Sunday, August 23, 2009

Searching for work with Dan Veniez

"For some reason, our political leadership thinks that we're idiots sometimes."-- Former North coast resident/investor/CEO Dan Veniez testing the political waters and offering up his thoughts on politics to the online publication publiceyeonline...

Will the job trail lead to the campaign trail for one of Prince Rupert’s most talked about former residents (twice now removed)?

We return from our travels across the Canadian frontier to learn that our once upon a time Pulp Mill owner and subsequent Coal Terminal CEO is contemplating a run for political office, a move that in some ways may prove to be a natural considering his penchant for lengthy dissertations on matters of political intrigue.

Most recently banished from his perch at the top of the coal piles of Ridley Terminals, Mr. Veniez has relayed his potential future ambitions to one of his favourite sounding boards the Globe and Mail.
The national paper which among many media options in the past , has been home to many of Mr. Veniez’s self penned editorial submissions, and featured some helpful reviews of his career, floated the trial balloon of a Veniez run for Parliament in a mid month edition.

In their August 18th article, the Globe outlines where Mr. Veniez’s inclinations are at this juncture of his career,taking the one time backroom worker of the Mulroney era, back over to the Liberal side of the political spectrum.

In a Macleans portrait, from none other than Peter C. Newman, we learn that Mr. Veniez's camp hopping project doesn't come without past reference, he once upon a time was a member of the Liberal Party having attended a Liberal convention as a young one and becoming president of the Young Liberals at the time. But apparently disenchanted with John Turner's move to the left, he sought out the comfort of the Mulroney machine in Quebec of the time.

That's a lot of political horse changing and baggage collection for what would supposedly be a new face on the political scene, but as we've learned on the North Coast Mr. Veniez's long career has been nothing but one of re-invention at times.

All of this back story material will probably come as a relief perhaps to Stephen Harper and his Conservative compatriots, who will no doubt be more than happy to share some of the highlights of the Veniez political metamorphosis. And if not they, then perhaps the NDP will offer up some reading material on the Internet to share with the voters of Mr. Veniez's would be political home.

But his would be return to the ancestral home of his political youth most likely had no other direction in which to flow. The fact that he was cashiered by the Conservatives probably did leave Mr. Veniez with little in the way of wriggle room into the political arena, moving away from Mr. Harper’s collective.

However, his quest for possible nomination for the Liberals (alas not a third time is the charm in Prince Rupert, but) in West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country does offer up a few questions.

While we could probably see him dropping his parachute into the Liberal camp during the rather short reign of Paul Martin’s Liberals (passim PM’s 21st circa 2004), one wonders if his new found conversion to the Liberal ethos is in sync with current would be PM Michael Ignatieff.

The federal Liberals who did actually try to sell off Ridley during the short lived Martin adventure, seem to have pulled back from the dance with diversification that marked Mr. Martin’s term of office.

We wonder if Mr. Veniez, former admirer of Mr. Mulroney and long time Conservative (recently dispossesed) will find favour with the future ambitions of the Ignatieff agenda, which in theory suggest a return to more traditional Liberal concepts (Mr. Veniez claims he is in lockstep with the Liberal leaders blue print.)

Then again, any opportunity in politics to draw damage to your opposition is a welcome thing we guess, and the prospect of Mr. Veniez putting his finely honed verbal skills and media contacts to work against the Conservatives may just be worth the past taint of the Mulroney era.

In his thoughts to the Globe and Mail, Mr. Veniez expressed his personal political catharsis, that of a "Paul Martin Conservative and a Joe Clark Liberal" seeking membership in what he calls the Big Tent of Canadian politics the Liberal party.

And it has become a big tent, having welcomed a former NDP Premier, Ujjal Dosanjh and former Reformer at the time Dr. Keith Martin into the Libearl fold, eager as the Libs were to keep a beach head on the Pacific coast for the cause of pre destined national governance.

And now, there may be no better character witness for Mr. Veniez than former Liberal Cabinet Minister and current Bay Street insider Brian Tobin, who seems to be priming the pump for a Veniez candidacy.
Tobin seems to have taken the concept of a Veniez run to heart, outlining in Macleans how Mr. Veniez's CV and past experience may just be the kind of leadership that Liberals are seeking in British Columbia.

Indeed, Tobin seems to have offered up what may be a campaign slogan for the ages, Dan Veniez: "successful businessman, powerfully articulate, a commanding presence on a podium and a passionate Canadian"

Of course in some distant corner of the province of BC, there may be a few dissenting opinions on the first portion of that grand vision statement, but as for the commanding presence and articulation imagery, there is no quarrel we suspect.

What remains to be seen is if Mr. Veniez's newfound adoption of Ignatieff talking points will measure up with the Liberal leaders expectations for his party's success in British Columbia.

Both men clearly like to talk, it would be of interest to see which one carries the conversation when the two meet on September 3rd, even more interesting will be to see if Mr. Veniez still has anything to say on the political possibilities on September 4th.

Some other light reading on the prospective future for Dan Veniez:

Squamish Chief-- Former Tory considers Liberal candidacy
North Shore News-- Former Tory seeks WV Liberal nomination
Public Eye online-- Fired Ridley Terminal head eyes Grit nomination
Public Eye online-- Veniez: "For some reason, our political leadership thinks that we're idiots sometimes."
Whistler Question-- Ex-Tory eyes local Liberal nomination
Coast Reporter-- Former Tory considers running as Liberal candidate
Prince George Citizen-- Dan's new plan
Prince Rupert Daily News--Veniez sets his eyes on a different kind of venture

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