In Defense of “Second Tier” Candidates

On July 4th Bob Hepburn wrote this silly article: “Warning to Liberals: Beware delusional no-hope leadership candidates.” I would like to defend these so-called “no-hope” candidates.

The next Liberal leader is unlikely to be elected Prime Minister in 2015. We must have a 2 election strategy. The Liberal Party cannot keep jettisoning our leaders or the media’s wish that we cease to exist will come true. If you look at Thomas Mulcair’s name recognition at the beginning of the NDP leadership race it was extremely low outside of Quebec. So far, there have been more articles on the Liberal Leadership than there were during the whole NDP race. Charisma, policy and organizational ability must be weighed equally when we pick our next leader. Though I would agree with those who argue that debt from a previous leadership race is a factor that should prohibit a candidate from running for Liberal Leader, most of Hepburn’s disqualifying factors seem to have been thought up posthumously to justify putting down people whom he happened to not know.

I believe that David Merner,  David Bertschi, Deborah Coyne, and George Takach are all legitimate candidates for Liberal Leader. Yes they will have to work harder but, just as candidate Barack Obama’s victory in the primary campaign was legitimate managerial experience, if a candidate who isn’t a caucus member wins the leadership that will be proof that they have the charisma, policy knowledge and community/political organizing skills that the party needs. Deborah Coyne, the first candidate to officially enter the race, released a long list of substantive policy proposals. This will ensure that all of her opponents will be held to a high policy standard. The Liberal Leadership race has not officially begun and she has already made it a better one. If the Liberal Party is to survive we need to do politics radically differently. Voters in the Liberal Leadership race (the first truly open leadership race in Canadian history) will weigh as many factors as they so chose. We should not dismiss a candidate because they don’t fit our narrow view of a Liberal Leader.

3 responses to “In Defense of “Second Tier” Candidates

  1. Radical Liberal roots are already in place… please, just culivate them….

    Canada the Village …. Canada the Nation:
    Neighbourhoods are where people and governments – locate, connect and partner.

    Schools anchor neighbourhoods, attract talent, build prosperity.
    Schools define stabilized longer-term population densities, which in turn target business and commercial activity, predict best leveraging of public human services supports, direct infrastructure planning.

    Canada will secure its 21st century prosperity by investing settlement and scholarship dollars in neighbourhood public schools. The mechanism is a peer-tutor literacy concept: the idea for “Citizen Apprenticeship”. In Ontario, the groundwork of networks and data-collecting has been seeded since 2005 using Ministry of Education microfund Parent Reaching Out grants.

    The federal government has acknowledged its interest and role in public education with its $20million investment in the charity, Pathways to Education announced in March 2011 to support its “Graduation Nation” initiative. Pathways to Education produces secondary school scholarship in persistently underperforming neighbourhoods in communities subject to high-settlement and low-income. See

    Pathways sites are pre-selected where publicly-funded community health centres operate proximate to public education schools, amongst a configuration of other community assets. As scholarship is produced in the schools, crime rates lower and neighbourhoods stabilize. Business can once again take root, residential property values improve and, in a medium time frame of 5-7 years, large scale revitalization can manifest. Evidence of this pattern can be seen in the original Regent Park site (2003), in the sequel Unison Village site (2007 — formerly known as Lawrence Heights) and is seen to be emerging in Hamilton, Spryfield and Kitchener.

    Pathways programs effect predictable scholastic outcomes because students are supported to attend school, and parents are contractually engaged to support their students’ progress in well-rounded pro-social academic programs. Offerings are in-class and also extra-curricular. Academic success is rewarded with access to post-secondary scholarships and internships.

    In Ontario public education, research shows that parent involvement in the biggest predictor of student success. Since 2005, microfund Parent Reaching Out grants available to each public school from Ministry of Education have rolled out workshops which promote learning so parents can better support their students. In 2011, Minster of Education, Hon. Leona Dombrowsky affirmed that where workshops place, literacy and school success metrics improved, especially where schools serve high-settlement and low-income communities. You can read the Minister’s letter here:

    In March 2012, Fraser Institute Report Card on Ontario Secondary Schools ranked 718 public high schools using the same publicly available data set as the Minister of Education.
    • a 1%cluster of high-ranked schools locates in Mississauga – 10of top100 schools. Mississauga’s population is comprised 50% of newcomers born outside of Canada, speaking some 90 different languages. The current population of 713,000 doubled between 1996-2006 census years. Schools serving vulnerable and privileged communities alike have routinely accessed Parent Reaching Out grants since 2007-08 cycle.
    • 13 secondary schools located in Toronto identified priority neighbourhoods are reversing 5year historic underperformance to “trend up”. The schools accessed PRO grants in 2010-11, the same year for which Fraser Institute drew its data in the 2012 Report.
    • 180 secondary schools located in smaller urban centres have 6year persistent underperformance. 25% of the cohort — 44 schools — “trend down” in a hope-dashing squander of youthful promise. The smaller urban centres are commercial portals for local agriculture and location of outdated industry.
    You can access the Mississauga map of 1%cluster, plus other on-line reports here:

    Ontario Chamber of Commerce president Alan Odette, and the policy adviser to 21st Century Workforce Initiative, have been made aware of the distribution of Ontario’s flagging secondary schools. Business knows a lead element to rekeying local economies is to attract and retain “talent”.
    • Ontario Chamber of Commerce has also been made aware of April 2010 Martin Prosperity Institute report that cites the weighted decision-tree for globally mobile, educated, in-demand talent: beauty of place, a friendly face, commuter trains not traffic gridlock, access to quality public education and freedom to connect with a faith community.

