Brian Topp's Coalition Memoirs

150 posts / 0 new
Last post
NorthReport
Brian Topp's Coalition Memoirs

+-_-+

NorthReport
NorthReport
duncan cameron

This is terrific stuff. It should be on the front page. But then the Globe has not idea of what its readership is about.

KenS

That crossed my mind too.

Whether all the way to the front page or not: political junkies have got to be the hardest core of the shrinking audience of newspapers. And this is the kind of thing you are only going to get from the big dalies. Plus they didn't even have to spend money, or have editors sweat over resources, to put the story out there.

You'd think they's be waving big signs "Over Here".

Maybe they are afraid of it being so partisan? If so, they are stupid and seriously lack imagination. This will be just as eagerly read by Conservatives. 

NorthReport

Apart from the occasional Op-Ed piece from someone like Ed Broadbent, the NDP has rarely had anyone writing about politics from their corner in the msp. NDP supporters are not used to it.

Usually in the msp NDP fans only get to hear from some poor old depressed former party hack who is on the outs with the current leadership and has an axe to grind like Caplan, etc.  The CBC are masterful at finding people like him to comment on on behalf of the NDP. Political scumbags that they are, the CBC wouldn't touch someone like Topp with a 10 foot pole.

duncan cameron

And to think the CBC was co-founded by Graham Spry who was the first secretary of the Ontario CCF. For years the CBC has taken its lead from the commercial media. It should be the other way around.

NorthReport

Topp's creating quite a sensation. Now everybody wants to weigh in.

La coalition PLC/NPD…comme un roman

 http://www2.lactualite.com/chantal-hebert/2009-12-01/la-coalition-plcnpd-comme-un-roman/

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

Fascinating reading.

Among other things, it confirms that the Liberals are the gang who couldn't shoot straight. I think the coalition would have flown if they had only shown some basic political competence (given that ideological consistency is probably too much to hope for).

remind remind's picture
ottawaobserver

I too am finding the series thoroughly interesting.

Go easy on Gerry Caplan, though. He has turned out to be a witty and worthwhile replacement for Peter Donolo on the CTV Power Play panel that was formerly composed of 3 shades of Liberals, and I've enjoyed most of what he's written for the Globe lately.

Still, the general point about so few NDP insiders writing for news sources is correct; and notice that almost no-one else in the blogosphere has even responded, except for Aaron Wherry (to promote his own feature on the same period for Macleans).

Chester Drawers

In their own words.  Simply proves that the only reason for the coalition was to protect the oppositions taxpayer funded entitlements visa vie the voter subsidy.  It was nothing about governance, only self-preservation.

Sad, truely sad how the opposition tried to sell it as saving the country. 

This is exactly the reason why Canadians are disillusioned with politics.  Politicians and political parties doing and saying anything to save their own skin at taxpayers expense.

remind remind's picture

It was saving the country, as a Harper majority, will destroy it even quicker, than a minority is.....

 

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

Public funding for democracy is all about good governance.

NorthReport

That's quite a remarkable interpretation. Laughing

Chester Drawers wrote:

In their own words.  Simply proves that the only reason for the coalition was to protect the oppositions taxpayer funded entitlements visa vie the voter subsidy.  It was nothing about governance, only self-preservation.

Sad, truely sad how the opposition tried to sell it as saving the country. 

This is exactly the reason why Canadians are disillusioned with politics.  Politicians and political parties doing and saying anything to save their own skin at taxpayers expense.

Unionist

Chester Drawers wrote:

This is exactly the reason why Canadians are disillusioned with politics.  Politicians and political parties doing and saying anything to save their own skin at taxpayers expense.

If only we went back to a system where corporations and billionaires had unlimited power to fund the NDP (or anyone else), Canadians' faith in politics would definitely see a revival.

Thanks for the inspirational post, Ches.

 

NorthReport

You'll like the BC NDP though Chester as they voted for the rich and powerful to keep funding and controlling our political parties at their recent convention in Vancouver.

NorthReport
NorthReport

---

 

Chester Drawers

Wednesday, November 26, 2008: Just before 6:00 p.m., my BlackBerry buzzed. An email from Jack Layton.

"CTV is reporting that the per voter public financing scheme is to be cancelled in tomorrow's update," he wrote. "I believe that the Liberals could be tempted by our earlier proposition, faced with such a catastrophic proposal. Self-preservation could provoke out-of-the-box thinking. I would like to discuss having you re-open your line of communication with your contact."

