Role Reversal

Now I know how Conservative candidates running in tight Ontario races must feel whenever Rob Anders opens his mouth during a federal election campaign:

Rae forced to apologize after David McGuinty says Alberta Tories should ‘go home’

Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae has apologized for a colleague who suggested Alberta Conservative MPs are shills for the oil industry and should “go home.”

Rae says Ottawa MP David McGuinty’s comments were a mistake and certainly not helpful, coming less than a week before a Calgary byelection in which the Liberals have high hopes of an upset.

Yeah, “certainly not helpful” is an understatement.

For anyone who might be wondering why the Liberal Party hasn’t won a seat in Calgary in over 40 years, David McGuinty has just answered that question for you.

UPDATE: David McGuinty has resigned as Resources and Energy critic. Clearly, the Liberals are taking the Calgary Center by-election seriously, because there’s no way this would have been a firing offense one year ago.

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in by elections

About CalgaryGrit

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

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19 Responses to Role Reversal

  1. Jordan

    Chances in Calgary Centre may be blown. I don’t know why Bob Rae didn’t say he’d appoint Harvey Locke as Natural Rssources critic if elected, could give him a bit of a boost.

    • hazzard

      But it could give the Greens a big boost. Assuming those that were willing to vote Liberal were doing so because they dislike Harper et al. They won’t run back to the Conservatives but instead the vote may solidify behind the Greens which could actually reduce vote splitting in the anyone but Conservatives group.

  2. Pingback: Taking Calgary Seriously: David McGuinty Resigns Over Alberta Comments |

  3. hazzard

    Perhaps he’ll now become premiere of Ontario. I mean, look what Ralph achieved after telling Easterners to freeze in the dark.

  4. Vancouverois

    I thought that was bad enough – but now Trudeau has said something similar:

    • hosertohoosier

      Not to mention that he considers the great Prime Ministers of the 20th century to be: Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien and Martin. Including Martin while excluding Pearson and King seems like a stretch.

    • CalgaryGrit

      Yeah, what little hope the Liberals had in Calgary Centre is quickly evaporating. And the Liberal Party really has no one to blame for this but itself.

      • Vancouverois

        Calgary Centre is only one riding. But what sort of impact will this have elsewhere in the next general election? Certainly it won’t help in Alberta – but it may not stop there. Even if you disregard or don’t care about the way he disses Alberta specifically, he basically says that Quebec should dominate Canada – a message that will not be well received in other provinces.

        • CalgaryGrit

          I’m skeptical this one interview will have a big impact on the 2015 election, but if you package it with his “I’d vote for separation IF” comments from February, and maybe a few others, and you start to build a narrative against him.

          Of course, all politicians have baggage. If Justin is a good politician, he’ll be able to move past comments like these.

          • Jim R

            If he wants to move past them, he’ll have to do much better than have one of his advisers respond with (and I’m paraphrasing here), “isn’t it just like the Conservatives to go negative on our guy”.

            That’s not an explanation, and it’s not taking ownership of the problem. [unless I’ve since missed Trudeau doing the needful].

            At any rate, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, this just shows why the LPC needs to have a *real* leadership race that properly vets the candidates, not a coronation.

          • hazzard

            It’ll have a huge impact in the 2015 election. Conservative will now win alberta ridings with 80% support rather than 70% support.

          • Vancouverois

            Well, it may just be the furor of the week. However, as you say, it feeds into a larger narrative that does not look good for him.

            And I think there may be more. I’ve already been hearing that there’s an interview he did in March of this year where he is just as (or even more) injudicious. It may be that the Conservatives are just floating this to undercut the Liberal effort in Calgary Centre for Monday, and set up the narrative for later.

  5. Nuna D. Above

    If the Liberals were a serious party, Trudeau’s anti-Alberta remarks would take him out of the race. Now the Liberals could face an election with the Conservatives and NDP both running ads in western Canada about how Trudeau says in Quebec, in French, that only Quebeckers are fit to run the country.

    • hazzard

      What ads would the NDP run in Quebec? Wouldn’t their soft-nationalist support actually agree with what JT said?

      I think a serious party would let him continue and fail to win the leadership. This has got be at least somewhat pleasing to his leadership rivals. Maybe now the Liberals can get a genuine leadership race? Let the party membership show that they do not wish JT to lead rather than having party brass banish him as you suggest. It’s risky, sure, but it would also show a party not dictated to by the “PMO” so to speak. A good way to show change from the Chretien days and the current Harper admin.

      • Nuna D. Above

        I’m not suggesting that the Liberal party brass should take him out of the race, but that his comments should make him unelectable as leader-if the Liberals had any depth as a party, rather than hoping to coast on celebrity. With Trudeau’s foot-in-mouth tendacies, how long before he has a Howard Dean moment?

  6. Jason Holborn

    Recently I commented here on your weblog that if a poll I’d read of claiming 80% of voters would go for JT were true, then I’d hop on the bandwagon to support a uniter. These comments are wrong and show a naivete that surprises me coming from someone who has lived in the west before making them. I read today that even commentators on QC are crying foul. A PM can’t prefer his/her home province over the others, and can’t view one province as populated by citizens intellectually incapable of fair leadership. You (CG) may be right that the comments won’t affect a general vote; they affect my sentiment and estimation a great deal. I’m sorry to read them; I understand to an extent that they were made in a context of discussing federal disengagement in QC, but the comments are clear, black-and-white anti-Alberta statements.

    • CalgaryGrit

      I think these kinds of comments will unsettle voters. And they certainly give me pause when considering who to support for LPC leadership.

      But I just feel like, in isolation, they won’t make a huge difference 5 years from now. After all, Harper has been able to move past binders full of controversial and out-of-bounds quotes.

      I do, however, think if enough comments like this are spun together, it could definitely create a narrative that turns a lot of voters against JT.

  7. Tim N

    @ Jason – I’m not sure I agree with your assessment.

    Voters are, in my opinion, broken into 3 groups
    1) Partisans. The comments from JT will inflame the Conservative Partisans, but I believe Liberal Partisans will excuse it. No change in opinions
    2) Non partisan – engaged voters. This group (which I consider myself apart of) may be affected now – but in 3 years, will it matter? In fact, I look at the quotes – and think, meh – 2 years ago – others have said stupid things – we, as a country, have bigger issues than to worry what someone said 2 years ago, before an election, etc… (of course, I’m not Albertan, so I can see why they may be agitated – but I think people are being over-sensitive).
    3) Non-engaged voters – these people just won’t care.

    At this point, Justin has apologized for the comment – his best course of action is now to ignore it. Apologize for something once – then move on. If it continues to come up – just say, I’ve already apologized for that – and move on.

    I think it will fade. In the big scheme of things, it’s really not that newsworthy.

  8. Jason Holborn

    ” But I just feel like, in isolation, they won’t make a huge difference 5 years from now. ”

    – On this, you are very probably right (Harper’s a great example to bring up).

    I don’t find his apology convincing, altho I think Tim is right, too – pragmatically, be it JT in a race, me on the schoolyard, or you @work, it’s best to apologize & ignore.

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