Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Monday, August 28, 2006

Jason Cherniak: Canadian Political Blogger Interviews

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Jason Cherniak is a popular Canadian political blogger, and with good reason. The erudite writer and chair of Stephane Dion's blogging campaign for the Liberal leadership has a sharply analytical pen. He argues with a precision appropriate to top legal talent - which he is (a lawyer).

Beyond his debating skills, Jason is a really genuine guy. He has the courage to share his emotions publicly on his blog. He answers emails in a friendly fashion and doesn't have the ego you might expect from someone with his resume. When he disagrees with what others in the party have said, he'll come right out and say so, rather than flip-flop and try to avoid controversy (Liberal leadership candidates, are you catching this?).
All in all, Jason's an up-and-coming star of Canada's federal political scene, and is certainly one of the blogosphere's actual stars. Those of you interested in the Liberal Party of Canada need to pay attention to this fellow! (Jack Layton might also do well to pay attention...)

That having been said, I proudly present to you my interview with Canadian political blogger Jason Cherniak.

1) Describe the state of Canadian politics, preferably in regards to one of
the 10 key issues in today's political scene.

If you will forgive me, I would rather give a general overview [of Canadian politics].

Right now the Tories set the agenda. They decide what issues matter and the
media follow along. When the Tories do not get what they want, they
complain about media bias and try to warp the story to suit their interests.
So far this has worked. However, in trying to obtain a majority the Tories
have put forward a number of policies that sound good while offering little
in long-term solutions. As a result, the longer they go without an election
the less likely they are to win again.

The Liberals don't know what to do. Sometimes they respond to the Tories
and sometimes they try to do their own thing. Unfortunately, they are still
not used to opposition and have many in caucus who do not really know how to
be Parliamentarians. Until the Liberals have a new leader, there is no way
to know where the party is going in the short-term. However, if the
Liberals pick the right leader then they have a good chance of winning next

The NDP has screwed up royally. At a time when the Liberals have been
adrift, the NDP should have been attacking the Tories and proving that it
the "real" opposition. Instead, the NDP have attacked the Liberals and
gained nothing from it. Indeed, if they were smart they would want the
Liberals to have no airtime at all. For missing this opportunity, Jack
Layton should be considered the political goof-up of the year.

2) Do you believe there is an educational/social/career path to the
Premiership? If so, what is it?

No. I think there are many different paths to take. However, there are a
few key things that any person needs to do:

1) Be trustworthy;
2) Keep your friends close and your enemies closer;
3) Think before you speak;
4) When opportunity arises, take it;
5) Before taking action, consider the consequences and the possible results
of failure.

3) What should be the [ideal] path to the PMO?

1) Get a university education.
2) Be involved in politics.
3) Hold lower party positions to prove your value.
4) Work at something outside of politics.
5) Run to be an MP once you have a family around 35 or 40.
6) Be a good Parliamentarian for a few years.
7) Be a good cabinet minister.
8) Run for party leader around 50.

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At 10:47 a.m., Canadian Politico Blogger Scott Tribe said:

I will add, for the sake of objectivity, that Jason is also viewed in the blogging world as being sharply partisan - sometimes too partisan for his own good.

That view is not just held by Blogging Tories, which you'd expect - but a fair # of Progressive Bloggers, and more then a few of his own Liberal Bloggers.

That view may or may not be held by me... but I'm adding it in so you're not accused of doing a complete puff-piece on him.:)

At 10:50 a.m., Canadian Politico Blogger Scott Tribe said:

My other comment is that with regards to that last comment, Jason attacks the NDP for attacking the Liberals rather then the COnservatives in the House.. yet quite frankly, the Liberals went out of their way last session when they rose in the House to put in a throw-away line attacking the NDP for supposedly supporting the Tories - everyone from Ken Dryden to Bill Graham to Ruby Dhalls.

SO, I'd caution Jason as to accusing who was screwing up. I believe blame lays at the feet of both parties if not more on the Liberals, since they are the Official Opposition, and their job is to attack the government, not the 4th party in the House.

At 12:16 a.m., Canadian Politico Blogger Jason Cherniak said:

I'm not getting into blame issues. I am talking about missed opportunities. I agree that the Liberals have messed up, but my point is that this gave the NDP a great opportunity that they completely squandered.

At 11:47 a.m., Canadian Politico Blogger James Bowie said:

I'd word it differently. I think Jason is in fact the "Most widely read Liberal blogger in Canada."

At 4:50 p.m., Canadian Politico Blogger catnip said:

5) Run to be an MP once you have a family around 35 or 40.

"Once you have a family"? Why is that a requirement? That seems awfully exclusionary.

At 4:56 p.m., Canadian Politico Blogger catnip said:

And Cherniak is a co-chair on Dion's blog campaign team - not the "chair".


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