I have to admit that I had been repulsed by the Liberal party’s endless public handwringing and bellyaching over the future of the party and the upcoming leadership race. Simply put, there was nothing more excruciating than seeing a party starting at zero with no single serious contender act like it was still relevant and this was the event of the century.
Right or wrong, Bob Rae knows his imaginary baggage is electorally radioactive and did the smart thing by bowing out. It’s too bad, because with his wit and pragmatism, he was probably the best person for the job out there.
So that means the race is wide open. And to lead a party that endlessly blathers on now about “renewal”, “modernization”, and eschewing “old-style politics”, and wants to avoid a coronation of insiders, heavyweights, or cronies to avoid adding to the record levels of cynicism maintaining the party’s current stratospheric heights of irrelevance, two good women threw their hats in the ring first.
One was Deborah Coyne, a constitutional lawyer who happened to have a fling with Pierre Trudeau and bore his youngest child. She recently wrote an op-ed for the Star that basically explained everything that is wrong with the country in the broadest, most sensible terms possible.
Meanwhile, one time M.P. and Leadership candidate Martha Hall Findlay wrote a well-researched and thorough academic paper at the University of Calgary questioning the market shielding and indirect subsidies provided to Canadian dairy farmers that is infamously known as “supply management”. Right or wrong, it was a non-dogmatic and thoughtful sortie that took a stand, something no Liberal policy or person has done in as long as anybody can remember.
So what did the mighty Liberal establishment think of these two female fresh faces with big ideas and balls-kicking intentions, who were asking to lead a party that has literally nothing to lose?
Well, it derided and mocked them, of course. Told them to sit down and shut up. The future of the party is at stake here, and we don’t need the exciting race that’s required to rescue it from oblivion clogged up with distractions and sideshows. Only credible, serious, national profile Liberal males need apply.
I realize Bob Hepburn doesn’t speak for every card-carrying Liberal party member in Canada but as a senior editorial staff member of the country’s biggest lefty broadsheet, he might want to be a bit more responsible and showcase a little bit less of the deluded, entitled, ignorant, tribal, bullshit mentality that has driven his party into oblivion.
Is he really in a position to be lecturing people about the dangers of thinking outside the box when the last two inside the box Liberal leaders were complete disasters? Who are the “serious” and “exciting” candidates Hepburn wants Canada to pre-ordain? Marc Garneau? Justin Trudeau? Scott Brison? Can you picture any of these guys commanding more than the 20% support Bob Rae currently does? I can’t. Hepburn, outside of his terribly concealed charisma-royalty-saviour Justin wetdream, thinks the 41 year old is a serious contender because he has 139,000 Twitter followers. Apparently nobody has explained to Mr. Hepburn that clicking “follow” is not an action reserved for dyed in the wool partisans, and that as many environmentalists probably follow Ezra Levant as climate change deniers follow David Suzuki. Really just an irresponsible, terribly thought out piece overall.
Here, Bob, want to see what a “strong, credible” Leader’s resume looks like?
1979 – Drop out of U of T after two months
1980 – Work in mailroom at oil company where dad is an executive
1981-1985 – Attend U of Calgary, become Milton Friedman acolyte/neo-con ideologue
1987 – Attend “West wants in” and “Winds of change” conferences
1990-present – Alternatively head National Citizens Coalition, an extreme-right, social conservative fringe think tank, and make six figures in the house of commons culminating in a 230000, lifetime guaranteed gold-plated pension
1998 – Pen “firewall” Alberta separatist letter
2003 – Write op-ed for Wall Street Journal apologizing for Canada’s non-involvement in Iraq.
As you can see, credentials and accomplishments mean absolutely zero to the Canadian public, and nobody can tell you that better than the gadfly above who’s been elected prime minister three times. So maybe an armchair quarterback like you should think twice before pouncing on people who have accomplished way more than you have who want to lead a party you are a supporter of.