Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I'd like to rant about the Liberal Party for a moment

I would like to add my voice to the collective call of a great number of Liberals for this party to get its act together.

This parliamentary session is over for the summer, and during that time, the party needs to regroup. If the Liberals head back into the fall session as disjointed, disoriented and disorganized as they have been, the new leader may as well deliver a concession speech to Stephen Harper upon taking the opposition leader's mantle.

These past few months, the Liberals have been utterly painful to watch. Performance during Question Period has been abyssmal. With the exception of Bill Graham and a few assorted MPs, Question Period has been an exercise in futility, as Liberal MPs set themselves up to be trounced by Conservative cabinet ministers. With the added embarassment of Liberal MPs wasting time sparring with the NDP - a party we should by all rights be trying to portray as irrelevant - much to the joy of the Conservatives, you can see the makings of a very disorganized effort. The leadership seems to be going with the "when everybody plays, everybody wins" truism, touchy-feely BS that works well with children's sports, but falls flat on its face in the adult world. Some of the Liberal MPs who (quite regularly, in fact) are asking questions are, to put it simply, appalingly bad at that part of their jobs. Bill Graham and the House leadership desperately need to set up a new rat pack, a group of MPs who can effectively challenge the Conservatives.

Other notable incidents include the surprise passage of a budget the Liberals were adamantly opposed to, due to, let's be frank, complete ineptitude. The Liberals - unknowingly! - gave unanimous consent to the passage of the budget. There is really no excuse for that. Let's also not forget the fact that, on any given day, one can reasonably expect to find about half of the Liberal caucus present in the House of Commons during its peak hours (ie: Question Period). What the hell is that? What are taxpayers paying these people for?

I understand that there is a leadership race going on, and that is a good enough reason for the eight leadership candidates who are also MPs to miss a good deal of time in the House. But what about the others? What's their excuse? This isn't just a matter of bad attendance during QP. These guys are absent during votes! I believe about ten or so Liberals were missing from the House on the day of the Afghanistan vote (possibly more). Where, exactly, were they, and why were they not in the House voting on this issue, especially considering their votes could have tipped the balance against extending the mission?

And what about allowing that vote to happen in the first place? If so many Liberals voted against extending the mission because Harper was playing politics, why allow him to play politics in the first place? The Liberals could have refused to grant consent for that debate to even take place, but instead, they decided to let Harper play his divisive games using Canadian servicemen and women, and came out of it humiliated and defeated - defeated by their own caucus dissidents, no less! It was a debacle, and the Liberals are at fault for allowing themselves to be drawn into such an obvious trap.

So guys, I guess what I'm trying to say is - get your act together! This is embarassing.


At 6/28/2006 5:14 p.m., Blogger Penny said...

Any idea whether the Liberals might deliberately have missed the budget vote? Reason I ask is 'cos the Cons reversed the Liberal budget's income tax cut, using the excuse they hadn't voted for it. The LPC might have thought what was sauce for the goose was just as good for the gander.

The Liberals had 2 choices - as I see it: debate the budget ad nauseam and eventually vote in favour, in order to avoid an election in the midst of a leadership search.

Or they could vote against it, with or without dragging out the debate, and go into an election.

Any thoughts?

At 6/28/2006 5:41 p.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

Well, the Bloc had already stated they would support the budget, so it was going to pass either way. But it shouldn't have passed so easily and without a fight.

At 6/28/2006 8:13 p.m., Blogger Nicole said...

Truly they need to get a good leader in place, one that can well represent the WHOLE country.
Ps Nice blog BTW, nice to see someone your age so well informed and involved.

At 6/28/2006 8:52 p.m., Blogger DPW said...

One friend of mine (A Conservative at that - but in a charitable moment) has suggested that the Liberals need to bring the Hon Alan MacEachen back. He has, of course, endorsed Bob Rae for leader but his talents would be best used advising the House Leader on strategy.

"Accidents" such as those that happened this past session would have been unimaginable during his tenure as House Leader. The party needs that kind of expertise again now. Surely there is an active parliamentarian with the requisite skills and killer instinct.

At 7/01/2006 1:52 a.m., Blogger Miles Lunn said...

I think the party is going through an adjustment period. Most of its MPs have never been in opposition. I would say that Bill Graham should ask those who were first elected in 1988 or who have served as opposition politicians in provincial politics to play a greater role. Being part of government is very different than opposition. Also we should not just oppose the Tories for the sake of it rather we should support them when we agree and oppose them when we disagree. And when we oppose them as we should on childcare, Kelowna Accord, Kyoto Protocol and other issues, we should offer alternative solutions. Opposing with no alternative plans doesn't make us credible. We cannot just be an effective opposition, we need to be a government in waiting.

At 7/02/2006 12:23 a.m., Anonymous GayandRight said...

Perhaps Bill Graham shouldn't have have assigned 80-odd members of his 102-person caucus to the shadow cabinet.


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