 

The quote above is pretty evident in what the true meaning of the coalition was about.  Saying otherwise insults the intelligence of Canadians.

 

I have never stated that I support corp. or union or wealth financing of political parties.  Only those that have the privilege to vote should fund political parties.  Yes there should be a cap on donations and it should be reduced even more, currently a maximum of $1,100 to the local EDA and $1,100 to the national party.  This should be reduced to $1,100 total between the EDA and national.  I would also be ok with eliminating the tax credit for political donations as well, I donate to charities and political parties based on their ideals not the tax credit. 

Fidel

[url=http://www.dwatch.ca/]D-Watch on our Northern Puerto Rico[/url] "The system is the scandal"

Chester Drawers

 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008:

On the one hand, the federal Liberals were in worse financial shape than we were, and would have to look at their options again in light of Harper's attempt to bankrupt them. Indeed all three opposition parties now had a compelling, concurrent reason to cooperate to rid the country of Mr. Harper.

Thursday, November 27, 2008: Jack Layton wasted no time pursuing this issue.

 "I don't believe the Bloc will be in as strong a position as they were a few weeks ago in opposing Dion as PM," he wrote (8:14 a.m.). "They will be very concerned about losing the public funding and they will be seized with the importance of strong action on EI and stimulus. Standing in the way of a new government because of their attitude towards Dion could be very damaging to them. I will meet with Dion and propose that he consider the scenario, based upon a lack of economic stimulus and the anti-democratic nature of the proposal to cancel, essentially retroactively, the funding of the democratic process - bringing in the era of big-money politics again."

Self-preservation again, protecting their entitlements.  This is what the Canadian public sees and thinks.  Everything else is just smoke and mirrors.

Chester Drawers

Get the money from supporters not taxpayers,  just like any other organization.  I'm on the Board of a health care charity, we fund raise to do what is needed.  I was also on a large provincial charity that hosts the largest per-capital telethon, we organized, worked our asses off and operated without demanding government funding.  All political parties should get of their asses and do the work and raise the money themselves.  Political parties should not be entitled to their entitlements from the taxpayer.  I would rather see that money go to education, roads etc. than to the Cons, Libs, Dippers or Bloc. 

NorthReport

Holy smokes, a political party wants some funding to help them continue to exist. What a scandal this is - call the Mounties. Laughing

Unionist

Chester Drawers wrote:

Get the money from supporters not taxpayers,  just like any other organization. [...]  I would rather see that money go to education, roads etc. than to the Cons, Libs, Dippers or Bloc. 

Whaaat?

Be consistent, man.

Those schools and roads and hospitals should get their money from supporters, not taxpayers.

Just like your health care charity!

Taxes are like forced donations. Baaaaad!

Fund-raising is like voluntary donations. Gooooood!!!

And if you have a nice charity, it'll collect more in donations from rich rich people - niiiiice!!!

Same with schools. Roads. Hydro projects. Hospitals.

And political parties.

Actually, we could have the cops and the robbers military go door to door selling coooookies to finance themselves!!

And the firefighters!!!

There shall be NO MORE TAXES!

And with the $$$ people save in taxes... they'll be able to donate more to the fire department!!! And they won't even need a tax receipt!!! Because there won't be no taxes!!! So we'll save on paper!!!!!

Ches, you're on to something here.

 

Chester Drawers

Come on Unionist.  I never said abolish taxes, I said abolish the subsidy, and political parties should raise funds just like any other quasi public entity like charities or community groups.  Taxes are necessary for the services provided to all Canadians.  Funding political parties is not an essential service that any Canadian Government should fund.  It may not be a large sum of money in the grand scheme of things, but that $20 million paid out each year to political parties could be used to hire 300 more nurses or police or teachers.  Which of these examples is a better use of taxpayers dollars; public services or political parties?

remind remind's picture

What what plum appointment Ignatieff is going to get, after everything is said and done, as payment for playing the patsy so well for corporate interests.....

Quote:
most at the very moment that Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff announced his party would support the Conservative government’s HST motion, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a nasty missive to its MPs about Mr. Ignatieff.

