Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Brison to Kennedy?

My good friend Harrap is wondering about the possibility of Brison going to Kennedy in the Liberal leadership race.

I think that this would be a natural fit for a number of reasons.

Brison and Kennedy agree on a lot of issues

Contrary to popular believe, as you can see from their joint appearence on CTV's Question Period, they are on the same page on Afghanistan...

CTV: Mr. Brison, you voted with the Conservatives to extend the (Afghanistan) mission. Do you not share any of Mr. Kennedy's concerns or in your mind has he just joined the "cut and run" gang?

Brison: No I actually I agree with Gerard. In fact, I believe that if our government was in power, a Liberal government, we would be leading the way internationally in building support for a greater humanitarian committment to the people of Afghanistan. In institution building. In investing in both social and economic infrastructure. Gerard is absolutely right.
They both have a strong focus on the economy.

From Kennedy's website:We must foster Canadian enterprise. While individuals and companies take risks and make businesses grow and thrive, government must be a catalyst to starting and growing businesses, not a hindrance. We must be vigilant that Canada's taxes and business climate make Canada the destination of choice for foreign direct investment. We are competing against the rest of the world for capital and talent. We have to do better if we want to win.

From Brison's website:A COMPETITIVE ECONOMY - Scott Brison wants to build on the extraordinary Liberal record of fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets and debt repayment. He is in favour of tax reform that would result in a more prosperous and productive Canada.
On an the economy and an "international country":

From Kennedy's website:Canada needs to position its immigration vision in terms of enhancing international relationships so. While immigration can make vital connections between our economy and that of other countries, it can also be linked more effectively to our international goals in peace-making, peace-keeping, the provision of humanitarian aid, research and education, and arts and culture.

From Brison's website: He wants to tap into our great multicultural communities to use as natural bridges to emerging markets, especially China and India and help connect to opportunities for world trade.
While Kennedy has a reputation as something of a left Liberal, he is really a moderate. He describes himself as a "pragmatic progressive". His record as Minister of Education showed a high regard for fiscal responsibility. Brison is a self described "social progressive, fiscal conservative."

Brison could not go to Rae as he is certainly a right-of-centre guy while Rae is not. I would argue the same is true for Dion. In the meantime, Kennedy is a centrist with a leftist rep who could use the credibility that a fiscal conservative would bring to Kennedy, much as was argued Bevilacqua helped give Rae.

As for Ignatieff, Brison has only directed harsh criticism during this campaign on one person, Ignatieff. He has obviously known, at least since membership cut off if not much longer, that he cannot win this race and therefore was likely playing with going somewhere someday in mind. If we was planning to go to Ignatieff, I doubt he would have said "(Ignatieff) has poor political judgment and insufficient experience to lead a national party" or "(Ignatieff's gaffes would) be terminal to a national general election campaign" or that Ignatieff might be smarter than Stockwell Day but would face a steeper learning curve in leading a federal party. [hat tip BCer in T dot]

Therefore, it leaves Kennedy as the most logical and perhaps only choice for Brison to support.

In my view this would be a HUGE boost to Kennedy. You may be shaking your heads because Brison only stands at 4% (though some say that will raise when the Aboriginal votes are counted) but his 4% is very significant because his vote is probably more deliverable than that of any other candidate, especially in going to Kennedy. Why? Half of his delegation comes from Nova Scotia and I suspect they will continue to follow their "favoutire son". Brison also has substantial youth support which is a natural flow to Kennedy. Brison has a lot of Aboriginal support, Kennedy is supported by prominent Aboriginal senators Lovelace Nicholas, Gill and Watt. And so on.

In real terms Kennedy would be either in second or tied for second if Brison endorsed him. I hope he does and it seems to make sense for him to. Let's hope.


JL said...

I think that Brison is too opportunistic to go to Kennedy.

He'll want a sure thing, and that means he will go to Ignatieff. They are philosophically closer on more issues anyway.

Dion should go to Kennedy, or at least Kennedy should be promising Dion the moon for his support. That would more than make up for the disaster Kennedy met up with in Quebec.

Harrap said...

Well said NBPolitico!

Brison does have strong support in the Aboriginal community (including T.J. Burke) which will bump his numbers up when the Aboriginal votes are counted, thus giving him the edge as kingmaker.

Brison would be a good fit for Kennedy as you describe. Also, it would be in Brison's best interests as - being Kennedy's key ally among fiscal conservatives - he'd be guaranteed a prominent spot in a Kennedy-led Liberal Party.

Dion could also go to Kennedy (though I'd expect that to be at the leadership convention and probably not until at least the third ballot) - Dion's strength in Quebec would be an asset to Kennedy and could guarantee him a prominent position as Kennedy's Quebec lieutenant.

JL said...

It is looking more and more that if there is to be an anyone but Ignatieff candidate, Kennedy has a good shot of being that guy.

But he needs to get someone to come over before the convention or it will be Iggy on the second ballot.

Anonymous said...

Is there any difference between Iggy and Harper? We might as well keep Harper and call it Conlib Party.

Dan McKenzie said...

Add to the intrigue that perhaps Brison is more interested in becoming the Premier of Nova Scotia than the Liberal leader.

Also Kennedy has the support of many former and current Progressive Conservatives.

Clear Grit said...

Wait wait wait. The authoring of the Clairty Act is BAGGAGE now?

Anonymous said...

This is all wishful thinking...some kind of pro-Kennedy dogma. If one watched the debates, one could tell that Brison had little chemistry with Kennedy but more with another candidate. I understand these arguments but this type of thinking worked little in the case of Bevalaqua. Furthermore, Brison is young and would probably prefer an older leader so that he can get another kick at the can soon. We will all have to wait to see what happens.

nbpolitico said...

clear grit - who said that?

Harrap said...

That would have been me :) I didn't mean it in a way that I'm against or for the Clarity Act but just that many Quebecers may not look too kindly upon Dion for being the author of this Act.

Though some polls have shown that Dion is still quite popular in Quebec, nonetheless this is something that can be used against him come election time.

nuna d. above said...

"perhaps Brison is more interested in becoming the Premier of Nova Scotia than the Liberal leader."

Brison is likley to keep running for leaderships until he wins something.

Anonymous said...

Brison knows that the Nova Scotia Liberal Party is just slightly less dead than the New Brunswick NDP. He won't go there.