The happiest man in Canada is…

Stephane Dion?

Or

Stephen Harper?

I had this long rambling blog in my mind outlining the 25 reasons why the Liberals broke their own rules of the ‘electability’ of the leader, ability to connect with voters across the spectrum, etc.

In the end, the Liberal Party, like any party, is a ‘family’ and families don’t react too well to outsiders. Ignatieff and Rae, for differing reasons, were percieved as outsiders. They, the Liberals, voted for one of their own. A familiar face. An old Liberal champion. A friend.

Stephane Dion is actually a rarity in politics. He’s smart and authentic. He’s the type of politician I like.

But he’s toxic in Quebec – he was against the ‘nation’ within ‘country’ concept which was approved by all major parties and overwhelmingly desired by Quebeckers.

He’s unknown outside Quebec and his broken English may be a hindrance against the suave Harper and hurt his ability to communicate things like his climate change plan in Medicine Hat.

And there’s an election – most likely – within 5-6 months.

The Federal Tories will be thinking majority.

Gerard Kennedy will be brushing up on his French for Round Two in 12 months or so. If Dion is routed, he will be dumped.

Just as an aside – did Kennedy side with a ‘winner’ or someone who’s winning would be most likely to cause another leadership process in the nearest term?

Nah…. That’s way too cynical. Even for me.

Harper will bash Dion in Quebec about the ‘nation’ think. Over and over again. Outside Quebec, Dion’s left of centre positions on the environment and ‘social justice’ will not help in the West.

I just don’t see how Dion could ever bring the Liberals back into power. That would require more Quebec MPs and/or more Western Canada MPs. Am I wrong here?

However, Canadian politics is a fickle business. Bernie Lord was polling (their internal polls) upwards of 15% ahead of Graham and ended up losing. Lord was the poster boy of the national Conservative party in 2003 and now he’s the whipping boy of a small provincial Conservative party. Belinda was a senior Cabinet member one day and a colour commentator the next. And don’t forget Paul Martin who was to usher in the greatest period in Canadian history. He was to eliminate the imbalance, regional disparity, western alienation, Quebec alienation, the democratic deficit, our place in the world, etc. etc. etc. ….he barely survived a few months.

And one of my favourite politicians, Arnold S from California was polling at 32% last year and won re-election in California by a wide margin at a time when Republicans were hammered across the US of A. He did this by preaching a simple mantra – one that sounds like Dion – economy, environment and social justice. Arnold is going to give Californians a strong economy and lead in environmental action and lead in social justice (Medicare reform for one).

So, in March 2007 we could be off the polls again and Dion could sweep the Libs back into power with a strong majority and MPs from all over the country.

But, unless we see one of those dramatic changes, the odds are favouring Mr. Scary right now, me thinks.

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0 Responses to The happiest man in Canada is…

  1. MonctonLandlord says:

    According to his bio, Stéphane Dion taught political science at U de M in 1984. Maybe his time here may play a role in futur policies. Does anyone remember this?

  2. scott says:

    But he’s toxic in Quebec – he was against the ‘nation’ within ‘country’ concept which was approved by all major parties and overwhelmingly desired by Quebeckers.

    I think the unclear motion [position] above on Quebec is just as toxic as what Mulroney offered during Meech. As well, both Harper and Dion were architects [in one way or the other] of the Clarity Act. The only difference being that we do not know Harper’s clear position on the issue. His recent motion left much to the imagination.

    Stephane Dion

    “No one should sell the man short here. In the dark days after the 1995 Quebec referendum, he entered federal politics and withstood ridicule from the province’s elite including nasty newspaper cartoons that compared him to a rat when he introduced the Clarity Act.”

    Stephen Harper

    “Harper also played a key role in the development of a new hard-line strategy to counter the threat of Quebec’s secession from Canada, the so-called Plan B. The federal Liberal government drew heavily on Plan B in the aftermath of the 1995 Quebec referendum, eventually drafting legislation, the Clarity Act, that makes the federal parliament the sole arbitrator of what constitutes a “clear” question and a “clear” majority in any future referendum vote and threatens a seceding Quebec with partition.”

  3. Anonymous says:

    All this talk forgets a number of things. First, canadians don’t vote ‘for’ a politician, they vote against one. I think Harper has made enough blunders to make Dion look like a safe bet. With this electoral system there is no point in talking about anything further west than ontario. This is about ontario and Quebec. Rae or Ignatief or even Kennedy weren’t going to deliver any seats there.

    For Quebec, the clarity act was both a good and bad thing. Yes, it got bad press, but it also legitimated the idea of separation referendum. And like many westerners, many quebecers will look to one of their own, even if they have a different political outlook, that’s pretty standard.

    And keep in mind that there are many new movements afoot that are not getting mainstream media. Many do not see Dion as a strong dictatorial leader like Harper has proven himself to be. In fact Harper has shown more similarities to Martin during his tenure than Dion does.

    But politics is out of your league dude, if you think that is Arnold’s ‘agenda’. In California more policy is set by citizens initiatives than by legislative decisions. All those pro-active environmental policies and social programs are a result of referenda, NOT legislation. American politics is FAR far different than what you see on CNN or Fox.

    In Canada, of course there is simply no knowing what will happen. The only thing that is certain is that canadian tourism should advertise “come to Canada, where you can see an election every bloody year”