Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Health Critic = Ken Dryden

Today, Bill Graham named Ken Dryden senior Health Critic for the Liberal caucus.

We applaud this choice and wish Ken the best of luck keeping the privatizers in check.

The whole list can be found here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Taking Stock of the Candidates Part 2

Draft Dryden releases its second analysis of potential Liberal leadership candidates - Scott Brison

Scott Brison


Pros
New generation - Brison represents a new generation of leaders. He's young, fresh and a change to the older leaders the parties have been electing.
Experience in leadership battles - Brison impressed a lot of people during his run for the leadership of the PC Party. He came 4th on the 2nd ballot, but missed 3rd bya few votes. Had he beat out Prentice, the Canadian political landscape could be very different than it is now.
Fiscal conservative - I'd put this down as both a pro and a con. He appeals to the blue grit bunch.
Name recognition - Relatively high name recognition with his press and attention during the Gomery inquiry.

Cons
Floor-crosser - Just like Belinda, Mr. Brison was once a full-fledged member of the PC Party. He said some nasty things about the Liberal party - he now wants to lead them???
Experience - Mr. Brison's experience is not too extensive and his ability to appeal to all regions is possibly lacking.
Language - clearly not fluent in Canada's second official language (French).
Electability - Brison suffers, unfortunately, from a possible inelectability factor. Despite his experience, charisma and policy knowledge, many wonder whether he can appeal to suburban and rural voters (key targets to retake 24 sussex drive).

Conclusion

Again, Mr. Brison will bring a lot to the leadership race. He will offer Liberal members a clear fiscal conservative agenda. Unfortunately, this vision is quite similar to that of Stephen Harper. The Liberals do not need Harper Light. They need a bold, contrasting progressive vision and unfortunately, Mr. Brison has shown he first doesn't believe in such a vision and second, isn't ready to carry the torch.

It's Worth The Fight

SES Research release another poll today showing the Liberals and Tories statistically tied nationally.

The first few weeks of the Harper government haven't been good. It appears that the Libs are not out of this.

SES got it right both in 2004 and 2006, so its the only poll I trust.

You can download the stat sheet here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Vote for Dryden

A new online poll here.

Let's get some attention.

Dryden Leads Potential Candidates in Ontario

SES Research has a new poll out today which shows Ken Dryden as the top choice among all Ontario voters to replace Paul Martin.

You can download the stat sheet here.

This only shows that Ken has to decide soon what he's planning on doing.

Canadians want you in the race Ken - let's get the party started!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Taking Stock of the Possible Liberal Contenders

There's only one announced candidate for the Liberal leadership - Martha Hall Findley.

But many more all mauling over a potential run. Draft Dryden looks at the potential candidates both from a positive and negative angle. Today we start with the princess of the Liberal Party.

Belinda Stronach

Pros
National organization - What remains (in the Liberal camp) of her CP leadership run. Rumor has it she has brought on some key organizers and has the resources to run a pan-Canadian campaign. When selling memberships is the name of the game, Stronach can perform.
Some experience - She knows what a national leadership is about. Has some proven ability in handling the stress, schedule and media attention the race brings.
Government experience - Ran one of the largest departments in the government, but has very little actual results to show for it.
Name recognition - Most candidates and definitely most who can be persuaded to join the party know who she is.
Money - enough said...
A woman - Canada definitely needs more women in politics and the Liberal Party has never had a female national leader.

Cons
Former association with the Conservative Party - she's definitely on the right side of the Liberal. This does not appeal to the left side of the Liberal Party and she brings a lot of baggage and past comments towards the Liberal party itself - Mike Harris' kind words towards her does not help.
Ability - her policy comprehension is questionable as is her ability to communicate a positive, progressive vision that can contrast with the Harper record.
Language - clearly not fluent in Canada's second official language (French) and this has been shown in her recent media scrum.
Negative impression - she's a floor crosser and a one year old Liberal. A tough sell for many in the party.
Electability - even if she can buy, I mean win the leadership, can she win the next election? Many believe, including yours truly, that she doesn't have what it takes to stand on the stage with Harper, Layton and Duceppe. Can she articulate a clear Liberal vision for the country? A bigger economic pie isn't enough... She would be Jack Layton's best option - a former Conservative with ties to Bay Street who would look more like Paul Martin than Pierre Trudeau.

