22 September 2006

Gerard Kennedy profiled in Globe and Mail

Well today's Globe and Mail profile on Gerard Kennedy calls him the "dark horse" and says he's "the one to watch." I hope a lot of people read it because, if there's one thing that recent polls indicate, it's that name recognition is still a problem for all but a few of the candidates. I think the number of candidates and their relative support mean that this will be a long leadership convention with many rounds of voting, and I there is a real possibility that momentum will carry one candidate on the final ballot. I'd like Gerard Kennedy to be that candidate, and so I'd like average people and not just politics know-it-alls to know who he is and be comfortable with what he stands for.

The work he did at the food bank shows real guts and commitment to ideals. The article noted that Kennedy saw the food bank not as an end but as a temporary measure that would help serve as a catalyst for discussing the roots of poverty. Not just an idealist, he got shit done, vastly exceeding everyone's expectations.

He got into politics by beating (now mayor) David Miller for his provincial seat, and that was no small feat. Later he ran for the leadership of the provincial party but lost on the final ballot to a guy named Dalton McGuinty. Of course he went back and served in his cabinet as Minister of Education, so there's no in my mind that he will run and serve in the house no matter what the result of this race (and it's sad in a way that I can't say the same for all the candidates).

As Minister of Education he actually bought 4 years of labour peace, which is pretty amazing if you know about Ontario and the article acknowledges that when he first floated the idea he was laughed at.

Now I think some people are laughing at his chances of winning the top job, but I'm not one of them. He doesn't have as much experience as Bob, say, but the difference is that Kennedy's time in Ontario's cabinet was a successful one, both for him personally in Education and also as an important part of a mostly successful and popular government. Bob Rae can't say the same. Besides, Gerard Kennedy has way more political experience than our dear 'perceived frontrunner' Michael Ignatieff, and also far more than Harper did when he became Conservative leader and then Prime Minister. And Harper's French isn't that great either.

I think there is more than one candidate that could beat Harper in the next election but Kennedy is surely one of them. He even says that when he was asked to run for the leadership, he decided to do so because he was "concerned that the federal party was adrift and that, without a renaissance, would hand the federal Tories a second term almost by default, just as Ontario Liberals had done for Mike Harris in 1999." I think that's bang on, and I don't see us getting that renaissance with the other candidates. We'll get some kind of renaissance with Iggy, but I think a largely rightward shifting one. I think Bob would govern well enough, but no renaissance, and his candidacy has way too much risk (in Ontario) to trade for mere good management. Dion doesn't have the youth or charisma (at least in English), and besides I agree with a strong environmental policy but I still don't think it should be elevated to the third (of three!) pillar for governing our country.

In any event, at some point on the leadership road supporters of almost every candidate are going to have to make some tough decisions, and that's why I put so much on momentum on the convention floor. So even though you may be committed to your first choice, give some consideration to Gerard Kennedy. He's a great candidate, one with the energy and optimism to really bring a renewal to this party, but also with the proven success and experience to beat Harper and win back the government in the immediate future. He's a team player that will incorporate the best of the other candidates (at least those still planning on serving if they lose) into a strong cabinet and government. And I think it will be a government that pursues the kinder social policy most Canadians say they want with the effectiveness that most Canadians demand, and that therefore it will stick around for a long time.


Blogger fifi said...

Thanks for the run down on Kennedy. I need to be more informed about the candidates. Keep the profile stuff coming.


September 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting arguements for your man, I'll say.

The comparsion of Harper's expierence and Kennedy's is a factor I hadn't considered, but think is relevant. Strange the media hasn't really picked up on this. And Ignatieff's expierence compared to Harper and Kennedy is even less so, with him getting much more press for reasons that still escape me.

I've always thought the fact that he worked with the food bank showed he was a man of principal. I think he would be the kind of thing the Liberals would probably benefit from in light of the Sponsorship Scandal.

I'm still torn about who would make me move my vote: Ignatieff, Dion or Kennedy. Rae is a no-brainer for me (I'd never vote Liberal with him at the helm).

With it coming down to the end of the leadership race, it seems to finally be heating up and getting interesting.

It should be worth watching who comes out on top.


September 22, 2006  
Blogger mezba said...

Good rundown. As you may know I am going to support Mr Kennedy. Not only does he have more experience that Mr Ignatieff in government and in politics, he also has lots of good experience, unlike for example Mr Rae whose government was deeply unpopular. He will also incorporate ideas of other candidates, such as Dion.

September 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i may have to change my vote

if liberals can actually raise the dead...that's some powerful juju

September 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With Gerrard is there really substance or just a lack of criticism?
I have troubles accepting his reputation as "the" pacifier in the otherwise hostile environment between teachers and management ...
he states on his bio that he was educated in York and Alberta but yet has no BA ..is he really telling the truth or just embellishing this as well as hios flowery pros ?
truth and transparency is not one of his strong suits and PLUS even with the NDP Premiers help we lost his old riding ...what is really worth?

September 24, 2006  
Blogger Gavin Neil said...

Shawn - I'm somewhat surprised you say Iggy, Kennedy, or Dion. Ignatieff seems to me to represent the right wing of the liberal party and so I would prefer Kennedy or Dion for that reason alone (and there are others!).

Anonymous - Kennedy is open about the fact that he went to University but didn't graduate. I wouldn't say it was *only* Kennedy that brought labour peace, but it was certainly an impressive accomplishment and he deserves credit, if not 100% sole credit. It's a good point about his old riding, although there are a couple of ways to see that (including the supposition that he only won it in the first place because he personally appealed to the voters there: it was not and has not been a Liberal stronghold).

September 24, 2006  

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