Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I endorse Scott Brison

I suppose this was a long time coming.

My decision to endorse Mr. Brison was a completely personal one. There is no way that I can generalize my experiences and political views to such a point where writing a formal endorsement will sway too many people to the cause, unless they share my particular views. But I will try.

What it comes down to is that, of the eleven candidates currently running to be Liberal leader, the one with whom I share a spot on the political spectrum is Scott Brison.

I am fiscally centrist; I don't support the right-wing dogma of tax-cuts, cutting social spending, and "government is evil (unless it's being used to oppress gays or pot-smokers)", nor do I support the left-wing dogma that all social spending is good, the more things run by the government the better, and corporations are supremely evil. I think it is dangerous to manage an economy from an ideological point of view - the American government is currently doing this, and their deficit and debt are reaching staggeringly high levels. The left-wing policies of Trudeau left Canada with a huge debt, but so too did the right-wing policies of Mr. Harris end up leaving Ontario with a large deficit (which they hid from the voters, lying about the state of Ontario's finances until the bitter end, obviously aware that they were going to lose the election, and they could try to blame it on McGuinty's Liberals.) Governing from either of the "wings" on fiscal matters is not sound economic policy.

I think the GST cut was garbage as economic policy, and I like the fact that Scott has had the courage to stand up and say that he would reverse it and bring in some tax cuts that would actually stimulate the economy. I find his promises to be innovative; I like that he tries to find new ways of doing things, to save money, which can then be used in more productive ways.

On foreign policy, I am distinctly to the right of most of my fellow Liberals, and I neither hide this nor am I ashamed of it. I support the continued presence of Canada in Afghanistan, and I am proud of Mr. Brison for not pulling a John Kerry, who lest we forget, "voted for it" before he "voted against it". That line made me cringe coming from Kerry (and it probably cost him the election) and I don't like hearing it from the other contenders. Brison and Ignatieff are supporting perfectly defensible positions, especially considering that their positions are identical to the position taken by the Liberal government as late as January and February of 2006, a position I wholly supported, and a position, if I recall, supported by most Liberals. To be fair to some like Mr. Dion, I am aware that some Liberals voted against the Afghanistan extension because Harper was using it to play politics. But the fact that the prime minister was using Canadian troops to divide the Liberal Party is no reason to play into his hands - in fact, it doesn't make sense to play into his hands like that. I know that Dion supports the Canadian presence in Afghanistan, I just wish he'd shown that support in the House of Commons when the vote was called.

Finally, the most important issues to me are social/cultural issues. This is just who I am - I see as the gravest of injustices the unnecessary restrictions governments places upon the freedom of their citizens. All of the candidates endorse same-sex marriage, and that's good, but I have to wonder about their support for other things. For example, legalizing marijuana - currently, an insufferable amount of non-violent, all-around good people are charged every year in this country for possession of a drug that is less harmful than alcohol and less addictive than tobacco. Some are in jail for it. It's not right, it's not fair, and it's patently unjust. It's also unfair and unjust that women (and men) who choose to trade sexual acts for money can be charged criminally for doing so, as can their clients. And it's completely unjust that the only protection these sex workers can get is from pimps, often violent, or worse. They should be able to get protection from police and government, not the exploitative scum of society. Even if some of the other candidates pay lip service to social issues (and to my knowledge no one really has talked about social issues yet) Brison has talked the talk when the talk meant something, when it wasn't just a popular political position to take. As a Progressive Conservative, since 1997, he was for same-sex marriage - remember that in 1999 a majority of Liberals voted for a Reform Party motion against same-sex marriage - for legalizing marijuana, etc. So I think the best chance of any movement being made on these issues is under a Brison government.

That's really all there is to it. If you agree with Scott's positions, if you match him (and myself) on the political spectrum, I would encourage you to vote for him. If you don't, there's really not much I can do to change your views.


At 6/21/2006 4:15 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. I'm a 27 year old montrealer and Brison is the only one that represents both fiscal responsability/innovation and social progress. And all my friends who are not political have been convinced to get involved and support him after hearing him speak in Montreal. He's the future. Go Scott!

At 6/21/2006 4:33 p.m., Blogger Czar Fran├žois said...

Soctt Brison is a viable candidate i agree, but he does not have a chance. 1st of all his french is very elementary, and 2nd he is gay. It is utopic to think that people will not that take into consideration, which is sad but nevertheless true :(

At 6/21/2006 4:36 p.m., Blogger A.K. said...