Conclusion

Ms. Stronach will bring a lot to the leadership race. But at the end of the day, the Liberal Party needs someone who can (1) articulate a clear and contrasting message to the Conservatives and (2) can win. We here at Draft Dryden don't think she's the best choice. We're obviously looking for a progressive leader who can expand the Liberal tent, rebuild the party and re-attract progressive Canadians who were aliented by the Paul Martin Liberal government. Shes definitely running, but she's a false hope.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Bilingualism is a requirement for national leadership

A recent Globe article (see below) focuses on a Liberal MPs insistence of a bilingual leader.

I'd have to agree. I'm not quite sure how strong Ken's french is, but I'm sure most of the anglo potential leadership candidates (definitely including Brison, Stronach, and Bennett) will have to sharpen up their second language.

The biggest thing going for Dryden in Quebec is his recognition there and the fact that he lived there for a significant portion of his life. He will forever be the all-star/Hall of Fame Montreal Canadiens goalie, but more than that, he has a chance to become Prime Minister of Canada.

A job unlike anything in this country - to make a difference, improve people's lives and gets to work to build his national endeavour. Let's hope he does it!

Here's the article I promised...

Next Liberal leader 'must be bilingual,' key MP says

OTTAWA -- The next leader of the Liberal Party has to be bilingual to connect with Quebeckers and francophones across the country, influential Quebec MPs say.

Echoing concerns expressed by many Liberals in private, Pablo Rodriguez, an MP and past Quebec wing president, said a unilingual anglophone cannot take the helm of the party that built Canada's official-languages policy.

"In my view, to become leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, the person must be bilingual," he said. "The leader must not only be bilingual but be able to understand the cultural reality of Quebec and of francophones outside Quebec.

"For me, for the Liberal Party of Canada, which is the party of official languages, everyone who is not bilingual, I disqualify them."

Although that would seem to rule out some of the most prominent contenders -- former ministers Belinda Stronach and Scott Brison both struggle with French -- Mr. Rodriguez said candidates still have months to brush up.

AMontreal MP whose support will be sought because he is an organizer with a network of friends and associates in Quebec Liberal circles, Mr. Rodriguez was expressing a view that several MPs and Liberal Party organizers have whispered for days.

The issue of fluency in French has already arisen for Ms. Stronach -- who was embarrassed when she could not understand a question posed in French by a reporter from Montreal's La Presse newspaper.

"Are you considering jumping into the race for the Liberal leadership?" she was asked. Ms. Stronach asked for the question to be repeated in English, but the reporter did not bother. The incident, repeated on television in Quebec, prompted some to question whether her leadership bid could get out of the gate.

Ms. Stronach, who has been spending more time in Montreal, where she now keeps an apartment, is said to be trying to improve her French. But whether she can become fluent enough by the time the race heats up this summer is an open question.

And Mr. Brison, from Nova Scotia, was embarrassed when an e-mail from his assistant chastising him for not taking his French lessons seriously was accidentally sent to a large group of people and ended up in a newspaper.

Mr. Brison can answer some questions in laboured French, but is so far not proficient enough to deal with the parry and thrust of French-language debate.

Stéphane Dion, a minister in the cabinets of both Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin who is considering a leadership bid, said it should not matter where a candidate is from, but bilingualism is essential.

"Bilingualism is, I would say, part of the job description," Mr. Dion said. "I cannot imagine a televised leaders debate during an election campaign where the Liberal candidate would not attend.

"The party of Pierre Elliott Trudeau cannot have a leader who cannot speak to a quarter of the Canadian population."

