Yes Another Liberal Blog

September 29, 2006

More Internal CPC Memos Getting Out

Filed under: Uncategorized — yesanotherliberal @ 9:01 pm

This one isn’t anywhere near as bad as the one I wrote about earlier. It’s from Mike Donison, Executive Director of the Conservative Party criticizing the sloppy document handling that led to the earlier leak. From the document:

As you may know by now, there is a story in today’s Toronto Star concerning the disclosure of a confidential memo from our Director of Political Operations and Campaign Manager, Doug Finley.

As I have directed in the past and as I will again, I cannot overemphasize the importance of all staff to always ensure that all your records be kept secure. Hardcopies of all such documentation should not be taken by you outside your offices, and that when final versions of such are agreed upon, that all drafts be destroyed.

In addition, senior staff needs to keep to a minimum, the use of e-mail concerning confidential or
sensitive information and documentation.

I consider the disclosure of this document in this case a very serious matter. We simply cannot allow
for this to happen in the particularly sensitive political climate.

Read it for yourself.

Conservative Party Memo Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — yesanotherliberal @ 5:23 pm

Scanned pages of the original memo leaked to the Toronto Star are starting to circulate online. There’s been a lot of speculation that the memo was a fake, but I’m not convinced that it was. You can read it in its full text to judge for yourself. The look of it does fit with TDH Strategies’ description of how the memo was leaked from earlier today:

I can confirm (do not ask how) that the strategy memo written by Doug Finley was indeed real, and distributed internally to several ministerial offices in Ottawa – meaning that many Tory staff members had access to it.

One of these staffers took it to read over lunch in a shopping mall food court last week, and left it behind after he was done. From what I have been able to determine, this was done by accident, because if there was indeed an intention to leak it, there are far more effective ways to ensure that it gets into the hands of those that can turn it into a national headline.

Nothing here proves that this wasn’t an intentional leak, but having been the last one out the door at a lot of meetings, I can definitely say that the above description seems probable. I have been shocked by what people have left behind (staff bonus recommendations, confidential meeting minutes, etc.) and I can see some junior staffer being careless enough to leave the memo behind.

September 28, 2006

Internal CPC Memo Declares Ignatieff Most Feared Opponent

Filed under: Uncategorized — yesanotherliberal @ 8:36 am

The Toronto Star has an article today detailing the contents of an internal Conservative Party memo regarding the perceived level of threat from each of the main Liberal Leadership candidates. I’m sure heads are going to roll over at the Conservative Party’s headquarters this morning!

The memo explains that:

Ignatieff was “the most interesting candidate to probe/test.” The memo says he “takes quite a bit of heat for his foreign policy positions” among left-leaning Liberal-Conservative switchers. He’d probably lose votes over foreign policy from Liberal/NDP switchers, says Finley.

“But he is an impressive performer and the more people watched Ignatieff, the more they liked him,” says the memo, adding one woman in London said “he looks, sounds and acts like a prime minister.”Finley considers Ignatieff’s appeal to be strongest among university-educated, middle-to-upper middle class voters in ridings the Tories hope to target, including Don Valley West, West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast and Lac St. Louis.

I’ve been pretty critical of Ignatieff in the past, but if the Torys are afraid of him, he gains cred in my books.

Article: Memo shows Tories fear Ignatieff most

September 24, 2006

Volpe Responds! Explains Membership Problems

Filed under: Uncategorized — yesanotherliberal @ 9:14 pm

Huh, I see a dead campaign.

September 21, 2006

Where Kennedy Gets Afghanistan Right

Filed under: Uncategorized — yesanotherliberal @ 7:04 pm

Earlier I wrote a rather reactive post attacking Kennedy’s views on the conflict in Afghanistan. I stand by what I wrote earlier, but I was negligent not to note that Kennedy has brought forward one idea that I believe is essential to achieving long-term stability in Afghanistan: redirecting the illegal opium trade to the production of legal narcotics.

From Kennedy’s release:

Canada should take a leadership role in working with its international allies and the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) on demonstration projects to move the replacement of the opium economy forward. Another short-term solution is assisting the country to produce essential opium-based medicines such as morphine and codeine in accordance with the legal framework found in the new Afghanistan Counter- Narcotics Law passed in December 2005. Implementing these provisions would partly bring illegal opium cultivation under control, take the money away from the Taliban and provide new economic opportunity and hope to the poverty-stricken opium growing areas of Afghanistan.

It’s no secret that the opium trade has been used to fund the Taliban’s comeback and that attempts to eliminate the trade have been costly, ineffective and reduced support for the NATO mission tremendously among rural Afghanis. Unfortunately, I’ve seen very little to indicate that NATO is serious about finding alternative strategies given the USA’s funding and political support for the eradication program.

