HAS DION ANYTHING TO CELEBRATE?

It’s just a year since Stephane Dion succeeded Paul Martin as leader of the Liberal party.

Anyway you slice it, it’s been a tough year for Dion. His party lost a crucial Quebec by-election, it lost its director-general because of a racist remark, its having a rough time raising money, it is in fact propping up the Harper government by not voting against it in the Commons and its not faring well in attracting star candidates for the next election.

Still, this dark cloud has some silver in its lining. Despite all their fumbling the Liberals are close to the Conservatives in the polls. Dion is off to Bali this week to try to regain his stature as the “green” leader. His anti-poverty p olicy wherein he pledged a Liberal government would reduce the number of Canadians living below the poverty line by 30 per cent and reduce the number of children living in poverty by 50 per cent has been well received.

And it might be noted that both Jean Chretien and Stephen Harper had a first rough year when they became opposition leaders. Yet Chretien went on to win tnree majority governments and Harper is the current prime m inister.

Many commentators who have written Dion’s political obituary never thought he would win the leadership in the first place.

Now the word is that Dion will help defeat the Harper government before the next budget some time in February setting the stage for a spring election.

Do you think Dion can win a general election?

Would you prefer that someone like Bob Rae or Michael Ignatieff were leading the party?

10 Comments »

  1. 1
    bailiwicked Says:

    I read an article in Maclean’s over a year ago (before the leadership convention, and before he was really on the radar as far as being a competitive candidate) about how Dion has always risen above his critics and has always succeeded when expectations were low. I can’t remember the details but his political career has basically been based on coming from behind and surprising people who had originally counted him out. In other words, never say he’s down and out because this guy finds a way to win.

    I think Dion has had a bad rap in the news and has been a victim of the Conservative publicity machine. After reading that article, and then watching him win the leadership of the Liberal party, I won’t count him out.

  2. No doubt Dion has been a dissapointment to the Liberal Party of Canada and Harper has become more of a household word. And how on earth will Dion lift children out of poverty? does he have a plan or is he talking through his hat. Inquiring minds just want to know.

  3. 3
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    As far as I’m concerned Harper has become a household word synonimous with hidden agenda, double entendre and downright redneck policy. Dion is not a politician, that is his main problem. He says what he thinks and sincerely believes he can bring people to share his beliefs. It is a long process as any teacher knows and he is basically an academic. The Liberal got him out of the university where he was teaching but did get the university out of the guy.

  4. 4
    CPP Says:

    “This is not fair.”

  5. 5
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    I made a typo in my last entry. I meant to write: the liberals got him out of the university where he was teaching but DID NOT GET the university out of the guy.
    And CPP what is not fair?

  6. 6
    Chimera Says:

    I noted early on that Dion is not a professional politician, and two things leapt to my mind: that he was being extremely brave in venturing into the arena of bloodsport political leadership; and that he was being very naive about his ability to continue to play “fair” with his opponents, who will have absolutley no intention of playing “fair” with him.

    Can he win an election? At this point, I think he’d be a default “winner” — everybody else would lose. Give him time to build up some hide, and he might be able to win on his own merit. Wouldn’t that be something to see?

    Rae or Ignatieff? No. Rae is too much of the same ol’ same ol’. And Ignatieff is rather too conveniently “back home” for my liking.

  7. 7
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    I am wary of Ignatieff. A guy who says that as an academic he could approve of the war in Iraq while he was at Harvard teaching but he could not approve of the same war as a Canadian politician during the Liberal leadership race makes me feel uneasy at best, squarely diffident at worse. After 30 years in the U.S. what is left of Canadianness in him?
    Rae was a catastrophe as Premier of Ontario why should he be better as Canada’s Prime Minister?

  8. 8
    Cynthia MacLean Says:

    Dion became “Leader’ by backroom deals and the Party continues to pay. His English is pathetic and he waffles all over the place on where he is on issues. Rae is to Ontario what Dion is to Quebec. Ignatieff has more knowledge and understanding of Canada that most of us who have never left the country. He is very proud to be a Canadian and we should be proud that a Canadian has achieved the honours that he has. He has learned a great deal over this last year and I would be proud to see him as Prime Minister.

  9. 9

    Cynthia,

    Great to hear from you.

    I have no quarrel with your evaluation of Ignatieff. But I’m afraid we differ on Dion. He is working hard on his English and it is improving. He has laid out a strong policy on children’s poverty. Quite logically, he is saving much of his policies for an election campaign this coming spring. I don’t think we should count him out.

  10. 10
    Chimera Says:

    Cynthia: I don’t want a PM who is “proud.” We got one, already, and just look at him!

    And pride in someone else’s achievements is so much vicarious trash. How do you benefit from pride in someone else? Earn those kudos for yourself, and you might have something of which you can be proud.

    Dion’s English might well be “pathetic,” but he’s working on it. How’s your French?


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