The Liberal Party's leadership race has become a wide-open affair with more than a dozen people testing the waters.

Several potential candidates from Ontario -- including former ministers Joe Volpe and John Godfrey, author and MP Michael Ignatieff, and former Ontario NDP premier Bob Rae -- speak French well. Others, like former public health minister Carolyn Bennett, speak functional, but not flawless French, while former social development minister Ken Dryden is sometimes rusty in his second language.

The roster is laden with as many as a dozen Toronto hopefuls, while only three from elsewhere -- Mr. Dion and two other ex-ministers, Martin Cauchon and Denis Coderre, are seriously considering bids.

Ken on CTV NewsNet

Ken was on CTV News Net last night on the Mike Duffy show.

Not a bad performance. You can tell he has substance - isn't going to be flashy but substantive and well spoken. He'll need some work in terms of public speaking, but its nothing an aggressive and thoughtful leadership race can't fix.

A number of articles in today's papers point to a leadership race of ideas and yet all fail to mention Ken's name. If Mr. Dryden were to join the race, he would absolutely add more content and what I hope to be a progressive vision for the Liberal Party.

It's time to start raising Ken as a viable candidate. We hear definitely think he is.

You can see find one of the articles here.

The other is pasted to this entry.

Leadership contenders define issues

Liberal hopefuls focusing on environment

OTTAWA -- Potential candidates for the Liberal leadership are beginning to stake out the central policy positions for their bids, as they seek to attract enough organizational and financial support to make it possible to enter the race.

In interviews this week, five Liberal MPs said they are exploring possible bids, and several placed the issue of environment-friendly economic development at the forefront of exploratory campaigns.

Recent leadership races have seen candidates line up money and organizers and wait to unveil policy ideas later. But in a wide-open race expected to see more than a half-dozen serious entrants, some are talking about core policy concerns earlier.

"I am considering it because I do not want my country to miss the train of sustainable development, which is the most important issue for the next generations," said former environment minister Stéphane Dion.

Mr. Dion, 50, argued that the Liberals have traditionally had success combining social and economic development, but that sustainable development must become the "third pillar."

"It's not just the environment. It's all industrial activity -- agriculture, fisheries, forests, innovation -- and universities, so that we have a hyper-educated population in the face of a China, which produces 300,000 engineers a year," he said.

Another former minister actively seeking to mount a bid, John Godfrey, also argues that sustainable development is a unifying theme that will draw together strategies for education, economic development, and quality-of-life issues.

Mr. Godfrey, 63, the former cities minister, academic and newspaper editor, said he sees the issue as one that contrasts with the Conservatives, who have derided the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse-gas reductions as a bad deal.

"I think it's up to us as the Liberal Party to grab this agenda, to show that we're clearly different in our approach than the Conservatives, to win back the votes we lost to the NDP, to the Greens, and to the Bloc," Mr. Godfrey said.

For most candidates, the exploratory phase of the campaign requires attracting organizers and money -- at the very least the entry fee, set at $75,000 in the 2003 race.

The candidates deemed most likely to run are those considered most able to attract organizers and donations, including Michael Ignatieff, Belinda Stronach, Joe Volpe, and Scott Brison.

Rumours that the Liberals might set a far higher entry fee have raised concerns from other possible candidates.

One, Carolyn Bennett, the 65-year-old former public health minister, said she is considering a bid largely to champion democratic reform, including more grassroots influence inside the Liberal Party and a bigger role for citizens in government policy between elections.

"Part of the policy has to be about how you reduce the cynicism that Canadians have about politics and government," she said.

Mr. Brison, who in 2002 ran for the leadership of the old Progressive Conservative Party and crossed the floor to the Liberals in 2003, also raised environmentally sound economic development as a key issue.

He proposed offering "generous" tax credits to those who invest in the research and development of green technologies.

