Sunday, February 04, 2007

Coincidence or not?

This past week I happened to get into separate conversations with 2 very different Liberal voters and supporters.

The first one is what I would call a 'brainwashed Liberal' who really has no reasons for supporting the LPC other than they are not the conservatives; we all know the type. The second one I consider to be a very independent thinker who does not drink party Kool-Aid™, but continues to support the Liberals for reasons I have failed to yet understand.
Each conversation eventually got around to politics, big surprise, and the subject of how Stephane Dion was doing in his new job came up. Both of them, for very different reasons ended up having the same opinion as to how well Dion was doing; and that opinion was not a good one. I didn't put much value into the fact that both of them agreed and thought nothing of it except to rub it in a bit that we agreed about Dion.

But after catching up on some my blog reading I am beginning to wonder if it was a just coincidence or is there starting to be some doubt in the Liberal camp about their new leader?


A little update: It looks like some of the press has noticed in a big way. HT to everybody who had this up today.

An must read and well written article from
Randall Denley
The Ottawa Citizen
Sunday, February 04, 2007 linked here

I've just met Liberal leader Stephane Dion for the first time and I have to say, it was a frightening experience. The thought that this fellow could become the prime minister of Canada ought to alarm us.

Everything about Dion seems soft, from his handshake to his policies. His appearance at the Citizen editorial board Friday confirmed the fears I had when the Liberals chose him as their leader. Dion is a verbose, mild-mannered academic with a shaky grasp of English who seems unfit to chair a university department, much less lead a country.

Don't take my word for it. You can catch the interview yourself at

The Liberal leader is probably very smart in an academic sort of way and quite a decent person, but his ideas reflect the full, knee-jerk left-wing spectrum, and he can't even articulate them well. Nuclear power? He's against it because of concerns about the waste. At the same time that he's against this clean source of electrical power, the Liberal leader is for a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gases.

He's snidely un-American, in the way that the Liberal elite so often is. Canada's failure to meet its Kyoto commitments was partly due to the Americans' election of Kyoto-unfriendly George W. Bush, Dion would have us believe. He also believes it's OK to take shots at the Americans for domestic consumption, but not if you're in Washington. Dion doesn't seem to have learned much from the mistakes of his predecessor, Paul Martin, the man who thought American-bashing would get him re-elected.

Dion is, of course, opposed to an increased private sector role in health care and thinks the federal government would play a useful role by identifying best health care practices, so all the provinces can follow them. Here's a best practice: having enough doctors and nurses. That means having enough money. What's his plan?

Dion tries to tie every issue back to the environment, since it's the one area where he's supposed to be strong. Unfortunately, he's a one-issue candidate with no coherent position on that one issue.

Dion can't say often enough how unfortunate it is that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has wasted a year by not immediately enacting the Liberal environmental strategy. That still compares favourably to the seven or eight years the Liberals wasted. Greenhouse gas emissions went up under the Liberals' watch, but now Dion is attacking Harper for not fixing it all at the last minute. That just doesn't make sense. Dion introduced a motion in the House of Commons this week to force the Conservative government to meet Canada's Kyoto commitments, the same ones the Liberals couldn't meet. It's certainly not feasible at this point.

Dion says he's sorry the Liberals failed to make the environment a big issue in the last election, when Harper was particularly vulnerable. One can understand the strategic regret, but what does it tell us about the Liberals? They'll damn the Conservatives now for not making the environment the issue of the millennium, but only a year ago, they were doing the same thing.

Dion does show a certain intellectual agility when he suggest (sic) that the Liberals' very lame Kyoto performance was in part the Conservatives' fault, because they were just so against it. It's challenging to see how this could have mattered in the years when the Liberals had a majority.

Hopeful Liberals have suggested that one of Dion's strengths is that he's not a slick politician. Slick he's not, but it's tough to make an asset out of that. Dion isn't one of those down to earth guys like Ralph Klein. He's more like the wooly-headed professor next door. Dion simply cannot give a clear, succinct answer to a question. It's a necessary skill for any politician at his level.

Harper just wants to build up the military and cut taxes, Dion says, and it's clear that any right-thinking, sorry, left-thinking, person would realize how ridiculous that is. While these priorities will clearly fail to galvanize Canadians, Dion is offering to make us a world leader in "water management."

I'm not a natural consumer of the Liberal brand, but as a voter, I like to feel that I have two valid choices. With Stephane Dion as Liberal leader, that's not the case. Dion would have us believe he's qualified to be prime minister. If he thinks that, he's kidding himself. Let's not let him kid us, too.

Contact Randall Denley at 613-596-3756 or by e-mail,

Michael Coren has some similar thoughts here.

A couple of noteworthy quotes.

"Even before becoming Liberal leader, his ineptness caused all sorts of problems. In 2004 a Jewish school in St. Laurent, Que. was firebombed, the terrorists leaving a note saying the attack was in response to the policies of the then-Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. Dion publicly condemned the outrage but said it was wrong "because not all Jews support Sharon's policies."

The logic of the statement, of course, was that the firebombing would have been acceptable if all Jews did in fact support Sharon. Dion and his people went into a political spin and explained it was all a language issue and he had not meant to say that at all. Firebombing schools was, it seemed, never a good idea. He was, we were told, lost in translation. Which may or may not be true. But prime ministers can't afford to be lost anywhere."

"Dion dismisses contrary opinion and is renowned for having an absolute belief in his own particular and sometimes peculiar views. He is willing, however, to retract important statements within hours of making them if there appears to be any political advantage."

This type of thing is going to be more prominent now that the honeymoon is over for Dion.


Tony said...

I talk to Liberal supporters from time to time and there are many who are very disappointed that neither Michael Ignatieff nor Bob Rae were selected as party leader.

From what I have seen of Dion, he has demonstrated himself to be a one trick pony. He has put all of his chips on the environment and it will cost him and his party dearly in the next election.

I think he has failed to heed the number one advise that many financial advisors give to their clients. "Diversify your portfolio"

If Stephane Dion and his party uses the environment as his party's main defining issue in the next Federal election, they will be dead in the water, as the Conservatives, the Greens and the NDP will have their own plans, so it will be a very crowded field.

The other problem that Stephane Dion has is his propensity for making gaffes and his inability to send a clear message defining what his party stands for. Nobody seems to know.

They apparently stand for Kyoto, but are unable to tell the Canadian public what their plan is for implementing it and what sacrifice the Canadian public will have to endure to achieve it. They seem to be both for and against the "Oil Sands" project depending on who you talk to. They appear to be miffed at the Conservatives for breaking their promise regarding the "Income trust", but are unable to say whether or not they will reverse that decision. They are no longer talking about Universal Child care access, which was formerly their number one issue.

His biggest problem seems to be his inability to communicate his party's message and that is a huge liability. It must be embarrassing to be in a situation where CBC reporter, Julie Van Dusen is actually being used to interpret what he are saying to its viewers instead of just presenting the news.

Personally many see him as a nice person, but not as a leader. If he is to have any chance in the next election he needs to reduce his gaffes, improve his communication skills, clearly define the issues that his party stands for and have a simple, but diversified party platform.

Ardvark said...

He is what he is, but PM material he is not.