IS STEPHAN DION FINISHED?

In yesterday’s three Quebec by-elections, the Conservatives gained one, the Bloc held onto one and the Liberals lost one. But make no mistake, the big winner in Outremont (which has been Liberal almost continuously since 1935) was not the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair (although he deserves much credit) but the Liberal’s Michael Ignatieff.

It’s been evident for some time that Ignatieff wants the Liberal leadership so bad he can taste it. How bad? Well, there are well founded rumours going around that Ignatieff’s people have been trying to undermine Dion’s leadership for some time and that they discouraged some Liberals from working for Dion’s candidate in the Outremont campaign.

That being said, yesterday’s weak Liberal showing, is raising serious concerns about Dion’s leadership. In Outremont, Dion hand-picked the Liberal candidate, professor Jocelyn Coulon, over the objections of some Liberal strategists who wanted a more popular and better-known candidate. (Justin Trudeau wanted to run but was waved off by Dion).

In his run for the leadership last fall, Dion promised to strengthen the Liberal brand in Quebec. Yesterday’s results for the Liberals in all three ridings were pathetic. It would seem the Conservatives are now replacing the Liberals as the mainfederalist opposition to the Bloc in Quebec. In fact the Liberals now hold only 12 of Quebec’s 75 seats, their lowest count since Confederation.

All that being said, I supported Dion for the leadership and I still support him. He has been underestimated before and I expect he will bounce back from this defeat. My strong feeling is that Dion- with his competence and integrity – would make a splendid prime minister.

Would you like to see Stephan Dion fight for his leadership?

Or would you like to see Dion replaced by Michael Ignatieff, the erstwhile American professor?

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8 Comments »

  1. 1
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    I have mixed feelings about Dion.
    One the one hand, he was the leading member of the former government of Jean Chretien to take up the cause of partition as a tool to defeat the separatist concept (pretty much an Equality Party initiative, by the way) which did more than anything to “save” Canada (something that I now don’t think is worth doing). It took guts to do that and, as a French Quebecer, he put himself directly into the lion’s den to receive all sorts of hate and vitriole from the Quebec press and other quarters, which I am sure he experienced.
    On the other hand, Dion is famous for saying “Bill 101 is a great Canadian law”. Although I believe this assessment is accurate (and it harkens back to Neil’s recent editorial about Bill 101 helping keep Quebec within Canada), his use of the word “great” indicates that he does actually support Bill 101.
    Bill 101 is a race law.
    Bill 101 has no place in free and democratic societies and it troubles me that Dion expressed support for it. It’s the worst law ever passed in Canada, as far as I’m concerned.

  2. 2
    jeremy Says:

    I supported Mr. Dion for the leadership as well. Although, this by election was said, by some, to be a referendum on Mr. Dion’s leadership abilities. I don’t see Ignatieff in the lead role.

    I hope Mr. Dion can pull out of this with his integrity in tact and keep his job as well.

    Jeremy

  3. 3
    SUZANNE Says:

    He’s gone after the next general election. It will be in the next year or two. He will fall hard on his butt, and then the Liberal head honchos are going to organize his departure, if he doesn’t go willingly.

    They’re sharpening the knives. If he wants to stay, he has to show he can deliver. The best predictor of future results is past results, and he hasn’t shown that he is wise to the situation.

  4. 4

    Tony – I think I know where you are coming from on Bill 101. Yet the fact is all the hard line federalists on the Quebec language issue are long dead in the water. Bill Johnson’s dogmatic version of Alliance Quebec – defunct. The Equality Party – defunct. Most federalists in Quebec accept the language situation as is. As for ousting Quebec from Canada (of which it is one of two founding members), that would only hasten the homogenous Americanization of Canada – a trend the vast majority of Canadians deplore.

    Jeremy – So do I.

    Suzanne – I sincerely hope you are wrong. One of the things that will help the Liberals and Dion in the long run is the growing unpopularity of the control freak
    now ensconced at 24 Sussex Drive.

  5. 5
    Joanne Nicholls Says:

    I havent’ really decided where I stand with Dion. I hope he has some long range plans because if he keeps going the way he is, he will ddrive the Liberals into the ground. I don’t like Ignatieff. I think he is a little off-putting because he swoops in from Harvard and expects everyone to bow down because the great mind has returned. You can observe the politics of a country from outside of it, but you can’t be part of it until you are living in it. Ignatieff has some time to put in before he gets the big prize. All I have seen from him is waltzing in to a plum riding and backpedalling around his statements regarding Iraq. I wouldn’t put backroom manipulation past him. I agree with Neil. He wants it so bad he can taste it.
    Anyway, that’s about it. I hope the Liberals get their stuff together because depending on how Harper reads the Quebec results, another election could be sooner rather than later. And the last thing we need is a Conservative majority government!

  6. 6

    Joanne: –

    Right on. The last thing we need is a Conservative majority government. I have seen Dion in action and, believe me, he is impressive for his integrity, his clarity and his composure. He is not a political tactician. But he can recruit those and the sooner he does, the better.

  7. 7
    Gary Says:

    The thing I take issue with is Dion’s constantly repeated “The Liberal party is a great Party.”

    It’s not! It has become a party of self-serving individuals, eager for a drink at the public trough.

    If he was honest, he would switch to the only great parties in Canada – the NDP or the PC’s. Both have good ideas, great people, fine leaders.

    As long as Dion does not accept this, he will fade away like a distant dwarf star.

  8. 8

    Gary: –

    Well. let’s accept for the sake of the discussion that the Liberal party is not a great party. Certainly the party of Laurier, King, St. Laurent, Pearson and Trudeau was a great party in the past. I have no doubt it can be agreat party again. If the Liberal party were to disappear our politics would be seriously diminished.


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