 

“Exactly one year ago, on December 1st, 2008, the leaders of the Liberal Party, Bloc Québécois and NDP signed their infamous deal to form a coalition government,” the confidential memo says. “And who was one of the signatories to this backroom deal? Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff … A year ago, Michael Ignatieff proved he was out-of-touch with Canadians and only in it for himself by signing up for the coalition deal.”

The talking points are nasty; there is no real narrative or logic to the Tory criticism of Mr. Ignatieff. It’s a rant.

“When it comes down to issues that matter most to Canadians, Michael Ignatieff is only looking out for himself. If another coalition will make him prime minister, he would gladly sign a new deal with the Bloc Quebecois and NDP [Huh? Where did this come from?] That’s because Michael Ignatieff isn’t in it for Canadians. He’s just in it for himself.”

Seconds later, after this landed in Tory email boxes across the country, Mr. Ignatieff announced he was supporting the government and two provinces, British Columbia and Ontario, on the issue of a harmonized sales tax.

V. Jara

I find Topp's story self-serving but interesting nonetheless. Maybe he will fess up to more of his mistakes and the NDP's shared naïveté in the last installment. I was definitely a fan of the coalition when it was announced but in retrospect I can see reasons all around (not just the Liberals) for why it failed. I think part of the reason was that the NDP's overwhelming enthusiasm for a possible role in cabinet caused it to overlook some of the political dangers that developed as the coalition idea was progressing. It is a good time, strategically, for Topp to be writing this series because it reminds people of how close the NDP came to governing just 1 year ago. After about a year of low profile to irrelevance on the Parliamentary circuit this is the kind of booster the party needs. It is also interesting to see where he implies blame, including on Jack Layton!

remind remind's picture

Never saw implied blame....??????

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

Chester Drawers wrote:
Which of these examples is a better use of taxpayers dollars; public services or political parties?

A democratic electoral system is a public service.

jrootham

The more time political parties spend raising money the more corrupt they are likely to be.   See the US system.

 

remind remind's picture

Cons do not care about corruption look at who they are voting for.....

ottawaobserver

First of all, Chester Drawers shows up here periodically with the Conservative talking points-du-jour, to try and derail the conversation when it serves his or her purpose.  So pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, because he's trying to provoke people to say things the Conservative war-room can quote later on.

Although, Ches, for the record: I think Brian's recounting of the story makes it clear that it was the funding issue that they viewed as giving them an opening with the other parties: "I believe that the Liberals could be tempted by our earlier proposition, faced with such a catastrophic proposal. Self-preservation could provoke out-of-the-box thinking."  I.e., the Liberals' desire for self-preservation could provoke them into some out-of-the-box thinking about the NDP's earlier proposition.  I didn't see any evidence that the NDP had concerns about their own self-preservation.

And, V. Jara, I find your take very very harsh.  It's oh-so-easy to criticize what others attempt to do, especially when it's unique or never tried before.  I actually find your use of the term "self-serving" very unkind and quite unworthy of you.  And I agree with remind, I didn't hear him laying any blame anywhere, but reporting in retrospect what he thought his own errors were without a lot of drama or spin.

They tried to do something that had never been tried in Canadian politics in our lifetime, and which was really creative.  Do you want to hear the inside story or not?  If so, then of all the ways it could have been written by someone who was actually there, this sounds like about the LEAST self-serving writing of it that I could imagine.

Unionist

Well said, ottawaobserver. It was creative all right, and it actually opened up a space for Canadians to think that partisan interests could be transcended by a greater goal - besides scaring the bejeezus out of Harper, whose blackmail and intimidation momentarily faltered. Until he got his puppet G-G Jean and then the coward Ignatieff to rescue him.

 

ottawaobserver

Thanks, Unionist.

NorthReport

We finally get to find out from one of the participants what happened during the coalition talks, and why Harper is still in power, and yet that still isn't good enough for some here. Jeesh! 

Chester Drawers

jrootham wrote:

The more time political parties spend raising money the more corrupt they are likely to be.   See the US system.

 

By having the donation limits that we currently have, help mitigate the potential for corruption as no one can buy their influence unlike the American system.  Our system before the limits was corrupt, corps. unions and the wealthy did influence the political system in their favor, but those influences have been greatly reduced with donation limits.

Parties that raise their own funds have to work harder to identify their supporters, it also brings the party closer to the grassroots and voters.  If the party ideals match the individual they will most likely support that party with their hard earned money.  It takes effort and in this day of instant gratification the polital machines have become lazy and it is easier if someone else does the work and simply hand over the money.

