely sure why it was assumed that, in telling that story, I was picking sides. Maybe I should have told it better. But rest assured that, on this and other stories, explaining perspectives doesn't necessarily mean that I share them.
Think it was the inclusion of the GST issue that did it. Plus that headline didn't help. Maybe Radwanski might want to seek veto approval over the headline aspect:) Anyway, good for Radwanski for clarifying.

At the end of the day, just some solid constituency work. And maybe all the fuss is another telling indication of Kennedy's growing stature on the national scene.