Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"When I make a mistake, it's a beaut!"

So said late New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, and now I can say it. Last week, I speculated that the CBC's "Campaign Confidential" insider was ubiquitous Liberal ass-kicker Warren Kinsella. Given that the CBC's The National revealed the insider's identity last night, I must now "be a man" and admit I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Turns out CC was Liberal-turned-Reformer Rick Anderson, who shares little in common with Kinsella, other than both having served at one time as nemeses of a sort to Stockwell Day.

There are a couple of references to Anderson in the William Johnson biography of Stephen Harper (which I recommend, especially to those still operating under the delusion that Harper is a social conservative). Anderson was brought into the Reform Party in the early 90s by then-leader Preston Manning for his experience and familiarity with Ottawa, gleaned from his work as manager of the Ottawa office of Hill & Knowlton:

As early as April 1992, [Anderson] advised Manning not to oppose any constitutional deal that might be forthcoming because, he said, 'the country is bone-tired of the constitutional process.' Anderson also had little objection to official bilingualism in its present form . . . .

Most importantly, Anderson rejected the strategy of the Party of the Right [Joan's note: Manning believed the Reform Party should grow by attracting disaffected voters from all parties; Harper believed it should work toward becoming a centre-right replacement for the PCs.] In his view, 'Canadian voters are ideological only in the broadest sense; they eschew ideological purity and prefer practicality on virtually all specific issues.'

Rick Anderson was the antithesis of Stephen Harper . . . His growing influence over Manning went back to a debate within the party: Should they become more professional in their approach to politics? . . . In 1991, after the breakthrough in Ontario, the Reform Party had started taking on political pros. Rick Anderson, engaged as a consultant in September 1991, was the one who emerged over time as Manning's chief strategist, replacing Stephen Harper.

There was shock among the upper echelons of the Reform Party when Anderson publicly endorsed the Charlottetown Accord in 1992. Johnson quotes Tom Flanagan:

"The few who knew the truth abut Manning's early wavering on the referendum saw the Anderson affair as further evidence that Manning's populism, combined with Anderson's advice, was leading him to depart from the Reform agenda. This was the last straw for Stephen Harper. Although he decided to continue with his candidacy in Calgary West and not to raise a public challenge against Manning, he withdrew from national office activities."

Johnson adds that Flanagan also retreated, returning to full-time teaching in January 1993. Ironically, "professionalizing" – for lack of a better term – the structure and operations of the Canadian Alliance was a key plank of Harper's platform when he ran for the party's leadership against Stockwell Day in 2002. I think it is fair to say that he succeeded, both with the Alliance and subsequently as leader of the Conservatives.

4 comments:

TonyGuitar said...

Yeah, I thought it may have been Mr. K also.

Your background fill-in is the kind of info I*m too lazy to look for, but when you set it out here, I can not stop reading it even though I should be elswhere.

When time allows I may do some decent writing but my efforts amount to little more
than the listing of some 200 scams..
http://BendGovernment.Blogspot.com

Good for undecided voters but of doubtful value now that the election is behind us. 73s TG

TonyGuitar said...

Oh, also TonyGuitar.blogspot.com
There is an annoying zero comments you could change to 1. TG

The Wild Duck said...

I've had the chance to meet Rick, who owns a horse farm not far from Merrickville, ON. He & I share something in common...we both lost money to the same con artist (who is now in prison).

He's a good guy, but like Warren, he's a bit of a maverick.

Supporting Tom Long from Ontario against Stockwell Day to replace Manning kind of burnt his last bridges with the Westerners.

TonyGuitar said...

Wouldn't it be a co-incidence if that were the *Pinecroft Farm*, about a mile East of Merrickville where I used to spend summers and winter holidays as a kid. TG