For all of the Liberal crowing last quarter over their 2Q results (largely buoyed by a “leadership” convention where Michael Ignatieff was coronated leader) and their 1Q->2Q plus/minus, their 2Q->3Q plus/minus is that story in reverse. However, realistically this quarter’s results shows the real strength of each party’s fundraising machine.
Interestingly, the Greens are outraising the Bloc Quebecois. The Greens may argue that this is another example of why we need proportional representation, however, I’d argue that this represents Canadians that believe in something, rather than believing against another (see what I mean in this article).
The NDP is raising half of what the Liberals are raising showing that for their relative size, their numbers aren’t surprising. Further, it shows that the NDP base is still healthy enough for their smaller party. For the Liberals, their numbers are also relative to their seat count (when compared to CPC numbers) in the House of Commons. However, this may be bad news for the Liberals as they’d like everyone to believe that their seat count is rather a result of a unpopular leader in the last election rather than current Canadian (and Liberal member) attitudes about this party.
Despite the economic crisis, the numbers are still relatively healthy. My friends in the fundraising sector would suggest that if corporate donations were still legal, we’d see party fundraising take a hit this year. However, although Canada went through some tough economic times this year, personal donations are still relatively strong in all charitable sectors.
Hedy Fry believes that there should be a special clinic on Parliament Hill to vaccinate Members of Parliament and staff. Meanwhile, most people in Ottawa will have wait as the first two weeks of vaccinations are rationed for those of us that need it now such as those with respiratory conditions, young children and pregnant women, among others with special needs.
Fry argues that parliamentarians are a special case as they “shake hands, I don’t know how many times a day with people”. Do you agree with her?
The video above is the first 46 seconds of my ten minute interview with the new leader of the Alberta Wildrose Alliance Party, Danielle Smith. You may also want to watch my previous interview with Smith.
After the introductory banter, I grabbed my sheet of questions ready to ask and placed it down on my laptop keyboard. My hypersensitive trackpad then decided to hit pause on the recording!
But fret not, I’ll be posting a written summary of our interview soon (see the update below). Smith answered a number of questions pertaining to her new role as leader of a rising party in Alberta politics, the growing pains the party is bound to go through, her expectations for “success” over the next little while and for the next election, her thoughts on Stelmach’s next few weeks and where and how “Conservative” became a misnomer for Alberta PCs.
I’ll post a summary of her answers soon. Keep watching this space.
UPDATE: Here is a summary of the questions I asked Danielle and the answers that she gave.
I recognized that she’s been asked the libertarian/social conservative question many times over the week by reporters so I asked her how as a libertarian-rooted leader that she would look to socially conservative policy and whether leadership would be top-down, bottom-up, or a mix of both.
Danielle reiterated that the WA is a grassroots party and that she needs to better inform some about what she views as the “libertarian” ideology. She said that at the root of libertarianism is liberty, and that this means property rights, freedom of speech and freedom of religion among others.
I asked about any lessons that Danielle might take from the Reform tradition. As that party grew, it became not just a movement but a party vying for power. As the WA grows, what will she be doing to prevent what we call “bozo eruptions” from those speaking not for an organization (the party), but rather the movement.
Danielle responded by explaining that she hopes that Preston doesn’t think that she’s just robbing from the Reform playbook. In fact, she says that the party is relatively new and they are still growing and that the media and Albertans will view them through this lens and understand that that yes, they aren’t yet a well-oiled comms machine.
Regarding the PC AGM in early November and a possible Stelmach leadership review, I asked Danielle if one of the successes of the WA would be to make the PC Party more right, or more “conservative”. I also asked Danielle about the possibility that Ted Morton may become the new leader and asked if she’d find this heartening.
Danielle responded by saying that Morton is certainly one of six or seven out of about 70 PC MLAs who is still a conservative and that Morton would actually find himself at home within the WA.
I asked Danielle if she’d spoken to any of these six or seven PC MLAs and she responded that no, she has not spoken to any of them since she became leader however, she has many friends in that caucus and she talks these friends regularly.
