Liberals first to go neg via proxy?

In the dark world of politicking, political gamemanship and attacks on political opponents, the new Liberals are a bit more sophisticated that their purged Dionista bretheren.? With the backdrop of a global economic crisis, governments working together to “rescue” (that’s another debate) the worldwide economy through spending and bailouts, political parties in Canada are somewhat reluctant to play partisan games to avoid being cast in a bad light themselves among the voting public that does not have an appetite for attacks.

For this reason, the Conservatives post-Dion have been relatively quiet on defining the new Leader of the Opposition.? Every opposition leader from Manning to Day to Harper and yes, Mr. Dion, has been ruthlessly defined by the governing party of the time.? We have yet to see the Conservatives unload on Mr. Ignatieff with even a hint of the fire they rained down on the hapless Stephane Dion.

No party can been seen to have initiated a wave of negativity during this time so perhaps the Conservatives have strategically been holding off on firing the first volley.

Though, as I’m coming to realize, the Liberals may have been sniping at the Conservatives for a few weeks now though as insurgents that have shed their Liberal uniforms.

Take, for example, this video by “theGritGirl”:

theGritGirl joined YouTube on March 10, 2009 but is already cranking out broadcast quality vignette’s attacking the Conservative government.? Surely skill doesn’t automatically mean that a big P partisan professionalism is at play here.? But go to 9 seconds into the video to committee testimony by Minister Jim Flaherty.? If you exist off of the Hill, you might have seen this testimony on CPAC and if you exist on the Hill, you may have seen it on that same channel or through the internal House of Commons feed.? Note that this TV-quality feed lacks “CPAC” designation meaning that this video capture likely occurred on the Hill from the House of Commons feed.? This professional video (with titles produced with a professional video suite like After Effects) was also first seen on Warren Kinsella’s blog.? The lack of CPAC designation and Warren Kinsella’s distribution may mean that the Liberals produced the video and are the first to “go neg” during this time of economic crisis.? If the Conservatives are looking for an opening to unleash a barrage against Ignatieff and the Liberals this may be it as their actions would appear to be defensive rather than offensive.

Further to more Liberal attack, we see ปืนเกมยิงปลาthis entry by Liberal war room chief Kinsella on March 2 featuring a letter from James Turk, the head of the Canadian Association of University Teachers complaining to Minister Goodyear that a staffer told Turk and his colleagues them to “shut up” during a meeting.? After looking into this incident, I learned that Turk and his associates had given the Minister a brow-beating for about an hour without bringing up new business (ie. that he hadn’t already read in published op-eds by Turk et al).? The letter is carbon copied to Marc Garneau (Liberal S&T critic) Stephen Harper, Tony Clement, and Jim Maloway (NDP S&T critic).? The document on Kinsella’s site is a scanned copy of the fax sent to one of those individuals (let’s say Garneau) and then passed onto Kinsella.

In today’s Globe and Mail, we read that Jim Turk has an immediate comment available regarding the balancing of one’s job as Minister of S&T and one’s own personal faith.? Here’s Turk,

“The traditions of science and the reliance on testable and provable knowledge has served us well for several hundred years and have been the basis for most of our advancement. It is inconceivable that a government would have a minister of science that rejects the basis of scientific discovery and traditions,”

Outside of Goodyear’s tangential though unwise hedging on evolution, we see this Globe and Mail piece write up Turk on Goodyear without the context of their previous run-in.? Turk is presented as an unbiased voice on Goodyear.? Also, Turk and Goodyear didn’t spar over Goodyear’s unknown views of a particular field of science or how public policy is or is not informed by those views.? Further, this Globe piece is timed perfectly for those that would gain from a Conservative stumble on Goodyear as the government held a high profile event last night honouring NSERC award winners.? In communications, that was supposed to be the story that Conservatives wanted whereas, the Liberals got quite a gift today.

Finally, if we check out Kinsella today, we find him going along the same attack as that unleashed against Stockwell Day.? Kinsella will be dusting off his Barney doll to chase away religious constituents that Ignatieff is said to be courting.

