The ‘Liberal Dimension’ – the McGuinty clan: background to the ‘influence-peddling’ trial of Ottawa’s ‘Mayor Larry’

The ‘influence-peddling’ trial of Ottawa’s Mayor Larry O’Brien may – at first look – seem like just another sleezy politician getting what he deserves.

There is a little more to it than that…

… and, in my never-humble opinion, it involves something more than just local issues.  To understand this, we will need to take a look at a local family with more-than-local influence.

The McGuinty family is also very, very influential in the Ottawa area.  The respect the ‘father’ (professor McGuinty) had earned in the community has been cashed in by his less scrupulous sons….  Even though there is no suggestion that the McGuintys were involved in any kind of influence peddling, no look at the political landscape in Ottawa would be complete if it did not include the McGuinty clan.

Here is a VERY BRIEF look at the McGuintys:

  • ‘The father’ – professor McGuinty – was an honest man.  He served the Ottawa community locally, until he was elected to the Ontario Legislature in 1987.  He died in 1990.
  • ‘The mother’ – Elizabeth was a nurse, devoted to her family and, by all reports, a wonderful lady:  being francophone, she helped mould her children’s image of a bilingual ideal for Canada.
  • Dalton McGunity
    • ‘inherited’ his father’s seat in the provincial legislature in 1990
    • ‘young Dalton’ – a lawyer, like Bob Chiarelli – had a bright future with the Liberal Party of Ontario (LPO)
    • in 1996, with Bob Chiarelli’s support, Dalton McGuinty became the leader of the ‘provincial Liberals’ and the leader of the official opposition in Ontario’s Provincial government.
    • in 2004, Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals won the Provincial election, making Dalton the Premier of Ontario
      • Following a string of broken election promises (some in writing), Dalton McGuinty was genuinely astonished that this was a problem.  Regardless of the exact phrase he used, the image of him saying innocently “I had to lie, or the Conservatives would have ‘got in’!” had become entrenched in the public mind, branding him a ‘liar’.
      • political commentators have suggested that policies – and their timing – of Premier McGuinty seriously damaged Paul Martin and his Liberals in the federal elections
    • Warren Kinsella (aka ‘Catsmeat Kinsella‘) (a Chretien spin-doctor who was ‘frequently named’ in the Ad-Scam enquiery) is credited with helping Dalton and ‘his’ Liberals win the next (2007) provincial election (Mr. Kinsella caused a scandal during the election when he showed his misogynist streak…)
  • David McGuinty
    • federal Member of Parliament, first elected in 2004, then re-elected in 2006 and 2008
    • not quite as well known as Dalton, this McGuinty brother has more clout than is generally recognized:  for example, he was considered a possible candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) in 2006, but declined
    • when first elected, David McGuinty was not ‘invited’ into the Cabinet by Paul Martin (who became Liberal Leader in November of 2003) – this was regarded by many as a ‘Martin snub’, but was not unexpected:  the party was deeply divided between the ‘Chretien Liberals’ and the ‘Martin Liberals’…and this rift is still very apparent today (Mr. Ignatieff would appear to have won the endorsment of many of the ‘Chretien Liberals’)
    • known as an ‘environmental lawyer’, he worked hard to promote the ACC agenda
    • Wikipedia also says:  ‘He also was chairman of the Liberal Party’s National Capital Region Caucus.’
  • Dylan McGuinty
  • Brendan McGuinty
    • Some commentators have described him as the ‘brightest’ of the McGuinty brothers
    • worked on the election campaigns of his father and both brothers
    • worked on the election campaign of Bob Chiarelli in 2003 – becoming Chiarelli’s Chief of Staff
    • fought charges of nepotism (1996) and conflict of interest (Ottawa Hydro, 2004)
    • was Chiarelli’s Chief of staff during the critical period prior to the 2004 Provincial Election when the Mayor (and his office) were negotiating with The Province about the Choo-Choo to Nowhere, aka The O-Train.
      • some ‘confidential materials’ about the negotiations were somehow leaked
      • the LPO used these materials against the Provincial Conservatives in general, and John Baird in particular

The McGuintys are decidedly an influential family in the Ottawa area – and they are very closely allied with Mr. Bob Chiarelli.

This close tie could only be deepened by their ‘independant’ rivalries with John Baird, the very popular Ottawa conservative politician whom they have sparred against in both the provincial and the federal arena:  Bob Chiarelli was even rumoured to consider running against John Baird federally.

Now that the Editorial Board of the Ottawa Citizen is – once again – endorsing Bob Chiarelli for Mayor of Ottawa in the next election, things should get interesting…