I can’t remember where I originally read about the idea that Afghanistan’s illegal opium production should be redirected to the legal trade but two points from the article stuck with me:

  • buying the entire harvest of opium poppies at black market prices is tens of millions of dollars cheaper than the current eradication strategy
  • Africa suffers from a critical shortage of opium-based painkillers.

I hadn’t seen any details describing how such a plan could operate until I came across this post at Liblogs this morning. Unfortunately the author seems to be using the article as a throwaway to attack the mission rather than recognize that it’s an important strategy that’s 100% in accordance with Liberal values and something everyone can support whether they want boots on the ground there or not.

From the report:

Afghanistan faces a reconstruction crisis of an unprecedented scale. The illegal opium economy lies at the nexus of an extreme level of poverty and escalating violence, particularly in the southern part of the country. The US-led International Community has failed to unlock Afghanistan reconstruction crisis with an over-emphasis on aggressive counter narcotics strategies such as poppy crop eradication. The country’s share of opium production remains unchanged at 87 per cent of the world total, with 85 per cent of heroin consumed in Europe originating from Afghanistan. At the same time, however, opium poppy is the traditional crop and the raw material for essential medicines such as morphine and codeine.

Afghan opium represents is a huge potential to be re-directed into legal channels becoming a major driver for Afghanistan’s rural development and addressing the global shortage of opium-based medicines. Existing social control structures at different community levels would maximize the potential of opium, ensuring minimum diversion to the illegal market.

Kudos to Kennedy for originally raising this point. I hope all the candidates can get squarely behind some variant of this plan and pressure the government to make this critical change to our strategy in Afghanistan.

NOTE: I set my comment restrictions really tightly when I first started blogging to avoid commment spam, but I didn’t realize how insanely tight they were. I’ve opened up comments properly now and they should remain that way.

Report:Opium Licensing for the Production of Essential Medicines: Securing a Sustainable Future for Afghanistan

September 20, 2006

Questioning Rae’s Political Loyalty

Filed under: Uncategorized — yesanotherliberal @ 12:37 pm

There’s been a lot of buzz about donations Bob Rae made to NDP candidates in the 2004 and 2006 elections. Now an even more concerning fact has come up: in an article where he’s quoted lauding the NDP MP-elect Irene Mathyssen, he’s described as being “thrilled” by the NDP’s seat gains in the 2006 election:

The former MPP thrilled supporters and former provincial colleagues Monday night (Jan. 23) by winning the NDP’s first federal seat in London.”Irene’s a very fine person. She’s got tons of commitment, she’s very thoughtful, a very good team member,” said former NDP premier Bob Rae.

“She’s just a decent, hardworking individual. All the bad things you can think of in a politician, she’s the opposite.”

Both Rae and Boyd were thrilled with the NDP’s showing in the election, winning 29 seats across Canada — 11 more than in the last Parliament.

Calgary Grit’s got about the best breakdown and commentary on Rae’s donations that I’ve seen (as you’d probably expect), and I discovered the above article through a link in his comments section. Ultimately, Rae’s donations matter most if they were given because of political allegiance rather than because of personal ties. Although it’s extremely bad form to be financially supporting electoral opponents of the party you’re hoping to lead, it’s forgivable to donate token amounts (and all the amounts are relatively trivial) to friends’ campaigns regardless of their political affiliation.

However, this forgiveness depends on Rae actually supporting the Liberals in the last election. If he’s both donating to our party’s opponents and rooting for them to win, it’s pretty difficult to accept that he’s really a Liberal a couple months down the line.

I don’t demand absolute party loyalty from someone to demonstrate Liberal Party support. But I don’t think it’s too much to ask that someone that wants to lead our party has demonstrated enough commitment to the Liberals that he hasn’t celebrated NDP seat gains that came at our expense last election. I don’t think I’m offside here.

Article: CANADA VOTES 2006: Mathyssen set for Ottawa job

September 19, 2006

Rae Planning to Capture Kennedy Campaign?

Filed under: Uncategorized — yesanotherliberal @ 6:56 pm

It appears that Jim Coutts, a powerful Liberal Party strategist in his day, may be looking to get back into the game. Coutts has pledged his support to Kennedy as a delegate and donated $1000 to his campaign, but he has long-standing ties to Bob Rae and donated $4400 to his leadership campaign. Is it possible that Coutts is looking to use his position to broker a deal between Rae and Kennedy in Rae’s favour?

