Tag Archives: Mark Holland

The Liberal Party Launches New “Supporters” System (Along With a New Round of Leadership Speculation)

On Wednesday the Liberal Party of Canada launched its new “supporter” class. I was proud to support the constitution amendment that lead to this at the biennial convention at the beginning of this year.

With this came a number of articles in Canadian newspapers speculating as to who is going to be seeking the leadership of the Liberal Party. In the spirit of that speculating I have compiled a list of 10 possible candidate (some more realistic than others) that I would like to run for leader of my party, here are their names and why I’d like them to run:

Dominic LeBlanc (44, MP Beauséjour): LeBlanc is relatively young, he is fluently bilingual (yet not from Quebec) and he has done an excellent job as a Defense and now Foreign Affairs critic.

Scott Brison (44, MP Kings—Hants): I was able to fulfill my goal of telling Mr. Brison that I would like to see him run for the leadership at the Liberal biennial convention. He is intelligent, funny and a committed progressive. His economic experience would be instrumental in helping position the Liberal Party in relation to the Conservatives and the NDP on the economy.

Marc Garneau (63, MP Westmount—Ville-Marie): I think Garneau would be a strong leader and (currently) is being underestimated as a Liberal leadership candidate. He would be the only party leader with military experience (he served as a Naval Engineer before becoming the first Canadian to go in to space) would really change the way we debate certain issues in Canadian politics. His science background would help strength the “evidence based policy” narrative that the Liberal Party has been putting forward since the convention.

Dalton McGuinty (56, Premier of Ontario): His speech at the Liberal convention was electric. He helped clean up the mess left by now federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and has helped turn Ontario into a clean energy power house. He is strong on education and has international experience as the Premier of Canada’s largest province.

Scott Simms
(42, MP Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor): As an avid watcher of Question Period I have been impressed by Scott Simms’ performance over the months since the convention. As an East-Coast MP he is where a large party of our caucus is at the moment. He is extremely charming and would be a breath of fresh air for the party.

Siobhan Coady
(51, Former MP for St. John’s South–Mount Pearl): She is a past Chair and Governor of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and was President of the St. John’s Board of Trade in 1993. Ms. Coady was fierce in parliamentary committee (standing up to John Baird on a number of occasions.)

Justin Trudeau (40, MP Papineau.): Before you stop reading this post and rush to the comment section please hear me out. Trudeau has been fantastic in defending Katimavik since it was announced that the program would be killed in the 2012 budget. The fact the media so massively underestimates him would actually be a big advantage. He would help bring in massive numbers of young voters into the Liberal Party and I think the romanticism of the Trudeau name is a net positive. As Premier McGuinty said at the convention, we shouldn’t rush things and bring in a leader who is only good for one election. The reason I would like to see Trudeau, Brison, Simms and LeBlanc run for the Liberal leadership is that they would grow into the position and build the party over several elections.

Carole Taylor (67 Former Minister of Finance of British Columbia): Ms. Taylor’s name has been suggested to me by a number of people on multiple occasions. She would definitely be a dark-horse candidate but she has the financial credentials and governing experience. It would also be nice to have a leader to grow the party in the West-Coast.

Nathalie Normandeau (43, Former Deputy Premier of Quebec, former MNA for Bonaventure): Another dark-horse candidate. She is fluently bilingual and has governing experience. Ms. Normandeau would help us take on the NDP directly in Quebec.

Amanda Lang (42, Canadian journalist): She is perhaps my most out-of-the-box choice. Ms. Lang is articulate and knows the ins and out of the economy.

Honourable mentions: I didn’t mention Mark Holland and Glen Pearson because I am such a big fan of both of them that I am not sure if I have objectivity in either of their cases. Mark Holland is able to articulate a progressive vision of crime policy and I miss him dearly in parliament. Andrew Coyne is a name that has been put forward by a good friend of mine and he seems to dismiss the idea entirely. I would like to see Mr. Coyne run for the Liberal leadership as he would force debate on many crucial issues (he is partially responsible for me changing my position on supply management) but I emphatically disagree with Mr. Coyne on government funding of high-speed rail.

