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Survivor: the Liberal edition

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So let me get this straight.

In 1987, while head of the Liberal party's youth wing in Quebec, Denis Coderre publicly calls for then leader John Turner to resign.

In 2006 he embarrasses Liberal leader Stephane Dion when he refuses Dion's offer for Coderre to be the Quebec lieutenant and says publicly he isn't sure he can or will support Dion as leader.

In 2009 he tries to keep a supposed rival at bay by refusing to let Martin Cauchon attempt to seek the nomination in Cauchon's old riding of Outremont in Montreal and then insults Ignatieff as leader by accusing a Toronto cabal of Liberals of trying to run the party in Quebec without understanding how things work.

What is with this guy?

There are all sorts of pundits and opponents questioning Michael Ignatieff's handling of the Coderre situation. I personally said last week when it was erupting I wished Ignatieff had stepped in sooner and forced a real nomination in Outremont. I also said if all parties would commit to always having a nomination in ridings they don't hold they'd never get into this mess in the first place. If you have a candidate that rocks the world they should be able to win a nomination. If they can't, they don't deserve to run there.

Ignatieff finally did step in and order nominations to be held and the Coderre candidate decided to run somewhere else in Montreal. This weekend it was supposed to be a healing hour for the party in Quebec (how many of those have they had in recent years?)

But the Liberals seem to never be able to just let well enough alone.

Now there is a story from an anonymous Liberal saying Ignatieff now looks weak and it will hurt him outside of Quebec as well. What hurts in all this is the reputation of Quebec politics outside of Quebec.

First of all the only person in this entire mess who should be villified is Denis Coderre. He is clearly a trouble maker and has been his entire political life. He doesn't get along with the others in the sandbox, when he doesn't get his way he stomps his feet like a child and when he doesn't like what the principal has to say, he calls them out.
Ignatieff's biggest mistake was actually trusting Coderre in the first place. Someone needs to stand up to Coderre and say enough is enough.

But the Liberals in the caucus also need to realize that mouthing off publicly while being too chicken to do so with your name attached is just as bad as Coderre's behaviour. It's one thing to have a discussion about what happened and voice opinions on how to solve it. But while Coderre's egotistical party backstabbing in Quebec is hurting the Liberals in Quebec, the anonymous trouble makers are doing the same thing in the rest of the country.

Until the party can actually stop constantly attacking itself, it is never going to regain the confidence of enough voters to defeat Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.

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About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.


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