Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Chrystia Freeland for me

We have a by-election in Toronto Centre on Monday, an important one. Went to an all candidates meeting this evening at Jarvis Collegiate. It was packed to the gills, thrillingly. In this city, these days, we are reminded daily of the importance of democracy - for better or worse. Tonight, one of the marginal independent candidates, furious at not being included, took over the stage before it began, harangued the audience and refused to leave until the police were called to escort him off. Ho hum - just another rude weirdo in Toronto.

As I wrote before, it's sad that there are two spectacular women running against each other, when really, we need them both. But which to choose? I was once a member of the NDP, but I am moving more toward the centre and the Liberals in my old age - even though I will never forgive them for the Michael Ignatieff debacle, their choice of a snobbish man and tone-deaf politician, which doomed our country to more Harper. I've been tempted to vote strategically in more than one election, simply to pick the strongest candidate to defeat the Conservative. But in this riding, that's a given.

And this election is no different - the Conservative candidate is a joke. So let's forget him. The Green guy is well-meaning and idealistic, absolutely, and I was glad to hear him out. But he's off in the ozone; he doesn't have a hope in hell of getting elected and infuriatingly, is further splintering the vote on the left. If the Greens really cared about our country, they would work within one of the two centre-left parties which might actually win, rather than siphoning protest votes away.

So - which - Liberal Chrystia Freeland or the NDP's Linda McQuaig? Accomplished clever writers, sharp women on the left, both. For me, by the end of the evening, no question.

I was turned off McQuaig from the start because of her negative campaign, her personal attacks on Freeland. And tonight was no different; she brought up yet again the fact that when Freeland was a newspaper editor, she oversaw the dismissal of some staff members - at a time, as Freeland pointed out, when newsrooms all over the world were being shrunk. In a discussion on the need for a national housing policy, McQuaig brought up again and again the fact that Liberal Paul Martin killed the national housing plan in 1994. Freeland pointed out that when she goes door to door, people don't accost her with, "What about Paul Martin's housing policy in 1994?"

McQuaig is smart and funny, and if she got to Parliament, she would liven things up - though I doubt she would be a good team player. Freeland maybe tries too hard to be nice, but she's just as smart, and sensible and honest. She's clear and very well-informed. In this dirty game of politics, she has the best chance of making a difference. I think she'll learn fast.

If McQuaig wins, I'll be curious to see how she deals with Ottawa. But I am voting for Freeland. Oh - and they're on TVO right now. McQuaig is attacking Freeland personally again, while saying she isn't doing so. She is speaking about the layoffs Freeland oversaw AGAIN. I do not like her. She's a good writer. Let's leave it at that.


  1. It's very odd to watch two former female journos duking it out there. I sat beside McQuaig when we worked at the Globe in the 80s. She is a very bright woman but Freeland is likely the more sophisticated of the two.

  2. Caitlin, as I said, I have admired Linda as a journalist for years. But she displayed a mean and petty streak as a politician that made me think she'd have a hard time in Ottawa, where a kind of smooth is necessary for survival, even as an NDP renegade.