The elephant in this blog post is obviously Bob Rae. I am a huge fan of Mr. Rae. However, if he wanted to seek the Liberal leadership he shouldn’t have put his name forward for interim leader. The coronation of Michael Ignatieff that occurred after the coalition crisis prevented a real leadership race from happening and IMHO was bad for the Liberal Party. For the health of the Liberal Party as an institution we need a well contested leadership race and Bob Rae has already secured an unfair advantage for himself. Look at the wikipedia article on Liberal leadership races (here). The Liberal Party hasn’t had many hotly contested leadership races. As the third place party working to rebuild itself we have nothing to lose.

Who do you think should run for the Liberal leadership? I wrote this post to start a conversation so please feel free to comment. Don’t just leave a name, tell me why the person you want to run would be the best leader.

Mark Holland on rebuilding the Liberal Party of Canada

Politics Reimagined: Mark Holland from Corey Hogan on Vimeo.

This is a tremendous speech. The part I thought was most insightful was the need to make the Liberal Party “open source” and the fact that after this election we have no choice but to become a bottom-up party.

Ignatieff/Liberals receive some courage from the Wizard.

Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party have apparently grown a pair and they are valiantly/finally/thankfully standing up to the Conservatives on their regressive dumb-on-crime bill that would fill Canada’s prisons and costs us all $10 Billion. Canadians appreciate courage and abhor posturing. My message to Michael Ignatieff: Hold your ground. Debate the bill publicly. Courage > bravado.

Some thoughts:

  • 13 of the 16 witnesses who spoke before the justice committee during public hearings in the spring, denounced the bill.
  • Prime Minister Harper killed the bill by proroguing parliament. Keep that fact in mind any time Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says it is urgent that the bill be passed without any scrutiny or dissent.
  • The bill will cost an estimated $10 Billion. The Conservatives estimated the cost originally in the millions. It seems like the CPC is working on a bringing an American-style Prison Industrial Complex to Canada.
  • Mark Holland: “What is the impact going to be on other services at a time when the Conservatives are running a more than $40-billion deficit? These prisons become a giant vacuum that sucks up everything else.”
  • The bill would set a mandatory minimum jail sentence for anyone arrested with a certain number of marijuana plants (originally 5 then changed by the senate to 200 then reduced again) which would tie judge’s hands. Studies have shown that arresting non-violent offenders drastically increases the chance that when released they will commit another crime. Crime rates have been declining in Canada so it’s not as if this bill is desperately needed (Harper’s prorogation confirms that analysis.) The Conservatives know that their policy is merely posturing so they throw people who are in possession of a drug (cannabis) that is no more harmful than alcohol, forging them (in prison) into real hardened criminals, then releasing them into the general population. This costs taxpayers money but the cost to society in much higher than that.
  • The Liberals have switched on this bill and many Liberals are coming around on the A.G. audit. In the United States, President Obama and the Democrats have finally realized that the Republicans are going to oppose everything they do, no matter what. Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals need to learn that the Conservatives will scream, stomp, distort and deceive no matter what the Liberals do. If you are going to be attacked no matter what, do the right thing.

Some graphs on crime statistics in Canada:

Chris Alexander Wants To Be Ignored

Former Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan Chris Alexander has returned to Canada and he says he wants to run for the Conservative Party of Canada in the riding of Ajax-Pickering.

Ajax-Pickering is represented by Mark Holland in Federal Parliament. Mr. Holland is an excellent MP and he is the Official Opposition’s critic for Public Safety & National Security. Holland is more handsome than Mr. Alexander and 7 years younger (though the Globe still calls him a “Wiz-kid.”) Mark Holland describes himself as a technophile on his website and is an avid facebook user (I highly recommend adding Mark Holland on the facebook as he writes great notes and responds quickly to people who write on his wall/postings.)

