George Takach Joins the Field

Last Thursday, George Takach became the…I dunno…54th? 55th? person you’ve never heard of to declare for the federal Liberal leadership race. Takach launched at Toronto’s MaRS Discovery Centre, before flying to Calgary (as all Liberal leadership candidates are constitutionally mandated to do).

On paper, Takach is likely the least exciting candidate in the race. He has never run for office, and it’s not like Toronto lawyers are crying out for their voice to be heard in the Liberal Party.

However, Takach has crafted out a niche as the “technology candidate”, advocating cyber issues. He’s taken a page from the Brian Tobin playbook by championing the spread of high speed internet across the country, he’s big on innovation and R & D, and he’s a fan of online voting. Indeed, it’s something he hopes and expects Elections Canada to introduce during the 2015 election.

These issues all deserve to be part of the leadership dialogue, and it’s not a bad area to define himself on – especially if he can mobilize the often-overlooked World of Warcraft vote.

Make no mistake, Takach is not an inspiring speaker. Even his official campaign videos are awkward. But he has assembled an impressive campaign team and won’t run out of money. If I had to place a bet at this stage in the game, I’d say Takach is the most likely candidate to “win” the “no name” portion of the leadership contest.

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in --- 2013 LPC Leadership Race

About CalgaryGrit

A former Calgary Liberal, now living in Toronto. My writings on politics can be found at www.calgarygrit.ca and online at the National Post.

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27 Responses to George Takach Joins the Field

  1. Sean C.

    I initially read that as “George Takei Joins the Field”. That would have been much more interesting.

    • Vancouverois

      Oh, mmyyyyyy.

      If only.

    • CalgaryGrit

      Ha. I was originally trying to work a George Takei joke into the post, but couldn’t make it work.

      There’s definitely a viral opportunity there for the Takach team to pounce on, especially given he says he’s hoping to scoop up the “geek vote”.

  2. Jordan

    You are so right in saying his videos are awkward.

    Rob Silver said last week on Power and Politics that he thought Takach would be a candidate to watch.

    • CalgaryGrit

      I agree with Rob. Takach has a lot of good organizers and won’t have trouble raising funds – two of the most important things for a low profile candidate.

      I actually wouldn’t be surprised if he finishes ahead of one of the top 4 (Trudeau, Garneau, Findlay, Murray). Not saying he will, but if any of the other 7 have the potential to, he’s the most likely.

      • Jordan

        I think a few could finish ahead of Murray.

  3. Glen

    The David Bertschi juggernaut will make short work of Takach.

    • Darkwing Duck

      Funniest thing I read all day.

  4. Vancouverois

    I don’t think online voting is going to catch on as a big issue – especially not when there were so many questions about the reliability of machines in the US election.

    As for being the “technology candidate”, it sounds like just another gimmick, which is the exact opposite of what the Liberal party needs. “Pro-technology” is not a set of principles.

    • CalgaryGrit

      Takach is a technology lawyer so I don’t think it’s a gimmick – these are likely issues he believes in.

      Obviously these aren’t going to be the set of principles the Liberals live and die on, but there are online copyright issues that need to be settled and anything the government can do to improve innovation/productivity is welcome.

      • Vancouverois

        Well, I have to agree that copyright issues may have some traction. Still, there are many other issues he’ll have to provide a vision on.

        Speaking of which, I’m interested in your take on JT’s recent pronouncements on the gun registry and on increasing the eligibility age for OAS to 67.

        • CalgaryGrit

          In both cases, he’s starting to position himself for 2015. He wants to get the Gun Registry off the table as an issue, and figures OAS might be a good issue to run on.

          Not unexpectedly, having to explain what’s essentially a flip-flop on the registry is leading to some awkward sound bytes. But likely better to get those out of the way now than in 2015.

          • Vancouverois

            But will they ever be out of the way?

            It seems to me that he’s laying the groundwork for the Conservatives to portray him as completely untrustworthy. (Well, even more so than your usual politician.)

            It’s one thing to change your mind after careful consideration of an issue and a natural evolution of your views – it’s entirely another to suddenly do a 180 on major issues in the space of a few months. He was arguing and voting in favour of the registry as recently as earlier this year, and now he’s suddenly against it?

            Worse, when called on this apparent flip-flop, he tries to have it both ways:

            http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1296974–former-justice-minister-martin-cauchon-blasts-trudeau-over-gun-registry

            “He explained that he hadn’t actually flip-flopped on the gun registry.

            In fact, Trudeau said, he always supported it, and still does support it in principle. But he said now that it’s gone it’s too divisive to try bringing it back.”

            How does this counter the narrative (already being built by the Conservatives and NDP both) that he’s an untrustworthy opportunist who says whatever he thinks his audience at the time wants to hear?

            A few posts back we were discussing how bad this sort of narrative would be – and it looks to me like this behaviour on JT’s part is reinforcing it.

          • Luke

            Vancouverois,

            Couldn’t agree more re: the have-cake-and-eat-it-too approach to this gun registry situation. Why could he not just say something like, “I believed in it, now it’s defeated, and I think it is too divisive to resurrect at great cost.” I think that would actually be something people could sort of believe, but his stance at the moment is, well, unbelievable.

          • Vancouverois

            Luke – That’s more or less what Garneau said (or something closer to that, at any rate), and I think it comes off much better.

          • Dan

            I agree with both of you. The “failled policy” explanation offered the next day was just ugly.

  5. jared

    I thought Marc Garneau was the science and technology candidate.

  6. kirk

    a technology guy who thinks online voting is a good idea. Suddenly I don’t trust his technology skills. That is, unless he’s right and the Association of Computing Machinery is wrong…
    http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2012/10/155536-internet-voting-in-the-us/fulltext

    • Paul O

      Bingo. Another link, courtesy of @punditsguide and @kirkschmidt:
      http://t.co/jYEB8is1
      (MIT Technology Review)

      Basically, anyone who says we should vote online probably doesn’t know enough about technology.

  7. Pundits' Guide

    He must be a technology lawyer, and not a technology practitioner, if he is still sold on online voting.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/news/506741/why-you-cant-vote-online/

    Even the super-geek-nerds at MIT and Princeton don’t think it can be done both securely and secretly.

    • CalgaryGrit

      Is Elections Canada actually looking at this? I hadn’t heard anything about it until Takach mentioned it, which is why I asked him the question after his speech.

      I know some have floated it as a pilot project for overseas soldiers and students, but he seemed to imply they were considering adopting it for everyone.

      • Pundits' Guide

        The Chief Electoral Officer was given a mandate by the Procedure and House Affairs committee to construct a pilot of online voting, perhaps during a by-election. They co-sponsored a symposium with leading international experts at Carleton U a few years back, but got mixed reaction on its viability. The literature has only gotten worse in terms of constructing a successful experiment, so I doubt we’ll see the pilot project any time soon.

  8. Pundits' Guide

    Kirk and I just cross-posted with Paul.

  9. nbpolitico

    Thanks for this CG. Now I know that it is a soft ch and a hard ch at the end of his name. I had been pronouncing it wrong.

  10. nbpolitico

    Make that a soft ch and NOT a hard ch

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