Ralph Goodale continues to stick his foot in his mouth. I'm surprised he hasn't blamed ME for anything yet.
Several commenter's on this blog continue to attack David Orchard. None of them even mention the other fine gentle person that was seeking the Sask nomination, Mr. Dorion. What I say to David's foes is this:
THIS IS NOT ABOUT WHO WAS APPOINTED OR WHO IS RUNNING FOR THE NOMINATION. THIS IS ABOUT DEMOCRACY DENIED!
So, from hereon in I will NOT be publishing personal attacks leveled against any of the three candidates for DMCR.
Without further ado, here is the update from Northern Saskatchewan. For those of you that don't know, Doug Richardson is one of the great minds in the Liberal Party and recently organized the western provinces for Michael Ignatieff's leadership bid. I believe he was also the national whip for Iggy at the convention.
Liberal Party members gather to protest Beatty appointment
By Darren Bernhardt, TheStarPhoenix.com
Published: Sunday, January 13, 2008
PRINCE ALBERT - Ralph Goodale may be one of the most respected politicians in Ottawa, but to many of those gathered at a meeting in Prince Albert on Saturday he was about as popular as a kick in the groin.
Internal strife continues to boil in the party over the appointment of NDP defector Joan Beatty as candidate for a March 17 byelection in the federal riding of Desnethe-Missinippi-Chruchill River. A kick in the nether region was suggested more than once as a gift that to be bestowed upon Goodale, the Regina-Wascana MP and former federal minister of finance.
A fired-up group of nearly 200 gathered at the Prince Albert Inn throughout the day to decide how to reclaim their right to choose a candidate. A right which, they believe, was stolen by Goodale. They accuse him of courting Beatty and influencing Liberal leader Stephane Dion to designate her as the party candidate.
By foisting a candidate upon the riding, the Liberal Party has insulted northern Saskatchewan voters, said Jim Durocher, a former federal and provincial Liberal candidate and past-president of the Metis Association of Saskatchewan.
"The north has been for decades on the receiving end of colonial attitudes and unforgivable arrogance," said Durocher, who chaired the meeting with Chief Marcel Head of Shoal Lake First Nation. "Some people are talking about going to Regina to visit Ralph Goodale and kick him in the . . . somewhere."
Another attendee suggested Goodale be taken behind a woodshed and given a drubbing.
The federal party executive was called paternalistic, colonialist, dictators and, as one member stated, "other words we can't say in public."
"It's back to the old Indian Affairs system: 'We know what's good for you,'" said Chief Richard Fiddler of Waterhen Lake First Nation.
Two would-be candidates, John Dorion and David Orchard, were campaigning in anticipation of the Liberal nomination long before Beatty came along.
"I'm encouraged by what the people are doing here. I commend them for taking the steps to reinstate democracy," Orchard said in an interview at the meeting.
Durocher says Dion has slapped them in the face.
Durocher repeatedly emphasized, "this meeting is not about Joan Beatty. This meeting is not about David Orchard. This meeting is about the process that was denied our people.
"There's not a lot of places in Canada where our people have the opportunity for some control. We're not going to let that go," he said. "The people sitting in Ottawa need to understand that. The people sitting in Regina need to know that. Those gurus in government need to know that."
Then he took another shot at Goodale, adding, "That chubby little guy in Regina, who thinks he knows everything, needs to know we are going to take control."
The goal Saturday was to establish a riding association executive - the present one is inactive - and set a nomination date to "democratically" elect a Liberal candidate for the byelection. The room at the Inn was so full that organizers delayed the start of the meeting to push back partition walls and spread the gathering across three banquet rooms.
"Isn't it amazing, the other day when Bob Rae and Goodale and that hockey player guy (Ken Dryden) said it's only a handful of people concerned about this. Well, they had about nine people (at their meeting last week in La Ronge) and look at us," Durocher said, igniting a round of applause.
After being advised that advance notice must be given to create an executive, the group formed an interim committee to work toward that goal. The committee is also tasked with setting a nomination date and meeting with Beatty to request her resignation and invite her to be part of the nomination process.
But some high-ranking Liberals say the interim committee and its supporters are spinning their wheels for naught.
"A nomination meeting won't happen. We have a candidate who understands the northern issues, is respected, and appointed in full accordance with the (party) constitution," Frank Proto, president of the Saskatchewan Liberal Association, said in an interview Sunday.
He blamed much of the "heel-nipping" on people who aren't even party members or from Desnethe-Missinippi-Chruchill River. Colin Fraser, who ran in Prince Albert-Northcote for the party in November's provincial election, estimated 60 per cent of the people at Saturday's meeting were not legitimately connected to the riding.
A petition demanding Dion reverse the Beatty appointment was passed around, but could only be signed by residents of the riding. In the end, there was just 71 signatures, noted Fraser, who attended.
"I find it odd they were talking about grassroots politics and democracy, yet most of them have no real say in the riding," said Fraser.
A number of Saskatchewan Party members were in attendance, including one who used the opportunity at the microphone to encourage disaffected Liberals to switch allegiances. Several others, including Durocher, live in Saskatoon and have not held valid memberships for years, Fraser said.
"It's no wonder nobody (official) from the party came. It wasn't a Liberal meeting at all," he said.
Eileen Gelowitz, who lives in Saskatoon but claims Big River as her home, expressed her support for Beatty but not the appointment.
"If she ran for the nomination, in a democratic process, I would be the first one out there to support her," Gelowitz said.
Goodale has said Beatty's name was put forward by the so-called Green Light Committee (GLC), a group of Liberal members who help organize the party for upcoming elections and vet potential candidates. But Doug Richardson, a Saskatoon lawyer and GLC member - and one time chief of staff for John Turner - categorically denied Goodale's claim. The GLC endorses no one in particular, he said.
In fact, Richardson backs Orchard. He mentioned it to a few people as they entered the meeting.
The interim committee intends to seek representation on the GLC.