As a foreign policy junkie I was excited to hear of his return to Canada*/his ambition to become a member of parliament but Chris Alexander’s choice of party caused me dismay. Prime Minister Harper didn’t leave Canada until after he became Prime Minister (which explains his ignorant provincial mindset in the realm of foreign affairs) and he chose Foreign Ministers that were not competent. Prime Minister Harper micromanages every cabinet position and doesn’t listen to any of his MPs.** Mr. Alexander is very intelligent and seems sincere but if he was elected his own achievement would be becoming the Conservative MP that Stephen Harper disregards with the best foreign policy resume.

The Liberal Party of Canada’s position on Afghanistan is sensible. Mr. Ignatieff has made it clear that military action, while needed, shouldn’t be handled by Canada. We need to focus on helping rebuild Afghanistan’s infrastructure and humanitarian aid.

As Stephen Leacock says about his unforgettable character Mr. Smith in “Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town,” if elected Chris Alexander wouldn’t have to “talk for four years.”

* Chris Alexander, just visiting?
** This is completely justified in the case of John Baird though it is impossible not to hear him.

Stephen Harper Silent On Security Certificates


– Stephen Harper hates everything that Pierre Trudeau accomplished as Prime Minister. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was his greatest achievement. Stephen Harper may or may not be conscious of this but he is more than willing to ignore the charter (see his law and order related policies) and that may be justified in his mind because it was created by Trudeau.

– The Liberals are the only party talking about civil liberties but with bill C-15 their record is mixed. Mark Holland is doing a great job in this portfolio.

– Stephen Harper has repeatedly failed to protect Canadians being held overseas. He has also ignored judge’s orders before. The issue of Civil Liberties needs to be covered more by the MSM as the Conservatives have a terrible record on accountability (The Budget office having no budget for example) but no one seems to be paying attention.

OTTAWA – The Harper Conservatives risk losing public faith in our anti-terrorism laws unless they explain to Canadians why powers designed to protect the public from terrorism were abused, Liberal Public Safety & National Security Critic Mark Holland said today.

Mr. Holland was commenting on the revelation that, for the second time in as many months, Canada’s spy agency was found to have withheld evidence from a federal court judge regarding the arrest of a foreign national being held on a national security certificate.

“Liberals have been clear that enforcement and application of our anti-terrorism laws must always comply with the rule of law and respect our Charter of Rights, so that no individuals or groups are subject to discriminatory treatment,” said Mr. Holland. “We now have two clear cases where CSIS failed to live up to their responsibility to share the full story with the court.”

Letters written by a federal court judge concerning security certificate hearings against Hassan Almrei show that the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service wrongly claimed that one informant had taken a lie-detector test, while failing to disclose that another informant had been “deceptive.” In May, CSIS was criticized for withholding damaging polygraph results for a key government source in a hearing against Mohamed Harkat.

“Protecting Canadians from terrorism cannot come at the cost of trampling on the civil liberties that we hold so dear,” said Mr. Holland. “We need to know why those entrusted with upholding our national security have abused their responsibility to provide the federal court with full disclosure behind the scenes.”

Under Canada’s anti-terrorism laws, foreign nationals suspected of involvement in terrorist activities can be arrested if a federal judge orders a national security certificate following secret hearings where matters of national security are disclosed. The discovery of withheld or incorrect evidence comes following amendments to Canada’s anti-terrorism laws made in 2008 which allows for “special advocates” to represent terror suspects in secret hearings. These amendments were supported by Liberal MPs only after guarantees were made in law that no evidence that may have been obtained through torture would be admissible in the hearings.

“The Harper Conservatives owe Canadians an explanation on why these men have been detained for so long on the basis of incomplete evidence,” concluded Mr. Holland. “People everywhere are entitled to live in peace and security, but these freedoms must never come at the expense of anyone’s right to due process and a fair hearing.”