Jason Cherniak brought my attention to these rumours in his post earlier today in which he declares that it’s all a conspiracy theory with no substance. Perhaps, but the explanation provided to him from the Kennedy camp doesn’t seem to hold up very well. Apparently Coutts–who knows Liberal Party politics as well or better than anyone else in the country–couldn’t make up his mind who to support “all summer” but decided to give $4400 to Bob Rae on June 16th before finally having an epiphany and deciding to give his remaining $1000 donation limit to Kennedy and join his team on June 30th, a mere two weeks later.

It’s possible that either Bob Rae did something unforgivable during that two week period to push Coutts out of his camp or that Kennedy’s star suddenly shone extra bright, but besides both candidates picking up a handful of endorsements during that time little of significance publicly happened.

The post from Steve Janke that Cherniak links to actually doesn’t seem all that improbable, although I can’t verify if Coutts is as close to Rae as the post claims. It certainly got me thinking.

I don’t want to conspiracy monger, but what’s more probable:

1) A once powerful Liberal Party strategist with some significant ties to Bob Rae can’t decide who to support for leader, so he gives almost his entire donation limit to Rae’s campaign before suddenly deciding that he actually supports Kennedy’s campaign?

2) A once powerful Liberal Party strategist with some significant ties to Bob Rae decides to take advantage of one of the last times his influence will matter and donates a significant amount of money to Rae’s campaign before using his remaining $1000 and declaring his support to Kennedy to ingratiate himself with the Kennedy campaign so that he can be in a position on the convention floor to gain close access to Kennedy?

Number two hardly seems beyond the pale. Keep in mind that during Coutts’ height, there weren’t thousands of people downloading lists of campaign donors at the click of a button to pour over and analyze. If he wanted to play both sides, it’s likely he never considered that people would find out he’d donated to both campaigns until long after the leadership campaign was over.

August 30, 2006

Kennedy’s Astonishing Naïvety on Afghanistan

Filed under: Uncategorized — yesanotherliberal @ 6:09 pm

On Jason Cherniak’s blog today, he recounts a conversation he had with Gerard Kennedy about Kennedy’s proposed policies in Afghanistan:

“Later, though, I got to talk to Kennedy in a social setting. Suddenly he was a friendly person who wanted me to understand his policy. He explained that the goal is not to leave Afghanistan, but to focus on building social programs in the provinces under government control. He thinks that once you show success in some provinces, families in other provinces will make rational choices and give up on the rebellion. Until that time, there is little point in sending out the troops to impose a system that the rebels do not understand.”

Before I tear into this statement, I should make it clear that I’m entirely basing the following comments on Jason’s description of his conversation with Kennedy. If the above description is inaccurate then Jason should apologize for misrepresenting Kennedy’s views, and I’ll retract the following comments:

Is Kennedy actually so completely ignorant of the situation in Afghanistan that he thinks the major impediment to peace is that we’re not properly connecting with Afghani families? Does he actually think that the main driver of the insurgency is a concern with the inadequacy of the social services that the government is providing? Can there be any doubt that a group that specifically targets their suicide bombers at judges, police officers and aid agencies that are trying to build schools and provide health care has values and goals utterly antithetical to Afghanis who want to live in peace and security?

I can’t imagine what set of social programs we could implement that would convince the insurgents to stop their attacks. Perhaps we could invite Pakistan in to implement their madrassas in place of the existing primary schools. Maybe we could subjugate or violently convert all non-Muslims and Muslims who are too liberally minded. How about reinstating public executions for homosexuals and adulterers?

The main body of the insurgency is former Taliban and their supporters backed up by international jihadists–many of whom have cut their teeth in the insurgency in Iraq–along with an assortment of warlords who don’t want to cede power to the central government. These are not people who are merely aggravated that we have ‘imposed a system that they do not understand’. They are fundamentally opposed to the values and loss of power that liberal democracy represents.

Pluralism? Debate? Dissent? They understand what these things are, but the widespread acceptance of these values would undermine the absolute control that they want and need to impose their extreme interpretation of the Koran on the rest of society.

Don’t take any of the above as support for expanding the mission in Afghanistan. It’s certainly open to debate whether Canada should have gotten involved here in the first place and whether it’s possible to actually impose democracy in a country that has never had one before. I think Kennedy is probably quite right that we shouldn’t be getting heavily involved in new military expeditions in the country, but not because we have to give the insurgents more time to understand us.

If Kennedy’s basing one of the few major stands he’s taken in this leadership race on the intellectually vacuous reasoning he provided Cherniak, it’s extremely difficult to take him seriously as a leader.

Comments are open.

August 29, 2006

The Beast is Gone!

Filed under: Uncategorized — yesanotherliberal @ 12:05 pm

Looks like HezboLiberal finally got taken down.

The site owner tries to protray this as some sort of censorship, when it’s clearly just defending the Liberal brand like any other organization would do. You can’t steal our logo and use it for whatever purpose you want and expect to get away with it forever.

