Is it arrogance? Let’s hope so.

There’s been a long standing Tory tradition of swerving candidate debates. Here in York South-Weston, Tories are sent in as sacrificial lambs. Being a national party, the Conservatives feel obliged to have a candidate in every riding and while expectations in this corner of Toronto are slim, they always manage to find someone who will enter the race. 

In the days before Covid, debates were noisy, filled with, er, rabid and partisan socialists and were held in some remote location far away from their home – aka  the riding. Conservative candidates presumably thought that their time was better spent canvassing. Now it’s the Liberals too who are making this a thing. 

One can understand a Tory candidate’s unwillingness to be exposed to the mob. For one thing, their grasp of issues is likely to be confined to a few sentences. They’re usually running on a couple of wedge issues and don’t get the subtleties of an argument having two sides. The Liberals rarely swerved a chance to debate. Now we have a sitting MP and federal cabinet minister deciding that a debate isn’t important. 

Liberal Ahmed Hussen is a success story. He, like many of us in Canada, came to this country for a better life. He succeeded, became a community advocate and then a lawyer so it would be fair to assume that Mr. Hussen isn’t shy. Public speaking should be a natural fit for the Liberal candidate. During the 2015 election it was alleged that Mr. Hussen felt that debate organizers were partisan and he wouldn’t be treated fairly. The strategy didn’t hurt him and he handily beat Mike Sullivan with 46% of the vote.

In 2019, all candidates attended the one debate and Mr. Hussen romped to victory with 58% of the vote.

Now he seems to feel that any exposure to the public that he can’t control will either weaken his chances or waste his precious time. Although Mr. Hussen doesn’t live in the riding, there is strong evidence that he knows where it is and has been here on quite a few occasions.

So what was Mr. Hussen’s problem with participating in a candidate debate? Especially one held remotely. As a cabinet minister, he will assuredly have a good grasp of the issues and how to use Zoom. As a lawyer, he will have decent and confident debating skills. Heaven forfend that anyone could accuse a Liberal cabinet minister of arrogance but unless Mr. Hussen has a compelling reason for avoiding debate, one has to assume that’s exactly what it is.

Well done Mr. Hussen. You have what it takes to be a Liberal Prime Minister.

8 thoughts on “Is it arrogance? Let’s hope so.”

  1. That is hugely disappointing. I went to the 2015 debate at the York civic centre eager to hear what the candidates had to say. I came to the debate with the intent on voting Liberal. However, when Mr. Hussen failed to show up he convinced me to vote for another party.

    Fast forward a couple of years (2019) and Mr. Hussen approached me at my children’s school fundraiser. He introduced himself and asked if I knew who he was. I told him I did and that I would not be voting for him. I explained to him that if he can’t show up for the job interview then he should not be a candidate.

    He got a little defensive and said the debate was partisan. Which it was not.

    I get it, being an MP is a tough job. But the moment your forget that it is a privilege to serve in office you no longer should be there.

    Thank you again Mr Hussen for making the choice so clear to me.

  2. Ha-ha-ha!
    Good eye, Roy.

    How long has it been since someone actually lived in (our) riding, or any other for that matter?

    How long has it been now that the emergence of “populism” or maybe more accurately, unabashed back room political shenanigans – seemly, poorly advising & leading those who would represent us? And, that might be said about all politicians.

    But yes, the Liberals are the most skillful at this game.

  3. Finally (and this ties into a little of what Adam noted earlier)..

    What I remember about the last live and in person, all candidates meeting in 2019 was that, Nicki Ward boldly came prepared to apply for the job.

    And vowed to represent, and not to be “whipped” by her party’s leadership, at the time Elizabeth May.

    Rhetoric, if & when push comes to shove?

    Yeah, probably.
    (And, with a new struggling party leader, too.)

    But, Ward was spunky & engaged in person that night. and it seems like she’s bringing the same combative spirit – way more than all others (on that 2019 stage), including the casual incumbent backed by loud & noisy “supporters”seated right in the middle of the high school’s auditorium.

    And, the Conservative wanna be that night?

    Yeah, a total mess. And evidently, completely unorganized for this “job interview”.

    Ironically often times, assisted by Ms. Ward. Who helped her pick up many of her loose, talking point pages!

    What a nice person..
    .. working cooperatively.

    It’s a wonder that the PhD “Blue” team candidate could even find her way to the Weston site, from Mississauga.

    But, at least she turned up, I guess.

    Anyway, this is going to be tough..
    ..once again.

    But, thankfully to Mr. Trudeau and his back room pals, this is a short campaign.

    Just a bit more to go.

    Tonight, should be “interesting”.

    (Unless, I get to see Leyla Annie Fernandez perform in the US Open’s semi-final, tonight!!!)

  4. Nothing but arrogance, and it works. But we need to pay attention: Hussen is an absentee landlord treating voters like poor tenants.
    He deserves no one’s vote.

  5. what has Mr. Hussen’s actually done for this riding to improve it? i look forward to seeing his response……

  6. Again, appreciative reader here.

    And related to Mr. Murray’s report & commentary, grateful to eventually see Mr. Hussen’s agitated boss deal with last night’s questions, too.

    But honestly, more grateful..
    .. that our TSN provider presented the Women’s Semi-Final at the US Open!!!

    (Look forward to these two exciting, young women “debate” on Saturday.)

  7. A lot of the time in federal politics people just vote for the party. In 2015 people just vote for so-called celebrity Justin if he was not the leader Mike Sullivan could have been re-elected. If Hussen could do a better job as local MP by opening Service Canada office in the riding. (is he the Minister responsible for that or something?) I think the closest for Weston is on Kipling? There was one years ago on Jane & Patika

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