    Kingston Whig Standard reported on June 28: OCC Pres & CEO, Alan Odette vist to Kingston Chamber of Commerce: “I’m trying to get back to our grassroots and inspire chamber leaders in their communities to take on this agenda of revitalizing their cities and towns.” Article here:

    OCASI’s first edition of “In the Field” newsletter released July 11’12 features a Message from the ED Debbie Douglas “Thoughts on the Shift Taking Place in our Sector “. Research shows settlement drifting to more affordable and liveable smaller urban centres, where settlement supports are not now in place. Given the current environment for funding and lagging response time of government, the supports are unlikely to materialize. You can read the newsletter here:

    I made a submission made to Ontario’s Commission On The Reform Of Ontario’s Public Services, the “Drummond Commission”. I drew attention to the literacy and school success outcomes generated by Parent Reaching Out grants, especially in schools serving high-settlement and low-income communities.
    • Literacy is identified by Health Council of Canada as a social determinant of health. Improved literacy thus leads to improved public health outcomes and lowers longer term health care costs.
    • • I asked the Commission to mainstay and augment the availability of the grants.
    • • The grants survived Ontario’s 2012 austerity budget, with an extended application period, and the budget was approved. Off-record comments indicate grant applications are increased again for the 2012-13 cycle.

    The Drummond Commission also sought ways in which to innovate federal funding streams which provinces then use to deliver its public services. I suggested how a peer-tutor literacy concept could be such an innovation, to place federal funding on the ground in neighbourhoods in a responsive and as-needed basis. without impinging upon existing jurisdictions. I asked that consideration be given to implement a beta site.
    • The peer-tutor literacy concept is called the idea for “Citizen Apprenticeship”. It has been pending review since February 2011, at Sig@MaRS which is the social innovation arm of MaRS discovery district.
    • The idea for “Citizen Apprenticeship” is a peer-tutor literacy concept which seeks to capture a student’s “fair trade” peer-tutoring time in public education onto the unique student record.
    • •Upon successful application to post-secondary education, the time converts to tuition value: The student thereby builds a Registered Education Savings Plan with time instead of money.
    • • The student builds an asset which is beyond the purview of family breakdown and is unlikely to trigger income tax ramifications until the student is adult.
    • •Specific peer-tutoring time to promote language fluency and literacy, for which public education tracking metrics already exist, would be the value creator.

    The concept invites and innovates a role of federal responsibilities for settlement and post secondary education by redirecting funding streams from:
    • Citizenship and Immigration – Social Integration and
    • Humans Resources and Skills Development – Canada Student Loans
    directly into neighbourhoods via existing jurisdictions and funding streams.

    Toronto Star reported on the concept in June 2010. Read about it here:

    The idea for “Citizen Apprenticeship was brought to the attention of Michael Ignatieff during the 2010 Liberal Express. I thanked Ignatieff personally in March 2011.

    Because of the 2010 Liberal Express, I was able to connect with local community stakeholders to build support for a regional PRO grant for $18,000 approved in 2010-11 for Peel District School Board. The raised awareness also bolstered approval of PRO grants for 80of112 TDSB Model Schools located in Toronto priority neighbourhoods. Then MP for Brampton West, lawyer Andrew Kania wrote a letter of support: Literacy lowers crime rates. You can read it here:

    Kania and then Mississauga-Streetsville MP Bonnie Crombie prepared a draft Briefing Note in fall 2010 for consideration by LPC policy direction. Elements of The Learning Passport align with the vision of the idea for “Citizen Apprenticeship”. Toronto Star reporter Chantal Hébert commented in a February lecture to UofT’s School for Public Policy and Governance that the Learning Passport received enthusiastic support when Justin Trudeau announced it to a roomful of Papineau supports. Hébert could not comment why the media did not carry the story.

    Parent Reaching Out grants and the peer-tutor literacy concept, the idea for “Citizen Apprenticeship”, codify traditional Canadian liberal values into every day life: equitable inputs which steward and boost self-directed, community-conscious economic opportunity.
    • Parent Reaching Out grants were collaborated and conceived when Gerard Kennedy was Minister of Education after the 2003 change in government. Grants were first made available in 2005-06 academic year.
    • the idea for “Citizen Apprenticeship” responds to concerns and recommendations outlined by
    Bob Rae in the November 2005 “Review into Post-Secondary Education”.

    This foregoing information has been provided by instalments to LPC president Mike Crawley, policy adviser Rick Theis and numerous other Liberals.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions, or require further information.

    Best regards,
    Catherine Soplet
    Mississauga, Ontario

  2. Charisma.
    If that’s what we need in a Liberal leader, then some of the names in your post don’t make sense.

  3. Eusebio Mcloy

    Politics is a messy stuff. I really hate politics and everything related to it but hey, sometimes you can also get something out of it. .:”:;

    Kind thanks“>

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