About the “Conservative” label, I suggested that Danielle may believe that the Alberta PC Party does not own that label anymore. Without addressing any particular policy, I asked her why she may think that.
Danielle responded that the Alberta PC Party has largely become a vehicle for opportunism and career advancement and that the PC’s are largely out of touch. Danielle went on to discuss specific policy initiatives of the WA and directed people to check out the WA website for the party’s policies.
On the strategy front, I mentioned that some of us that follow politics too closely are wondering if the WA is take a one election strategy to attain power like the 1935 social credit party or a two election strategy like Lougheed’s 1967 and 1971 Tories.
Danielle responded that the WA party will be going for the one election strategy for power and said that she’s not going for 3 or 4 seats after the next election, but 42, or 43. She explained that Albertans do not elect oppositions but rather they elect governments.
A littlebirdie told me that George Smitherman, Ontario’s infrastructure minister, just dismissed federal Liberal claims that infrastructure dollars are disproportionately going to Tory ridings in Ontario. He told reporters, “you can slice and dice the numbers any way you want” and he went on to emphasize that the programs are balanced.
“The [federal Liberals] draw conclusions based on the analysis that they’ve done,” deputy premier George Smitherman countered Thursday outside Queen’s Park.
But, he continued, they only looked at the Recreational Infrastructure Canada (Rinc) program. While that would indicate that Conservative ridings received more cash than Liberal holdings, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
The Rinc program was open to not-for-profits and municipalities, he explained.
“So the fact that there are 450 municipalities, many of them small, meant that there were more requests in the mix for smaller communities.
“I think that’s why you see it’s a little more distributed towards rural Ontario and by coincidence, that happens to be where Conservatives represent the ridings.”
Toronto scored big when other initiatives were considered, Smitherman argued.
“The knowledge infrastructure program, which is for post-secondary education, you’ll see that Toronto actually comes out with a higher degree of investment than its proportion of population…I’m pretty confident that there’s going to be a very equitable regional distribution once we’ve completed the allocation of all those dollars.”
“If I am not elected, I imagine that I will ask Harvard to let me back” — Michael Ignatieff to the Harvard Crimson published November 30th, 2005
Given Michael Ignatieff’s recent troubles in the polls it appears that he is retreating to his safety zone.
Here is the October 15th media advisory from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce listing Michael Ignatieff among the distinguished speakers to discuss “Canada’s competitive edge and economic prosperity” on October 21st. Michael Ignatieff is scheduled for the 8:10am timeslot where the Liberal leader is scheduled to discuss, “Canada on the world stage: keys to success”.
But here is today’s updated schedule for the same event:
Bob Rae is now listed in the 8:10am timeslot and Michael Ignatieff is off the schedule. Why would the Liberal leader skip out on a discussion about Canada’s future economic prosperity? The economy is the #1 issue to Canadians and Mr. Ignatieff has been trying to outline an economic agenda so that the Liberals can compete with the Conservatives in the next election, or at least outline their agenda before the next budget. So, did the Liberal leader have a better offer?
It appears that he did.
Michael Ignatieff is scheduled to speak on a panel at Harvard to some friends at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy on Wednesday October 21st. Ignatieff is scheduled to speak on a panel titled “Why Human Rights Matter: Human Rights as Public Service”.
How did “organizers [jump] the gun” when Ignatieff was scheduled to speak at a conference, but then days later he is removed and replaced by Bob Rae? It appears that the schedule change could have been deliberate to fit Iggy’s opportunity to return to Harvard to give a talk to his fellow Crimsons.
This incident is reminiscent of Michael Ignatieff’s jaunt to the UK to deliver the Isaiah Berlin lecture in the summer while some Canadians wondered why he wasn’t politicking at home.
Stephen Harper skipped out on a crazy Muammar Gaddafi speech at the U.N. to return to Canada to discuss the economy and he got an earful from concerned Liberals. Until just minutes ago, Michael Ignatieff appeared to be skipping out on a Canadian economic discussion to fly to the US to speak on a human rights panel.