I almost jumped for joy reading your post, Ryan. I'm a 20-year-old Montrealer who goes to school in the US, and that experience has made me reevaluate much of the small-"l" liberal dogma that dominates Canada's body politic and that kept me effectively brainwashed through most of my youth. I've spent the past couple of weeks wading through the sewage of blogospheric fanaticism both liberal and conservative. The hopelessly unrealistic, laughably cheesy, head-in-the-clouds escapist liberalism of my fellow Party members has thoroughly exasperated me, and I was just beginning to despair of ever feeling I might ever encounter a like-minded, sensible grassroots Liberal--until I read your blog. This gives me hope.

At 6/21/2006 5:02 p.m., Anonymous RB said...

Scott Brison is the most articulate of the 11 Candidates. He knows how to communicate with the public.

He is a social Liberal and fiscal conservative, the perfect mix for me. As well, he has demonstrated the importance of addressing environmental issues.

Go Scott Go!

At 6/21/2006 5:09 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm post #1, i should have also add for # 2 that the speech that Brison made that convinced my francophone friends was entirely in french. He has made great progress and i'm sure he'll continue to work very hard on it during the summer. He did very well at the Moncton debate too.

At 6/21/2006 7:27 p.m., Anonymous GayandRight said...

You may all like Brison, but Brison's biggest fan is Brison himself. His hubris and elitism (he does have a tendency to call anyone who disagrees with him a redneck...) will ensure his defeat.

I have to admit though, his shot at Bob Rae that Rae should be as concerned for little girls in Afghanistan as he was for little girls in Sri Lanka was applause-worthy.

At 6/21/2006 7:30 p.m., Anonymous Howard in Ontario said...

Brison is my choice.

At 6/21/2006 8:29 p.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

Oh, I know Tories hate Scott Brison (and gay Tories REALLY hate him) but that's hardly enough to convince me he's not a good choice for leader. Quite the opposite, actually.

a.k. thank you very much. I'm glad I could give you some hope. :)

And for the record, my second choice is M. Dion.

At 6/21/2006 10:50 p.m., Anonymous GayandRight said...

I hope Brison calls Jane Taber "ma chouchou" again.

At 6/21/2006 11:02 p.m., Blogger Manitoba Liberal said...

Brison is the best of the also rans.

Only Ignatief, Dion, Dryden, Kennedy and Rae have a chance to win.

Brison will kick around for a few ballots with his Maritime base of delegates and than will move to someone else.

At 6/22/2006 2:09 a.m., Anonymous Jon said...

Best of the Also Rans? Maybe, but I DO see Scott Brison as the future.

Brison is young and full of potential. If not this time I certainly think he may be next!

At 6/22/2006 3:35 a.m., Blogger Penny said...

I think I said what follows already on this blog... but my memory is not so good lately. And I'm too lazy to check!

I was really, really impressed with how Scott handled the Adscam Question Periods. He answered well and quickly, and with humour, too. Anyone who has ever read Hansard - esp in the days of "polite" debate - or better still, has watched the British Parliament in session, knows that humour is a big part of debating and being able to go for coffee or sit on an airplane beside your opponent afterward.

Still, I didn't really know what to expect when I met with Scott and some other Vancouver volunteers a few weeks ago. I know G&R has different ideas about Scott's personality - and I'd kill to know where and under what circumstances you came to your conclusions!! - but I was very impressed with the man in person, way more so than as seen on TV!

It doesn't really matter if he is his own biggest fan, although I sure didn't get that impression. I actually thought he was MY biggest fan!!!What matters in a national leader is both the ability to lead and more importantly, the ability to motivate.

Now, I am 62 and no youth. I studied political science in university, have been active (in PC politics) for decades and met plenty of political leaders in person during that time. I didn't think anyone could get more cynical than I am. But Scott had me feeling cheerful and hopeful for the future of this country when we parted!!!

I didn't see a "young" man, or someone who needs more seasoning. He's had plenty already! I saw a man who knew what he believed in, knew what he wanted to accomplish and most importantly, knew how to get it done. I don't see that in any of the other leaders - except, to a lesser extent, Stephane Dion.

Since so many people - on this forum - have been mentioning Scott's sexuality and social progressiveness, what issues would you be counting on him to address, should he actually be elected? I haven't seen this subject addressed elsewhere.

Please excuse me if this has been dealt with before and just direct me to the archives, if so.

At 6/23/2006 4:45 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Faggots got 2 stick together?


If Kennedy was the queer one in the race than you would be all over his cute ass.

At 6/23/2006 4:49 p.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

Isn't it funny when homophobes reveal their inner faggot? "His cute ass?" Hmm, so, Freud was right.

At 6/24/2006 1:56 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny when queers only vote for a lame loser like Brison because he takes it up the ass?

At 6/24/2006 9:08 p.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

I wouldn't find that funny at all, actually. But I'm told I have a weird sense of humour.


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