Friday, November 18, 2011

Peter C. Newman: Liberal regional fiefdoms destroy campaign...along with $23 m

In this week's Macleans magazine, Peter. C. Newman writes that the Liberal Party had a war-chest of some $23 million on the date the election writ was issued, for the vote on May 2, 2011. Additionally, Newman writes, $5 million was donated in small contributions, more than at any time in recent memory.
However, according to Newman, the Regional desks of the party demanded that money as their "share" of the budget leaving literally nothing in the bank for the party to counter the negative advertising blitz directed at discrediting Micheal Ignatieff's leadership..."because he came back to Canada only for his own personal self-interest to be Prime Minister, and is not here for you."
Furthermore, according to Newman, no polling was done in Ignatieff's riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore on the outskirts of Toronto, and very little campaigning was done there to assure his victory, something clearly within reach, given an inexperienced candidate for the Conservatives. According to the same piece, (excerpted from a forthcoming book by Newman), Ignaiteff knew he and his party were going down to defeat at least two weeks prior to voting day, and that Ignatieff hoped the party would end up with 50 seats, not the 34 it eventually won.
As for the rumours that Ignatieff would not and did not prepare for the televised debates, Newman counters that rumour with evidence of considerable preparation on Ignatieff's part, without overcoming a perceived inability to "connect" with the audience.
If Newman's story is factually verified, then the Liberal Party owes a public apology to Mr. Ignatieff, immediately, unreservedly and in all major news outlets in the country. This debacle is another example of personal greed, personal fiefdoms coming before the "good of both the party and the country" and, as one of those 'small contributors' in the $5 million, (for the first time in my six decades) I am both ashamed and extremely angry that there is/was not sufficient control at the top, in both party executive and the party leader's office to resist the demands of the "fiefdoms" in the "regions" and at least neutralize the toxicity of the Harper personal attack ads against Ignatieff.
Like thousands of others contemplating the future of the party, I will withhold a decision on whether to renew my association with the party, pending the outcomes of the Convention in January. Meanwhile, I will neither support nor counsel any Liberal party activity, nor will I invite anyone to consider membership.
The party, at its core wreaks of a stench that can only be removed with a complete housecleaning, a public apology, a transparent convention free of backroom manipulations and control and  a list of policy proposals, including proposals to research select subjects prior to formulating policy on those files and a road map on how it proposes to move forward assuring all Canadians that no additional "lambs to the slaughter" will be the epitaph of the currently fast-fading Liberal heritage.

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