"The Conservatives are not going to be terribly environmentally sensitive, and the NDP aren't going to want to see the capital markets and investors and innovators earn a proper reward for their risk and intelligence," he said.

The 38-year-old, pro-business, openly gay former minister favours tax reform, including lower income taxes for individuals and capital taxes for business, but also speaks passionately about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as an "eloquent instrument" for social progress.

But he also faces criticism that his French is far from flawless. He insisted -- in French -- that he has been able to converse and conduct interviews in the language, and will improve.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Are you running Ken?

Apparently Brison, Ignatieff and Stronach are actively and aggressively assembling an organization for a run at the top job.

But there has been no word from Mr. Dryden - apparently very few Liberal staffers have been approached by Dryden or his team.

Where are you Ken? You have the product (vision, awareness, credibility) but you need a team to sell it.

Don't let all the organizers get away if you want to do this.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Why Ken...

Over the next few weeks, the Draft Dryden Team will provide more detailed explanations as to why we believe Ken should be considered a serious contender for not only the leadership of the Liberal Party, but also as Prime Minister of Canada.

Here is an outline of our argument in favour of Ken Dryden:

1. National Recognition

2. Popularity in Quebec

3. A Concensus Builder

4. A Man of Vision and Purpose

5. An Intellectual with a Passion for Victory

6. The Package - Worth a Shot

Next week - we will release the first set of arguments - National Recognition.

Until then, provide your comments on Ken and why or why not he should enter the race.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Senate Reform - What should we do?

Since Harper turned his back on years of yelling about Senate Reform... I've decided we should see what people think we should do with the second chamber in Parliament.

Take our poll here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Emerson out of the race.... :)

Well let's strike this as not quite the start Stephen Harper was hoping for as the new Prime Minister. He promised a government of integrity, a government of accountability and a government unlike that of previous years.

Well - looks like he's already failed. Let's just put it this way - a founder of the Reform Party - on his first day in office - not only appoints an unelected member to the Cabinet, but then appoints him to the "unaccountable, ineffective Senate."

UPDATE: Check out this from CTV. Fortier didn't want to run in the election. Instead of going through the democratic process - Fortier choose to wait to be appointed to the body in which the Reform/Alliance has spent its lifetime trying to reform. Wow... this just gets better everyday.

Mr. Harper will have a lot of explaining to do on that one to his core supporters in Alberta (ie. Preston Manning).

On a side note - another potential Liberal leadership candidate is out... David Emerson.

The Tyee takes a good swing at him here.

As well, check out the Conservative bloggers - can you say internal strife already?

Dryden looks better and better everyday.

Monday, February 06, 2006

A Great National Endeavour

If you have a few minutes, take a look at a speech written by Ken Dryden called A Great National Endeavour. Quite a visionary view of where Canada is, and where Canada can be. For the next few months, as Stephen Harper sets in as our new Prime Minister, we should be comparing his vision to this vision.

By the end of a leadership race with Dryden in the mix, I'm sure the choice for many Canadians will be clear. As a country, we have to think big and think nationally.

We won't become a beacon of the world by simply having a loose configuration of 10 nation states.

The decision the Liberal Party makes regarding its leader is more than a party matter. It is about the kind of country we want as Canadians. If the party chooses a leader unable to beat Harper in 2007/2008 then he will have free reigns on dismantling our great society.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Allan Rock is out...

Another one bites the dust.

Also. you can vote for the next Liberal leader here.

Draft Dryden movement is getting attention

Well still no word on Ken's decision, but we're starting to get some media attention.

An article in the Toronto Star here.

And a column about this blog in the Sun here. (They attacked us a little, but hey, we got their attention).

As for any thoughts about who is behind this - no one writing for this blog works in Ken Dryden's office. In fact, I haven't even met the man or any of his staff. We just want him in the race and that's all this blog is about. If he decides to jump - then the blog will shut down.

Many people believe that he's a visionary man who would make a great Prime Minister. Oh I love the internet.