This is neither a Con or Dipper or Libs issue it is a taxpayer issue.  I know many people who are supporters of other parties who think that the subsidy system is not right.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Chester Drawers wrote:

Get the money from supporters not taxpayers,  just like any other organization.  I'm on the Board of a health care charity, we fund raise to do what is needed.

You and your ilk are the reason that so much healthcare in this country is dependent upon charity. Simply shutting your gob-hole would be a far more efficient contribution to society....

Stockholm

If we want to save money - i have a better idea. How's about abolishing all self-serving government advertising. The Tories spent more tax dollars on their 100% political propaganda masquerading as ad promoting their action plan - than all money spent on the political subsidy in a year.

On top of that, I think that since the governing party is able to use the entire public service to promote itself for free, we should reform the political subsidy so that if you are in government you get HALF the subsidy that you get in opposition!

Chester Drawers

Lard Tunderin Jeezus wrote:

Chester Drawers wrote:

Get the money from supporters not taxpayers,  just like any other organization.  I'm on the Board of a health care charity, we fund raise to do what is needed.

You and your ilk are the reason that so much healthcare in this country is dependent upon charity. Simply shutting your gob-hole would be a far more efficient contribution to society....

Wasteful spending by government such as this subsidy, government advertizing, useless gun registry, federal sponsorships of tradeshows and cultural events, oceans and fisheries in landlocked Saskatchewan and the like are the reasons that health charities are needed.  Money that should be spent on the core infrastructure for society is wasted on non essentials.  Government should be run like you or I run our household budget.  Necessities first and luxuries after.  If the money isn't there then we wait until it is there.

The best that you can do is insult and name call.

ottawaobserver

Good job, Chester.  You managed to completely draw the focus away from Brian's series.  Mission accomplished.

Chester Drawers

Yes it did get off track a little.  However the essence of the debate still goes back to what Brian had published, the subsidy was the motivating factor for the coalition.

NorthReport

 Silence can often be golden.

janfromthebruce

I really like how Brian writes - it's simple and follows a narrative - one with feeling and inside the head thinking - no gloss here. Topps is tops!

KenS

By your comments Ches, you clearly take as authentic Brian Topp's account.

And by his account, 'the motivating factor' of the coalition was definitely the NDPs desire to have one. In fact, they had already tried to initiate this before Stephen Harpers naerly fatal Grand Overeach.

The subsidy issue was not the motivating factor.  It was the enabling game changer.

It was the match that would get the Liberals to think again. And as is the case with all matches that are the final step in lighting a fire- the story is the fire.

ottawaobserver

The latest installment is out now.  Boy that Marlene Jennings ... ay-yay-yay!

NDPP

V. Jara wrote:

I find Topp's story self-serving but interesting nonetheless. Maybe he will fess up to more of his mistakes and the NDP's shared naïveté in the last installment.

NDPP

Re: Brian Topp

Now I understand why ACTRA is so badly run and why contract negotiations always go the way of the Producers...

janfromthebruce

sure blame it on Topps - he hasn't been there in a long time but for sure - the libs look like the self-serving entitled elites that are so out of vogue!

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

 

WELL SAID KEN!!!

 

KenS wrote:

By your comments Ches, you clearly take as authentic Brian Topp's account.

And by his account, 'the motivating factor' of the coalition was definitely the NDPs desire to have one. In fact, they had already tried to initiate this before Stephen Harpers naerly fatal Grand Overeach.

The subsidy issue was not the motivating factor.  It was the enabling game changer.

It was the match that would get the Liberals to think again. And as is the case with all matches that are the final step in lighting a fire- the story is the fire.

NorthReport

I know it's a longshot but so what. And you never know until you try. It sure would be sweet for the NPD to take NDG in the next federal election.

Wilf Day

The NDP does not seem to have put proportional representation on the table.

Yet PR would have helped western Liberals, and Quebec Liberals, and Liberals in Ontario outside the GTA.

It would have been hard to implement because the Bloc, although they favour it in principle, would have tried to find a reason not to vote for it since it would have cut their caucus from 49 MPs to about 28. Is that why it was never mentioned?

Or is it because Toronto Liberals, who would have been hurt as much as the Bloc, would have veto'd it?

Pages