Have the Conservatives used proxies to level attacks agaist their opponents in the past? Of course.? This is nothing new; every political party does it.? But in this latest post-Dion, post-economic collapse round of the war where everyone is supposed to rise above, if the Conservatives are holding their fire so they won’t be blamed for playing politics during this economic crisis, the Liberals and their proxies have just given them the green light and the media wouldn’t hold much credibility if they said the Tories fired first.

Liveblogging the cabinet shuffle

9:52AM: Rob Nicholson, Gail Shea, Leona Aglukkaq, Peter Kent and Peter van Loan, Chuck Strahl show up to Rideau Hall

9:52AM: And Christian Paradis, Jim Prentice. CTV has speculated Prentice to environment.

9:54AM: John Baird has arrived.

9:55AM: Some MPs showing up in Blue Line cabs, some in airport cabs, some in their own cars.

9:55AM: Rona Ambrose shows up. Rumour is she’ll move to HRSDC.

10:00AM: Lynne Yelich is at Rideau Hall and Stockwell Day

10:01AM: James Moore arrives

10:03AM: Rahim Jaffer has shown up. Probably to support his newlywed wife Helena Guergis.

10:06AM: Jim Flaherty arrives with wife Christine Elliot.

10:08AM: The Prime Minister’s motorcade makes its way up to Rideau Hall.

10:16AM: Rumour is that Jason Kenney is moving to Citizenship and Immigration. ปืนเกมยิงปลาYou heard it here first.

10:25AM: Cabinet embargo about to end. Should have the list up soon.

10:31AM: Other MPs at Rideau Hall: Bev Oda, Peter MacKay, Keith Ashfield, Gary Lunn, Chuck Strahl, Gordon O’Conner, Tony Clement, Gerry Ritz, Stephen Fletcher, and Lawrence Cannon.

10:40AM: Here we go. Here comes cabinet into the hall.

10:44AM: Nicholson stays in Justice, no surprise there.

10:45AM: Greg Thompson at Veterans Affairs, Chuck Strahl at INAC, Vic Toews at Treasury Board

10:48AM: Bev Oda at CIDA, Flaherty at Finance, Gerry Ritz at Agriculture

10:50AM: Jean-Pierre Blackburn to Revenue. Aglukkaq to Health. Finley to HRSRC.

10:55AM: Raitt to NRCan, Day to International Trade and Asia-Pacific Gateway.

10:55AM: Ambrose to Labour.

10:58AM: Prentice to environment. The could be to negotiate new regs with the provinces when it comes to GHG emissions. Alberta will need to sit down with the federal government soon to finalize the new regulations for the oil and gas sector.

11:00AM: Baird goes to Transport/Infrastructure.

11:01AM: Cannon goes to Foreign Affairs.

11:02AM: Tony Clement goes to Industry.

11:05AM: Josee Verner to intergovernmental affairs.

11:05AM: Jay Hill to House Leader.

11:05AM: PVL to Public Safety.

11:07AM: Jason Kenney to Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

11:08AM: Christian Paradis to Public Works.

11:09AM: James Moore to Heritage and Official Languages.

11:14AM: Gail Shea to Fisheries.

11:16AM: Gary Lunn to Sport.

11:17AM: Gordon O’Connor to Government Whip.

11:18AM: Helena Guergis to Status of Women.

11:19AM: Diane Ablonczy stays at Small Business.

11:20AM: Rob Merrifield to Minister of State (Transport).

11:22AM: Lynne Yelich to Western Economic Diversification.

11:24AM: Steven Fletcher to Democratic Reform.

11:27AM: Gary Goodyear to Minister of State for Science and Technology. Goodyear will work closely with Minister of Industry Tony Clement.

11:29AM: Denis Lebel to economic development for Quebec. Lebel will be the cash man for Quebec and this will help him electorally.

11:31AM: Keith Ashfield to ACOA.

11:32AM: Peter Kent to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Americas).