Buh bye.

The Sexualization of Ignatieff

Filed under: Uncategorized — yesanotherliberal @ 10:55 am

One of the strangest parts of the Globe and Mail’s epic-length protrayal of Ignatieff was the description of his first sexual experience:

Girls found him sweet and solicitous, with a pixie-ish sense of humour. In his final years, he had an adoring girlfriend at Bishop Strachan, the nearby private school for girls. (His sexual initiation took place at a campground north of Toronto; he remembers the gravel against his knees and elbows was excruciating.)

How on earth is this relevant to understanding Ignatieff? Personally, I have no interest in learning about the past sexual escapades of our political leaders assuming they don’t involve prostitutes or children. Certainly not the details of their sexual awkwardness (what no description of the first time he accidentally supported himself on some poor girls hair?) and development.

There’s also this strange paragraph a just above:

He also revelled in being caned for a pillow fight, “a wild and joyful midnight explosion of feathers, the only true uprising I have ever taken part in. After such an uprising, the punishment — 12 stripes with a bamboo cane — was an honour.”

Thinking about Ignatieff revelling in the pain of a caning brought to mind some borderline pornographic mental images that I’d rather not have had.

Article: Being Michael Ignatieff

August 24, 2006

Good Riddance

Filed under: Uncategorized — yesanotherliberal @ 10:54 pm

It looks like one of the two parody sites that were posted on Bourque today is no longer online. Liberals for Hezbollah is no more.

I’d like to think that the site creator had a sudden flash of insight and realized how stupid and ignorant his site was, but more likely it either got overwhelmed with traffic (those videos cost money) or the slanderous content got the site host nervous.

One down, one to go. Anyone want to help organize to get the garbage at HezboLiberal taken down as well?

August 14, 2006

Canada fails to provide generic drugs

Filed under: Uncategorized — yesanotherliberal @ 9:18 am

There’s a pretty disheartening article in the Toronto Star today that describes how Canada has been unable to provide a single generic drug to help in the fight against AIDS. This has been a bipartisan failure since the legislation that has caused the problem was introduced by the Liberals and the Conservatives have done nothing to address the problem although they have been aware of it.

Hopefully with the visibility of the issue in Canada right now the federal government will finally take the necessary action to help stem the tide of AIDS.

Article: Ottawa promises cheap drugs

August 11, 2006

The Other Mike Harris Attacks the Liberal Party

Filed under: Uncategorized — yesanotherliberal @ 11:22 am

Michael Harris’s latest column is a bizarre and almost personal attack on the Liberal Party. He describes the Liberal leadership race as:

“The lazy, selfish, intellectually empty Liberal leadership race which looks more and more like an exercise in ego liberation for has-beens and wannabes than the leadership selection process of a major political party.”

He provides no evidence that this is true, but instead launches into a forced comparison of the current seletion process to the election of John Kerry as Democratic Party leader in the U.S. and states that electing Michael Ignatieff is no different. His paralell is weak and seems mostly fuelled by a hatred of George Bush rather than any clear thoughts about the Liberals.

It’s unreasonable to expect the Liberal Party to have one unified voice on all the issues while we’re choosing a new leader; deciding our vision for the future is a part of the process. Harris should try to analyze the issues at hand rather than rage that the leadership race doesn’t confirm to his misconceptions of its purpose.

Article: No fight in lazy Liberals

August 9, 2006

Star Savages Michael Ignatieff

Filed under: Uncategorized — yesanotherliberal @ 5:45 pm

I can’t believe I missed this article earlier. It’s a pretty critical piece about the failings of Ignatieff’s leadership campaign. I’ve got to say, with what I’ve been hearing lately I’ve got to agree with pretty well all of it.

I’ve given Michael Ignatieff the benefit of the doubt for most the campaign despite my concern that some of his views are illiberal, but he’s had some pretty significant stumbles lately and I’m starting to question his basic capabilities to lead the party.

Article: A bad week for Michael Ignatieff

Damn You Khan?

Filed under: Uncategorized — yesanotherliberal @ 5:24 pm

I’m not entirely sure what to make of the news that Wajid Khan has taken an appointment with the Harper government. On the one hand, he may be able to have a moderating influence on the Harper government, but on the other he may serve as political cover for the Conservatives and make it harder to criticize their government, making it more difficult for the opposition to have a moderating influence on policy.

I think I’ll have to call it a wash. From a purely partisan point of view, I think this helps the Conservatives and gives Khan a much higher profile than he would have otherwise had within the opposition party at the expense of the Liberals. I think the Conservatives’ and Khan’s agreement need to be understood from that perspective.

Article: PM picks Muslim Liberal MP as adviser on Mideast

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